There are many challenges in developing efficient and target specific delivery systems of small molecule and nucleic acid drugs. Cell membrane presents one of the major barriers for the penetration of hydrophilic macromolecules across the plasma membrane. Nanocarriers have been designed to enhance their cellular uptake via endocytosis but following their cellular uptake, endosomal escape is the rate limiting step which restricts the value associated with the enhanced uptake by nanocarriers. Viruses are an excellent model for efficient cytosolic delivery by nanocarriers. Viruses exploit intracellular cues to release the genome to cytosol. In this review, we first discuss different endocytic uptake pathways and endosomal escape mechanisms. We then summarize the existing tools for studying the intracellular trafficking of nanocarriers. Finally, we highlight the important design elements of recent virus-based nanocarriers for efficient cellular uptake and endosomal escape.
In recent years, boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) and boron-azadipyrromethene (aza-BODIPY) dyes have attracted considerable multidisciplinary attention due to their diverse applications. By introducing various hydrophilic groups, such as quaternary ammonium, sulfonate or oligo-ethyleneglycol moieties into the BODIPY core, the solubilities of these dyes in aqueous solution can be greatly improved while maintaining their high fluorescence quantum yields. Accordingly, applying these fluorescent dyes in aqueous systems to areas such as chemosensors, biomacromolecule labeling, bio-imaging and photodynamic therapy has been achieved. In this article, the recent progress on the synthesis, optical properties and application of water-soluble BODIPY dyes and aza-BODIPY dyes is reviewed.
Different treatment technologies have been efficiently applied to remove heavy metals from wastewater. Efforts have been made to find out the most economic water treatment technology by using low cost and easily accessible natural materials. On the other hand, heavy metals are the most threatening groundwater contaminants because of their toxicity and harmful effects on human and biota. This review discusses the use of natural geological materials for heavy metal removal in aqueous systems. Special attention has been devoted to natural limestone through a systematic inventory of relevant published reports. The removal of toxic metals may include different mechanisms (e.g., physisorption, chemisorptions, precipitation, etc.), depending on the physico-chemical properties of the material and the removed metal. Sorption of toxic metals (e.g., Pb, Cu, Cd, Zn, Cr, Hg, etc.) onto natural limestone involved precipitation of metal carbonate as a predominant removal process, but often subordinated by adsorption and ion exchange, depending on the physico-chemical properties of the studied limestone.
The aggregation of amyloid β-protein (Aβ) is tightly linked to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies have found that three peptide inhibitors (i.e., KLVFF, VVIA, and LPFFD) can inhibit Aβ aggregation and alleviate Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. However, atomic details of binding modes and binding affinities between these peptide inhibitors and Aβ have not been revealed. Here, using molecular dynamics simulations and molecular mechanics Poisson Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA) analysis, we examined the effect of three peptide inhibitors (KLVFF, VVIA, and LPFFD) on their sequence-specific interactions with Aβ and the molecular basis of their inhibition. All inhibitors exhibit varied binding affinity to Aβ, in which KLVFF has the highest binding affinity, whereas LPFFD has the least. MM/PBSA analysis further revealed that different peptide inhibitors have different modes of interaction with Aβ, consequently hotspot binding residues, and underlying driving forces. Specific residue-based interactions between inhibitors and Aβ were determined and compared for illustrating different binding and inhibition mechanisms. This work provides structure-based binding information for further modification and optimization of these three peptide inhibitors to enhance their binding and inhibitory abilities against Aβ aggregation.
The response surface methodology was employed to study the optimization of microwave-assisted extraction of picroside I and picroside II from Picrorrhiza kurroa Royle rhizomes. The effects of solid to solvent ratio, and extraction temperature, time and solvent on the yields of picroside I and picroside II have been investigated using Box-Behnken experimental design. The experimental data were fitted to second-order polynomial equations using multiple regression analysis and analyzed using the appropriate statistical method. By solving the regression equation and analyzing 3-D plots, the optimum extraction conditions were found to be: solid to solvent ratio, 10 : 90 (w/v); temperature, 60 °C; and extraction time, 60 s. Under the optimal conditions, the yields of picroside I and picroside II are 41.23 and 6.12 mg·g–1 feed respectively, which are in good agreement with the predicted values. The ratio of solid to solvent significantly affects the yields of picroside I and picroside II. Application of microwave-assisted extraction of picroside I and picroside II from P. kurroa would dramatically reduce extraction time and solvent consumption.
The biosorption potential of many different kinds of biomaterials has been widely studied. However, there is little data on the biosorption mechanism of Cr(VI) by dried biomass. So the bio-removal of Cr(VI) ions from aqueous solutions was investigated using dried biomass from a chromium-resistant bacterium. The bacterium was isolated from dewatered sludge samples that were obtained from a sewage treatment plant. Equilibrium and kinetic experiments were performed at different metal concentrations, pH values, and biosorbents dosages. The biomass was characterized using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The functional groups in the Bacillus cereus biomass which may play a role in the biosorption process were identified by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The biosorption process was found to be highly pH dependent and the optimum pH for the adsorption of Cr(VI) was 2.0±0.3 at 30±2 °C. The experimental data fit well with Langmuir and Freundlich models as well as a pseudo-second order kinetic model. The mechanism for the biosorption was also studied by fitting the kinetic data with an intra-particle diffusion model and a Boyd plot. External mass transfer was found to be the rate-determining step for the adsorption process. Biosorption could be an alternative mechanism besides bio-oxidation and bio-reduction for the bioremediation of heavy metals.
The utilization of poly (2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) grafted agar (Ag-g-P(HEMA)) as a matrix for the controlled release of 5-aminosalicylic acid was investigated. Grafted copolymers of 2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate (HEMA) monomers on agar were synthesized by microwave assisted method. In vitro drug release studies were performed at pH values of 2 and 7 in order to investigate the possibility of pH triggered release for colon targeted drug delivery. Further, the percent grafting vs. t50 (the time taken for release of 50% of the enclosed drug) value was studied and the results indicate that it may be possible to develop a programmable drug release matrix based on grafted polysaccharide. Ag-g-P(HEMA) appears to be a useful matrix for controlled release.
Lithium λ-MnO2 ion-sieves were prepared from spinel LiMn2O4 via treatment with nitric acid. The LiMn2O4 was synthesized by a solid state reaction between LiOH·H2O and MnO2. The effects of the calcination time and temperature on the preparation of the LiMn2O4 precursor and the lithium ion-sieve were investigated. In addition, the Li+ extraction ratio, the Mn2+ dissolving ratio and the adsorption properties of the lithium ion-sieve were all measured. The lithium ion-sieve had a high exchange capacity and was selective for Li+. Specifically, at pH= 13, the ion exchange capacity of Li+ was 30.9 mg/g in 10 mmol/L LiCl solution and the lithium extraction ratio and manganese dissolving ratio were 95% and 25%, respectively.
Titanium silicalite-1(TS-1) treated with triethylamine (TEA) solution under different conditions was characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectrum (FTIR), ultraviolet-visible diffuse reflectance spectrum (UV-Vis), nitrogen physical adsorption and desorption, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The characterization results show that many irregular hollows are generated in the TS-1 crystals due to the random dissolution of framework silicon and the volume of the hollow cavities increase with increasing the TEA concentration, and the treatment temperature and time. The modified TS-1 samples improved in varying degrees the catalyst life for the epoxidation of propylene in a fixed-bed reactor probably due to the generation of the hollows to make it easy for the reactants and products to diffuse out of the channels.
The key aim of this study is to evaluate the adsorption of heavy oil from aqueous solutions with different oil contents over mesoporous silicate materials having different surfactant template contents. The mesoporous silicate materials have been synthesized from tetraethylorthosilicate as a silica precursor and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide as a template using the sol-gel technique. Four samples were prepared by (1) totally removing the template using the calcination process, (2) partially removing the template via ethanol extraction, (3) partially removing the template via water extraction, and (4) keeping the template as synthesized, respectively. These four samples have been characterized using X-ray diffraction, nitrogen adsorption, thermal gravimetric analysis and Fourier transformed infrared. The effect of the degree of template removal of these mesoporous materials for the oil removal has been investigated. The oil removal is inversely proportional to the surfactant content in the mesoporous material, being highest for the calcined sample but lowest for the as-synthesized sample. The kinetic of oil adsorption over the calcined material has been also studied and the data obtained fit well a second-order model.
Design of biocompatible and biodegradable polymer systems for sustained and controlled release of bioactive agents is critical for numerous biomedical applications. Here, we designed, synthesized, and characterized four polyurethane carrier systems for controlled release of model drugs. These polyurethanes are biocompatible and biodegradable because they consist of biocompatible poly(ethylene glycol) or poly(caprolactone diol) as soft segment, linear aliphatic hexamethylene diisocyanate or symmetrical aliphatic cyclic dicyclohexylmethane-4,4′-diisocyanate as hard segment, and biodegradable urethane linkage. They were characterized with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscope, and differential scanning calorimetry, whereas their degradation behaviors were investigated in both phosphate buffered saline and enzymatic solutions. By tuning polyurethane segments, different release profiles of hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs were obtained in the absence and presence of enzymes. Such difference in release profiles was attributed to a complex interplay among structure, hydrophobicity, and degradability of polyurethanes, the size and hydrophobicity of drugs, and drug-polymer interactions. Different drug-polyurethane combinations modulated the distribution and location of the drugs in polymer matrix, thus inducing different drug release mechanisms. Our results highlight an important role of segmental structure of the polyurethane as an engineering tool to control drug release.