• Characteristics, chemical compositions and biological activities of propolis from Al-Bahah, Saudi Arabia.

      Elnakady, Yasser A; Rushdi, Ahmed I; Franke, Raimo; Abutaha, Nael; Ebaid, Hossam; Baabbad, Mohannad; Omar, Mohamed O M; Al Ghamdi, Ahmad A; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-06)
      Propolis has been used to treat several diseases since ancient times, and is an important source of bioactive natural compounds and drug derivatives. These properties have kept the interest of investigators around the world, leading to the investigation of the chemical and biological properties and application of propolis. In this report, the chemical constituents that are responsible for the anticancer activities of propolis were analyzed. The propolis was sourced from Al-Baha in the southern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Standard protocols for chemical fractionation and bioactivity-guided chemical analysis were used to identify the bio-active ethyl acetate fraction. The extraction was performed in methanol and then analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major compounds are triterpenoids, with a relative concentration of 74.0%; steroids, with a relative concentration of 9.8%; and diterpenoids, with a relative concentration of 7.9%. The biological activity was characterized using different approaches and cell-based assays. Propolis was found to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner through apoptosis. Immunofluorescence staining with anti-α-tubulin antibodies and cell cycle analysis indicated that tubulin and/or microtubules are the cellular targets of the L-acetate fraction. This study demonstrates the importance of Saudi propolis as anti-cancer drug candidates.
    • Isolation, Co-Crystallization and Structure-Based Characterization of Anabaenopeptins as Highly Potent Inhibitors of Activated Thrombin Activatable Fibrinolysis Inhibitor (TAFIa).

      Schreuder, Herman; Liesum, Alexander; Lönze, Petra; Stump, Heike; Hoffmann, Holger; Schiell, Matthias; Kurz, Michael; Toti, Luigi; Bauer, Armin; Kallus, Christopher; et al. (2016-09-08)
      Mature thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFIa) is a carboxypeptidase that stabilizes fibrin clots by removing C-terminal arginines and lysines from partially degraded fibrin. Inhibition of TAFIa stimulates the degradation of fibrin clots and may help to prevent thrombosis. Applying a lead finding approach based on literature-mining, we discovered that anabaenopeptins, cyclic peptides produced by cyanobacteria, were potent inhibitors of TAFIa with IC50 values as low as 1.5 nM. We describe the isolation and structure elucidation of 20 anabaenopeptins, including 13 novel congeners, as well as their pronounced structure-activity relationships (SAR) with respect to inhibition of TAFIa. Crystal structures of the anabaenopeptins B, C and F bound to the surrogate protease carboxypeptidase B revealed the binding modes of these large (~850 Da) compounds in detail and explained the observed SAR, i.e. the strong dependence of the potency on a basic (Arg, Lys) exocyclic residue that addressed the S1' binding pocket, and a broad tolerance towards substitutions in the pentacyclic ring that acted as a plug of the active site.
    • Use of Single-Frequency Impedance Spectroscopy to Characterize the Growth Dynamics of Biofilm Formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      van Duuren, Jozef B J H; Müsken, Mathias; Karge, Bianka; Tomasch, Jürgen; Wittmann, Christoph; Häussler, Susanne; Brönstrup, Mark (2017-07-12)
      Impedance spectroscopy has been applied in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cytometry as a label-free method for the investigation of adherent cells. In this paper, its use for characterizing the growth dynamics of P. aeruginosa biofilms is described and compared to crystal violet staining and confocal microscopy. The method allows monitoring the growth of biofilm-forming P. aeruginosa in a continuous and label-free manner over a period of 72 h in a 96 well plate format. Impedance curves obtained for P. aeruginosa PA14 wild type and mutant strains with a transposon insertion in pqsA and pelA genes exhibited distinct phases. We propose that the slope of the declining curve following a maximum at ca. 35-40 h is a measure of biofilm formation. Transplant experiments with P. aeruginosa biofilms and paraffin suggest that the impedance also reflects pellicle formation at the liquid-air interface, a barely considered contributor to impedance. Finally, the impairment of biofilm formation upon treatment of cultures with L-arginine and with ciprofloxacin, tobramycin and meropenem was studied by single frequency impedance spectroscopy. We suggest that these findings qualify impedance spectroscopy as an additional technique to characterize biofilm formation and its modulation by small molecule drugs.