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Biomolecules, Volume 1, Issue 1 (December 2011), Pages 1-62

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial A Multidisciplinary, Open Access Platform for Research on Biomolecules
Biomolecules 2011, 1(1), 1-2; doi:10.3390/biom1010001
Received: 15 August 2011 / Accepted: 22 August 2011 / Published: 22 August 2011
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Abstract
I am pleased to introduce Biomolecules, a new journal to report on all aspects of science that focuses on biologically derived substances, from small molecules to complex polymers. Some examples are lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, hormones, amino acids, nucleotides, peptides, RNA and polysaccharides,
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I am pleased to introduce Biomolecules, a new journal to report on all aspects of science that focuses on biologically derived substances, from small molecules to complex polymers. Some examples are lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, hormones, amino acids, nucleotides, peptides, RNA and polysaccharides, but this list is far from exhaustive. Research on biomolecules encompasses multiple fascinating questions. How are biomolecules synthesized and modified? What are their structures and interactions with other biomolecules? How do biomolecules function in biological processes, at the level of organelles, cells, organs, organisms, or even ecosystems? How do biomolecules affect either the organism that produces them or other organisms of the same or different species? How are biomolecules shaped by evolution, and how in turn do they affect cellular phenotypes? What is the systems-level contribution of biomolecules to biological function? [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Ursolic Acid Inhibits Na+/K+-ATPase Activity and Prevents TNF-α-Induced Gene Expression by Blocking Amino Acid Transport and Cellular Protein Synthesis
Biomolecules 2011, 1(1), 32-47; doi:10.3390/biom1010032
Received: 20 August 2011 / Revised: 26 October 2011 / Accepted: 27 October 2011 / Published: 7 November 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (476 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, induce the expression of a wide variety of genes, including intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Ursolic acid (3β-hydroxy-urs-12-en-28-oic acid) was identified to inhibit the cell-surface ICAM-1 expression induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines in human lung
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Pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, induce the expression of a wide variety of genes, including intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Ursolic acid (3β-hydroxy-urs-12-en-28-oic acid) was identified to inhibit the cell-surface ICAM-1 expression induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines in human lung carcinoma A549 cells. Ursolic acid was found to inhibit the TNF-α-induced ICAM-1 protein expression almost completely, whereas the TNF-α-induced ICAM-1 mRNA expression and NF-κB signaling pathway were decreased only partially by ursolic acid. In line with these findings, ursolic acid prevented cellular protein synthesis as well as amino acid uptake, but did not obviously affect nucleoside uptake and the subsequent DNA/RNA syntheses. This inhibitory profile of ursolic acid was similar to that of the Na+/K+-ATPase inhibitor, ouabain, but not the translation inhibitor, cycloheximide. Consistent with this notion, ursolic acid was found to inhibit the catalytic activity of Na+/K+-ATPase. Thus, our present study reveals a novel molecular mechanism in which ursolic acid inhibits Na+/K+-ATPase activity and prevents the TNF-α-induced gene expression by blocking amino acid transport and cellular protein synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Development and Application of Multidimensional HPLC Mapping Method for O-linked Oligosaccharides
Biomolecules 2011, 1(1), 48-62; doi:10.3390/biom1010048
Received: 29 August 2011 / Revised: 30 November 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 14 December 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (454 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Glycosylation improves the solubility and stability of proteins, contributes to the structural integrity of protein functional sites, and mediates biomolecular recognition events involved in cell-cell communications and viral infections. The first step toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these carbohydrate functionalities is a
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Glycosylation improves the solubility and stability of proteins, contributes to the structural integrity of protein functional sites, and mediates biomolecular recognition events involved in cell-cell communications and viral infections. The first step toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these carbohydrate functionalities is a detailed characterization of glycan structures. Recently developed glycomic approaches have enabled comprehensive analyses of N-glycosylation profiles in a quantitative manner. However, there are only a few reports describing detailed O-glycosylation profiles primarily because of the lack of a widespread standard method to identify O-glycan structures. Here, we developed an HPLC mapping method for detailed identification of O-glycans including neutral, sialylated, and sulfated oligosaccharides. Furthermore, using this method, we were able to quantitatively identify isomeric products from an in vitro reaction catalyzed by N-acetylglucosamine-6O-sulfotransferases and obtain O-glycosylation profiles of serum IgA as a model glycoprotein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Comparative Studies of Vertebrate Beta Integrin Genes and Proteins: Ancient Genes in Vertebrate Evolution
Biomolecules 2011, 1(1), 3-31; doi:10.3390/biom1010003
Received: 18 July 2011 / Revised: 14 August 2011 / Accepted: 15 August 2011 / Published: 23 August 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Intregins are heterodimeric α- and β-subunit containing membrane receptor proteins which serve various cell adhesion roles in tissue repair, hemostasis, immune response, embryogenesis and metastasis. At least 18 α- (ITA or ITGA) and 8 β-integrin subunits (ITB or ITGB) are encoded on mammalian
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Intregins are heterodimeric α- and β-subunit containing membrane receptor proteins which serve various cell adhesion roles in tissue repair, hemostasis, immune response, embryogenesis and metastasis. At least 18 α- (ITA or ITGA) and 8 β-integrin subunits (ITB or ITGB) are encoded on mammalian genomes. Comparative ITB amino acid sequences and protein structures and ITB gene locations were examined using data from several vertebrate genome projects. Vertebrate ITB genes usually contained 13–16 coding exons and encoded protein subunits with ~800 amino acids, whereas vertebrate ITB4 genes contained 36-39 coding exons and encoded larger proteins with ~1800 amino acids. The ITB sequences exhibited several conserved domains including signal peptide, extracellular β-integrin, β-tail domain and integrin β-cytoplasmic domains. Sequence alignments of the integrin β-cytoplasmic domains revealed highly conserved regions possibly for performing essential functions and its maintenance during vertebrate evolution. With the exception of the human ITB8 sequence, the other ITB sequences shared a predicted 19 residue α-helix for this region. Potential sites for regulating human ITB gene expression were identified which included CpG islands, transcription factor binding sites and microRNA binding sites within the 3’-UTR of human ITB genes. Phylogenetic analyses examined the relationships of vertebrate beta-integrin genes which were consistent with four major groups: 1: ITB1, ITB2, ITB7; 2: ITB3, ITB5, ITB6; 3: ITB4; and 4: ITB8 and a common evolutionary origin from an ancestral gene, prior to the appearance of fish during vertebrate evolution. The phylogenetic analyses revealed that ITB4 is the most likely primordial form of the vertebrate β integrin subunit encoding genes, that is the only β subunit expressed as a constituent of the sole integrin receptor ‘α6β4’ in the hemidesmosomes of unicellular organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers)
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