Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021

A special issue of BioChem (ISSN 2673-6411).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 31909

Special Issue Editors


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1. Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT), Campus de Gambelas, Universidade do Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2. CCMAR, Campus de Gambelas, Universidade do Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Interests: metals in molecular sciences; decavanadate biochemistry; polyoxometalate (POM) interactions with proteins; metals and biomedical applications
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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
2. Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Interests: skeletal development; bone diseases; Gla proteins; fish models of human diseases; marine derived compounds for biotechnological applications
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Department of Chemistry, ICT—Institute of Earth Sciences, School of Sciences and Technology & IIFA, University of Évora, 7000-671 Évora, Portugal
Interests: cell culture; signaling pathways; cell signaling; phosphorylation; signal transduction; allergens; aerobiology; bioaerosols; metabolism; enrironmental health; molecular allergology
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Department of Medical and Health Sciences, School of Health and Human Development & ICT - Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Évora, Évora, Portugal
Interests: molecular basis of disease; biochemical toxicology and pharmacology; biomearkers development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021 was held at the University of Évora in Portugal on 14–16 October 2021. This is the meeting point for the Portuguese Biochemistry Society, fostering discussion and dissemination of high-quality research in Biochemistry, both fundamental and applied, taking place in Portugal. The scientific program under the message “Tuning Biochemistry with Life Sciences and Society” covers a broad range of boundaries from molecular mechanisms of diseases to drug discovery, as well as innovative biochemistry projects. Science and innovation are promoted through dialogue, sharing, and healthy confraternization.

This Special Issue includes but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Molecular mechanisms of disease; 
  • Plant biology and biotechnology;
  • Toxicology and environmental biochemistry;
  • Structural biology and molecular modeling;
  • SPB-SPN: neurobiology of aging and stress;
  • Functional genomics and systems biology;
  • Membranes and cell biophysics;
  • SBBq—proteins in health and environment;
  • SEBBM—chemical biology, drug discovery, and development;
  • Art, biochemistry, and innovation in life sciences;
  • COVID-19 special session.

For more details, please visit: http://www.xxispbcongress2020.uevora.pt/

Prof. Dr. Manuel Aureliano
Prof. Dr. M. Leonor Cancela
Dr. Célia M. Antunes
Dr. Ana Rodrigues Costa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. BioChem is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • molecular mechanisms of disease
  • plant biology and biotechnology
  • toxicology and environmental biochemistry
  • structural biology and molecular modeling
  • sPB-SPN: neurobiology of aging and stress
  • functional genomics and systems biology
  • membranes and cell biophysics
  • SBBq—proteins in health and environment
  • SEBBM—chemical biology, drug discovery, and development
  • art, biochemistry, and innovation in life sciences
  • COVID-19 special session

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 1401 KiB  
Article
Nitric Oxide Production from Nitrite plus Ascorbate during Ischemia upon Hippocampal Glutamate NMDA Receptor Stimulation
by Carla Nunes and João Laranjinha
BioChem 2023, 3(2), 78-90; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem3020006 - 3 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
Nitric oxide (NO), a diffusible free radical, is an intercellular messenger, playing a crucial role in several key brain physiological processes, including in neurovascular coupling (NVC). In the brain, glutamatergic activation of the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) enzyme constitutes its [...] Read more.
Nitric oxide (NO), a diffusible free radical, is an intercellular messenger, playing a crucial role in several key brain physiological processes, including in neurovascular coupling (NVC). In the brain, glutamatergic activation of the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) enzyme constitutes its main synthesis pathway. However, when oxygen (O2) supply is compromised, such as in stroke, ischemia, and aging, such NO production pathway may be seriously impaired. In this context, evidence suggests that, as already observed in the gastric compartment, the reduction of nitrite by dietary compounds (such as ascorbate and polyphenols) or by specific enzymes may occur in the brain, constituting an important rescuing or complementary mechanism of NO production. Here, using microsensors selective for NO, we show that nitrite enhanced the NO production in a concentration-dependent manner and in the presence of ascorbate evoked by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and glutamate stimulation of rat hippocampal slices. Additionally, nitrite potentiated the NO production induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). Overall, these observations support the notion of a redox interaction of ascorbate with nitrite yielding NO upon neuronal glutamatergic activation and given the critical role of NO as the direct mediator of neurovascular coupling may represents a key physiological mechanism by which NO production for cerebral blood flow (CBF) responses to neuronal activation is sustained under hypoxic/acidic conditions in the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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6 pages, 1574 KiB  
Article
cEpiderm, a Canine Skin Analog Suitable for In Vivo Testing Replacement
by Mariana Marques, João Nunes, Bárbara Ustymenko, Luísa Fialho, Luís Martins, Anthony J. Burke, Cesar Filho, Alexandre C. Craveiro, Ana R. Costa, Sandra Branco and Célia M. Antunes
BioChem 2022, 2(4), 215-220; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2040015 - 20 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2097
Abstract
Skin is one of the organs most tested for toxicity and safety evaluation during the process of drug research and development and in the past has usually been performed in vivo using animals. Over the last few years, non-animal alternatives have been developed [...] Read more.
Skin is one of the organs most tested for toxicity and safety evaluation during the process of drug research and development and in the past has usually been performed in vivo using animals. Over the last few years, non-animal alternatives have been developed and validated epidermis models for human and rat skin are already available. Our goal was to develop a histotypical canine skin analog, suitable for non-animal biocompatibility and biosafety assessment. Canine keratinocytes were seeded in an air-lift culture using an adapted version of the CELLnTEC protocol. Corrosion and irritation protocols were adapted from human EpiSkinTM. For histological analysis, sample biopsies were fixed in neutral-buffered formalin, and paraffin slices were routinely processed and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. A canine multilayer and stratified epidermal-like tissue (cEpiderm), confirmed by histological analysis, was obtained. The cEpiderm tissue exhibited normal morphological and functional characteristics of epidermis, namely impermeability and an adequate response to stressors. The cEpiderm is a promising canine skin model for non-animal safety testing of veterinary pharmaceuticals and/or cosmetics, significantly contributing to reducing undesirable in vivo approaches. cEpiderm is therefore a valid canine skin model and may be made commercially available either as a service or as a product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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11 pages, 2139 KiB  
Article
Lab-It Is Taking Molecular Genetics to School
by Márcio Simão, Natércia Conceição, Susana Imaginário, João Amaro and Maria Leonor Cancela
BioChem 2022, 2(2), 160-170; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2020011 - 9 Jun 2022
Viewed by 2349
Abstract
The Molecular Genetics Mobile Lab or “Laboratório itinerante de Genética Molecular” (Lab-it) was funded in 2008 by Leonor Cancela to promote the learning of molecular genetics which had been introduced at that time into high school biology programms. The project aimed to introduce [...] Read more.
The Molecular Genetics Mobile Lab or “Laboratório itinerante de Genética Molecular” (Lab-it) was funded in 2008 by Leonor Cancela to promote the learning of molecular genetics which had been introduced at that time into high school biology programms. The project aimed to introduce hands-on laboratory activities in molecular genetics to complement the theoretical concepts taught in school. These included the development of experimental protocols based on theoretical scenarios focusing on themes of forensics sciences, biomedical applications, diagnostic methods, and ecological research using basic molecular biology techniques, such as DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), electrophoresis, and restriction enzyme application. In these scenarios, the students execute all the procedures with the help of the Lab-it instructor and using the Lab-it equipment, followed by a discussion of the results with all the participants and the school teacher. These approaches help the students to consolidate the concepts of molecular biology and simultaneously promote discussions on new advances in the area and choices for university careers. In addition to practical sessions, Lab-it also promotes seminars on topics of interest to the students and teachers. Since 2008, 18 high schools have participated in the region of Algarve, averaging each year about 400 students participating in practical activities. In 2021, despite the COVID pandemic, 9 schools and 379 students were involved in Lab-it practical sessions and 99% of them considered the activity to contribute to better understanding the molecular biology methods approached in theoretical classes and expressed high interest in those sessions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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11 pages, 727 KiB  
Communication
UALGORITMO, a New Instrument of the University of Algarve for Scientific Outreach
by José Bragança, Sónia Figueiredo, Carla Alexandra Rego, Filomena dos Reis Conceição and Saúl Neves de Jesus
BioChem 2022, 2(1), 93-103; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2010007 - 3 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2391
Abstract
Researchers at Universities generate and convey the knowledge acquired through communications in specialized (inter)national journals and congresses. An effort to share the scientific achievements with the general public is extremely important. For this purpose, we have launched the UALGORITMO, a journal freely accessible [...] Read more.
Researchers at Universities generate and convey the knowledge acquired through communications in specialized (inter)national journals and congresses. An effort to share the scientific achievements with the general public is extremely important. For this purpose, we have launched the UALGORITMO, a journal freely accessible online, written in lay Portuguese language by Researchers of the University of the Algarve, to summarize recent communications published in peer reviewed journals. After submission, the manuscripts are revised by High Schools Students of the Algarve, under the guidance of a schoolteacher, for further simplification of the language and general improvement of the manuscript and figures. The revised manuscripts by the authors are edited and published, with an acknowledgment and a presentation of the reviewers at the end of each article. To maximize the outreach, the articles include a summarized biography of the authors, and links to their research centers and teaching courses. We believe that the UALGORITMO is a valuable instrument to promote scientific literacy and culture amongst all communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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Review

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15 pages, 2833 KiB  
Review
Role of MOB4 in Cell Proliferation and Neurogenesis
by Inês B. Santos, Juan Garrido-Maraver, Carolina Gonçalves, Bruna I. Oliveira and Álvaro A. Tavares
BioChem 2023, 3(4), 182-196; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem3040013 - 6 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1198
Abstract
Signaling pathways that integrate a large set of inputs (both extra- and intracellular) to control cell proliferation are essential during both development and adult stages to guarantee organism homeostasis. Mobs are small adaptor proteins that participate in several of these signaling pathways. Here, [...] Read more.
Signaling pathways that integrate a large set of inputs (both extra- and intracellular) to control cell proliferation are essential during both development and adult stages to guarantee organism homeostasis. Mobs are small adaptor proteins that participate in several of these signaling pathways. Here, we review recent advances unravelling Mob4 cellular functions, a highly conserved non-catalytic protein, that plays a diversity of roles in cell proliferation, sperm cell differentiation and is simultaneously involved in synapse formation and neural development. In addition, the gene is often overexpressed in a large diversity of tumors and is linked to poor clinical outcomes. Nevertheless, Mob4 molecular functions remain poorly defined, although it integrates the core structure of STRIPAK, a kinase/phosphatase protein complex, that can act upstream of the Hippo pathway. In this review we focus on the recent findings of Mob4 functions, that have begun to clarify its critical role on cell proliferation and the development of tissues and individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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16 pages, 1821 KiB  
Review
Native Protein Template Assisted Synthesis of Non-Native Metal-Sulfur Clusters
by Biplab K. Maiti and José J. G. Moura
BioChem 2022, 2(3), 182-197; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2030013 - 1 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2870
Abstract
Metalloenzymes are the most proficient nature catalysts that are responsible for diverse biochemical transformations introducing excellent selectivity and performing at high rates, using intricate mutual relationships between metal ions and proteins. Inspired by nature, chemists started using naturally occurring proteins as templates to [...] Read more.
Metalloenzymes are the most proficient nature catalysts that are responsible for diverse biochemical transformations introducing excellent selectivity and performing at high rates, using intricate mutual relationships between metal ions and proteins. Inspired by nature, chemists started using naturally occurring proteins as templates to harbor non-native metal catalysts for the sustainable synthesis of molecules for pharmaceutical, biotechnological and industrial purposes. Therefore, metalloenzymes are the relevant targets for the design of artificial biocatalysts. The search and development of new scaffolds capable of hosting metals with high levels of selectivity could significantly expand the scope of bio-catalysis. To meet this challenge, herein, three native scaffolds: [1Fe-4Cys] (rubredoxin), [3Fe-4S] (ferredoxin), and [S2MoS2CuS2MoS2]-ORP (orange protein) protein scaffolds are case studies describing templates for the synthesis of non-native monomeric to mixed metal–sulfur clusters, which mimic native Ni containing metalloenzymes including [Ni-Fe] Hydrogenase and [Ni-Fe] CO Dehydrogenase. The non-native metal-substituted metalloproteins are not only useful for catalysis but also as spectroscopic probes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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15 pages, 7864 KiB  
Review
Biological Activity of Gold Compounds against Viruses and Parasitosis: A Systematic Review
by Custódia Fonseca and Manuel Aureliano
BioChem 2022, 2(2), 145-159; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2020010 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2889
Abstract
In this contribution, we provide an overview of gold compound applications against viruses or parasites during recent years. The special properties of gold have been the subject of intense investigation in recent years, which has led to the development of its chemistry with [...] Read more.
In this contribution, we provide an overview of gold compound applications against viruses or parasites during recent years. The special properties of gold have been the subject of intense investigation in recent years, which has led to the development of its chemistry with the synthesis of new compounds and the study of its applicability in various areas such as catalysis, materials, nanotechnology and medicine. Herein, thirteen gold articles with applications in several viruses, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV), influenza A virus (H1N1), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), coronavirus (SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2), Dengue virus, and several parasites such as Plasmodium sp., Leishmania sp., Tripanossoma sp., Brugia sp., Schistosoma sp., Onchocerca sp., Acanthamoeba sp., and Trichomonas sp. are described. Gold compounds with anti-viral activity include gold nanoparticles with the ligands mercaptoundecanosulfonate, 1-octanethiol and aldoses and gold complexes with phosphine and carbene ligands. All of the gold compounds with anti-parasitic activity reported are gold complexes of the carbene type. Auranofin is a gold drug already used against rheumatoid arthritis, and it has also been tested against virus and parasites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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11 pages, 3402 KiB  
Review
Translating Biochemistry Concepts into Cartoons and Graphic Narratives: Potential and Pitfalls
by Mireia Alemany-Pagès, Rui Tavares, Anabela Marisa Azul and João Ramalho-Santos
BioChem 2022, 2(1), 104-114; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2010008 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5261
Abstract
Simple biochemical concepts can be hard to grasp by non-specialists, even when they are related to practical contexts in industry, day-to-day activities, or well-acknowledged pathological conditions. This is especially important in instances where accurate communication of biochemical aspects for different types of stakeholders [...] Read more.
Simple biochemical concepts can be hard to grasp by non-specialists, even when they are related to practical contexts in industry, day-to-day activities, or well-acknowledged pathological conditions. This is especially important in instances where accurate communication of biochemical aspects for different types of stakeholders may be crucial. Examples include interacting with policymakers to establish guidelines, with patients (and/or caregivers) to identify key concepts in promoting awareness and adherence to therapeutic regimens, or with teachers and students for novel approaches in critical thinking. Focusing on our own work in developing communication tools for different purposes, in this review we will focus on some examples of how biochemical concepts can be effectively translated into illustrations and graphical narratives. For this purpose, engagement with target audiences in developing the materials themselves is key. We also discuss how specific projects can be tailored for different purposes, as well as evidence that comic-book strategies are effective in conveying biochemical and biomedical knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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21 pages, 3347 KiB  
Review
Heme-Based Gas Sensors in Nature and Their Chemical and Biotechnological Applications
by Ana Claudia Silva Gondim, Wellinson Gadelha Guimarães and Eduardo Henrique Silva Sousa
BioChem 2022, 2(1), 43-63; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2010004 - 8 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4404
Abstract
Sensing is an essential feature of life, where many systems have been developed. Diatomic molecules such as O2, NO and CO exhibit an important role in life, which requires specialized sensors. Among the sensors discovered, heme-based gas sensors compose the largest [...] Read more.
Sensing is an essential feature of life, where many systems have been developed. Diatomic molecules such as O2, NO and CO exhibit an important role in life, which requires specialized sensors. Among the sensors discovered, heme-based gas sensors compose the largest group with at least eight different families. This large variety of proteins also exhibits many distinct ways of sensing diatomic molecules and promote a response for biological adaptation. Here, we briefly describe a story of two impressive systems of heme-based oxygen sensors, FixL from Rhizobium and DevS(DosS)/DosT from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Beyond this, we also examined many applications that have emerged. These heme-based gas sensors have been manipulated to function as chemical and biochemical analytical systems to detect small molecules (O2, CO, NO, CN), fluorophores for imaging and bioanalysis, regulation of processes in synthetic biology and preparation of biocatalysts among others. These exciting features show the robustness of this field and multiple opportunities ahead besides the advances in the fundamental understanding of their molecular functioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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19 pages, 1572 KiB  
Review
The Future Is Bright for Polyoxometalates
by Manuel Aureliano
BioChem 2022, 2(1), 8-26; https://doi.org/10.3390/biochem2010002 - 6 Jan 2022
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 4955
Abstract
Polyoxometalates (POMs) are clusters of units of oxoanions of transition metals, such as Mo, W, V and Nb, that can be formed upon acidification of neutral solutions. Once formed, some POMs have shown to persist in solution, even in the neutral and basic [...] Read more.
Polyoxometalates (POMs) are clusters of units of oxoanions of transition metals, such as Mo, W, V and Nb, that can be formed upon acidification of neutral solutions. Once formed, some POMs have shown to persist in solution, even in the neutral and basic pH range. These inorganic clusters, amenable of a variety of structures, have been studied in environmental, chemical, and industrial fields, having applications in catalysis and macromolecular crystallography, as well as applications in biomedicine, such as cancer, bacterial and viral infections, among others. Herein, we connect recent POMs environmental applications in the decomposition of emergent pollutants with POMs’ biomedical activities and effects against cancer, bacteria, and viruses. With recent insights in POMs being pure, organic/inorganic hybrid materials, POM-based ionic liquid crystals and POM-ILs, and their applications in emergent pollutants degradation, including microplastics, are referred. It is perceived that the majority of the POMs studies against cancer, bacteria, and viruses were performed in the last ten years. POMs’ biological effects include apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, interference with the ions transport system, inhibition of mRNA synthesis, cell morphology changes, formation of reaction oxygen species, inhibition of virus binding to the host cell, and interaction with virus protein cages, among others. We additionally refer to POMs’ interactions with various proteins, including P-type ATPases, aquoporins, cinases, phosphatases, among others. Finally, POMs’ stability and speciation at physiological conditions are addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from XXI SPB National Congress of Biochemistry 2021)
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