School of Chemistry - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 416
Electronic spectrum and photodissociation chemistry of the linear methyl propargyl cation H2C4H3+
(AMER INST PHYSICS, 2017-01-28)
The electronic spectrum of the methyl propargyl cation (2-butyn-1-yl cation, H2C4H3+) is measured over the 230-270 nm range by photodissociating the bare cation and its Ar and N2 tagged complexes in a tandem mass spectrometer. The observed A'1←A'1 band system has an origin at 37 753 cm-1 for H2C4H3+, 37738 cm-1 for H2C4H3+-Ar, and 37 658 cm-1 for H2C4H3+-N2. The methyl propargyl cation photodissociates to produce either C2H3++C2H2 (protonated acetylene + acetylene) or H2C4H++H2 (protonated diacetylene + dihydrogen). Photodissociation spectra of H2C4H3+, H2C4H3+-Ar, and H2C4H3+-N2 exhibit similar vibronic structure, with a strong progression of spacing 630 cm-1 corresponding to excitation of the C-C stretch mode. Interpretation of the spectra is aided by ground and excited state calculations using time dependent density functional theory at the ωB97X-D/aug-cc-pVDZ level of theory. Ab initio calculations and master equation simulations were used to interpret the dissociation of H2C4H3+ on the ground state manifold. These calculations support the experimentally observed product branching ratios in which acetylene elimination dominates and also suggests that channel switching occurs at higher energies to favor H2 elimination.
Site-Specific Glycation and Chemo-enzymatic Antibody Sortagging for the Retargeting of rAAV6 to Inflamed Endothelium
(CELL PRESS, 2019-09-13)
Gene therapy holds great potential for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis and also vascular cancers, yet available vectors such as the adeno-associated virus (rAAV) transduce the vasculature poorly. To enable retargeting, a single-chain antibody (scFv) that binds to the vascular cell-adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) overexpressed at areas of endothelial inflammation was site specifically and covalently conjugated to the exterior of rAAV6. To achieve conjugation, the scFv was functionalized with an orthogonal click chemistry group. This conjugation utilized site-specific sortase A methodology, thus preserving scFv binding capacity to VCAM-1. The AAV6 was separately functionalized with 4-azidophenyl glyoxal (APGO) via covalent adducts to arginine residues in the capsid's heparin co-receptor binding region. APGO functionalization removed native tropism, greatly reducing rAAV6-GFP transduction into all cells tested, and the effect was similar to the inhibition seen in the presence of heparin. Utilizing the incorporated functionalizations, the scFv was then covalently conjugated to the exterior of rAAV6 via strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition (SPAAC). With both the removal of native heparin tropism and the addition of VCAM-1 targeting, rAAV6 transduction of endothelial cells was greatly enhanced compared to control cells. Thus, this novel and modular targeting system could have further application in re-directing AAV6 toward inflamed endothelium for therapeutic use.
Dafachronic acid promotes larval development in Haemonchus contortus by modulating dauer signalling and lipid metabolism
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-07-01)
Here, we discovered an endogenous dafachronic acid (DA) in the socioeconomically important parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that DA promotes larval exsheathment and development in this nematode via a relatively conserved nuclear hormone receptor (DAF-12). This stimulatory effect is dose- and time-dependent, and relates to a modulation of dauer-like signalling, and glycerolipid and glycerophospholipid metabolism, likely via a negative feedback loop. Specific chemical inhibition of DAF-9 (cytochrome P450) was shown to significantly reduce the amount of endogenous DA in H. contortus; compromise both larval exsheathment and development in vitro; and modulate lipid metabolism. Taken together, this evidence shows that DA plays a key functional role in the developmental transition from the free-living to the parasitic stage of H. contortus by modulating the dauer-like signalling pathway and lipid metabolism. Understanding the intricacies of the DA-DAF-12 system and associated networks in H. contortus and related parasitic nematodes could pave the way to new, nematode-specific treatments.
A multifunctional surfactant catalyst inspired by hydrolases
(American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020-04-01)
The remarkable power of enzymes to undertake catalysis frequently stems from their grouping of multiple, complementary chemical units within close proximity around the enzyme active site. Motivated by this, we report here a bioinspired surfactant catalyst that incorporates a variety of chemical functionalities common to hydrolytic enzymes. The textbook hydrolase active site, the catalytic triad, is modeled by positioning the three groups of the triad (-OH, -imidazole, and -CO2H) on a single, trifunctional surfactant molecule. To support this, we recreate the hydrogen bond donating arrangement of the oxyanion hole by imparting surfactant functionality to a guanidinium headgroup. Self-assembly of these amphiphiles in solution drives the collection of functional headgroups into close proximity around a hydrophobic nano-environment, affording hydrolysis of a model ester at rates that challenge α-chymotrypsin. Structural assessment via NMR and XRD, paired with MD simulation and QM calculation, reveals marked similarities of the co-micelle catalyst to native enzymes.
Nanoengineering multifunctional hybrid interfaces using adhesive glycogen nanoparticles.
(Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020-03-27)
Multifunctional and biodegradable nanostructured hybrid interfaces based on biopolymers are potentially useful in many applications in catalysis, bioanalytical sensing and nanomedicine. Herein, we report the engineering of multifunctional hybrid films by assembling adhesive biological nanoparticles composed of lipoate-conjugated phytoglycogen (L-PG). These nano building blocks possess adhesive properties, arising from their amphiphilic nature, and reactive functional disulfide groups. The assembly of L-PG on surfaces enabled the rapid and conformal deposition of a thin film on substrates of varying chemical composition and wettability. The L-PG films showed negligible cytotoxicity and moderate stability under different conditions but displayed enzyme-mediated degradability. In addition, metal nanoparticles were embedded into the L-PG layers to build up multilayered hybrid films. Specifically, gold and silver nanoparticle-loaded L-PG multilayered films with catalytic and surface-enhanced Raman scattering properties were prepared. Finally, we highlight the versatility of the present approach to engineer multifaceted interfaces for catalysis and sensing applications.
Molecular Organization of the Nanoscale Surface Structures of the Dragonfly Hemianax papuensis Wing Epicuticle
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-07-09)
The molecular organization of the epicuticle (the outermost layer) of insect wings is vital in the formation of the nanoscale surface patterns that are responsible for bestowing remarkable functional properties. Using a combination of spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques, including Synchrotron-sourced Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) depth profiling and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS), we have identified the chemical components that constitute the nanoscale structures on the surface of the wings of the dragonfly, Hemianax papuensis. The major components were identified to be fatty acids, predominantly hexadecanoic acid and octadecanoic acid, and n-alkanes with even numbered carbon chains ranging from C14 to C30. The data obtained from XPS depth profiling, in conjunction with that obtained from GCMS analyses, enabled the location of particular classes of compounds to different regions within the epicuticle. Hexadecanoic acid was found to be a major component of the outer region of the epicuticle, which forms the surface nanostructures, and was also detected in deeper layers along with octadecanoic acid. Aliphatic compounds were detected throughout the epicuticle, and these appeared to form a third discrete layer that was separate from both the inner and outer epicuticles, which has never previously been reported.
The Metabolite Repair Enzyme Phosphoglycolate Phosphatase Regulates Central Carbon Metabolism and Fosmidomycin Sensitivity in Plasmodium falciparum
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2019-11-01)
Members of the haloacid dehalogenase (HAD) family of metabolite phosphatases play an important role in regulating multiple pathways in Plasmodium falciparum central carbon metabolism. We show that the P. falciparum HAD protein, phosphoglycolate phosphatase (PGP), regulates glycolysis and pentose pathway flux in asexual blood stages via detoxifying the damaged metabolite 4-phosphoerythronate (4-PE). Disruption of the P. falciparumpgp gene caused accumulation of two previously uncharacterized metabolites, 2-phospholactate and 4-PE. 4-PE is a putative side product of the glycolytic enzyme, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and its accumulation inhibits the pentose phosphate pathway enzyme, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6-PGD). Inhibition of 6-PGD by 4-PE leads to an unexpected feedback response that includes increased flux into the pentose phosphate pathway as a result of partial inhibition of upper glycolysis, with concomitant increased sensitivity to antimalarials that target pathways downstream of glycolysis. These results highlight the role of metabolite detoxification in regulating central carbon metabolism and drug sensitivity of the malaria parasite.IMPORTANCE The malaria parasite has a voracious appetite, requiring large amounts of glucose and nutrients for its rapid growth and proliferation inside human red blood cells. The host cell is resource rich, but this is a double-edged sword; nutrient excess can lead to undesirable metabolic reactions and harmful by-products. Here, we demonstrate that the parasite possesses a metabolite repair enzyme (PGP) that suppresses harmful metabolic by-products (via substrate dephosphorylation) and allows the parasite to maintain central carbon metabolism. Loss of PGP leads to the accumulation of two damaged metabolites and causes a domino effect of metabolic dysregulation. Accumulation of one damaged metabolite inhibits an essential enzyme in the pentose phosphate pathway, leading to substrate accumulation and secondary inhibition of glycolysis. This work highlights how the parasite coordinates metabolic flux by eliminating harmful metabolic by-products to ensure rapid proliferation in its resource-rich niche.
Functionalised dairy streams: Tailoring protein functionality using sonication and heating
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2018-11-01)
Ultrasound can be used to modify the functional interactions between casein and whey proteins in dairy systems. This study reports on ongoing developments in understanding the effect of ultrasound and heating on milk proteins in systems with modified casein-whey protein ratios (97:3, 80:20 and 50:50), prepared from milk protein concentrates that were fractionated by microfiltration, based on protein size. Heating of concentrated casein streams (9% w/w) at 80.0 °C for up to 9 min resulted in reduced gelation functionality and increased viscosity, even in the absence of added whey proteins. 20 kHz ultrasonication at 20.8 W calorimetric power for 1 min was able to break protein aggregates formed during heating, resulting in improved gelation and reduced viscosity. Interestingly, when heated whey protein was recombined with unheated casein the gelation properties were similar to unheated controls. In contrast, when heat treated casein streams were recombined with unheated whey protein, the gel forming functionality was reduced. This study therefore shows that using specific combinations of heat and/or ultrasound, fractionated dairy streams can be tailored for specific functional outcomes.
A study of the effectiveness and energy efficiency of ultrasonic emulsification
(ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2018-01-07)
Three essential experimental parameters in the ultrasonic emulsification process, namely sonication time, acoustic amplitude and processing volume, were individually investigated, theoretically and experimentally, and correlated to the emulsion droplet sizes produced. The results showed that with a decrease in droplet size, two kinetic regions can be separately correlated prior to reaching a steady state droplet size: a fast size reduction region and a steady state transition region. In the fast size reduction region, the power input and sonication time could be correlated to the volume-mean diameter by a power-law relationship, with separate power-law indices of −1.4 and −1.1, respectively. A proportional relationship was found between droplet size and processing volume. The effectiveness and energy efficiency of droplet size reduction was compared between ultrasound and high-pressure homogenisation (HPH) based on both the effective power delivered to the emulsion and the total electric power consumed. Sonication could produce emulsions across a broad range of sizes, while high-pressure homogenisation was able to produce emulsions at the smaller end of the range. For ultrasonication, the energy efficiency was higher at increased power inputs due to more effective droplet breakage at high ultrasound intensities. For HPH the consumed energy efficiency was improved by operating at higher pressures for fewer passes. At the laboratory scale, the ultrasound system required less electrical power than HPH to produce an emulsion of comparable droplet size. The energy efficiency of HPH is greatly improved at large scale, which may also be true for larger scale ultrasonic reactors.
Ultrasonic encapsulation - A review
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2017-03-01)
Encapsulation of materials in particles dispersed in water has many applications in nutritional foods, imaging, energy production and therapeutic/diagnostic medicine. Ultrasonic technology has been proven effective at creating encapsulating particles and droplets with specific physical and functional properties. Examples include highly stable emulsions, functional polymeric particles with environmental sensitivity, and microspheres for encapsulating drugs for targeted delivery. This article provides an overview of the primary mechanisms arising from ultrasonics responsible for the formation of these materials, highlighting examples that show promise particularly in the development of foods and bioproducts.
The formation of double emulsions in skim milk using minimal food-grade emulsifiers - A comparison between ultrasonic and high pressure homogenisation efficiencies
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2018-02-01)
Double emulsions of W1/O/W2-type were formed in skim milk. Skim milk (W1) was emulsified within sunflower oil (O) using ultrasonication that was in turn emulsified within an external skim milk phase (W2) using ultrasonication or high pressure homogenisation (HPH). The internalised aqueous phase was stabilised within the oil phase using food-grade surfactants: polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) and/or lecithin. Encapsulation yields of the W1/O emulsion into the double emulsion were between 30 and 100%, with increased yields achieved with reduced sonication time or HPH pressure, or increased PGPR or lecithin concentration. Ultrasonication was found to form relatively better monodisperse emulsions that showed greater stability to coalescence than those produced by HPH. Ultrasonication and HPH were found to be translatable in the sense that at a similar specific energy density (∼20 J/g) emulsions with similar size distributions in the range 1-10 μm and encapsulation yields (ca 37 wt%) could be achieved.
Formation of Cheddar cheese analogues using canola oil and ultrasonication – a comparison between single and double emulsion systems
(Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
Cheddar cheese analogues were produced from skim milk in which canola oil was emulsified using ultrasound to form either single (O/W) or double emulsions (W1/O/W2). The double emulsion cheese analogues (DECH) had a distinct microstructure and retained small skim milk droplets, dispersed in the fat phase, for more than 7 months of aging at 4 °C. The single emulsion cheese analogues (SECH), prepared with the same fat content as control cheeses, produced comparable yields of cheese and whey, with similar composition, although the fat droplets were more spherical and showed greater coalescence. The DECH cheese with skim milk encapsulated in the oil droplets was harder, melted less and showed more free fatty acid development over 7 months of aging than the control cheeses. The SECH cheeses were softer than the control and also melted less effectively but did not show greater free fatty acid development.