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Biophysica, Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2023) – 11 articles

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10 pages, 4660 KiB  
Article
A Dynamic Representation of mRNA Nucleotides Clarifies the Conundrum of Codon Redundancy
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 548-557; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030037 - 11 Sep 2023
Viewed by 825
Abstract
The deciphering of the genetic code takes place through the reading of the nitrogenous bases, which are four in number. In most cases, the bases are taken three by three, thus generating 64 possible combinations with repetition. Each combination (codon) allows for the [...] Read more.
The deciphering of the genetic code takes place through the reading of the nitrogenous bases, which are four in number. In most cases, the bases are taken three by three, thus generating 64 possible combinations with repetition. Each combination (codon) allows for the synthesis of a specific amino acid. Since the latter are only 21 in number, the codon-amino acid conversion table shows a strong redundancy. Countless efforts have been made to understand the true encryption mechanism. Here, we want to add our version, which consists of associating a periodic sound based on three notes to each codon. RNA now becomes a dynamic object and not just a list of static instructions. In addition to a different interpretation of the genetic code, there is also a considerable reduction in redundancy, given that the number of periodic sounds that can be produced with three notes drops to 20 (with the addition of four pure frequencies). Finally, we discuss the possibility of how these sounds can be generated and travel inside the double helix, and possibly emitted as biophotons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Optics)
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9 pages, 1749 KiB  
Article
Detecting Molecular Folding from Noise Measurements
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 539-547; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030036 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 554
Abstract
Detecting conformational transitions in molecular systems is key to understanding biological processes. Here, we investigate the force variance in single-molecule pulling experiments as an indicator of molecular folding transitions. We consider cases where Brownian force fluctuations are large, masking the force rips and [...] Read more.
Detecting conformational transitions in molecular systems is key to understanding biological processes. Here, we investigate the force variance in single-molecule pulling experiments as an indicator of molecular folding transitions. We consider cases where Brownian force fluctuations are large, masking the force rips and jumps characteristics of conformational transitions. We compare unfolding and folding data for DNA hairpin systems of loop sizes 4, 8, and 20 and the 110-amino acid protein barnase, finding conditions that facilitate the detection of folding events at low forces where the signal-to-noise ratio is low. In particular, we discuss the role of temperature as a useful parameter to improve the detection of folding transitions in entropically driven processes where folding forces are temperature independent. The force variance approach might be extended to detect the elusive intermediate states in RNA and protein folding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Biophysics in Spain 2.0)
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15 pages, 5470 KiB  
Article
Probing Biochemical Differences in Lipid Components of Human Cells by Means of ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 524-538; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030035 - 01 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Infrared spectroscopy has emerged as a promising technique for studying the composition of biological samples like lipids that play important roles in cellular functions and are involved in various diseases. For this reason, lipids are a target of interest in many biomedical studies. [...] Read more.
Infrared spectroscopy has emerged as a promising technique for studying the composition of biological samples like lipids that play important roles in cellular functions and are involved in various diseases. For this reason, lipids are a target of interest in many biomedical studies. The objective of the present study is to utilize Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy to examine the main lipid components of human cells (phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol, C18 ceramide, sphingosine-1-phosphate, ceramide-1-phosphate, sphingomyelin, cholesterol, and triolein). FT-IR analysis on the previously mentioned lipid samples was performed in Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR) mode. The obtained spectra clearly evidence the contributions of the different functional groups that are present in the examined samples. Detailed assignments of spectral features were carried out in agreement with the literature. Similarities and differences among the different types of commercial lipid samples are evidenced and discussed, with particular attention to phospholipid and sphingolipid components. A quantitative analysis of phosphatidylinositol and sphingomyelin spectra using a ratiometric approach is reported. Moreover, a reconstruction procedure of FT-IR spectra of complex lipids useful for chemometrics applications is described. These representative examples of the potential use of the results of the present study can certainly contribute to a larger use of FT-IR spectroscopy in lipidomics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Optics)
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11 pages, 1846 KiB  
Article
Experimental Determination of the Stability of the «Flamena» Gel Pharmacological Structure under the Influence of Low-Intensity Laser Radiation
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 513-523; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030034 - 30 Aug 2023
Viewed by 618
Abstract
In modern dentistry, the problem of the prevention and treatment of peri-implantitis is relevant. Proposed methods of treating patients with peri-implantitis do not stop the pathological process with the possibility of achieving long-term remission. Liposomal complexes with dihydroquercetin make it possible to influence [...] Read more.
In modern dentistry, the problem of the prevention and treatment of peri-implantitis is relevant. Proposed methods of treating patients with peri-implantitis do not stop the pathological process with the possibility of achieving long-term remission. Liposomal complexes with dihydroquercetin make it possible to influence the pathogenetic links of the inflammatory process in periodontal tissues with the prospect of normalizing blood circulation and regeneration processes in the affected area. It has been established that the complex simultaneous effect of low-intensity laser radiation and a pharmaceutical (laserophoresis) provides the possibility of more significant penetration of the drug components into periodontal tissues. The study of the laserophoresis of the liposomal complex with dihydroquercetin in the treatment of patients with peri-implantitis is relevant. However, in the modern literature, there is a lack of studies on the effect of low-intensity laser radiation on the pharmaceutical structure of drugs based on the above-mentioned basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Optics)
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12 pages, 2456 KiB  
Article
Beta-Caryophyllene Induces Significant Changes in the Lipid Bilayer at Room and Physiological Temperatures: ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy Studies
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 501-512; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030033 - 30 Aug 2023
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene with high biological activity. Potentially, it can be used in the treatment of a wide range of neurological diseases. However, to date, there are practically no data on the interaction of BCP with biological membranes. In [...] Read more.
Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene with high biological activity. Potentially, it can be used in the treatment of a wide range of neurological diseases. However, to date, there are practically no data on the interaction of BCP with biological membranes. In the present work, we studied for the first time the interaction of BCP with model membranes—liposomes based on egg yolk phosphatidylcholine (Egg PC) with a variable cholesterol content (from 0 to 25 w.%). Using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, we have shown that the membrane rigidity and cholesterol content dramatically affect the nature of the interaction of BCP with the bilayer both at room temperature and at physiological temperatures. The incorporation of BCP into the thickness of the bilayer leads to changes in the subpolar region of the bilayer, and at a high cholesterol content, it can provoke the formation of defects in the membrane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Optics)
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16 pages, 3065 KiB  
Article
Exploring Quercetin Hydrate’s Potential as an Antiviral Treatment for Oropouche Virus
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 485-500; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030032 - 12 Aug 2023
Viewed by 992
Abstract
The Oropouche virus is an orthobunyavirus responsible for causing Oropouche fever, a disease that primarily affects thousands of people in South and Central America. Currently, no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines are available against this virus, highlighting the urgent need for safe, affordable, [...] Read more.
The Oropouche virus is an orthobunyavirus responsible for causing Oropouche fever, a disease that primarily affects thousands of people in South and Central America. Currently, no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines are available against this virus, highlighting the urgent need for safe, affordable, and effective therapies. Natural products serve as an important source of bioactive compounds, and there is growing interest in identifying natural bioactive molecules that could be used for treating viral diseases. Quercetin hydrate is a compound classified as a flavonoid, which has garnered scientific attention due to its potential health benefits and its presence in various plant-based foods. In this study, we aim to evaluate the in vitro antiviral activity of quercetin hydrate against the Oropouche virus (OROV). Furthermore, we intend to explore its mode of action through in silico approaches. The cytotoxicity and antiviral activity of the compound were assessed using Vero cells. In addition, in silico studies were also performed through molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations, Molecular Mechanics Poisson–Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA), and quantum-mechanical analysis in order to evaluate the interaction with the Gc protein of OROV. The assay revealed that the compound was highly active against the virus, inhibiting OROV with an EC50 value of 53.5 ± 26.5 µM under post-infection treatment conditions. The present study demonstrates that the compound is a promising antiviral agent; however, the mechanisms of action proposed in this study need to be experimentally verified by future assays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Structure and Simulation in Biological System 2.0)
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9 pages, 2411 KiB  
Article
The Dynamic Behavior of a Single Semiflexible Ring Chain in a Linear Polymer Matrix
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 476-484; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030031 - 26 Jul 2023
Viewed by 623
Abstract
We studied the dynamic behavior of a single semiflexible ring in linear chain matrix based on a coarse-grained model using the molecular dynamics simulation approach. We found that that ring chains’ hollow centers are frequently filled with linear chains. However, as the rigidity [...] Read more.
We studied the dynamic behavior of a single semiflexible ring in linear chain matrix based on a coarse-grained model using the molecular dynamics simulation approach. We found that that ring chains’ hollow centers are frequently filled with linear chains. However, as the rigidity of the linear chains increases, the linear chains arranged parallel to each other and the ring chain are temporary caged. As a result, the swing movement in the normal direction of the ring is significantly limited, and the relaxation time in the normal direction increases significantly. Our findings can help to understand the physical mechanism of the movement of the ring chain in ring–linear polymer blends at the microscopic level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Structure and Simulation in Biological System)
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13 pages, 3267 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Dynamics of Holo-Shikimate Kinase through Molecular Mechanics
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 463-475; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030030 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Understanding the connection between local and global dynamics can provide valuable insights into enzymatic function and may contribute to the development of novel strategies for enzyme modulation. In this work, we investigated the dynamics at both the global and local (active site) levels [...] Read more.
Understanding the connection between local and global dynamics can provide valuable insights into enzymatic function and may contribute to the development of novel strategies for enzyme modulation. In this work, we investigated the dynamics at both the global and local (active site) levels of Shikimate Kinase (SK) through microsecond time-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the holoenzyme in the product state. Our focus was on the wild-type (WT) enzyme and two mutants (R116A and R116K) which are known for their reduced catalytic activity. Through exploring the dynamics of these variants, we gained insights into the role of residue R116 and its contribution to overall SK dynamics. We argue that the connection between local and global dynamics can be attributed to local frustration near the mutated residue which perturbs the global protein dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Biophysics)
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17 pages, 4600 KiB  
Article
A Structure-Guided Designed Small Molecule Is an Anticancer Agent and Inhibits the Apoptosis-Related MCL-1 Protein
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 446-462; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030029 - 07 Jul 2023
Viewed by 963
Abstract
Cancer resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapies presents significant challenges, necessitating the exploration of alternative approaches. Targeting specific proteins at the molecular level, particularly their active sites, holds promise in addressing this issue. We investigated the potential of 4′-methoxy-2-nitrochalcone (MNC) as an MCL-1 [...] Read more.
Cancer resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapies presents significant challenges, necessitating the exploration of alternative approaches. Targeting specific proteins at the molecular level, particularly their active sites, holds promise in addressing this issue. We investigated the potential of 4′-methoxy-2-nitrochalcone (MNC) as an MCL-1 inhibitor, examining its chemical and structural characteristics to elucidate its biological activity and guide the selection of potential candidates. We conducted a docking study, followed by synthesis, structural characterization, theoretical calculations, and in vitro experiments to comprehensively evaluate MNC. The docking results revealed MNC’s excellent binding within the active site of MCL-1. At 50 µM, MNC demonstrated 99% inhibition of HCT116 cell proliferation, with an IC50 value of 15.18 µM after 24 h. Treatment with MNC at 30.36 and 15.18 µM resulted in reduced cell density. Notably, MNC exhibited marked cytotoxicity at concentrations of 15.58 µM and 7.79 µM, inducing high frequencies of plasma membrane rupture and apoptosis, respectively. Our findings highlight the significant biological potential of MNC as an MCL-1 inhibitor. Furthermore, we propose exploring chalcones with hydrogen bond acceptor substituents as promising candidates for studying inhibitors targeting this protein. In conclusion, our study addresses the challenge of cancer resistance by investigating MNC as an MCL-1 inhibitor. Through detailed characterization and experimental validation, we establish the efficacof MNC in inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing cytotoxic effects. These results underscore the potential of MNC as a valuable therapeutic agent and suggest the use of chalcones with hydrogen bond acceptor substituents as a basis for developing novel MCL-1 inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Biophysics)
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21 pages, 4004 KiB  
Article
Screening for Bioactive Metabolites in Leaves, Branches, and Roots of Mansoa hirsuta: Phytochemical, Toxicological and Antioxidant Aspects
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 425-445; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030028 - 28 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
In this study, secondary metabolites, toxicology and antioxidant properties of chloroform fractions from leaves (FCFMh), branches (FCGMh), and roots (FCRMh) of Mansoa hirsuta were investigated. The phytochemical screening detected flavonoids, especially chalcones. Through Liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry—LC–MS analysis, the flavonoids (isoorientin-2″-O [...] Read more.
In this study, secondary metabolites, toxicology and antioxidant properties of chloroform fractions from leaves (FCFMh), branches (FCGMh), and roots (FCRMh) of Mansoa hirsuta were investigated. The phytochemical screening detected flavonoids, especially chalcones. Through Liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry—LC–MS analysis, the flavonoids (isoorientin-2″-O-arabinoside), triterpenes (oleanolic acid and ursolic acid) and ceramide (phytosphingosine) were identified. From the Artemia salina assay, the fraction FCGMh was the most toxic (LC50 = 64.21 µg·mL−1), followed by FCRMh (LC50 = 87.61 µg·mL−1) and FCFMh (LC50 = 421.9 µg·mL−1). Concerning the cytotoxic potential, the root fraction (IC50 16.48 μg mL−1) displayed the highest cytotoxicity against the breast cancer cell line (4T1), followed by leaves (IC50 33.13 μg mL−1) and branches (IC50 of 47.13 μg mL−1). In conclusion, all the fractions of M. hirsuta showed cytotoxicity at the highest concentrations; however, remarkable biological properties were found for the root fractions. Computational analysis was performed using a molecular docking and pharmacophore approach to understand the antioxidant activity of its major metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Structure and Simulation in Biological System)
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16 pages, 7177 KiB  
Article
Adsorption of Heparin-Binding Fragments of Fibronectin onto Hydrophobic Surfaces
Biophysica 2023, 3(3), 409-424; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica3030027 - 23 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2398
Abstract
Fibronectin is a multi-domain, extracellular matrix protein that plays a number of biological roles. As the adsorption of fibronectin onto the surface of implanted devices can lead to an inflammatory response or bacterial colonisation, understanding the interaction of fibronectin with material surfaces is [...] Read more.
Fibronectin is a multi-domain, extracellular matrix protein that plays a number of biological roles. As the adsorption of fibronectin onto the surface of implanted devices can lead to an inflammatory response or bacterial colonisation, understanding the interaction of fibronectin with material surfaces is important in the design of materials for biomedical applications. This, however, relies on having knowledge of the molecular-scale behaviour of proteins, which is difficult to investigate experimentally. In this paper, we used molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the adsorption of heparin-binding fibronectin domains onto hydrophobic surfaces. Despite the high similarity between these, their adsorption differs both in terms of the strength and the specificity of this, indicating that relatively small changes in protein structure can lead to significant changes in adsorption behaviour. This suggests that the interplay between protein structure and surface chemistry is vital for understanding the protein adsorption process and the design of novel biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Engineering: The Present and the Future 2.0)
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