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Caveolins mediate the formation of caveolae, which are small omega-shaped membrane invaginations involved in a variety of cellular processes. There are three caveolin isoforms, the third of which (Cav3) is expressed in smooth and skeletal muscles. Mutations in Cav3 cause a variety of human muscular diseases. In this work, we characterize the secondary structure, dynamics, and topology of the monomeric form of the full-length lipidated protein. Cav3 consists of a series of membrane-embedded or surface-associated helical elements connected by extramembrane connecting loops or disordered domains. Our results also reveal that the N-terminal domain undergoes a large scale pH-mediated topological rearrangement between soluble and membrane-anchored forms. Considering that roughly one-third of pathogenic mutations in Cav3 influence charged residues located in this domain, we hypothesize that this transition is likely to be relevant to the molecular basis of Cav3-linked diseases. These results provide insight into the structure of Cav3 and set the stage for mechanistic investigations of the effects of pathogenic mutations.
Copyright © 2016 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
An implantable hemofilter for the treatment of kidney failure depends critically on the transport characteristics of the membrane and the biocompatibility of the membrane, cartridge, and blood conduits. A novel membrane with slit-shaped pores optimizes the trade-off between permeability and selectivity, enabling implanted therapy. Sustained (3-8) day function of an implanted parallel-plate hemofilter with minimal anticoagulation was achieved by considering biocompatibility at the subnanometer scale of chemical interactions and the millimeter scale of blood fluid dynamics. A total of 400 nm-thick polysilicon flat sheet membranes with 5-8 nm × 2 micron slit-shaped pores were surface-modified with polyethylene glycol. Hemofilter cartridge geometries were refined based on computational fluid dynamics models of blood flow. In an uncontrolled pilot study, silicon filters were implanted in six class A dogs. Cartridges were connected to the cardiovascular system by anastamoses to the aorta and inferior vena cava and filtrate was drained to collection pouches positioned in the peritoneum. Pain medicine and acetylsalicylic acid were administered twice daily until the hemofilters were harvested on postoperative days 3 (n = 2), 4 (n = 2), 5 (n = 1), and 8 (n = 1). No hemofilters were thrombosed. Animals treated for 5 and 8 days had microscopic fractures in the silicon nanopore membranes and 20-50 ml of transudative (albumin sieving coefficient θalb ~ 0.5 - 0.7) fluid in the collection pouches at the time of explant. Shorter experimental durations (3-4 days) resulted in filtration volumes similar to predictions based on mean arterial pressures and membrane hydraulic permeability and (θalb ~ 0.2 - 0.3), similar to preimplantation measurements. In conclusion, a detailed mechanistic and materials science attention to blood-material interactions allows implanted hemofilters to resist thrombosis. Additional testing is needed to determine optimal membrane characteristics and identify limiting factors in long-term implantation.
Silicon nanopore membranes (SNMs) with compact geometry and uniform pore size distribution have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for hemofiltration. These advantages could potentially be used for hemodialysis. Here, we present an initial evaluation of the SNM's mechanical robustness, diffusive clearance, and hemocompatibility in a parallel plate configuration. Mechanical robustness of the SNM was demonstrated by exposing membranes to high flows (200 ml/min) and pressures (1,448 mm Hg). Diffusive clearance was performed in an albumin solution and whole blood with blood and dialysate flow rates of 25 ml/min. Hemocompatibility was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry after 4 hours in an extracorporeal porcine model. The pressure drop across the flow cell was 4.6 mm Hg at 200 ml/min. Mechanical testing showed that SNM could withstand up to 775.7 mm Hg without fracture. Urea clearance did not show an appreciable decline in blood versus albumin solution. Extracorporeal studies showed blood was successfully driven via the arterial-venous pressure differential without thrombus formation. Bare silicon showed increased cell adhesion with a 4.1-fold increase and 1.8-fold increase over polyethylene glycol (PEG)-coated surfaces for tissue plasminogen factor (t-PA) and platelet adhesion (CD41), respectively. These initial results warrant further design and development of a fully scaled SNM-based parallel plate dialyzer for renal replacement therapy.
Forisomes are protein polymers found in leguminous plants that have the remarkable ability to undergo reversible "muscle-like" contractions in the presence of divalent cations and in extreme pH environments. To gain insight into the molecular basis of forisome structure and assembly, we used confocal laser scanning microscopy to monitor the assembly of fluorescence-labeled artificial forisomes in real time, revealing two distinct assembly processes involving either fiber elongation or fiber alignment. We also used scanning and transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction to investigate the ultrastructure of forisomes, finding that individual fibers are arranged into compact fibril bundles that disentangle with minimal residual order in the presence of calcium ions. To demonstrate the potential applications of artificial forisomes, we created hybrid protein bodies from forisome subunits fused to the B-domain of staphylococcal protein A. This allowed the functionalization of the artificial forisomes with antibodies that were then used to target forisomes to specific regions on a substrate, providing a straightforward approach to develop forisome-based technical devices with precise configurations. The functional contractile properties of forisomes are also better preserved when they are immobilized via affinity reagents rather than by direct contact to the substrate. Artificial forisomes produced in plants and yeast therefore provide an ideal model for the investigation of forisome structure and assembly and for the design and testing of tailored artificial forisomes for technical applications.
Propofol is a widely used, potent intravenous anesthetic for ambulatory anesthesia and long-term sedation. The target steady state concentration of propofol in blood is 0.25-10 μg/mL (1-60 μM). Although propofol can be oxidized electrochemically, monitoring its concentration in biological matrixes is very challenging due to (i) low therapeutic concentration, (ii) high concentrations of easily oxidizable interfering compounds in the sample, and (iii) fouling of the working electrode. In this work we report the performance characteristics of an organic film coated glassy carbon (GC) electrode for continuous monitoring of propofol. The organic film (a plasticized PVC membrane) improved the detection limit and the selectivity of the voltammetric sensor due to the large difference in hydrophobicity between the analyte (propofol) and interfering compounds of the sample, e.g., ascorbic acid (AA) or p-acetamidophenol (APAP). Furthermore, the membrane coating prevented electrode fouling and served as a protective barrier against electrode passivation by proteins. Studies revealed that sensitivity and selectivity of the voltammetric method is greatly influenced by the composition of the PVC membrane. The detection limit of the membrane-coated sensor for propofol in PBS is reported as 0.03 ± 0.01 μM. In serum-like electrolyte solutions containing physiologically relevant levels of albumin (5%) and 3 mM AA and 1 mM APAP as interfering agents, the detection limit was 0.5 ± 0.4 μM. Both values are below the target concentrations used clinically during anesthesia or sedation.
Using the abundance of available electrons generated by immobilized multilayers of the photoactive protein complex Photosystem I (PSI), we have photoreduced platinum particles that are catalytically active for the H(2)/H(+) redox couple. The resulting platinized PSI films were optimized using electrochemical measurements and then characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). These results demonstrate a novel method for generating immobilized platinum catalysts that are readily available on the surface of a photoactive PSI multilayer.
PURPOSE - There is no consensus on the optimal method to measure delivered dialysis dose in patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). The use of direct dialysate-side quantification of dose in preference to the use of formal blood-based urea kinetic modeling and simplified blood urea nitrogen (BUN) methods has been recommended for dose assessment in critically-ill patients with AKI. We evaluate six different blood-side and dialysate-side methods for dose quantification.
METHODS - We examined data from 52 critically-ill patients with AKI requiring dialysis. All patients were treated with pre-dilution CVVHDF and regional citrate anticoagulation. Delivered dose was calculated using blood-side and dialysis-side kinetics. Filter function was assessed during the entire course of therapy by calculating BUN to dialysis fluid urea nitrogen (FUN) ratios q/12 hours.
RESULTS - Median daily treatment time was 1,413 min (1,260-1,440). The median observed effluent volume per treatment was 2,355 mL/h (2,060-2,863) (p<0.001). Urea mass removal rate was 13.0 ± 7.6 mg/min. Both EKR (r²=0.250; p<0.001) and KD (r²=0.409; p<0.001) showed a good correlation with actual solute removal. EKR and KD presented a decline in their values that was related to the decrease in filter function assessed by the FUN/BUN ratio.
CONCLUSIONS - Effluent rate (mL/kg/h) can only empirically provide an estimated of dose in CRRT. For clinical practice, we recommend that the delivered dose should be measured and expressed as KD. EKR also constitutes a good method for dose comparisons over time and across modalities.
Time-dependent laser reflectometry measurements are presented as a means to rigorously characterize analyte diffusion dynamics of small molecules from mesoporous silicon (PSi) films for drug delivery and membrane physics applications. Calculations based on inclusion of a spatially and temporally dependent solute concentration profile in a one-dimensional Fickian diffusion flow model are performed to determine the diffusion coefficients for the selected prototypical polar species, sucrose (340 Da), exiting from PSi films. The diffusion properties of the molecules depend on both PSi pore size and film thickness. For films with average pore diameters between 10-30 nm and film thicknesses between 300-900 nm, the sucrose diffusion coefficient can be tuned between approximately 100 and 550 μm2/s. Extensions of the real-time measurement and modeling approach for determining the diffusivity of small molecules that strongly interact with and corrode the internal surfaces of PSi films are also discussed.
The nearly 400000 American patients on dialysis suffer high cardiovascular and infectious mortality, but there is now evidence that this morbid phenotype can be rescued by intensive dialytic therapy. Self-care dialysis at home is limited by patient fears about skill and safety. An implanted artificial kidney would provide the benefits of intensive therapy while avoiding the focal points of patient concern. Hollow fiber polymer membranes and dialytic waste removal are lifesaving innovations but are difficult to adapt to implantable therapies. Biomimetic membranes and living cells can replicate the native kidney's strategy for waste removal. Three key technology developments are necessary for implementation of an implantable artificial kidney: high efficiency ultrafiltration membranes, control of blood-materials interactions such as thrombosis and fouling, and stable differentiated function of renal proximal tubule cells in an engineered construct. There has been significant progress in demonstrating proof-of-concept experiments in each key technology area.
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) belongs to a large class of toxic proteins that act by enzymatically modifying cytosolic substrates within eukaryotic cells. The process by which a catalytic moiety is transferred across a membrane to enter the cytosol is not understood for any such toxin. BoNT is known to form pH-dependent pores important for the translocation of the catalytic domain into the cytosol. As a first step toward understanding this process, we investigated the mechanism by which the translocation domain of BoNT associates with a model liposome membrane. We report conditions that allow pH-dependent proteoliposome formation and identify a sequence at the translocation domain C terminus that is protected from proteolytic degradation in the context of the proteoliposome. Fluorescence quenching experiments suggest that residues within this sequence move to a hydrophobic environment upon association with liposomes. EPR analyses of spin-labeled mutants reveal major conformational changes in a distinct region of the structure upon association and indicate the formation of an oligomeric membrane-associated intermediate. Together, these data support a model of how BoNT orients with membranes in response to low pH.