Lipid-containing mimetics of natural triggers of innate immunity as CTL-inducing influenza vaccines. (49/499)

Anti-viral CD8(+) T cell responses can be induced using synthetic lipopeptides and a range of different lipid moieties have been examined in a variety of model systems and in man for this purpose. Nevertheless, only limited data exist on comparative efficacy of different lipopeptides in a single model of protection so that the optimal composition for vaccination purposes remains unknown. In this study, we examined different lipid structures from bacterial or non-bacterial sources coupled to peptides representing influenza viral epitopes recognized by CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. These were assessed in the context of intra-nasal (i.n.) immunization in the absence of added adjuvant. The strongest immunogens were those containing bacterially derived lipids that induced dendritic cell (DC) maturation via Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) binding. The number of DCs induced to mature in vitro was directly associated with the strength of the CD8(+) T cell-mediated viral clearing responses in primed mice. Mice immunized with the TLR2-binding lipopeptides showed greatly enhanced numbers of specific IFN-gamma-secreting CD8(+) T cells at the site of infection after i.n. exposure to virus, which resulted in enhanced protection of the pneumonic lung. Importantly, lipopeptide-pulsed DCs were able to induce the appropriate T cells, indicating that the self-adjuvanting effects could occur in the absence of free lipopeptide interacting with additional TLR2-bearing cells in vivo. This study defines a hierarchy of lipopeptide constructs that can program DC to prime memory CD8(+) T cells that on recall function to clear influenza virus from the infected lung.  (+info)

Carboxy-endcapped conductive polypyrrole: biomimetic conducting polymer for cell scaffolds and electrodes. (50/499)

Numerous regenerating tissues respond favorably to electrical stimulation, creating a need for a bioactive conducting platform for tissue engineering applications. The drive for biosensors and electrode coatings further requires control of the surface properties of promising conductive materials such as polypyrrole. Here we present carboxy-endcapped polypyrrole (PPy-alpha-COOH), a unique bioactive conducting polymer with a carboxylic acid layer, composed of a polypyrrole (PPy) surface modified with pyrrole-alpha-carboxylic acid (Py-alpha-COOH). This unique structure is simple to produce, provides a stable bioactive surface via covalent bonds, and preserves bulk properties such as electrical conductivity and mechanical integrity. The chemical structure of this polymer composite was characterized by angle-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), which demonstrated the presence of carboxylic acid functionality on the top surface of conductive PPy. A four-point probe test was used to verify the similar conductivity of PPy-alpha-COOH compared to that of standard PPy. To demonstrate the potential to influence cellular activity, the carboxylic acid monolayer surface was grafted with the cell-adhesive Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cultured on RGD-modified PPy-alpha-COOH demonstrated significantly higher adhesion and spreading than on the negative controls PPy-alpha-COOH and unmodified PPy.  (+info)

ApoA-I mimetic peptides with differing ability to inhibit atherosclerosis also exhibit differences in their interactions with membrane bilayers. (51/499)

Two homologous apoA-I mimetic peptides, 3F-2 and 3F(14), differ in their in vitro antiatherogenic properties (Epand, R. M., Epand, R. F., Sayer, B. G., Datta, G., Chaddha, M., and Anantharamaiah, G. M. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 51404-51414). In the present work, we demonstrate that the peptide 3F-2, which has more potent anti-inflammatory activity in vitro when administered intraperitoneally to female apoE null mice (20 microg/mouse/day) for 6 weeks, inhibits atherosclerosis (lesion area 15,800 +/- 1000 microm(2), n = 29), whereas 3F(14) does not (lesion area 20,400 +/- 1000 microm(2), n = 26) compared with control saline administered (19,900 +/- 1400 microm(2), n = 22). Plasma distribution of the peptides differs in that 3F-2 preferentially associates with high density lipoprotein, whereas 3F(14) preferentially associates with apoB-containing particles. After intraperitoneal injection of (14)C-labeled peptides, 3F(14) reaches a higher maximal concentration and has a longer half-time of elimination than 3F-2. A study of the effect of these peptides on the motional and organizational properties of phospholipid bilayers, using several NMR methods, demonstrates that the two peptides insert to different extents into membranes. 3F-2 with aromatic residues at the center of the nonpolar face partitions closer to the phospholipid head group compared with 3F(14). In contrast, only 3F(14) affects the terminal methyl group of the acyl chain, decreasing the (2)H order parameter and at the same time also decreasing the molecular motion of this methyl group. This dual effect of 3F(14) can be explained in terms of the cross-sectional shape of the amphipathic helix. These results support the proposal that the molecular basis for the difference in the biological activities of the two peptides lies with their different interactions with membranes.  (+info)

Distant touch hydrodynamic imaging with an artificial lateral line. (52/499)

Nearly all underwater vehicles and surface ships today use sonar and vision for imaging and navigation. However, sonar and vision systems face various limitations, e.g., sonar blind zones, dark or murky environments, etc. Evolved over millions of years, fish use the lateral line, a distributed linear array of flow sensing organs, for underwater hydrodynamic imaging and information extraction. We demonstrate here a proof-of-concept artificial lateral line system. It enables a distant touch hydrodynamic imaging capability to critically augment sonar and vision systems. We show that the artificial lateral line can successfully perform dipole source localization and hydrodynamic wake detection. The development of the artificial lateral line is aimed at fundamentally enhancing human ability to detect, navigate, and survive in the underwater environment.  (+info)

Beta strand peptidomimetics as potent PDZ domain ligands. (53/499)

The search for general strategies for inhibiting protein-protein interactions has been stimulated by recognition of the key role they play in virtually every process of living systems. Multiprotein complex assembly and localization by PDZ domain-containing proteins exemplify processes critical to cell physiology and function that are mediated by beta strand association. Here we describe the development of substituted "@-tides," protease-resistant peptidomimetics incorporating conformationally restricted amino acid surrogates that reproduce the hydrogen-bonding pattern and side-chain functionality of a beta strand. The synthetic flexibility and generality of the substituted @-tide design was demonstrated by the synthesis of a panel of ligands for the alpha1-syntrophin PDZ domain. The rational design of a small molecule of unprecedented affinity for the PDZ domain suggests that these peptidomimetics may provide a general method for inhibiting protein-protein interactions involving extended peptide chains.  (+info)

Efficient amplification of melanoma-specific CD8+ T cells using artificial antigen presenting complex. (54/499)

In vitro large amplification of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and adoptive transfer of these cells is one of the most promising approaches to treat malignant diseases in which an effective immune response is not achieved by active immunization. However, generating sufficient numbers of tumor-specific CTLs stimulated with autologous antigen presenting cells (APCs) in vitro is one of the most problematic steps in the adoptive cell transfer (ACT) therapy. To circumvent this problem, we have developed an artificial antigen presenting complex (aAPCs) using MHC class I molecules loaded with a melanoma-specific TRP-2 peptide epitope. Our results show that TRP-2-specific CD8+ T cells elicited by immunization with recombinant adenovirus expressing the mini-gene epitope are efficiently stimulated and amplified in vitro to a greater extent by aAPCs than by natural splenic APCs. These aAPC-induced CTLs recognized endogenously processed antigens present on B16F10 melanoma cells. Efficient stimulation and proliferation of antigen- specific T cells was also confirmed using ovalbumin peptide-loaded aAPCs and OT-I TCR transgenic cells. These results demonstrate that prior in vivo immunization, which increases the precursor frequency, simplifies posterior expansion of tumor- specific CD8+ T cells, and aAPCs is superior to autologous APC for in vitro amplification. This "prime and expand" regimen can be an alternative method for large amplification of rare tumor-specific CTLs and aAPCs should be a useful tool for ACT immunotherapy.  (+info)

Biomimetic amplification of nanoparticle homing to tumors. (55/499)

Nanoparticle-based diagnostics and therapeutics hold great promise because multiple functions can be built into the particles. One such function is an ability to home to specific sites in the body. We describe here biomimetic particles that not only home to tumors, but also amplify their own homing. The system is based on a peptide that recognizes clotted plasma proteins and selectively homes to tumors, where it binds to vessel walls and tumor stroma. Iron oxide nanoparticles and liposomes coated with this tumor-homing peptide accumulate in tumor vessels, where they induce additional local clotting, thereby producing new binding sites for more particles. The system mimics platelets, which also circulate freely but accumulate at a diseased site and amplify their own accumulation at that site. The self-amplifying homing is a novel function for nanoparticles. The clotting-based amplification greatly enhances tumor imaging, and the addition of a drug carrier function to the particles is envisioned.  (+info)

A novel approach to phylogenetic tree construction using stochastic optimization and clustering. (56/499)

BACKGROUND: The problem of inferring the evolutionary history and constructing the phylogenetic tree with high performance has become one of the major problems in computational biology. RESULTS: A new phylogenetic tree construction method from a given set of objects (proteins, species, etc.) is presented. As an extension of ant colony optimization, this method proposes an adaptive phylogenetic clustering algorithm based on a digraph to find a tree structure that defines the ancestral relationships among the given objects. CONCLUSION: Our phylogenetic tree construction method is tested to compare its results with that of the genetic algorithm (GA). Experimental results show that our algorithm converges much faster and also achieves higher quality than GA.  (+info)