Publications

2019
D. Vela-Corcía, D. Aditya Srivastava, A. Dafa-Berger, N. Rotem, O. Barda, and M. Levy. 2019. “MFS transporter from Botrytis cinerea provides tolerance to glucosinolate-breakdown products and is required for pathogenicity.” Nature Communications, 10, 1. Abstract
Glucosinolates accumulate mainly in cruciferous plants and their hydrolysis-derived products play important roles in plant resistance against pathogens. The pathogen Botrytis cinerea has variable sensitivity to glucosinolates, but the mechanisms by which it responds to them are mostly unknown. Exposure of B. cinerea to glucosinolate-breakdown products induces expression of the Major Facilitator Superfamily transporter, mfsG, which functions in fungitoxic compound efflux. Inoculation of B. cinerea on wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana plants induces mfsG expression to higher levels than on glucosinolate-deficient A. thaliana mutants. A B. cinerea strain lacking functional mfsG transporter is deficient in efflux ability. It accumulates more isothiocyanates (ITCs) and is therefore more sensitive to this compound in vitro; it is also less virulent to glucosinolates-containing plants. Moreover, mfsG mediates ITC efflux in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, thereby conferring tolerance to ITCs in the yeast. These findings suggest that mfsG transporter is a virulence factor that increases tolerance to glucosinolates. © 2019, The Author(s).
Polymeric porous particles are currently used for various applications in biotechnology, tissue engineering and pharmaceutical science, e.g., floating drug delivery systems and inhaled formulations. Particle shape and size depend on variable parameters; among them, polymer type and concentration, stirring speed, pH and type of solvent. In this study, porous poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) and poly(D,L-lactide) (PLA) microspheres (MPs), with varying sizes and morphologies, were synthesized and optimized using both batch formulation and a flow-focusing microfluidic device. A well-established method of preparation utilizing solvent evaporation and the double emulsion technique was performed. Similar to other batch encapsulation methods, this technique is time and reagent consuming and consists of several steps. Hence, although porous structures provide tremendous opportunity in the design of new applications for tissue engineering and as improved controlled-release carriers, the synthesis of these particles with predefined properties remains challenging. We demonstrated the fabrication of porous MPs using a simple microfluidic device, compared to batch synthesis fabrication; and the effect of solvent, polymer concentration and type, post-hydrolysis treatment, on porosity degree. Moreover, a kinetic release study of fluorescent molecule was conducted for non-porous in comparison to porous particles. An overview of future prospects and the potential of these porous beads in this scientific area are discussed. © 2019 by the authors.
S. Dishon, A. Schumacher-Klinger, C. Gilon, A. Hoffman, and G. Nussbaum. 2019. “Myristoylation Confers Oral Bioavailability and Improves the Bioactivity of c(MyD 4-4), a Cyclic Peptide Inhibitor of MyD88.” Molecular Pharmaceutics, 16, 4, Pp. 1516-1522. Abstract
Myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MyD88) is an intracellular adaptor protein central to the signaling of multiple receptors involved in inflammation. Since innate immune inflammation promotes autoimmunity, MyD88 is an attractive target in autoimmune disease. We previously developed c(MyD 4-4), a novel cyclic peptide competitive inhibitor of MyD88 dimerization that is metabolically stable. Parenteral administration of c(MyD 4-4) reduces disease severity in a mouse model of the human autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. We now show that N-terminal myristoylation of c(MyD 4-4) enhances the competitive inhibition of MyD88 dimerization in living cells, leading to improved inhibition of the Toll-like receptor and IL-1 receptor signaling. Importantly, myristoylation converts c(MyD 4-4) to an orally bioavailable inhibitor of MyD88. Oral administration of c(MyD 4-4) significantly lowered the inflammatory cytokines secreted by peripheral autoimmune T cells in mice immunized with myelin antigens and ameliorated disease severity in the mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Taken together, we show the conversion of a protein active region to a metabolically stable, selective cyclic peptide that is orally bioavailable. © 2019 American Chemical Society.
T. Nassar, A. Rohald, N. Naraykin, D. Barasch, O. Amsalem, P. Prabhu, M. Kotler, and S. Benita. 2019. “Nanocapsules embedded in microparticles for enhanced oral bioavailability and efficacy of Lopinavir as an anti-AIDS drug.” Journal of Drug Targeting, 27, 5-6, Pp. 590-600. Abstract
Lopinavir (LPV), an efficient drug for HIV infection treatment, was incorporated into biodegradable PLGA nanocapsules (NCs) embedded in microparticles (MCPs) using the spray-drying technique in an attempt to bypass the P-gp efflux and protect the drug from CYP3A pre-systemic metabolism without ritonavir (RTV). SEM observations confirmed the formation of NCs and their entrapment in the MCPs. LPV-loaded NCs and free LPV were released from the MCPs at pH of 7.4 as evidenced by in vitro release studies. Results obtained from rat studies showed a two-fold higher bioavailability of LPV following oral administration of the optimal formulation than Kaletra®, the marketed drug, showing that when properly entrapped, LPV can be effectively protected from CYP degradation in the gut as well as from the liver following systemic absorption. It was also shown that serum derived from rats following LPV oral administration in two formulations and Kaletra® significantly decreased the multiplication of HIV-1 in cultured SupT1 cells. Furthermore, the LPV formulations markedly restricted the titre of infectious HIV-1 production compared with Kaletra® confirming the improved antiviral activity of LPV delivered in the rat blood circulation by the nanocapsules embedded in microparticle formulations. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
G. Donvito, F. Piscitelli, P. Muldoon, A. Jackson, R.M. Vitale, E. D'Aniello, C. Giordano, B.M. Ignatowska-Jankowska, M.A. Mustafa, F. Guida, G.N. Petrie, L. Parker, R. Smoum, L. Sim-Selley, S. Maione, A.H. Lichtman, M.I. Damaj, V. Di Marzo, and R. Mechoulam. 2019. “N-Oleoyl-glycine reduces nicotine reward and withdrawal in mice.” Neuropharmacology, 148, Pp. 320-331. Abstract
Cigarette smokers with brain damage involving the insular cortex display cessation of tobacco smoking, suggesting that this region may contribute to nicotine addiction. In the present study, we speculated that molecules in the insular cortex that are sensitive to experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice might provide leads to ameliorate nicotine addiction. Using targeted lipidomics, we found that TBI elicited substantial increases of a largely uncharacterized lipid, N-acyl-glycine, N-oleoyl-glycine (OlGly), in the insular cortex of mice. We then evaluated whether intraperitoneal administration of OlGly would alter withdrawal responses in nicotine-dependent mice as well as the rewarding effects of nicotine, as assessed in the conditioned place preference paradigm (CPP). Systemic administration of OlGly reduced mecamylamine-precipitated withdrawal responses in nicotine-dependent mice and prevented nicotine CPP. However, OlGly did not affect morphine CPP, demonstrating a degree of selectivity. Our respective in vitro and in vivo observations that OlGly activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α) and the PPAR-α antagonist GW6471 prevented the OlGly-induced reduction of nicotine CPP in mice suggests that this lipid acts as a functional PPAR-α agonist to attenuate nicotine reward. These findings raise the possibility that the long chain fatty acid amide OlGly may possess efficacy in treating nicotine addiction. © 2018
G.N. Petrie, K.L. Wills, F. Piscitelli, R. Smoum, C.L. Limebeer, E.M. Rock, A.E. Humphrey, M. Sheppard-Perkins, A.H. Lichtman, R. Mechoulam, V. Di Marzo, and L.A. Parker. 2019. “Oleoyl glycine: interference with the aversive effects of acute naloxone-precipitated MWD, but not morphine reward, in male Sprague–Dawley rats.” Psychopharmacology, 236, 9, Pp. 2623-2633. Abstract
Rationale: Oleoyl glycine (OlGly), a recently discovered fatty acid amide that is structurally similar to N- acylethanolamines, which include the endocannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), as well as endogenous peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) agonists oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), has been shown to interfere with nicotine reward and dependence in mice. Objectives and methods: Behavioral and molecular techniques were used to investigate the ability of OlGly to interfere with the affective properties of morphine and morphine withdrawal (MWD) in male Sprague–Dawley rats. Results: Synthetic OlGly (1–30 mg/kg, intraperitoneal [ip]) produced neither a place preference nor aversion on its own; however, at doses of 1 and 5 mg/kg, ip, it blocked the aversive effects of MWD in a place aversion paradigm. This effect was reversed by the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor antagonist, AM251 (1 mg/kg, ip), but not the PPARα antagonist, MK886 (1 mg/kg, ip). OlGly (5 or 30 mg/kg, ip) did not interfere with a morphine-induced place preference or reinstatement of a previously extinguished morphine-induced place preference. Ex vivo analysis of tissue (nucleus accumbens, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and interoceptive insular cortex) collected from rats experiencing naloxone-precipitated MWD revealed that OlGly was selectively elevated in the nucleus accumbens. MWD did not modify levels of the endocannabinoids 2-AG and AEA, nor those of the PPARα ligands, OEA and PEA, in any region evaluated. Conclusion: Here, we show that OlGly interferes with the aversive properties of acute naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal in rats. These results suggest that OlGly may reduce the impact of MWD and may possess efficacy in treating opiate withdrawal. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
T. Stark, J. Ruda-Kucerova, F.A. Iannotti, C. D'Addario, R. Di Marco, V. Pekarik, E. Drazanova, F. Piscitelli, M. Bari, Z. Babinska, G. Giurdanella, M. Di Bartolomeo, S. Salomone, A. Sulcova, M. Maccarrone, C.T. Wotjak, Jr. Starcuk, Z., F. Drago, R. Mechoulam, V. Di Marzo, and V. Micale. 2019. “Peripubertal cannabidiol treatment rescues behavioral and neurochemical abnormalities in the MAM model of schizophrenia.” Neuropharmacology, 146, Pp. 212-221. Abstract
In agreement with the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia, prenatal exposure of rats to the antimitotic agent methylazoxymethanol acetate (MAM) at gestational day 17 produced long-lasting behavioral alterations such as social withdrawal and cognitive impairment in the social interaction test and in the novel object recognition test, respectively. At the molecular level, an increased cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) mRNA and protein expression, which might be due to reduction in DNA methylation at the gene promoter in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), coincided with deficits in the social interaction test and in the novel object recognition test in MAM rats. Both the schizophrenia-like phenotype and altered transcriptional regulation of CB1 receptors were reversed by peripubertal treatment (from PND 19 to PND 39) with the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (30 mg/kg/day), or, in part, by treatment with the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist/inverse agonist AM251 (0.5 mg/kg/day), but not with haloperidol (0.6 mg/kg/day). These results suggest that early treatment with cannabidiol may prevent both the appearance of schizophrenia-like deficits as well as CB1 alterations in the PFC at adulthood, supporting that peripubertal cannabidiol treatment might be protective against MAM insult. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
O. Barkai, S. Puig, S. Lev, B. Title, B. Katz, L. Eli-Berchoer, H.B. Gutstein, and A.M. Binshtok. 2019. “Platelet-derived growth factor activates nociceptive neurons by inhibiting M-current and contributes to inflammatory pain.” Pain, 160, 6, Pp. 1281-1296. Abstract
Endogenous inflammatory mediators contribute to the pathogenesis of pain by acting on nociceptors, specialized sensory neurons that detect noxious stimuli. Here, we describe a new factor mediating inflammatory pain. We show that platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB applied in vitro causes repetitive firing of dissociated nociceptor-like rat dorsal root ganglion neurons and decreased their threshold for action potential generation. Injection of PDGF-BB into the paw produced nocifensive behavior in rats and led to thermal and mechanical pain hypersensitivity. We further detailed the biophysical mechanisms of these PDGF-BB effects and show that PDGF receptor-induced inhibition of nociceptive M-current underlies PDGF-BB-mediated nociceptive hyperexcitability. Moreover, in vivo sequestration of PDGF or inhibition of the PDGF receptor attenuates acute formalin-induced inflammatory pain. Our discovery of a new pain-facilitating proinflammatory mediator, which by inhibiting M-current activates nociceptive neurons and thus contributes to inflammatory pain, improves our understanding of inflammatory pain pathophysiology and may have important clinical implications for pain treatment. © 2019 International Association for the Study of Pain.
S. El-Atawneh, S. Hirsch, R. Hadar, J. Tam, and A. Goldblum. 2019. “Prediction and Experimental Confirmation of Novel Peripheral Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Antagonists.” Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 59, 9, Pp. 3996-4006. Abstract
Small molecules targeting peripheral CB1 receptors have therapeutic potential in a variety of disorders including obesity-related, hormonal, and metabolic abnormalities, while avoiding the psychoactive effects in the central nervous system. We applied our in-house algorithm, iterative stochastic elimination, to produce a ligand-based model that distinguishes between CB1R antagonists and random molecules by physicochemical properties only. We screened ∼2 million commercially available molecules and found that about 500 of them are potential candidates to antagonize the CB1R. We applied a few criteria for peripheral activity and narrowed that set down to 30 molecules, out of which 15 could be purchased. Ten out of those 15 showed good affinity to the CB1R and two of them with nanomolar affinities (Ki of ∼400 nM). The eight molecules with top affinities were tested for activity: two compounds were pure antagonists, and five others were inverse agonists. These molecules are now being examined in vivo for their peripheral versus central distribution and subsequently will be tested for their effects on obesity in small animals. © 2019 American Chemical Society.
Y. Mostinski, D. Lankri, Y. Konovalov, R. Nataf, and D. Tsvelikhovsky. 2019. “Proline-promoted dehydroxylation of α-ketols.” Chemical Science, 10, 40, Pp. 9345-9350. Abstract
A new single-step proline-potassium acetate promoted reductive dehydroxylation of α-ketols is reported. We introduce the unexplored reactivity of proline and, for the first time, reveal its ability to function as a reducing agent. The developed metal-free and open-flask operation generally results in good yields. Our protocol allows the challenging selective dehydroxylation of hydroxyketones without affecting other functional groups. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.
C.E. Calderón, N. Rotem, R. Harris, D. Vela-Corcía, and M. Levy. 2019. “Pseudozyma aphidis activates reactive oxygen species production, programmed cell death and morphological alterations in the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea.” Molecular Plant Pathology, 20, 4, Pp. 562-574. Abstract
Many types of yeast have been studied in the last few years as potential biocontrol agents against different phytopathogenic fungi. Their ability to control plant diseases is mainly through combined modes of action. Among them, antibiosis, competition for nutrients and niches, induction of systemic resistance in plants and mycoparasitism have been the most studied. In previous work, we have established that the epiphytic yeast Pseudozyma aphidis inhibits Botrytis cinerea through induced resistance and antibiosis. Here, we demonstrate that P. aphidis adheres to B. cinerea hyphae and competes with them for nutrients. We further show that the secreted antifungal compounds activate the production of reactive oxygen species and programmed cell death in B. cinerea mycelium. Finally, P. aphidis and its secreted compounds negatively affect B. cinerea hyphae, leading to morphological alterations, including hyphal curliness, vacuolization and branching, which presumably affects the colonization ability and infectivity of B. cinerea. This study demonstrates additional modes of action for P. aphidis and its antifungal compounds against the plant pathogen B. cinerea. © 2018 The Authors. Molecular Plant Pathology published by BSPP and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
L. Bar-Lev Schleider, R. Mechoulam, N. Saban, G. Meiri, and V. Novack. 2019. “Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy.” Scientific Reports, 9, 1. Abstract
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) worldwide. Recently anecdotal evidence of possible therapeutic effects of cannabis products has emerged. The aim of this study is to characterize the epidemiology of ASD patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and to describe its safety and efficacy. We analysed the data prospectively collected as part of the treatment program of 188 ASD patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. The treatment in majority of the patients was based on cannabis oil containing 30% CBD and 1.5% THC. Symptoms inventory, patient global assessment and side effects at 6 months were primary outcomes of interest and were assessed by structured questionnaires. After six months of treatment 82.4% of patients (155) were in active treatment and 60.0% (93) have been assessed; 28 patients (30.1%) reported a significant improvement, 50 (53.7%) moderate, 6 (6.4%) slight and 8 (8.6%) had no change in their condition. Twenty-three patients (25.2%) experienced at least one side effect; the most common was restlessness (6.6%). Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD. © 2019, The Author(s).
A. Fluksman and O. Benny. 2019. “A robust method for critical micelle concentration determination using coumarin-6 as a fluorescent probe.” Analytical Methods, 11, 30, Pp. 3810-3818. Abstract
The critical micelle concentration (CMC) is the point at which micelles are self-assembled from surfactants added to the system. Determination of the CMC is commonly based on surface tension and conductivity measurements since these are relatively simple and well described. The dye micellization method performed using pyrene as a fluorescent probe, is limited like other methods by inaccuracy and the lack of a standard procedure. We established a simple, robust, and straightforward method based on dye micellization, using coumarin-6 as a fluorescent probe for CMC determination. We first optimized the method and demonstrated the problematic pyrene detection by a plate reader. We compared the novel method to the established surface tension method using anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants, and compared to reported values in the literature. We selected to measure sodium dodecyl sulfate using the conductivity method, followed by visualization by fluorescence microscopy. The values obtained by our method were reproducible and in accordance with the values reported in the literature, regardless of the ionic charge of the surfactant. Adopting such a robust protocol would be beneficial for pharmaceutical research and industry and has the potential to replace the more laborious and less accurate commonly available methods. © 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
L. Magid, S. Heymann, M. Elgali, L. Avram, Y. Cohen, S. Liraz-Zaltsman, R. Mechoulam, and E. Shohami. 2019. “Role of CB2 Receptor in the Recovery of Mice after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Journal of Neurotrauma, 36, 11, Pp. 1836-1846. Abstract
Cannabis is one of the most widely used plant drugs in the world today. In spite of the large number of scientific reports on medical marijuana, there still exists much controversy surrounding its use and the potential for abuse due to the undesirable psychotropic effects. However, recent developments in medicinal chemistry of novel non-psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids have indicated that it is possible to separate some of the therapeutic effects from the psychoactivity. We have previously shown that treatment with the endocannabinoid 2-AG, which binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors 1 h after traumatic brain injury in mice, attenuates neurological deficits, edema formation, infarct volume, blood-brain barrier permeability, neuronal cell loss at the CA3 hippocampal region, and neuroinflammation. Recently, we synthesized a set of camphor-resorcinol derivatives, which represent a novel series of CB2 receptor selective ligands. Most of the novel compounds exhibited potent binding and agonistic properties at the CB2 receptors with very low affinity for the CB1 receptor, and some were highly anti-inflammatory. This selective binding correlated with their intrinsic activities. HU-910 and HU-914 were selected in the present study to evaluate their potential effect in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In mice and rats subjected to closed-head injury and treated with these novel compounds, we showed enhanced neurobehavioral recovery, inhibition of tumor necrosis factor α production, increased synaptogenesis, and partial recovery of the cortical spinal tract. We propose these CB2 agonists as potential drugs for development of novel therapeutic modality to TBI. Copyright © 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
A. Shehadeh, R. Bruck-Haimson, D. Saidemberg, A. Zacharia, S. Herzberg, A. Ben-Meir, and A. Moussaieff. 2019. “A shift in follicular fluid from triacylglycerols to membrane lipids is associated with positive pregnancy outcome.” FASEB Journal, 33, 9, Pp. 10291-10299. Abstract
Follicular fluid (FF) is a liquid that surrounds the ovum. Its metabolite and, specifically, its lipid content have been associated with oocyte development. To characterize possible association between the lipid composition of FF and the outcome of pregnancy, we carried out a lipidomics study and compared the abundance of lipids from FF of patients with positive and negative outcomes. We found a differential lipid network wiring in positive-outcome FF, with a significant decrease (∼2 fold; P < 0.001) in triacylglycerol levels and higher accumulation (10–50%; P < 0.001) of membrane lipids groups (phospholipids and sphingolipids). In addition to this major metabolic alteration, other lipid groups such as cholesteryl esters showed lower levels in positive-outcome patients, whereas derivatives of vitamin D were highly accumulated in positive-outcome FF, supporting previous studies that associate vitamin D levels in FF to pregnancy outcome. Our data also point to specific lipid species with a differential accumulation pattern in positive-outcome FF that predicted pregnancy in a receiver operating characteristic analysis. Altogether, our results suggest that FF lipid network is associated with the oocyte development, with possible implications in diagnostics and treatment.—Shehadeh, A., Bruck-Haimson, R., Saidemberg, D., Zacharia. A., Herzberg, S., Ben-Meir, A., Moussaieff, A. A shift in follicular fluid from triacylglycerols to membrane lipids is associated with positive pregnancy outcome. FASEB J. 33, 10291–10299 (2019). www.fasebj.org. © FASEB
A. Amrani, Y.O. Rosenberg, A. Meshoulam, W. Said-Ahmad, C. Turich, N. Luu, T. Jacksier, A. Stankiewicz, S. Feinstein, and A. Shurki. 2019. “Sulfur isotopic composition of gas-phase organic sulfur compounds provides insights into the thermal maturation of organic-rich rocks.” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 259, Pp. 91-108. Abstract
Volatile and gas phase organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs) are important components in subsurface reservoir fluids and despite their relatively low concentrations, can provide important information about organic matter origin, diagenetic transformation, thermal maturation, and oil and gas generation, expulsion, and migration. We present an approach for the utilization of VOSC concentration and compound specific S isotopes ratio (δ34S) data as a new geochemical tool to study natural gas origin and formation. We studied the formation pathways of VOSCs, their δ34S values, and interaction with an organic-rich sedimentary rock (or ‘source rock’) from the Ghareb Formation (Type II-S kerogen) deposited in an upwelling marine environment. The immature source rock was subjected to laboratory controlled thermal maturation. We used a semi-open, non-isothermal pyrolysis system heated between 200 and 440 °C, and analyzed the molecular composition and compound specific δ34S values of the evolved gases at various thermal maturity stages. Formation of VOSCs commenced at 206 °C, a temperature generally associated with less thermally mature systems, and typically before the onset of oil generation for similar organic-rich source rocks, allowing study of low thermal maturity conditions (∼0.3 %Roeq). Overall, the VOSCs obtained had δ34S values similar to the bulk kerogen values (mostly within 4‰). However, thiol (or mercaptan) δ34S values closely followed those of H2S (Δ34Sthiols-H2S = −1 ± 1‰) throughout the experiment. Ab-initio calculations for the S isotopic exchange between H2S and thiols were close to the experimental observations. This suggests that thiols rapidly attained equilibrium with H2S despite their very short residence time in the system (minutes to hours). Furthermore, throughout the experiment, the concentrations of the six different thiols were found to be proportional to the coexisting, concentration ratio of [H2]/[H2S]. The proportionality factors of the 6 different thiols strongly correlate with reported heats of formation (ΔHf°), further supporting the notion that the generation of thiols in the system rapidly reached equilibrium. At pyrolysis temperatures up to 350 °C, δ34S and concentration values of other VOSCs produced in the gas phase, including sulfides and thiophenes, probably represent generation from S-containing moieties in kerogen and bitumen with limited interaction with co-existing H2S. The reaction of hydrocarbons and H2S to produce VOSCs is inversely correlated with thermal stability, i.e. thiols > sulfides > thiophenes. Therefore, the δ34S values, concentrations and distributions of VOSCs can be utilized as a proxy for reaction extent and formation mechanism of petroleum and H2S, including primary generation by thermal maturation, or potentially other processes such as migration and thermochemical sulfate reduction. This work demonstrates a novel and useful geochemical tool to study the source and fate of natural gas in the subsurface. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
M. Ben-David-Naim, A. Dagan, E. Grad, G. Aizik, M.M. Nordling-David, A.M. Clyne, Z. Granot, and G. Golomb. 2019. “Targeted siRNA nanoparticles for mammary carcinoma therapy.” Cancers, 11, 4. Abstract
Non-viral, polymeric-based, siRNA nanoparticles (NPs) have been proposed as promising gene delivery systems. Encapsulating siRNA in targeted NPs could confer improved biological stability, extended half-life, enhanced permeability, effective tumor accumulation, and therapy. In this work, a peptide derived from apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB-P), the protein moiety of low-density lipoprotein, was used to target siRNA-loaded PEGylated NPs to the extracellular matrix/proteoglycans (ECM/PGs) of a mammary carcinoma tumor. siRNA against osteopontin (siOPN), a protein involved in breast cancer development and progression, was encapsulated into PEGylated poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) NPs using the double emulsion solvent diffusion technique. The NPs obtained possessed desired physicochemical properties including  200 nm size, a neutral surface charge, and high siOPN loading of  5 µg/mg. ApoB-P-targeted NPs exhibited both enhanced binding to isolated ECM and internalization by MDA-MB-231 human mammary carcinoma cells, in comparison to non-targeted NPs. Increased accumulation of the targeted NPs was achieved in the primary mammary tumor of mice xenografted with MDA-MB-231 mammary carcinoma cells as well as in the lungs, one of the main sites affected by metastases. siOPN NPs treatment resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth (similar bioactivity of both formulations), accompanied with significant reduction of OPN mRNA levels ( 40% knockdown of mRNA levels). We demonstrated that targeted NPs possessed enhanced tumor accumulation with increased therapeutic potential in mice models of mammary carcinoma © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
U. Bulbake, A. Singh, A.J. Domb, and W. Khan. 2019. “Therapeutic macromolecular iron chelators.” Current Medicinal Chemistry, 26, 2, Pp. 323-334. Abstract
Iron is a key element for every single living process. On a fundamental level, targeting iron is a valuable approach for the treatment of disorders caused by iron overload. Utilizing iron chelators as therapeutic agents has received expanding consideration in chelation therapy. Approved low molecular weight (MW) iron chelators to treat iron overload may experience short half-lives and toxicities prompting moderately high adverse effects. In recent years, polymeric/macromolecular iron chelators have received attention as therapeutic agents. Polymeric iron chelators show unique pharmaceutical properties that are different to their conventional small molecule counterparts. These polymeric iron chelators possess longer plasma half-lives and reduced toxicities, thus exhibiting a significant supplement to currently using low MW iron chelator therapy. In this review, we have briefly discussed polymeric iron chelators and factors to be considered when designing clinically valuable iron chelators. We have also discussed applications of polymeric iron chelators in the diseases caused by iron overload associated with transfusional hemosiderosis, neurodegenerative disorders, malaria and cancer. With this, research findings for new polymeric iron chelators are also covered. © 2019 Bentham Science Publishers.

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