A growing body of evidence indicates that extracellular nucleotides released or leaked from non-excitable cells as well as neurons play important roles in the regulation of neuronal and glial functions in the whole body through ATP receptors. ATP receptors (ionotropic P2X and metabotropic P2Y receptors) are the most abundant receptor families in living organisms. In the central nervous system, these receptors participate in synaptic transmission and in intercellular communications between neurons and glia. Glia cells are classified into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia. There are many reports on the role of ATP receptors (P2X4, P2X7, P2Y6 and P2Y12 receptors) expressed in spinal microglia. We have reported that several molecules presumably activate microglia in neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury. P2X4 receptors expressed in microglia in particular play a critical role in neuropathic pain signaling. The expression and activity of P2X4 receptors are up-regulated and enhanced predominantly in activated microglia in the spinal cord where damaged sensory fibers project. These findings provide novel targets for developing new medicines to treat neuropathic pain.
It is important that various lesions in DNA were detected selectively and conveniently to know mechanisms of carcinogenicity and/or aging of cells. However, most detection methods of DNA lesion are complicated and take a long time for enzymatic hydrolysis and analysis by HPLC and/or mass spectrometry. This review shows the new concept for detection of DNA lesion by “fluorogenic reagent”. Inspired by the unique bis-heteroaryl structure of luciferin and 5-heteroaryl-2′-deoxyuridine having good fluorescence properties, we designed and synthesized fluorogenic reagent 4,5-dimethoxy-2-aminothiophenol for a selective and convenient detection for 5-formyl-2′-deoxyuridine, which is generated in yields comparable to that of 2′-deoxy-8-oxoguanosine, in DNA. Generated 5-(5,6-dimethoxybenzothiazol-2-yl)-2′-deoxyuridine has a high quantum yield and larger Stokes shift in aqueous solution. This derivatization of 5-formyl-2′-deoxyuridine in oligodeoxynucleotide occurred quickly and quantitatively. The fluorogenic reagent was also revealed to detect 5-formyl-2′-deoxyuridine in γ-irradiated calf thymus DNA with irradiation dose dependent manner. Thus, our fluorogenic strategy enables to selective and convenient detection of lesion in DNA exposed to various forms of oxidative stress.
Dysregulated production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during oxidative stress has been associated with a number of inflammatory and age-related degenerative diseases. ROS can directly react with DNA to form oxidized DNA bases. Direct protein oxidation and carbonylation occur on certain amino acid residues resulting in various post-translational modifications. ROS can also initiate the formation of lipid hydroperoxides, which undergo homolytic decomposition to the α,β-unsaturated aldehydic bifunctional electrophiles such as 4-oxo-2(E)-nonenal (ONE) and 4-hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal (HNE). Intracellular generation of highly reactive aldehydes can then result in the formation of DNA and protein adducts. ONE-derived heptanone-etheno and HNE-derived propano DNA adducts have been detected and shown to be mutagenic in a variety of biological systems. In addition, ONE and HNE are involved in protein dysfunctions and altered gene regulations through the modification of amino acid residues and crosslinking of proteins. Our recent study on human skin keratins has identified specific K1 methionine residues as the most susceptible sites to oxidation with hydrogen peroxide, which can be potential biomarkers of oxidative skin damage. The reactions of angiotensin (Ang) II with ONE or HNE produced several modified Ang IIs including a novel pyruvamide-Ang II that formed via oxidative decarboxylation of N-terminal aspartic acid. Subsequently, it has been revealed that the oxidative modifications on the N-terminus of Ang II disrupt interactions with Ang II type 1 receptor and aminopeptidase A, which could affect the regulation of cardiovascular function.
Total syntheses of yatakemycin, PDE-II, dictyodendrins, and heptaphylline are described. This article focuses on the formation of aryl carbon-nitrogen bonds by two methods: first by an aromatic amination reaction using a combination of CuI and CsOAc, and then by a benzyne-mediated one-pot cyclization-functionalization sequence. The aryl amination reaction shows a high functional group compatibility and applicability for highly hindered substrates. The utility of this reaction has been fully demonstrated through a total synthesis of yatakemycin, which features the regioselective ring opening of (S)-epichlorohydrin with 2,6-dibromophenyllithium species and the efficient deprotection of benzyl groups of aryl benzyl ether with BCl3 in the presence of pentamethylbenzene. The copper-mediated aryl amination reaction was applied to a one-pot double aryl amination for facile access to the highly substituted pyrroloindole skeleton, which led to a concise total synthesis of PDE-II. A highly efficient total synthesis of dictyodendrins A-E was accomplished by the development of a novel benzyne-mediated one-pot indoline formation/cross-coupling sequence for the construction of a highly substituted key indoline intermediate. Peripheral substituents were introduced onto this intermediate in a modular fashion to complete the total synthesis of dictyodendrins A-E. The utility of the one-pot benzyne-mediated cyclization-functionalization reaction was demonstrated by the total synthesis of carbazole alkaloid, heptaphylline.
In this decade, the field of pharmacogenomics (PGx), which is related to pharmacokinetics (PK) or pharmacodynamics (PD), has attracted much attention because it may provide a possible explanation for individual differences in the clinical efficacy of drugs. For the development of personalized drug therapy, it is important to accumulate evidence from PK/PD/PGx analysis in clinical trials. Warfarin (WF) is one of the most widely prescribed anticoagulants for the prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thromboembolism. However, large interindividual and interethnic differences have been observed in the WF dose required to elicit the anticoagulant effect. We investigated the factors influencing the WF maintenance dose in Japanese patients. Our study confirmed a large interindividual variability in the WF maintenance dose that was due to a VKORC1 1639 G>A polymorphism and differences in body weight, age, and serum albumin. In addition, we found that the CYP4F2 genotype affects the plasma concentration of menaquinone-4, and that this finding was correlated with the WF sensitivity index in Japanese pediatric patients. Methotrexate (MTX) is an antifolate that is widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and cancer. The response to low-dose MTX demonstrated wide interpatient variability; however, the contributing factors remain unclear. We found that the frequency of the RFC1 80A allele was higher in RA patients treated with MTX alone compared with patients who received biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs). This finding may support the combined use of bDMARDs and MTX. Further large-scale prospective clinical trials are required to confirm these findings.
Zn2+ is an essential element for life and is known to play important roles in biological processes including gene expression, apoptosis, enzyme regulation, immune system and neurotransmition. To investigate physiological roles of free or chelatable Zn2+ in living cells, Zn2+-selective fluorescent probes are valuable tools. A variety of fluorescent probes based on quinoline, BF2 chelated dipyrromethene, fluorescein, etc. has been developed recently. In principle, such tools can provide useful information about zinc biology. However, most of the fluorescent probes presented so far possess a fluorescent core and a separate part for binding to Zn2+ within the molecule, so that the molecular weight is usually large and the molecules are hydrophobic. As a result, the applications of such molecules in biological systems often face difficulties. Therefore, we need to develop a new class of fluorescent probes for Zn2+ with improved molecular characteristics. If the initial core structure is small enough, the fluorescent probes may still be molecular weight below 500 with desirable physico-chemical properties, even after the modifications. In this review, we described novel low-molecular-weight fluorescent probes for Zn2+ based on pyridine-pyridone. Small modification of pyridine-pyridone core structure brought about a marked improvement such as aqueous solubility, affinity toward Zn2+, and fluorescence ON/OFF switching. Fluorescence images of Zn2+ in cells showed that the pyridine-pyridone probe can be used in biological applications.
Considerable attention has focused on cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotropic constituent of fiber-type cannabis plant, and it has been reported to possess diverse biological activities. Although CBD is obtained from non-enzymatic decarboxylation of its parent molecule, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), several studies have investigated whether CBDA itself is biologically active. In the present report, the author summarizes findings indicating that; 1) CBDA is a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, and ii) CBDA possesses an anti-migrative potential for highly invasive cancer cells, apparently through a mechanism involving inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A, coupled with an activation of the small GTPase, RhoA. Further, the author introduces recent findings on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of the CBD derivative, CBD-2′,6′-dimethyl ether (CBDD), that exhibits inhibitory activity toward 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX), an enzyme responsible for the production of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL). These studies establish CBD as both an important experimental tool and as a lead compound for pharmaceutical development. In this review, the author further discusses the potential uses of CBD and its derivatives in future medicines.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has no more than nine genes expressing approximately twenty proteins. When T lymphocytes and macrophages in a body are infected with HIV, these proteins work in turn at specific time and location, causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease yet to be overcome. Since the elucidation of molecular mechanism of HIV proteins should lead to remedy of AIDS, the author has been engaged in the study of HIV protein in the past decade. Described herein are viral protein X (Vpx), uniquely found in HIV-2, and its homologous protein Vpr found both in HIV-1 and -2. We found that Vpx enhances genome nuclear import in T lymphocytes, and is critical for reverse transcription of viral RNA in macrophages. This finding on the function in macrophages corrected long-term misleading belief. Furthermore, functional region mapping of Vpx was performed. In 2011, the protein SAMHD1 was identified as the host restriction factor counteracted by Vpx, by foreign reserchers. After that, our independent study demonstrated the presence of SAMHD1-independent functions of Vpx in T cells, in addition to its SAMHD1-dependent functions in macrophages. Another topic of this review is Gag protein. Recently, it has reported by oversea researchers that PI(4,5)P2 (one of phosphoinositide) regulates Pr55Gag localization and assembly. In this study, we determined the binding affinity between N-terminal MA domain of Pr55Gag and various phosphoinositide derivatives using surface plasmon resonance. The results suggested that both negatively charged inositol phosphates and hydrophobic acyl chain are required for the MA binding.
This review discusses the importance of quantum chemical interactions in biomolecules for medicinal science and their relevance to the author's β-secretase (BACE1) inhibitor drug discovery research. Although molecular mechanics/dynamics (MM/MD) methods are available in many in silico design tools used for drug discovery, they cannot accurately evaluate quantum effects between biomolecules and drugs. The key roles of biomolecular quantum chemical interactions in drug discovery are discussed using the arginine side chain as an example. Arginine is recognized as a charged amino acid in commonly used drug design software, unlike other amino acids with π-electron orbitals, such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Quantum chemical interactions via the arginine side chain are crucial for molecular recognition, and are found in many X-ray crystal structures, such as protein-protein, protein homodimer, RNA aptamer-protein, and enzyme-inhibitor complexes. This review describes the essential role of quantum chemical interactions via the arginine side chain in the mechanism of BACE1 inhibition, and proposes an “electron donor/acceptor bioisostere” concept for medicinal science based on quantum chemical interactions. Several potent BACE1 inhibitors, as well as the first peptides with BACE1 inhibiting activity were designed and synthesized based on studies of quantum chemical interactions via arginine side chain and the “electron donor bioisostere” concept.
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) has several advantages: this technique involves gene amplification under isothermal conditions using only one high-specificity enzyme; the amplification efficiency is so high that large quantities of pyrophosphoric acid are formed as a by-product of DNA synthesis; furthermore, the results can be judged directly on the basis of turbidity. On the other hand, a PCR requires approximately 3.5-4.0 hours. The LAMP method is faster than the PCR method and is also relatively inexpensive. In the present study, we modified the composition of the reaction solutions to reduce the LAMP reaction time; more specifically, a thickener, either polyethylene glycol 8000 or 20000, was added. These results showed that the LAMP method was faster than the original method, and it is able to detect both turbidity and fluorescence. In conclusion, the LAMP reaction could be performed within 20 minutes when reaction mixture supplemented with a thickener was used. This method can be used for tests in various fields such as the diagnosis of hereditary disease and identification of viral infections as point-of-care testing.
The concept of Team-Based Learning (TBL) was developed in the late 1970s by Larry Michaelsen, who wanted students to enjoy the benefits of small group learning within large classes in the business school environment. In contrast to problem-based learning (PBL), which is student centered, TBL is typically instructor centered. Recently, TBL is being used as a teaching method in over 60 health science professional schools in the US and other countries. In the present study, the impact of adopting TBL in teaching pharmaceutical care practices to students was evaluated. Students were required to answer a set of multiple-choice questions individually in individual readiness assessment test (IRAT) before the TBL sessions to assess their level of preparation. The same set of questions was then reattempted by the group readiness assessment test (GRAT) during TBL. Comparing the scores obtained in the GRAT and IRAT before the first TBL session, the scores from the GRAT were always higher than those of the IRAT, indicating that TBL has encouraged active learning. In addition, students were surveyed about their level of satisfaction with TBL and written comments about TBL were solicited. The results of the questionnaire showed that 87.3±9.3% of the students were satisfied. Moreover, no student commented that TBL was in any way inferior to the PBL. Implementation of a TBL approach was successfully integrated into the pharmaceutical care education course. In order to further improve the usefulness of TBL in teaching pharmaceutical care, a hybrid teaching approach that also comprises PBL and a lecture-based course is desirable.
Enalaprilat (H2L), which is the active metabolite of the pro-drug enalapril, is an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. Some side effects such as neurodegeneration and taste disorder can be related to copper or zinc deficiency, which would be caused by the metal complex formation of dianionic elalaprilat (L2−). For a better understanding of this phenomenon, we investigated the solution species of enalaprilat in the presence of copper(II) or zinc(II) ions by pH titration analysis with I=0.10 M (NaCl) at 25℃. The 1:1 complex formation constants (KML=[ML]/[M2+][L2−] M−1) of 107.4 for CuL and 104.4 for ZnL complexes were evaluated, indicating the presence of those complexes at a physiological pH. Furthermore, partition experiments with a two-phase system of 1-butanol/water at 25℃ disclosed that copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes of enalaprilat were partially extracted into the organic layer. In the absence of those metal ions, enalaprilat was not soluble in the 1-butanol phase. The increase in lipophilicity of enalaprilat by metal complexation suggests that the long-term administration of enalapril could be a possible risk factor for the disrupted distribution of those metal ions in biological systems.