An improved ant colony algorithm with diversified solutions based on the immune strategy. (57/499)

BACKGROUND: Ant colony algorithm has emerged recently as a new meta-heuristic method, which is inspired from the behaviours of real ants for solving NP-hard problems. However, the classical ant colony algorithm also has its defects of stagnation and premature. This paper aims at remedying these problems. RESULTS: In this paper, we propose an adaptive ant colony algorithm that simulates the behaviour of biological immune system. The solutions of the problem are much more diversified than traditional ant colony algorithms. CONCLUSION: The proposed method for improving the performance of traditional ant colony algorithm takes into account the polarization of the colonies, and adaptively adjusts the distribution of the solutions obtained by the ants. This makes the solutions more diverse so as to avoid the stagnation and premature phenomena.  (+info)

Nonpolar substitution at the C-terminus of the prion protein, a mimic of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor, partially impairs amyloid fibril formation. (58/499)

In contrast to most amyloidogenic proteins or peptides that do not contain any significant posttranslational modifications, the prion protein (PrP) is modified with either one or two polysaccharides and a GPI anchor which attaches PrP to the plasma membrane. Like other amyloidogenic proteins, however, PrP adopts a fibrillar shape when converted to a disease-specific conformation. Therefore, PrP polymerization offers a unique opportunity to examine the effects of biologically relevant nonpeptidic modifications on conversion to the amyloid conformation. To test the extent to which a long hydrophobic chain at the C-terminus affects the intrinsic amyloidogenic propensity of PrP, we modified recombinant PrP with an N-myristoylamidomaleimidyl group, which can serve as a membrane anchor. We show that while this modification increases the affinity of PrP for the cell membrane, it does not alter the structure of the protein. Myristoylation of PrP affected amyloid formation in two ways: (i) it substantially decreased the extent of fibrillation, presumably due to off-pathway aggregation, and (ii) it prohibited assembly of filaments into higher order fibrils by preventing their lateral association. The negative effect on lateral association was abolished if the myristoylated moiety at the C-terminus was replaced by a polar group of similar size or by a hydrophobic group of smaller size. When preformed PrP fibrils were provided as seeds, myristoylated PrP supported fibril elongation and formation of higher order fibrils composed of several filaments. Our studies illustrate that, despite a bulky hydrophobic moiety at C-terminus, myristoylated PrP can still incorporate into fibrillar structure and that the C-terminal hydrophobic substitution does not affect the size of the proteinase K resistant core but controls the mode of lateral assembly of filaments into higher order fibrils.  (+info)

Biomimetic mushroom-shaped fibrillar adhesive microstructure. (59/499)

To improve the adhesive properties of artificial fibrillar contact structures, the attachment systems of beetles from the family Chrysomelidae were chosen to serve as a model. Biomimetic mushroom-shaped fibrillar adhesive microstructure inspired by these systems was characterized using a variety of measurement techniques and compared with a control flat surface made of the same material. Results revealed that pull-off force and peel strength of the structured specimens are more than twice those of the flat specimens. In contrast to the control system, the structured one is found to be very tolerant to contamination and able to recover its adhesive properties after being washed in a soap solution. Based on the combination of several geometrical principles found in biological attachment devices, the presented microstructure exhibits a considerable step towards the development of an industrial dry adhesive.  (+info)

The predicted transmembrane fragment 17 of the human multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1) behaves as an interfacial helix in membrane mimics. (60/499)

The human multidrug resistance protein MRP1 (or ABCC1) is one of the most important members of the large ABC transporter family, in terms of both its biological (tissue defense) and pharmacological functions. Many studies have investigated the function of MRP1, but structural data remain scarce for this protein. We investigated the structure and dynamics of predicted transmembrane fragment 17 (TM17, from Ala(1227) to Ser(1251)), which contains a single Trp residue (W(1246)) involved in MRP1 substrate specificity and transport function. We synthesized TM17 and a modified peptide in which Ala(1227) was replaced by a charged Lys residue. Both peptides were readily solubilized in dodecylmaltoside (DM) or dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) micelles, as membrane mimics. The interaction of these peptides with DM or DPC micelles was studied by steady-state and time-resolved Trp fluorescence spectroscopy, including experiments in which Trp was quenched by acrylamide or by two brominated analogs of DM. The secondary structure of these peptides was determined by circular dichroism. Overall, the results obtained indicated significant structuring ( approximately 50% alpha-helix) of TM17 in the presence of either DM or DPC micelles as compared to buffer. A main interfacial location of TM17 is proposed, based on significant accessibility of Trp(1246) to brominated alkyl chains of DM and/or acrylamide. The comparison of various fluorescence parameters including lambda(max), lifetime distributions and Trp rotational mobility with those determined for model fluorescent transmembrane helices in the same detergents is also consistent with the interfacial location of TM17. We therefore suggest that TM17 intrinsic properties may be insufficient for its transmembrane insertion as proposed by the MRP1 consensus topological model. This insertion may also be controlled by additional constraints such as interactions with other TM domains and its position in the protein sequence. The particular pattern of behavior of this predicted transmembrane peptide may be the hallmark of a fragment involved in substrate transport.  (+info)

A short, formal, biomimetic synthesis of (+/-)-polygalolides A and B. (61/499)

[reaction: see text] Reaction of bisacetoxy pyranone 9 with Et3N gave 3-oxidopyrylium ylide 10, which underwent a stereo- and regiospecific [5 + 2] cycloaddition with alpha-methylenebutyrolactone to afford 16 (34%). Treatment of 16 with Cs2CO3 resulted in hydrolysis of the lactone and acetate and conjugate addition of the hydroxyethyl group to the enone. Lactonization on acidification afforded 4 (57%), completing a two-step, formal synthesis of polygalolides A and B.  (+info)

Hon-yaku: a biology-driven Bayesian methodology for identifying translation initiation sites in prokaryotes. (62/499)

BACKGROUND: Computational prediction methods are currently used to identify genes in prokaryote genomes. However, identification of the correct translation initiation sites remains a difficult task. Accurate translation initiation sites (TISs) are important not only for the annotation of unknown proteins but also for the prediction of operons, promoters, and small non-coding RNA genes, as this typically makes use of the intergenic distance. A further problem is that most existing methods are optimized for Escherichia coli data sets; applying these methods to newly sequenced bacterial genomes may not result in an equivalent level of accuracy. RESULTS: Based on a biological representation of the translation process, we applied Bayesian statistics to create a score function for predicting translation initiation sites. In contrast to existing programs, our combination of methods uses supervised learning to optimally use the set of known translation initiation sites. We combined the Ribosome Binding Site (RBS) sequence, the distance between the translation initiation site and the RBS sequence, the base composition of the start codon, the nucleotide composition (A-rich sequences) following start codons, and the expected distribution of the protein length in a Bayesian scoring function. To further increase the prediction accuracy, we also took into account the operon orientation. The outcome of the procedure achieved a prediction accuracy of 93.2% in 858 E. coli genes from the EcoGene data set and 92.7% accuracy in a data set of 1243 Bacillus subtilis 'non-y' genes. We confirmed the performance in the GC-rich Gamma-Proteobacteria Herminiimonas arsenicoxydans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Burkholderia pseudomallei K96243. CONCLUSION: Hon-yaku, being based on a careful choice of elements important in translation, improved the prediction accuracy in B. subtilis data sets and other bacteria except for E. coli. We believe that most remaining mispredictions are due to atypical ribosomal binding sequences used in specific translation control processes, or likely errors in the training data sets.  (+info)

Interaction of piroxicam with mitochondrial membrane and cytochrome c. (63/499)

Modulation of surface properties of biomembranes by any ligand leading to permeabilization, fusion, rupture, etc. is a fundamental requirement for many biological processes. In this work, we present the interaction of piroxicam, a long acting Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) with isolated mitochondria, membrane mimetic systems, intact cells and a mitochondrial protein cytochrome c. Dye permeabilization study on isolated mitochondria indicates that piroxicam can permeabilize mitochondrial membrane. Direct imaging by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) shows that piroxicam induces changes in mitochondrial membrane morphology leading to fusion and rupture. Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) imaging of piroxicam treated DMPC vesicles and mixed micelles formed from CTAB and SDS show that causing membrane fusion is a general property of piroxicam at physiological pH. In intact cells viz., V79 Chinese Hamster lung fibroblast, piroxicam is capable of releasing cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytosol in a dose dependent manner along with the enhancement of downstream proapoptotic event viz., increase in caspase-3 activity. We have also shown that piroxicam can reduce cytochrome c within a time frame relevant to its lifetime in blood plasma. UV-visible spectroscopy has been used to study the reaction mechanism and kinetics in detail, allowing us to propose and validate a Michaelis-Menten like reaction scheme. CD spectroscopy shows that small but significant changes occur in the structure of cytochrome c when reduced by piroxicam.  (+info)

Cell growth arrest by sialic acid clusters in ganglioside GM3 mimetic polymers. (64/499)

Ganglioside GM3, one of the sialic acid containing glycosphingolipids, is known to form clusters in lipid microdomains, which serve as platforms for effective signal transduction. In an attempt to clarify the GM3 cluster effect, we enzymatically synthesized GM3 mimetic polymer (GM3-p), with an acrylamide backbone from LacCer mimetic polymer (LacCer-p). Interestingly, GM3-p, but not LacCer-p, reversibly inhibited proliferation of NIH3T3 cells, which are normally resistant to exogenously added GM3. Moreover, we found that the introduction of carbonic acid into the acrylamide chain aided well-oriented cluster formation and enhanced the inhibitory effect of GM3-p. Since sialyllactosyl polymer and GM4 mimetic polymer, but not GM2 mimetic polymer, also inhibited cell proliferation, sialic acid-galactose units must be essential for the biological activity of GM3-p. These results suggest that the formation of sialic acid-galactose clusters is necessary for the suppressive effect of GM3-p. GM3-p treatment did not affect the serum-dependent activation of ERK1/2 or c-fos expression, but caused a reduction in the gene and/or protein expression of cyclin D1, cyclin E, cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk)4, and cdk2, which are involved in the cell cycle. Therefore, GM3-p inhibits cell proliferation by reducing cyclin D1-cdk4 and cyclin E-cdk2 complexes without affecting growth factor signaling from serum to c-fos.  (+info)