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1.  Nisin adsorption to polyethylene oxide layers and its resistance to elution in the presence of fibrinogen 
The adsorption and elution of the antimicrobial peptide nisin at silanized silica surfaces coated to present pendant polyethylene oxide chains was detected in situ by zeta potential measurements. Silica microspheres were treated with trichlorovinylsilane to introduce hydrophobic vinyl groups, followed by self assembly of the polyethylene oxide-polypropylene oxide-polyethylene oxide (PEO-PPO-PEO) triblock surfactant Pluronic® F108, or an F108 derivative with nitrilotriacetic acid endgroups. Triblock-coated microspheres were γ-irradiated to covalently stabilize the PPO-surface association. PEO layer stability was evaluated by triblock resistance to elution by SDS, and layer uniformity was evaluated by fibrinogen repulsion. Introduction of nisin to uncoated or triblock-coated microspheres produced a significant positive change in surface charge (zeta potential) as a result of adsorption of the cationic peptide. In sequential adsorption experiments, the introduction of fibrinogen to nisin-loaded triblock layers caused a decrease in zeta potential that was consistent with partial elution of nisin and/or preferential location of fibrinogen at the interface. This change was substantially more pronounced for uncoated than triblock-coated silica, indicating that the PEO layer offers enhanced resistance to nisin elution.
PMCID: PMC2918692  PMID: 20619847
nisin adsorption; zeta potential; Pluronic® F108; PEO-PPO-PEO triblock surfactant; EGAP-NTA
2.  A Novel System of Polymorphic and Diverse NK Cell Receptors in Primates 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(10):e1000688.
There are two main classes of natural killer (NK) cell receptors in mammals, the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and the structurally unrelated killer cell lectin-like receptors (KLR). While KIR represent the most diverse group of NK receptors in all primates studied to date, including humans, apes, and Old and New World monkeys, KLR represent the functional equivalent in rodents. Here, we report a first digression from this rule in lemurs, where the KLR (CD94/NKG2) rather than KIR constitute the most diverse group of NK cell receptors. We demonstrate that natural selection contributed to such diversification in lemurs and particularly targeted KLR residues interacting with the peptide presented by MHC class I ligands. We further show that lemurs lack a strict ortholog or functional equivalent of MHC-E, the ligands of non-polymorphic KLR in “higher” primates. Our data support the existence of a hitherto unknown system of polymorphic and diverse NK cell receptors in primates and of combinatorial diversity as a novel mechanism to increase NK cell receptor repertoire.
Author Summary
Most receptors of natural killer (NK) cells interact with highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and thereby regulate the activity of NK cells against infected or malignant target cells. Whereas humans, apes, and Old and New World monkeys use the family of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) as highly diverse NK cell receptors, this function is performed in rodents by the diverse family of lectin-like receptors Ly49. When did this functional separation occur in evolution? We followed this by investigating lemurs, primates that are distantly related to humans. We show here that lemurs employ the CD94/NKG2 family as their highly diversified NK cell receptors. The CD94/NKG2 receptors also belong to the lectin-like receptor family, but are rather conserved in “higher” primates and rodents. We could further demonstrate that lemurs have a single Ly49 gene like other primates but lack functional KIR genes of the KIR3DL lineage and show major deviations in their MHC class I genomic organisation. Thus, lemurs have evolved a “third way” of polymorphic and diverse NK cell receptors. In addition, the multiplied lemur CD94/NKG2 receptors can be freely combined, thereby forming diverse receptors. This is, therefore, the first description of some combinatorial diversity of NK cell receptors.
PMCID: PMC2757895  PMID: 19834558
3.  Nisin antimicrobial activity and structural characteristics at hydrophobic surfaces coated with the PEO–PPO–PEO triblock surfactant Pluronic® F108 
The antimicrobial peptide nisin has been observed to preferentially locate at surfaces coated with the poly[ethylene oxide]–poly[propylene oxide]–poly[ethylene oxide] (PEO–PPO–PEO) surfactant Pluronic® F108, to an extent similar to its adsorption at uncoated, hydrophobic surfaces. In order to evaluate nisin function following its adsorption to surfaces presenting pendant PEO chains, the antimicrobial activity of nisin-loaded, F108-coated polystyrene microspheres and F108-coated polyurethane catheter segments was evaluated against the Gram-positive indicator strain, Pediococcus pentosaceus. The retained biological activity of these nisin-loaded layers was evaluated after incubation in the presence and absence of blood proteins, for contact periods up to one week. While an increase in serum protein concentration reduced the retained activity on both bare hydrophobic and F108-coated materials, F108-coated surfaces retained more antimicrobial activity than the uncoated surfaces. Circular dichroism spectroscopy experiments conducted with nisin in the presence of F108-coated and uncoated, silanized silica nanoparticles suggested that nisin experienced conformational rearrangement at a greater rate and to a greater extent on bare hydrophobic surfaces relative to F108-coated surfaces. These results support the notion that immobilized, pendant PEO chains confer some degree of conformational stability to nisin while also inhibiting its exchange by blood proteins.
PMCID: PMC2587258  PMID: 18377919
PEO-PPO-PEO triblock surfactant; Pluronic® F108; Lantibiotics; Nisin; Antimicrobial activity; Circular dichroism
4.  Nisin adsorption to hydrophobic surfaces coated with the PEO–PPO–PEO triblock surfactant Pluronic® F108 
The adsorption and elution of the antimicrobial peptide nisin at hydrophobic, silanized silica surfaces coated with the poly(ethylene oxide)–poly(propylene oxide)–poly(ethylene oxide) surfactant Pluronic® F108 were measured in situ, with ellipsometry. While such layers are known to inhibit protein adsorption, nisin was observed to adsorb in multilayer quantities, to an extent similar to its adsorption at uncoated, hydrophobic surfaces. The rates of nisin adsorption and elution were generally slower at F108-coated surfaces. And, the sequential adsorption of nisin, including two adsorption–elution cycles at each surface, showed greater differences in adsorption rates between the first and second adsorption cycles, when evaluated at identical mass density, for uncoated relative to F108-coated surfaces. These results indicate that nisin adsorption occurs via “entrapment” within the PEO brush layer at F108-coated surfaces, in this way slowing adsorption and spontaneous elution, and inhibiting post-adsorptive molecular rearrangements by reducing the lateral mobility of nisin. While F108-coated layers rejected adsorption of serum albumin, sequential adsorption experiments carried out with nisin and albumin showed a low level of albumin adsorption when nisin was present at the interface.
PMCID: PMC2587252  PMID: 18359037
Nisin adsorption kinetics; In situ ellipsometry; Pluronic® F108; PEO-PPO-PEO triblock surfactants

Results 1-4 (4)