ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0193.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Pharmacology And Toxicology Keywords: Antibiofilm peptide; chemical space; StarPep toolbox; complex network; centrality measure; motif discovery
Online: 10 March 2023 (09:36:30 CET)
Microbial biofilms cause several environmental and industrial issues, even on the human health. Although they have represented a threaten due to their resistance to antibiotics, there are currently no approved antibiofilm agents for clinical treatments. The multi-functionality of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) including the antibiofilm activity and their potentialities to target multiple mi-crobes motivated the synthesis of AMP relatives for developing antibiofilm agents for clinical purposes. Antibiofilm peptides (ABFPs) have been organized in databases that allowed the building of prediction tools which have assisted in the discovery/design of new antibiofilm agents. However, the complex network approach has been explored yet as an assistant tool for this aim. Herein, a kind of similarity networks, called the Half-Space Proximal Network (HSPN) is applied to represent/analyse the chemical space of the ABFPs aimed to identify promising scaf-folds for the development of next generation antimicrobials, able to target both planktonic and biofilm microbial forms. Such analyses also considered the metadata associated to the ABFPs such as origin, other activities, targets, etc. in which the relationships were projected by multilayer networks called metadata networks (METNs). From the complex networks mining, a reduced but informative set of 66 ABFPs representing the original antibiofilm space was extracted. This subset retained from the most central to atypical ABFPs, having some of them, desired properties for developing next generation antimicrobials. So, this subset is advisable for assisting the search/design both new antibiofilm/antimicrobial agents. The provided ABFP motifs list, dis-covered within the HSPN communities, is also useful for the same purpose.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0696.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Other Keywords: Graph databases; Data Visualization; MITRE ATT&CK Tactics; Star Motif; Clique Motif; Reconnaissance Tactic
Online: 9 June 2023 (09:34:24 CEST)
There has been a great deal of research in the area of using graph engines and graph databases to model network traffic and network attacks, but the novelty of this research lies in visually or graphically representing the Reconnaissance Tactic (TA0043) of the MITRE ATT&CK framework. Using the newly created dataset, UWF-Zeekdata22, based on the MITRE ATT&CK framework, patterns involving network connectivity, connection duration, and data volume were found and loaded into a graph environment. Patterns were also found in the graphed data that match the Reconnaissance as well as other tactics captured by UWF-Zeekdata22. The Star motif was particularly useful in mapping the Reconnaissance tactic. The results of this paper show that graph databases/graph engines can be essential tools for understanding network traffic and trying to detect network intrusions before they happen. Finally, an analysis of the run-time performance of the reduced dataset used to create the graph databases showed that the reduced datasets performed better than the full dataset.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1012.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Mathematical And Computational Biology Keywords: biological network; graph analysis; clustering; network motif; network alignment
Online: 14 July 2023 (13:22:33 CEST)
: Biological networks such as protein interaction networks, gene regulation networks and metabolic pathways are examples of complex networks which are large graphs with small-world and scale-free properties. Analysis of these networks has a profound effect on our understanding the origins of life, health and disease states of organisms, and diagnose diseases to aid the search for remedial processes. In this review, we describe main analysis methods of biological networks using graph theory by first defining main parameters such as clustering coefficient, modularity and centrality. We then survey fundamental graph clustering methods and algorithms followed by the network motif search algorithms with the aim of finding repeating subgraphs in a biological network graph. A frequently appearing subgraph usually conveys a basic function carried out by that small network and discovering such a function provides an insight to the overall function of the organism. Lastly, we review network alignment algorithms that achieve to find similarities between two or more graphs representing biological networks. A conserved subgraph between the biological networks of organisms may mean a common ancestor and finding such relationship may help researchers derive ancestral relationships and predict the future evolution of organisms to enable designing new drugs. We conclude by the current challenging areas of biological network analysis using graph theory and parallel processing for high performance analysis
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Neuroscience And Neurology Keywords: neural differentiation; regulatory motif; feedback regulation; signaling pathway; mathematical models
Online: 24 December 2019 (11:20:25 CET)
Computational simulation using mathematical models is a useful method for understanding the complex behavior of a living system. The majority of studies using mathematical models to reveal biological mechanisms uses one of the two main approaches: the bottom-up or the top-down approach. When we aim to analyze a large-scale network, such as a comprehensive knowledge-integrated model of a target phenomenon, for example a whole-cell model, the variation of analyses is limited to particular kind of analysis because of the size and complexity of the model. To analyze a large-scale regulatory network of neural differentiation, we developed a hybrid method that combines both approaches. To construct a mathematical model, we extracted network motifs, subgraph structures that recur more often in a metabolic network or gene regulatory network than in a random network, from a large-scale regulatory network, detected regulatory motifs among them, and combined these motifs. We confirmed that the model reproduced the known dynamics of HES1 and ASCL1 before and after differentiation, including oscillation and equilibrium of their concentrations. The model also reproduced the effects of overexpression and knockdown of the Id2 gene. Our model suggests that the characteristic change in HES1 and ASCL1 expression in the large-scale regulatory network is controlled by a combination of four feedback loops, including a large loop which has not been focused on. The model extracted by our hybrid method has the potential to reveal the critical mechanisms of neural differentiation. The hybrid method is applicable to other biological events.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0665.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; envelop protein; mutations; transmembrane domain; triple cysteine motif
Online: 30 August 2020 (11:50:59 CEST)
The ongoing mutations in the structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 is the major impediment for prevention and control of the COVID-19 disease. The envelope (E) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is a structural protein existing in both monomeric and homopentameric forms, associated with a multitude of functions including virus assembly, replication, dissemination, release of virions, infection, pathogenesis, and immune response stimulation. In the present study, 81,818 high quality E protein sequences retrieving from the GISAID were subjected to mutational analyses. Our analysis revealed that only 0.012 % (982/81818) stains possessed amino acid (aa) substitutions in 63 sites of the genome while 58.77% mutations in the primary structure of nucleotides in 134 sites. We found the V25A mutation in the transmembrane domain which is a key factor for the homopentameric conformation of E protein. We also observed a triple cysteine motif harboring mutations (L39M, A41S, A41V, C43F, C43R, C43S, C44Y, N45R) which may hinder the binding of E protein with spike glycoprotein. These results therefore suggest the continuous monitoring of each structural protein of SARS-CoV-2 since the number of genome sequences from across the world are continuously increasing.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0178.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Computer Vision And Graphics Keywords: chromatic number; graph partitioning; NP to P; motif identifier; protein design
Online: 11 May 2018 (08:58:35 CEST)
Graph coloring is a manifestation of graph partitioning, wherein, a graph is partitioned based on the adjacency of its elements. Partitioning serves potentially as a compartmentalization for any structural problem. Vertex coloring is the heart of the problem which is to find the chromatic number of a graph. The fact that there is no general efficient solution to this problem that may work unequivocally for all graphs opens up the realistic scope for combinatorial optimization algorithms to be invoked. The algorithmic complexity of graph coloring is non-deterministic in polynomial time (NP) and hard. To the best of our knowledge, there is no algorithm as yet that procures an exact solution of the chromatic number comprehensively for any and all graphs within the polynomial (P) time domain. However, several heuristics as well as some approximation algorithms have been attempted to obtain an approximate solution for the same. Here, we present a novel heuristic, namely, the 'trailing path', which returns an approximate solution of the chromatic number within polynomial time, and, with a better accuracy than most existing algorithms. The ‘trailing path’ algorithm is effectively a subtle combination of the search patterns of two existing heuristics (DSATUR and Largest First), and, operates along a trailing path of consecutively connected nodes (and thereby effectively maps to the problem of finding spanning tree(s) of the graph) during the entire course of coloring, where essentially lies both the novelty and the apt of the current approach. The study also suggests that the judicious implementation of randomness is one of the keys towards rendering an improved accuracy in such combinatorial optimization algorithms. Apart from the algorithmic attributes, essential properties of graph partitioning in random and different structured networks have also been surveyed, followed by a comparative study. The study reveals the remarkable stability and absorptive property of chromatic number across a wide array of graphs. Finally, a case study is presented to demonstrate the potential use of graph coloring in protein design – yet another hard problem in structural and evolutionary biology.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201801.0172.v1
Subject: Chemistry And Materials Science, Biomaterials Keywords: amyloids; Gad m 1, EF-hand motif, calcium carbonate precipitation, calcite
Online: 18 January 2018 (15:13:24 CET)
Acid proteins capable of nucleating Ca2+ and displaying aggregation capacity play key roles in the formation of calcium carbonate biominerals. EF-hands are among the largest Ca2+-binding motif in proteins. Gad m 1, an Atlantic cod β-parvalbumin isoform, is a monomeric EF-hand protein that acts as a Ca2+ buffer in fish muscle and is able to form amyloids under acidic conditions. Since nucleating Ca2+ protein have a propensity to form extended β-strand structures, we wondered whether amyloid assemblies of a protein containing refolded EF-hand motifs were able to influence the in vitro calcium carbonate crystallization. Here we have used the Gad m 1 chain as model to generate monomeric and amyloid assemblies and analyze their effect on in vitro calcite formation. We found that only amyloid assemblies alter calcite morphology.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1131.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Pediatrics, Perinatology And Child Health Keywords: adipokine; chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2; interleukin-6; leptin; neonatal; preeclampsia
Online: 16 May 2023 (09:00:30 CEST)
Preterm delivery can be precipitated by infection, and preterm infants are at heightened risk of postnatal infection. Little is known about the ontogeny of inflammatory biomarkers in extremely preterm infants. We hypothesized that suspected prenatal infection (chorioamnionitis or spontaneous preterm labor) and clinically diagnosed postnatal infection would be associated with unique biomarker signatures, and those patterns would be influenced by the degree of prematurity. Venous blood was collected daily for the first week and weekly for up to 14 additional weeks from 142 neonates born at 22-32 weeks gestation. A custom array was utilized to measure monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were obtained from the electronic medical record. 90 infants had suspected prenatal infection and 63 were diagnosed with postnatal infection. Independent of gestational age at delivery, MCP-1 was significantly increased (P < 0.001) in association with maternal preeclampsia, but MCP-1 was decreased (P<0.01) and CRP was increased (P<0.05) in the presence of chorioamnionitis. IL-6 and CRP were both increased in infants diagnosed with postnatal infection with peak levels observed on days 2 and 3, respectively. In conclusion, suspected prenatal and postnatal infections and non-infectious complications of pregnancy are associated with unique biomarker profiles, independent of gestational age. In those clinically diagnosed with a postnatal infection in the absence of antenatal infection concerns, IL-6 increases before CRP, emphasizing a potential role for expanded biomarker screening if antibiotics are initially avoided in infants born exclusively for maternal indications.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0144.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Oncology And Oncogenics Keywords: sea anemone; drug discovery; cancer; antiangiogenic; endothelial cells; RGD motif; Kunitz type inhibitor
Online: 19 March 2018 (08:15:38 CET)
Sea anemones are a remarkable source of active principles due to a decentralized venom system. Blood vessel formation or angiogenesis is a very promising target against cancer, but the few available anti-angiogenic compounds have a limited efficacy. In this study, a protein fraction was purified from tentacles of Anemonia viridis able to limit endothelial cells proliferation and vessel network formation or angiogenesis at low concentration (14 nM). The sequences in this protein fraction were determined with Edman degradation and Mass Spectrometry In Source Decay and revealed homologies with BDS sea anemones. The presence of a two turn alpha helix observed with Circular Dichroism and a trypsin activity inhibition suggested that the active principle could be a Kunitz-type inhibitor, which may interact with an integrin due to a RGD motif well exposed to the solvent as revealed by Molecular Modeling. This active principle could improve antiangiogenic therapy from existing antiangiogenic compounds binding on the VEGF.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Immunology And Microbiology Keywords: endosome; exosome; extracellular vesicles; fungal RNA biology; membrane trafficking; RNA transport; RNA recognition motif
Online: 21 January 2020 (03:26:40 CET)
Membrane-coupled RNA transport is an emerging theme in fungal biology. This review focuses on the RNA cargo and mechanistic details of transport via two inter-related sets of organelles: endosomes and extracellular vesicles for intra- and intercellular RNA transfer. Simultaneous transport and translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) on the surface of shuttling endosomes is a conserved process pertinent to highly polarised eukaryotic cells, such as hyphae or neurons. Here we detail the endosomal mRNA transport machinery components and mRNA targets of the core RNA-binding protein Rrm4. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are newly garnering interest as mediators of intercellular communication, especially between pathogenic fungi and their hosts. Landmark studies in plant-fungus interactions indicate EVs as a means of delivering various cargos, most notably small RNAs (sRNAs), for cross-kingdom RNA interference. Recent advances and implications of the nascent field of fungal EVs are discussed and potential links between endosomal and EV-mediated RNA transport are proposed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0062.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Computer Vision And Graphics Keywords: graph neural network; motif-based representation; molecular property prediction; graph matching; interpretability; GPU-enabled accelerating.
Online: 5 December 2022 (06:57:41 CET)
This work considers the task of representation learning on the attributed relational graph (ARG). Both the nodes and edges in an ARG are associated with attributes/features allowing ARGs to encode rich structural information widely observed in real applications. Existing graph neural networks offer limited ability to capture complex interactions within local structural contexts, which hinders them from taking advantage of the expression power of ARGs. We propose Motif Convolution Module (MCM), a new motif-based graph representation learning technique to better utilize local structural information. The ability to handle continuous edge and node features is one of MCM’s advantages over existing motif-based models. MCM builds a motif vocabulary in an unsupervised way and deploys a novel motif convolution operation to extract the local structural context of individual nodes, which is then used to learn higher-level node representations via multilayer perceptron and/or message passing in graph neural networks. When compared with other graph learning approaches to classifying synthetic graphs, our approach is substantially better in capturing structural context. We also demonstrate the performance and explainability advantages of our approach by applying it to several molecular benchmarks.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.1160.v3
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: AP2/ERF; Amino acid analysis; Motif analysis; Structure of AP2 domain; Transcription factor; Dehydration-responsive element; Wheat
Online: 21 August 2023 (10:34:44 CEST)
The Apetala2/ethylene response factor superfamily refers to a group of transcription factors that share a conserved AP2 DNA binding domain. These factors have been found to have different roles in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stresses. Samples of hexaploid wheat, tetraploid pasta (or durum wheat), and diploid wheat progenitors were selected. The 29 dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors in these samples were downloaded from NCBI GenBank for six different countries: Iran, China, Italy, France, Afghanistan, and Azerbaijan. The AP2 domain sequences were identified from the dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors using PROSITE, ProDom, and SMART software. Next, all sequences were aligned using Multalin and Jalview software. The aligned sequences were then analyzed to identify amino acid locations, types, and frequencies. The multiple alignments showed that approximately 76% of the amino acid residues in the AP2 domains are conserved. According to the amino acid analysis, alanine, serine, and glutamic acid are the most abundant amino acids found in three motifs. The performed phylogenetic analysis illustrates the role of geographical effects on the transcription factor sequences of bread wheat in the Middle East. Significant differences were found between Iranian and Chinese transcription factor sequences. Moreover, genetic variation was observed in the transcription factors of Italian sequences found in pasta and wheat progenitors. Motif structures play a critical role in the domain organization of wheat proteins to enhance the characteristics of assorted metabolic pathways. The structure of the AP2 domain was analyzed by several programs, I-TASSER for instance, to identify the α-helix, β-sheets, and the regions of some significant amino acids in the 3-D model.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0023.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Immunology And Allergy Keywords: cancer; cardiovascular disease; chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2; fatty liver; infection; inflammation; metabolism; obesity; paraoxonase-1
Online: 1 June 2021 (10:46:20 CEST)
Infectious as well as most non-infectious diseases share certain common molecular mechanisms. Among them, oxidative stress and the subsequent inflammatory reaction are of particular note. Metabolic disorders induced by external agents, be they bacterial or viral pathogens, excessive calorie intake, poor-quality nutrients, or environmental factors, produce an imbalance between the production of free radicals and endogenous antioxidant systems; the consequence being the oxidation of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Oxidation and inflammation are closely related, and whether oxidative stress and inflammation represent the causes or consequences of cellular pathology, they produce metabolic alterations that influence the pathogenesis of the disease. In this review we highlight two key molecules in the regulation of these processes: Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2). PON1 is an enzyme bound to high-density lipoproteins. It breaks down lipid peroxides in lipoproteins and cells, participates in the protection conferred by HDL against different infectious agents, and is considered part of the innate immune system. With PON1 deficiency, CCL2 production increases, which induces migration and infiltration of immune cells in target tissues, and is involved in disturbing normal metabolic function. This disruption involves pathways controlling cellular homeostasis as well as metabolically-driven chronic inflammatory states. Hence, an understanding of these relationships would help improve treatments and, as well, identify new therapeutic targets.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0046.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Plant Sciences Keywords: AT-hook motif nuclear protein 18; AHL18; At3G60870; Arabidopsis; Lateral root development; Root apical meristem; Cell proliferation
Online: 4 March 2020 (04:40:34 CET)
The AT-HOOK MOTIF NUCLEAR LOCALIZED PROTEIN (AHL) gene family encodes embryophyte-specific nuclear proteins with DNA binding activity. They modulate gene expression and affect various developmental processes in plants. We identify AHL18 (At3G60870) as a developmental modulator of root system architecture and growth. AHL18 regulates the length of the proliferation domain and number of dividing cells in the root apical meristem and thereby, cell production. Both primary root growth and lateral root development respond according to AHL18 transcription level. The ahl18 knock-out plants show reduced root systems due to a shorter primary root and a lower number of lateral roots. This change results from a higher number of arrested and non-developing lateral root primordia (LRP) rather than from decreased initiation. Overexpression of AHL18 results in a more extensive root system, longer primary roots, and increased density of lateral root initiation events. Formation of lateral roots is affected during the initiation of LRP and later development. AHL18 regulate root apical meristem activity, lateral root initiation and emergence, which is in accord with localization of its expression.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201812.0214.v1
Subject: Chemistry And Materials Science, Medicinal Chemistry Keywords: αβ motif; Abu; chlorotoxin; Cys; disulfide bond; insectotoxin; isosteric substitution; L-α-aminobutyric acid; molecular dynamics; Ser
Online: 18 December 2018 (04:46:38 CET)
Chlorotoxin (CTX) is a 36–amino acid peptide with 8 Cys residues that forms four Cys-Cys bonds. It has high affinity for the glioma-specific chloride channel and matrix metalloprotease-2. Structural and binding properties of CTX analogs with various Cys residue substitutions with L-a-aminobutyric acid (Abu) have been previously reported. Using 4.2 ìs molecular dynamics, we compared the conformational and essential space sampling of CTX and analogs [Abu/Ser2,19]CTX, [Abu/Ser5,28]CTX, [Abu/Ser16,33]CTX, [Abu/Ser20,35]CTX, and [Abu/Ser2,5,16,19,20,28,33,35]CTX. The native and substituted peptides maintained a high degree of a-helix propensity from residues 8 through 21, with the exception of [Ser5,28]CTX and [Abu16,33]CTX. In agreement with previous circular dichroism spectropolarimetry results, the C-terminal b-sheet content varied less from residues 25 through 29 and 32 through 36 and was well conserved in all analogs, except: [Abu16,33]CTX, [Ser20,35]CTX, [Abu2,5,16,19,20,28,33,35]CTX, and [Ser2,5,16,19,20,28,33,35]CTX. The Cys16-Cys33 and Cys20-Cys35 Cys-Cys bonds appear to be required to maintain the ab-motif of CTX. Their selective substitution with Ser16,33 however, may mitigate the destabilizing effect of Cys16-Cys33 substitution by the formation of an inter residue H-bond from OgH of Ser16 to OgH of Ser33 bridged by a water molecule. All peptides shared considerable sampled conformational space, which explains the retained receptor binding of the nonnative analogs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0255.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: bony fish muscle, insect flight muscle, myosin filament structure, myosin crossbridge cycle, thick filament activation, interacting heads motif
Online: 23 July 2019 (10:57:56 CEST)
Unlike electron microscopy, which can achieve very high resolutions, but to date can only be used to study static structures, time-resolved X-ray diffraction from contracting muscles can, in principle, be used to follow the molecular movements involved in force generation on a millisecond timescale albeit at moderate resolution. However, previous X-ray diffraction studies of resting muscles have come up with structures for the head arrangements in resting myosin filaments that are different from the apparently ubiquitous interacting heads motif (IHM) found by single particle analysis of electron micrographs of isolated myosin filaments from a variety of muscle types. This head organization is supposed to represent the super-relaxed state of the myosin filaments where ATP usage is minimized. Here we have tested whether the interacting heads motif structures will satisfactorily explain the observed low-angle X-ray diffraction patterns from resting vertebrate (bony fish) and invertebrate (insect flight) muscles. We find that the interacting heads motif does not, in fact, explain what is observed. Previous X-ray models fit the observations much better. We conclude that the X-ray diffraction evidence has been well interpreted in the past and that there is more than one ordered myosin head state in resting muscle. There is, therefore, no reason to question some of the previous X-ray diffraction results on myosin filaments; time-resolved X-ray diffraction should be a reliable way to follow crossbridge action in active muscle and may be one of the few ways to follow molecular changes in myosin heads on a millisecond timescale as force is actually produced.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: RecG; SSB; stalled DNA replication fork; DNA repair; DNA replication; helicase; atomic force microscopy; OB-fold; SH3 domain; PXXP motif
Online: 2 April 2020 (04:26:52 CEST)
In E. coli DNA replication forks stall on average once per cell cycle. When this occurs, replisome components disengage from the DNA, exposing an intact, or nearly intact fork. Consequently, the fork structure must be regressed away from the initial impediment so repair can occur. Regression is catalyzed by the powerful, monomeric DNA helicase, RecG. During this reaction, the enzyme couples unwinding of fork arms to rewinding of duplex DNA resulting in the formation of a Holliday junction. RecG works against large opposing forces enabling it to clear the fork of bound proteins. Following subsequent processing of the extruded junction, the PriA helicase mediates reloading of the replicative helicase DnaB leading to the resumption of DNA replication. The single-strand binding protein (SSB) plays a key role in mediating PriA and RecG functions at forks. It binds to each enzyme via linker/OB-fold interactions and controls fork loading sites in a substrate-dependent manner that involves helicase remodeling. Finally, it is displaced by RecG during fork regression. The intimate and dynamic SSB-helicase interactions play key roles in ensuring fork regression and DNA replication restart.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0232.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: hepcidin-25; copper; nickel; ATCUN motif; metal complex; MS; NMR structure; metal peptide, metalloprotein; metallopeptide, isomerization, racemization, purity, reference material
Online: 14 June 2018 (11:33:21 CEST)
Hepcidin-25 was identified as the main iron regulator in the human body by binding to the sole iron-exporter ferroportin. Studies showed that the N-terminus of hepcidin is responsible for this interaction, the same N-terminus that encompasses a small copper(II)-binding site known as ATCUN (amino terminal Cu(II)- and Ni(II)- binding) motif. Interestingly, this copper-binding property is largely ignored in most papers dealing with hepcidin-25. In this context, detailed investigations of the formed complex of hepcidin-25 with copper could reveal insights into its biological role. The present work is mainly focused on the study of the metal-bound form of hepcidin-25, which could be considered the biologically active form. The first part is devoted to the reversed-phase chromatographic separation of copper-bound and copper-free hepcidin-25, which was achieved by applying basic mobile phases containing 0.1% ammonia. Further, mass spectrometry (tandem mass spectrometry MS/MS, high resolution mass spectrometry HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy were employed to characterize the copper-peptide. Lastly, a 3D model of hepcidin-25 with bound copper(II) is presented. The identification of metal complexes and potential isoforms and isomers, from which the latter usually are left undetected by mass spectrometry, led to the conclusion that complementary analytical methods are needed to characterize a peptide calibrant or reference material comprehensively. Quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR), inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), ion-mobility spectrometry (IMS) and chiral amino acid analysis (AAA) should be considered among others.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202303.0322.v1
Subject: Computer Science And Mathematics, Computer Science Keywords: Hemolytic peptide; Network science; Half-Space Proximal Networks; Metadata Networks; Visual mining; Cluster analysis; Motif discovery; StarPep toolbox; Peptide drug discovery
Online: 17 March 2023 (10:05:05 CET)
Peptides are promising drug development frameworks thanks to their high target selectivity, tolerability and relatively low production cost. However, despite the fact that several thousand potentially therapeutic peptides reported, only sixty have arrived at the market. This concerning low proportion is partially explained by undesired properties such as peptide-induced hemolytic activity. Hence, we aim to get a better insight into the chemical space of hemolytic peptides using a novel approach based on network science and interactive data mining as an alternative to design more effective peptide drugs with low hemolytic activity. Metadata networks (METNs) were used to characterize and find general patterns associated to hemolytic peptides, whereas Half-Space Proximal Networks (HSPNs), created using five different two-way dissimilarity measures, represented the hemolytic peptide space. Then, using the best candidate HSPNs, we extracted various scaffolds that capture information of almost all the chemical space but avoiding peptide overrepresentation. Such scaffolds can have many applications, such as training accurate ML-based prediction models, constructing one-class multi-query similarity searching models and characterizing the diversity of hemolytic peptides using a manageable set of peptides. Finally, by means of an alignment-free approach, we reported 47 putative hemolytic motifs, which might provide hints about the mechanisms of hemolysis and can also be used as toxic signatures when developing novel peptide-based drugs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0201.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: human coronaviruses; envelope protein; PDZ-binding motif (PBM), homology-based modelling; docking; HADDOCK; protein-protein interaction; PALS1; pathogenesis; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 14 June 2022 (09:52:47 CEST)
The less virulent human (h) coronaviruses (CoVs) 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1 cause mild, self-limiting respiratory tract infections, while the more virulent SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 have caused severe outbreaks. The CoV envelope (E) protein, an important contributor to the pathogenesis of severe hCoVs infections, may provide insight into this disparate severity of the disease. We, therefore, generated full-length E protein models for SARS-CoV-1, -2, MERS-CoV, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-NL63 and docked C-terminal peptides of each model to the PDZ domain of the human PALS1 protein. The PDZ-binding motif (PBM) of the SARS-CoV-1, -2, and MERS-CoV models adopted a more flexible, extended coil while the HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 models adopted a less flexible alpha helix. All the E peptides docked to PALS1 occupied the same binding site and the more virulent hCoV E peptides generally interacted more stably with PALS1 than the less virulent ones. We propose that the increased flexibility of the PBM in more virulent hCoVs may permit more stable binding to various host proteins, thereby possibly contributing to more severe disease. This is the first paper to model full-length 3D structures for both more virulent and less virulent hCoVs E proteins, providing novel insights for possible drug and/or vaccine development.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0673.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: Trypanosoma cruzi; Presenilin; Nicastrin; γ-secretase; transmembrane motif; B-cell epitope; Spot synthesis; type I transmembrane glycoprotein; vesicular trafficking; flagellar pocket
Online: 28 June 2021 (14:55:42 CEST)
Nicastrin (NICT) is a transmembrane protein physically associated with the polytypical aspartyl protease presenilin that plays a vital role in the correct localization and stabilization of presenilin to the membrane-bound γ-secretase complex. This complex is involved in the regulation of a wide range of cellular events including cell signaling and the regulation of endocytosed membrane proteins for their trafficking and protein processing. Mehtods: In Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of the Chagas disease, an NICT-like protein (Tc/NICT) was identified with a short C-terminus orthologous to the human protein, a large ectodomain (ECD) with numerous glycosylation sites and a single core transmembrane domain containing a putative TM-domain (457GSVGA461) important for the γ-secretase complex activity. Results: Using the Spot-synthesis strategy with Chagasic patient sera, five extracellular epitopes were identified and synthetic forms were used to generate rabbit anti-Tc/NICT polyclonal serum that recognized a ~72-kDa molecule in immunoblots of T. cruzi epimastigote extracts. Confocal microscopy suggests that Tc/NICT is localized in the flagellar pocket, which is consistent with data from our previous studies with a T. cruzi presenilin-like protein. Phylogenetically, Tc/NICT was localized within a subgroup with the T. rangeli protein that are clearly detached from the other Trypanosomatidae such as T. brucei. These results, together with a comparative analysis of the selected peptide sequence regions between the T. cruzi and mammalian proteins suggest a divergence from the human NICT that might be relevant to Chagas disease pathology. As a whole, our data show that an NICT-like protein is expressed in the infective and replicative stages of T. cruzi and may be considered further evidence for a γ-secretase complex in trypanosomatids.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.0469.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Neuroscience And Neurology Keywords: biomarker; C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10; growth differentiation factor 15; idiopathic inflammatory myopathy; immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy; myositis; sporadic inclusion body myositis
Online: 7 September 2023 (13:35:58 CEST)
Implementation of novel blood-based biomarkers is desired to reduce diagnostic delay and burden for myositis patients. In this retrospective study, the potential of C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10) and growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) was explored in an established patient cohort diagnosed with immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM; n=21), sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM; n=18), polymyositis (PM; n=3), dermatomyositis (DM; n=2), and anti-synthetase syndrome (ASS; n=1), comparing with healthy controls (n=10) and patients with a hereditary neuromuscular disorder (n=14). CXCL10 and GDF15 were quantified in sera with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and immunolocalized in skeletal muscle tissue. In myositis patients, serum CXCL10 levels were significantly increased 9.6--fold compared to healthy and 4.2-fold compared to disease controls. Mean levels in IBM (929±658 pg/ml) were significantly higher than in IMNM (425±324 pg/ml). With the threshold set to 180pg/ml of CXCL10, myositis patients could be differentiated from healthy and disease controls with a sensitivity of 0.80 and a specificity of 0.71. Incorporating a threshold of 300 pg/ml for GDF15 reduced false negatives to two IMNM patients only. Subsets of muscle-infiltrating immune cells expressed CXCL10, and serum levels correlated with muscle inflammation grade. We propose adding circulating CXCL10 and GDF15 to the blood-based diagnostic toolkit for myositis as a valuable patient-friendly approach.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0046.v1
Subject: Chemistry And Materials Science, Medicinal Chemistry Keywords: Cancer; tumor homing peptide; in silico drug discovery; complex network; chemical space network; centrality measure; similarity searching, group fusion; motif discovery; starPep toolbox software
Online: 3 February 2022 (10:14:05 CET)
Peptide-based drugs are promising anticancer candidates due to their biocompatibility, and low toxicity. Particularly, tumor homing peptides (THPs) have the ability to bind specifically to can-cer cells receptors and tumor vasculature. Despite their potential to develop antitumor drugs, there are few available prediction tools to assist the discovery of new THPs. Two webservers based on machine learning models are currently active, the TumorHPD (https://webs.iiitd.edu.in/raghava/tumorhpd) and the THPep (http://codes.bio/thpep), and more recently the SCMTHP (SCMTHP (pmlabstack.pythonanywhere.com), based on scoring card method. Herein, a novel method based on network science and similarity searching implemented in the starPep toolbox (http://mobiosd-hub.com/starpep/) is presented for THPs discovery. The approach leverages from exploring the structural space of THPs with Chemical Space Networks (CSNs) and from applying centrality measures to identify the most relevant and non-redundant THPs sequences within the CSN. Such THPs were considered as queries (Qs) for multi-query similarity searches that applies a group fusion (MAX-SIM rule) model. The resulting multi-query similarity searching models (SSMs) were validated with three benchmarking datasets of THPs/non-THPs. Predictions achieved accuracies ranged from 92.64 to 99.18% and Matthews Correlation Coefficients between 0.894-0.98, outperforming state-of-the-art predictors. The best model was applied to repurpose AMPs from the starPep database as THPs, which were subse-quently optimized for the TH activity. Finally, 54 promising THP leads were discovered, and their sequences were analyzed to encounter novel motifs. These results demonstrate the potential of CSNs and multi-query similarity searching for a rapid and accurate identification of THPs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201804.0278.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Pediatrics, Perinatology And Child Health Keywords: monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; MCP-1; C-C motif chemokine ligand 2; CCL2; childhood asthma; bronchial asthma; severe asthma; cystic fibrosis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Online: 23 April 2018 (09:00:00 CEST)
C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), also called monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a key β-chemokine involved in the migration of monocytes and macrophages, playing a significant role in the inflammatory responses in the airways. We aimed to assess the serum levels of MCP-1/CCL2 in a pilot cross-sectional study of Bulgarian children with bronchial asthma (BA) and cystic fibrosis (CF). Forty-two children were recruited to the study as follows: twenty with BA, twelve with CF and ten healthy children. Serum MCP-1/CCL2 levels were measured using ELISA. We found higher serum level of MCP-1/CCL2 in children with BA (191.09±64.96 pg/ml) and CF (258.51±76.45 pg/ml) compared to healthy children (70.30±64.30 pg/ml, p=0.022, and p=0.068, respectively). Younger patients with BA had higher levels of MCP-1/CCL2, as well as children with CF, with levels decreasing gradually with age. We observed also higher levels of MCP-1/CCL2 in children with moderate to severe BA compared to mild BA. We documented the significantly higher level of MCP-1/CCL2 in children with these chronic pulmonary diseases than in healthy controls, which suggesting that investigation of serum MCP-1/CCL2 levels could turn out to be beneficial for the severity of the disease.