Ronaldo Mohana-Borges

University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

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Publications (36)141.42 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The NS3 protein is a multifunctional non-structural protein of flaviviruses implicated in the polyprotein processing. The predominance of cytotoxic T cell lymphocytes epitopes on the NS3 protein suggests a protective role of this protein in limiting virus replication. In this work, we studied the antigenicity and immunogenicity of a recombinant NS3 protein of the Dengue virus 2. The full-length NS3 gene was cloned and expressed as a His-tagged fusion protein in Escherichia coli. The pNS3 protein was purified by two chromatography steps. The recombinant NS3 protein was recognized by anti-protease NS3 polyclonal antibody and anti-DENV2 HMAF by Western Blot. This purified protein was able to stimulate the secretion of high levels of gamma interferon and low levels of interleukin-10 and tumor necrosis factor-α in mice splenocytes, suggesting a predominantly Th-1-type T cell response. Immunized BALB/c mice with the purified NS3 protein showed a strong induction of anti-NS3 IgG antibodies, essentially IgG2b, as determined by ELISA. Immunized mice sera with recombinant NS3 protein showed specific recognition of native dengue protein by Western blotting and immunofluorescence techniques. The successfully purified recombinant protein was able to preserv the structural and antigenic determinants of the native dengue protein. The antigenicity shown by the recombinant NS3 protein suggests its possible inclusion into future DENV vaccine preparations.
    Virus Genes 05/2014; · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue affects millions of people worldwide. No specific treatment is currently available, in part due to an incomplete understanding of the viral components interactions with host cellular structures. We tested dengue virus (DENV) capsid protein (C) interaction with low and very low density lipoproteins (LDL and VLDL, respectively) using atomic force microscopy-based force spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, NMR and computational analysis. Data reveal a specific DENV C interaction with VLDL, but not LDL. This binding is potassium-dependent and involves the DENV C N-terminal region, as previously observed for the DENV C-lipid droplets (LDs) interaction. A successful inhibition of DENV C-VLDL binding was achieved with a peptide drug lead. The similarities between LDs and VLDL, and between perilipin 3 (DENV C target on LDs) and ApoE, indicate ApoE as the molecular target on VLDL. We hypothesize that DENV may form lipoviroparticles, which would constitute a novel step on DENV life cycle.
    Nanomedicine: nanotechnology, biology, and medicine 06/2013; · 6.93 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):415-. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supercharged proteins are a recently identified class of proteins that have the ability to efficiently deliver functional macromolecules into mammalian cells. They were first developed as bioengineering products, but were later found in the human proteome. In this work, we show that this class of proteins with unusually high net positive charge is frequently found among viral structural proteins, more specifically among capsid proteins. In particular, the capsid proteins of viruses from the Flaviviridae family have all a very high net charge to molecular weight ratio (> +1.07/kDa), thus qualifying as supercharged proteins. This ubiquity raises the hypothesis that supercharged viral capsid proteins may have biological roles that arise from an intrinsic ability to penetrate cells. Dengue virus capsid protein was selected for a detailed experimental analysis. We showed that this protein is able to deliver functional nucleic acids into mammalian cells. The same result was obtained with two isolated domains of this protein, one of them being able to translocate lipid bilayers independently of endocytic routes. Nucleic acids such as siRNA and plasmids were delivered fully functional into cells. The results raise the possibility that the ability to penetrate cells is part of the native biological functions of some viral capsid proteins.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e81450. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue constitutes a global health concern. The clinical manifestation of this disease varies from mild febrile illness to severe hemorrhage and/or fatal hypovolemic shock. Flavivirus nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a secreted glycoprotein that is displayed on the surface of infected cells but is absent in viral particles. NS1 accumulates at high levels in the plasma of dengue virus (DENV)-infected patients, and previous reports highlight its involvement in immune evasion, dengue severity, liver dysfunction and pathogenesis. In the present study, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen to search for DENV2 NS1-interacting partners using a human liver cDNA library. We identified fifty genes, including human complement component 1 (C1q), which was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation, ELISA and immunofluorescence assays, revealing for the first time the direct binding of this protein to NS1. Furthermore, the majority of the identified genes encode proteins that are secreted into the plasma of patients, and most of these proteins are classified as acute-phase proteins (APPs), such as plasminogen, haptoglobin, hemopexin, α-2-HS-glycoprotein, retinol binding protein 4, transferrin, and C4. The results presented here confirm the direct interaction of DENV NS1 with a key protein of the complement system and suggest a role for this complement protein in the pathogenesis of DENV infection.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e57514. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High mobility group box (HMGB) proteins are abundant nonhistone proteins found in all eukaryotic nuclei and are capable of binding/bending DNA. The human HMGB1 is composed of two binding motifs, known as Boxes A and B, are L-shaped alpha-helix structures, followed by a random-coil acidic tail that consists of 30 Asp and Glu residues. This work aimed at evaluating the role of the acidic tail of human HMGB1 in protein stability and DNA interactions. For this purpose, we cloned, expressed and purified HMGB1 and its tailless form, HMGB1ΔC, in E. coli strain. Tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichroism (CD) experiments clearly showed an increase in protein stability promoted by the acidic tail under different conditions, such as the presence of the chemical denaturant guanidine hydrochloride (Gdn.HCl), high temperature and low pH. Folding intermediates found at low pH for both proteins were denatured only in the presence of chemical denaturant, thus showing a relatively high stability. The acidic tail did not alter the DNA-binding properties of the protein, although it enhanced the DNA bending capability from 76° (HMGB1ΔC) to 91° (HMGB1), as measured using the fluorescence resonance energy transfer technique. A model of DNA bending in vivo was proposed, which might help to explain the interaction of HMGB1 with DNA and other proteins, i.e., histones, and the role of that protein in chromatin remodeling.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e79572. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue virus infection is a serious public health problem in endemic areas of the world where 2.5 billion people live. Clinical manifestations of the Dengue infection range from a mild fever to fatal cases of hemorrhagic fever. Although being the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral infection in the world, until now no strategies are available for effective prevention or control of Dengue infection. In this scenario, the development of compounds that specifically inhibit viral replication with minimal effects to the human hosts will have a substantial effect in minimizing the symptoms of the disease and help to prevent viral transmission in the affected population. The aim of this study was to screen compounds with potential activity against dengue virus from a library of synthetic naphthoquinones. Several 1,2- and 1,4-pyran naphthoquinones were synthesized by a three-component reaction of lawsone, aldehyde (formaldehyde or arylaldehydes) and different dienophiles adequately substituted. These compounds were tested for the ability to inhibit the ATPase activity of the viral NS3 enzyme in in vitro assays and the replication of dengue virus in cultured cells. We have identified two 1,4-pyran naphthoquinones, which inhibited dengue virus replication in mammal cells by 99.0% and three others that reduced the dengue virus ATPase activity of NS3 by two-fold in in vitro assays.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82504. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Diego Allonso, Susana Vázquez, Maria G Guzmán, Ronaldo Mohana-Borges
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the availability of many methods for rapid and early diagnosis of dengue, there is still a need to develop new approaches that not only combine low cost, specificity, and sensitivity, but also are capable of accurately detecting secondary infection in the early stages of the disease. We report the potential of the high mobility group box 1 protein as an auxiliary biomarker for early dengue diagnosis. We tested a 205-sample serum panel that included negative and positive samples from primary and secondary dengue cases, as well as samples from patients with dengue-like symptoms. We observed that high mobility group box 1 protein was generally detected only in dengue-positive samples for persons with primary and secondary infections. These results highlight the possibility of using this endogenous molecule as an auxiliary biomarker to aid in dengue detection and improve current methods for early diagnosis of dengue.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2012; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue virus (DENV) is described as the most prevalent arbovirus, infecting at least 50million people worldwide. During infection, an intricate network of cytokines, a group of substances closely related to disease severity, is released. Recently, it was observed that both DENV-infected epithelial cells undergoing necrosis and dendritic cells (DCs) are able to release a non-classical pro-inflammatory cytokine called high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). The aim of this study was to evaluate whether HMGB1 levels were altered in DENV-infected patients' sera and whether this augment correlated with disease pathogenesis. Samples from DENV-infected patients were collected from different days after the onset of symptoms and from patients experiencing primary or secondary infection. The circulating HMGB1 concentration was measured in healthy blood donors as well as in donors with primary and secondary cases of DENV infection by a quantitative capture ELISA assay. We observed that the HMGB1 concentration in DENV-infected patients was significantly higher than in healthy patients. HMGB1 levels reached the highest concentration in the first day after the onset of symptoms and decreased throughout the course of the infection. Moreover, we observed that the HMGB1 concentration was augmented during secondary infection as well. We hypothesize that HMGB1 levels correlate with disease pathogenesis, specifically with the clinical symptoms and secondary infection, implicating a pro-inflammatory cytokine role for HMGB1 in DENV infection. This is the first report assessing the circulating levels of HMGB1 during DENV infection.
    Journal of clinical virology: the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology 08/2012; 55(3):214-9. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue is the major arthropod-borne human viral disease, for which no vaccine or specific treatment is available. We used NMR, zeta potential measurements and atomic force microscopy to study the structural features of the interaction between dengue virus C (capsid) protein and LDs (lipid droplets), organelles crucial for infectious particle formation. C protein-binding sites to LD were mapped, revealing a new function for a conserved segment in the N-terminal disordered region and indicating that conformational selection is involved in recognition. The results suggest that the positively charged N-terminal region of C protein prompts the interaction with negatively charged LDs, after which a conformational rearrangement enables the access of the central hydrophobic patch to the LD surface. Taken together, the results allowed the design of a peptide with inhibitory activity of C protein-LD binding, paving the way for new drug development approaches against dengue.
    Biochemical Journal 03/2012; 444(3):405-15. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mosquito Aedes aegypti can spread the dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. Thus, the search for key molecules involved in the mosquito survival represents today a promising vector control strategy. High Mobility Group Box (HMGB) proteins are essential nuclear factors that maintain the high-order structure of chromatin, keeping eukaryotic cells viable. Outside the nucleus, secreted HMGB proteins could alert the innate immune system to foreign antigens and trigger the initiation of host defenses. In this work, we cloned and functionally characterized the HMGB1 protein from Aedes aegypti (AaHMGB1). The AaHMGB1 protein typically consists of two HMG-box DNA binding domains and an acidic C-terminus. Interestingly, AaHMGB1 contains a unique alanine/glutamine-rich (AQ-rich) C-terminal region that seems to be exclusive of dipteran HMGB proteins. AaHMGB1 is localized to the cell nucleus, mainly associated with heterochromatin. Circular dichroism analyses of AaHMGB1 or the C-terminal truncated proteins revealed α-helical structures. We showed that AaHMGB1 can effectively bind and change the topology of DNA, and that the AQ-rich and the C-terminal acidic regions can modulate its ability to promote DNA supercoiling, as well as its preference to bind supercoiled DNA. AaHMGB1 is phosphorylated by PKA and PKC, but not by CK2. Importantly, phosphorylation of AaHMGB1 by PKA or PKC completely abolishes its DNA bending activity. Thus, our study shows that a functional HMGB1 protein occurs in Aedes aegypt and we provide the first description of a HMGB1 protein containing an AQ-rich regulatory C-terminus.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40192. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is among the most important flaviviruses. It has a serine protease which is important for viral replication and this enzyme constitutes a suitable target for new anti-retroviral drugs. Herein we disclose a series of amide and ester peptide mimetic inhibitors of serine proteases, all of them obtained via coupling reactions of isomannide derivatives with N-protected amino acids. The arginine derivative 19 showed 45% of inhibition of NS3/4A serine protease at 100 μM and molecular modeling studies had shown that 19 interacted with the active site of this enzyme.
    Letters in Organic Chemistry 01/2012; 9:239-249. · 0.67 Impact Factor
  • FEBS Journal 01/2012; 279:10-11. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue virus (DENV) affects millions of people, causing more than 20,000 deaths annually. No effective treatment for the disease caused by DENV infection is currently available, partially due to the lack of knowledge on the basic aspects of the viral life cycle, including the molecular basis of the interaction between viral components and cellular compartments. Here, we characterized the properties of the interaction between the DENV capsid (C) protein and hepatic lipid droplets (LDs), which was recently shown to be essential for the virus replication cycle. Zeta potential analysis revealed a negative surface charge of LDs, with an average surface charge of -19 mV. The titration of LDs with C protein led to an increase of the surface charge, which reached a plateau at +13.7 mV, suggesting that the viral protein-LD interaction exposes the protein cationic surface to the aqueous environment. Atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based force spectroscopy measurements were performed by using C protein-functionalized AFM tips. The C protein-LD interaction was found to be strong, with a single (un)binding force of 33.6 pN. This binding was dependent on high intracellular concentrations of potassium ions but not sodium. The inhibition of Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase in DENV-infected cells resulted in the dissociation of C protein from LDs and a 50-fold inhibition of infectious virus production but not of RNA replication, indicating a biological relevance for the potassium-dependent interaction. Limited proteolysis of the LD surface impaired the C protein-LD interaction, and force measurements in the presence of specific antibodies indicated that perilipin 3 (TIP47) is the major DENV C protein ligand on the surface of LDs.
    Journal of Virology 11/2011; 86(4):2096-108. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Crithidia deanei is a trypanosomatid protozoan that harbours a symbiotic bacterium. The partners maintain a mutualistic relationship, thus constituting an excellent model for studying metabolic exchanges between the host and the symbiont, the origin of organelles and cellular evolution. According to molecular analysis, symbionts of different trypanosomatid species share high identity and descend from a common ancestor, a β-proteobacterium of the genus Bordetella. The endosymbiont is surrounded by two membranes, like Gram-negative bacteria, but its envelope presents special features, since phosphatidylcholine is a major membrane component and the peptidoglycan layer is highly reduced, as described in other obligate intracellular bacteria. Like the process that generated mitochondria and plastids, the endosymbiosis in trypanosomatids depends on pathways that facilitate the intensive metabolic exchanges between the bacterium and the host protozoan. A search of the annotated symbiont genome database identified one sequence with identity to porin-encoding genes of the genus Bordetella. Considering that the symbiont outer membrane has a great accessibility to cytoplasm host factors, it was important to characterize this single porin-like protein using biochemical, molecular, computational and ultrastructural approaches. Antiserum against the recombinant porin-like molecule revealed that it is mainly located in the symbiont envelope. Secondary structure analysis and comparative modelling predicted the protein 3D structure as an 18-domain β-barrel, which is consistent with porin channels. Electrophysiological measurements showed that the porin displays a slight preference for cations over anions. Taken together, the data presented herein suggest that the C. deanei endosymbiont porin is phylogenetically and structurally similar to those described in Gram-negative bacteria, representing a diffusion channel that might contribute to the exchange of nutrients and metabolic precursors between the symbiont and its host cell.
    Microbiology 07/2011; 157(Pt 10):2818-30. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The non-structural 1 (NS1) protein plays an important role in dengue diagnosis because it has been detected as a soluble serum antigen in both primary and secondary infections. The NS1 protein was expressed in Escherichia coli cells, and the efficiency of four different refolding protocols was tested. All of the protocols generated dimeric NS1 in a conformation similar to that of the protein expressed by eukaryotic cells. A polyclonal antibody produced from the properly folded E. coli recombinant NS1 (rNS1) protein proved to be a useful tool for the diagnosis of Dengue virus because it detected 100% of the Dengue virus 2 (DENV2) in infected patients' sera and 60% of the DENV IgM-positive sera not detected by commercial NS1-based diagnostic kits. These data suggest a high-efficiency method for correctly folding rNS1 that maintains its structural and immunogenic properties. In addition, a detection method using the polyclonal antibody against correctly folded rNS1 seemed to be more sensitive and efficient for NS1 detection in serum, highlighting its usefulness for developing a high-sensitivity diagnostic kit.
    Journal of virological methods 07/2011; 175(1):109-16. · 2.13 Impact Factor
  • Journal of virology. 01/2011;
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2011; 100(3). · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dengue non-structural 3 (NS3) is a multifunctional protein, containing a serino-protease domain, located at the N-terminal portion, and helicase, NTPase and RTPase domains present in the C-terminal region. This protein is considered the main target for CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses during dengue infection, which may be involved in protection. However, few studies have been undertaken evaluating the use of this protein as a protective antigen against dengue, as well as other flavivirus. In the present work, we investigate the protective efficacy of DNA vaccines based on the NS3 protein from DENV2. Different recombinant plasmids were constructed, encoding either the full-length NS3 protein or only its functional domains (protease and helicase), fused or not to a signal peptide (t-PA). The recombinant proteins were successfully expressed in transfected BHK-21 cells, and only plasmids encoding the t-PA signal sequence mediated protein secretion. Balb/c mice were immunized with the different DNA vaccines and challenged with a lethal dose of DENV2. Most animals immunized with plasmids encoding the full-length NS3 or the helicase domain survived challenge, regardless of the presence of the t-PA. However, some mice presented clinical signs of infection with high morbidity (hind leg paralysis and hunched posture), mainly in animal groups immunized with the DNA vaccines based on the helicase domain. On the other hand, inoculation with plasmids encoding the protease domain did not induce any protection, since mortality and morbidity rates in these mouse groups were similar to those detected in the control animals. The cellular immune response was analyzed by ELISPOT with a specific-CD8+ T cell NS3 peptide. Results revealed that the DNA vaccines based on the full-length protein induced the production of INF-γ, thus suggesting the involvement of this branch of the immune system in the protection.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(10):e25685. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cestodes constitute important but understudied human and veterinary parasites. Their surfaces are rich in carbohydrates, on which very little structural information is available. The tissue-dwelling larva (hydatid cyst) of the cestode Echinococcus granulosus is outwardly protected by a massive layer of carbohydrate-rich extracellular matrix, termed the laminated layer. The monosaccharide composition of this layer suggests that its major carbohydrate components are exclusively mucin-type O-glycans. We have purified these glycans after their release from the crude laminated layer and obtained by MS and NMR the complete structure of 10 of the most abundant components. The structures, between two and six residues in length, encompass a limited number of biosynthetic motifs. The mucin cores 1 and 2 are either nondecorated or elongated by a chain of Galpbeta1-3 residues. This chain can be capped by a single Galpalpha1-4 residue, such capping becoming more dominant with increasing chain size. In addition, the core 2 N-acetylglucosamine residue is in cases substituted with the disaccharide Galpalpha1-4Galpbeta1-4, giving rise to the blood P(1)-antigen motif. Larger, also related, glycans exist, reaching at least 18 residues in size. The glycans described are related but larger than those previously described from an Echinococcus multilocularis mucin [Hulsmeier, A. J., et al. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 5742-5748]. Our results reveal that the E. granulosus cyst exposes to the host only a few different major carbohydrate motifs. These motifs are composed essentially of galactose units and include the elongation by (Galpbeta1-3)(n) and the capping by Galpalpha1-4, novel in animal mucin-type O-glycans.
    Biochemistry 10/2009; 48(49):11678-91. · 3.38 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

365 Citations
141.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2013
    • University of Lisbon
      • Institute of Molecular Medicine
      Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1999–2013
    • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
      • • Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho (IBCCF)
      • • Departamento de Bioquímica
      Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2012
    • Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute
      • Departamento de Virología
      La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
  • 2004–2008
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • • Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
      • • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
      La Jolla, California, United States
  • 2006
    • Universidade Estácio de Sá
      Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil