[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In continuation with our studies concerning the synthesis, characterization and biological evaluation of nucleolipidic Ru(iii) complexes, a novel design for this family of potential anticancer agents is presented here. As a model compound, a new uridine-based nucleolipid has been prepared, named HoUrRu, following a simple and versatile synthetic procedure, and converted into a Ru(iii) salt. Stable formulations of this highly functionalized Ru(iii) complex have been obtained by co-aggregation with either the zwitterionic lipid POPC or the cationic DOTAP, which have been subjected to an in-depth microstructural characterization, including DLS, SANS and EPR measurements. The in vitro bioactivity profile of HoUrRu, as a pure compound or in formulation with POPC or DOTAP, reveals high antiproliferative activity against MCF-7 and WiDr human cancer cell lines.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An efficient drug delivery strategy is presented for novel anticancer amphiphilic ruthenium anionic complexes, based on the formation of stable nanoparticles with the cationic lipid 1,2-dioleyl-3-trimethylammoniumpropane chloride (DOTAP). This strategy is aimed at ensuring high ruthenium content within the formulation, long half-life in physiological media, and enhanced cell uptake. An in-depth microstructural characterization of the aggregates obtained mixing the ruthenium complex and the phospholipid carrier at 50/50 molar ratio is realized by combining a variety of techniques, including Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS), Neutron Reflectivity (NR), Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and Zeta Potential measurements. The in vitro bioactivity profile of the Ru-loaded nanoparticles is investigated on human and non-human cancer cell lines, showing IC50 values in the low µM range against MCF-7 and WiDr cells, i.e. proving to be 10-20-fold more active than AziRu, a previously synthesized NAMI-A analog, used for control. Fluorescence microscopy studies demonstrate that the amphiphilic Ru-complex/DOTAP formulations, added with rhodamine-B, are efficiently and rapidly incorporated in human MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells. The intracellular fate of the amphiphilic Ru-complexes was investigated in the same in vitro model by means of an ad hoc designed fluorescently-tagged analog, which exhibited a marked tendency to accumulate within or in proximity of the nuclei.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The binding properties of AziRu, a ruthenium(III) complex with high antiproliferative activity, toward a hen egg white lysozyme have been investigated by X-ray crystallography and Raman microscopy. The data provide clear evidence on the mechanism of AziRu-protein adduct formation and of ligand exchange in the crystal state.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutual diffusion coefficients have been measured for several average compositions of the system sodium cholate - sodium deoxycholate - water at 25 °C. The experiments have been grouped in different sets having constant concentration of one component and variable concentration of the other one. Following this approach, it has been found that the trends of the main and cross term diffusion coefficients can be interpreted on the basis of the diffusion and equilibrium results of similar experiments performed on the two binary systems sodium cholate - water and sodium deoxycholate - water. Implications of the presented results in the transport of lipids operated by bile salt aggregates are commented. The method proposed in this work, able to connect the diffusivities of an n-component system to those of the related n-1 subsystems, can be extended to obtain qualitative prediction on the diffusion coefficient trends for mixtures of other surfactants, of both industrial and biological interest.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 12/2012; · 3.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishing structure-property relationships in the black insoluble eumelanins, the key determinants of human pigmentation and skin photoprotective system, is a considerable conceptual and experimental challenge in the current drive for elucidation of the biological roles of these biopolymers and their application as advanced materials for organoelectronics. Herein, we report a new breakthrough toward this goal by the first detailed investigation on the nanoscale level of the oxidative polymerization of 5,6-dihydroxyindole (DHI), a model process of eumelanin synthesis. On the basis of a combined use of spectrophotometry, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) investigations, it was possible to unveil the dynamics of the aggregation process before precipitation, the key relationships with visible light absorption and the shape of fundamental aggregates. The results indicated a polymerization mechanism of the type: Polymer(n) + DHI(x) = Polymer(n+x), where DHI(x) indicates monomer, dimer, or low oligomers (x ≤ 5). During polymerization, visible absorption increases rapidly, reaching a plateau. Particle growth proceeds slowly, with formation of 2-D structures ~55 nm thick, until precipitation occurs, that is, when large aggregates with a maximum hydrodynamic radius (R(h)) of ~1200 nm are formed. Notably, markedly smaller R(h) values, up to ~110 nm, were determined in the presence of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) that was shown to be an efficient aggregation-preventing agent for polymerizing DHI ensuring water solubilization. Finally, it is shown that DHI monomer can be efficiently and partially irreversibly depleted from aqueous solutions by the addition of eumelanin suspensions. This behavior is suggested to reflect oxidant-independent competing pathways of polymer synthesis and buildup via monomer conversion on the active aggregate surface contributing to particle growth. Besides filling crucial gaps in DHI polymerization, these results support the attractive hypothesis that eumelanins may behave as a peculiar example of living biopolymers. The potential of PVA as a powerful tool for solution chemistry-based investigations of eumelanin supramolecular organization and for technological manipulation purposes is underscored.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new organometallic ruthenium complex, named AziRu, along with three amphiphilic nucleoside-based ruthenium complexes, ToThyRu, HoThyRu and DoHuRu, incorporating AziRu in their skeleton, have been synthesized, stabilized in POPC phospholipid formulations and studied for their antineoplastic activity. Self-aggregation behavior of these complexes was investigated, showing that the three synthesized AziRu derivatives able to form liposomes and, under specific conditions, elongated micelles. The formulations prepared in POPC proved to be stable for months and showed high in vitro antiproliferative activity. The here described results open new scenarios in the design of innovative transition metal-based supramolecular systems for anticancer drugs vectorization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel ruthenium complex, linked to a cholesterol-containing nucleolipid (named ToThyCholRu), stabilized by lipid aggregates for antineoplastic therapy is presented. In order to retard the degradation kinetics typically observed for several ruthenium-based antineoplastic agents, ToThyCholRu is incorporated into a liposome bilayer formed by POPC. The resulting nanoaggregates contain up to 15% in moles of the ruthenium complex, and are shown to be stable for several weeks. The liposomes host the ruthenium-nucleolipid complex with the metal ion surrounded by POPC lipid headgroups and the steroid moiety inserted in the more external acyl chain region. These ruthenium-containing liposomes are more effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells than a model NAMI-A-like ruthenium complex, prepared for a direct evaluation of their anti-proliferative activity. These results introduce new perspectives in the design of innovative transition-metal-based supramolecular systems for anticancer drug vectorization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An amphiphilic ruthenium-based molecule (DOPURu) with potential antineoplastic activity has been synthesized, and its aggregation behavior in the presence of phospholipids has been investigated. A very rich variety of aggregates has been found, spanning from vesicles to cubic bicontinuous phases. Cubosomes here presented represent one of the first systems with potential use for medical therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sodium cholate (NaC) and sodium deoxycholate (NaDC) in binary and ternary aqueous mixtures were investigated by means of surface tension, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR), small angle neutron scattering (SANS) and mutual diffusion coefficient analysis. Concerning the NaC-H(2)O and NaDC-H(2)O binary mixtures, the surface tension, EPR and diffusion measurements confirmed the formation of micelles above a well detectable critical concentration. The SANS data indicated for both systems, the formation of ellipsoidal micelles whose major axis increased with concentration and minor axis remained constant. The data were interpreted under the assumption that aggregate growth occurred via hydrogen bonding of small aggregates along one preferential direction. For the NaC-NaDC-H(2)O ternary mixtures, the surface tension and EPR results were in good agreement with the Clint model prediction for the ideal mixed micellization. Based on this model, the SANS data enabled a complete description of the mixed aggregates in terms of dimensions, composition and concentration. In turn, this strategy allowed for a satisfactory interpretation of the main and cross-term diffusion coefficient trends, which are quite complex.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 09/2011; 13(35):15906-17. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Novel thymidine- or uridine-based nucleolipids, containing one hydrophilic oligo(ethylene glycol) chain and one or two oleic acid residues (called ToThy, HoThy and DoHu), have been synthesized with the aim to develop bio-compatible nanocarriers for drug delivery and/or produce pro-drugs. Microstructural characterization of their aggregates has been determined in pure water and in pseudo-physiological conditions through DLS and SANS experiments. In all cases stable vesicles, with mean hydrodynamic radii ranging between 120 nm and 250 nm have been revealed. Biological validation of the nucleolipidic nanocarriers was ensured by evaluation of their toxicological profiles, performed by administration of the nanoaggregates to a panel of different cell lines. ToThy exhibited a weak cytotoxicity and, at high concentration, some ability to interfere with cell viability and/or proliferation. In contrast, DoHu and HoThy exhibited no toxicological relevance, behaving similarly to POPC-based liposomes, widely used for systemic drug delivery. Taken together, these results show nucleolipid-based nanocarriers as finely tunable, multi-functional self-assembling materials of interest for the in vivo transport of biomolecules or drugs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The micro- and mesoscopic structure of reverse Pluronic 25R4 in aqueous mixtures has been studied by SANS, SAXS and shear rheology. These techniques have been able to give a deep insight into the complex structure of the system phase diagram, that includes an isotropic water-rich liquid phase L(1), and liquid crystalline phases with hexagonal, E, or lamellar order, D. Particular attention has been paid to the isotropic water-rich phase L(1), which has a large stability region in the temperature-composition phase diagram. This region is crossed by a large "cloudy zone". Below it, namely at low temperature and composition, SANS data show the presence of polymer unimers in a gaussian coil conformation. Above the "cloudy zone", at higher temperature and composition, the L(1) phase is structured as a network of interconnected multimeric micelles. Rheology adds information about the structuring of the L(1) phase showing its incipient hexagonal pre-structuring. This technique is also able to highlight the defective structure of the E phase itself. In the temperature and concentration ranges in which a lamellar phase D is present, SANS and SAXS results are in complete agreement, showing how interlamellar distance is influenced by both polymer composition and temperature according to an "ideal deswelling" or a "not ideal swelling" mechanism. In addition, in the D phase rheology suggests the presence of densely packed vesicles.
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 07/2011; 359(1):179-88. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro, and possibly in vivo, hemoglobin polymerization and red blood cell sickling appear to be widespread in codfish. In this article, we show that the hemoglobins of the two Arctic fish Lycodes reticulatus and Gadus morhua also have the tendency to polymerize, as monitored by dynamic light scattering experiments. The elucidation of the primary structure of the single hemoglobin of the zoarcid L. reticulatus shows the presence of a large number of cysteyl residues in α and β chains. Their role in eliciting the ability to produce polymers was also addressed by MALDI-TOF and TOF-TOF mass spectrometry. The G.morhua globins are also rich in Cys, but unlike in L. reticulatus, polymerization does not seem to be disulfide driven. The widespread occurrence of the polymerization phenomenon displayed by hemoglobins of Arctic fish supports the hypothesis that this feature may bea response to stressful environmental conditions.
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 05/2011; 63(5):346-54. · 2.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mutual diffusion coefficients for two aqueous ternary systems, both containing a protein, human serum albumin (HSA, component 1), were measured. The first system contained a neutral polymer, polyethylene glycol (PEG, component 2), and the second an "organic solvent", 2-methyl-2,4-pentanediol (MPD, component 3). Both PEG and MPD are used as co-precipitants in HSA crystallization protocols. Measurements were performed at constant protein concentration, with increasing precipitant content. The results obtained for the two systems were discussed and compared. In both cases, the two main diffusion coefficients, relative to the motion of the protein and of the precipitant under their own concentration gradient, can be interpreted in terms of non-specific volume interactions between the solutes. Particularly, it was showed that any possible direct HSA-MPD interaction may not have a significant effect on the values of these two diffusion coefficients. Differences arise between the cross precipitant's diffusion coefficients, relative to the motion of the precipitant under the protein concentration gradient, D(i1) with i = 2, 3. In the case of PEG, the D(21) trend vs. c(2) can be simply interpreted in terms of an "exclude volume" effect. In contrast, in the case of MPD, the D(31)vs. c(3) trend seems to indicate a more complex mechanism of transport. Because the cross precipitant's diffusion coefficient plays an important role in the crystallization process, the implication of the observed difference on the crystallization procedure was also discussed.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 02/2011; 13(8):3319-27. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New mixed nanoparticles were obtained by self-aggregation of two amphiplic monomers. The first monomer (C18)(2) L5-Oct contains two C18 hydrophobic moieties bound to the N-terminus of the cyclic peptide octreotide, and spaced from the bioactive peptide by five units of dioxoethylene linkers. The second monomer, (C18)(2) DTPAGlu, (C18)(2) DTPA or (C18)(2) DOTA, and the corresponding Gd(III) complexes, contains two C18 hydrophobic moieties bound through a lysine residue to different polyamino-polycarboxy ligands: DTPAGlu, DTPA or DOTA. Mixed aggregates have been obtained and structurally characterized by small angle neutron scattering (SANS) techniques and for their relaxometric behavior. According to a decrease of negative charges in the surfactant head-group, a total or a partial micelle-to-vesicle transition is observed by passing from (C18)(2) DTPAGlu to (C18)(2) DOTA. The thicknesses of the bilayers are substantially constant, around 50 Å, in the analyzed systems. Moreover, the mixed aggregates, in which a small amount of amphiphilic octreotide monomer (C18)(2) L5-Oct (10% mol/mol) was inserted, do not differ significantly from the respective self-assembled systems. Fluorescence emission of tryptophan residue at 340 nm indicates low mobility of water molecules at the peptide surface. The proton relaxivity of mixed aggregates based on (C18)(2) DTPAGlu(Gd), (C18)(2) DTPA(Gd) and (C18)(2) DOTA(Gd) resulted to be 17.6, 15.2 and 10.0 mM(-1) s(-1) (at 20 MHz and 298K), respectively. The decrease in the relaxivity values can be ascribed to the increase in τ(M) (81, 205 and 750 ns). The presence of amphiphilic octreotide monomer exposed on mixed aggregate surface gives the entire nanoparticles a potential binding selectivity toward somatostatin sstr2 receptor subtype, and these systems could act as MRI target-specific contrast agent.
Journal of Peptide Science 02/2011; 17(2):154-62. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ionophores are an important class of synthetic molecules which mimic natural ion channels or carriers. Here we report the aggregation behavior in pseudo-physiological environment of three Cyclic Phosphate-Linked Oligosaccharides (CyPLOS) derivatives, synthetic ion transporters based on cyclic, phosphate-linked disaccharide skeleton differing for the nature of the tails (tetraethylene-TEG glycol and/or n-undecyl chains) attached to the C-2 and C-3 of the constitutive monosaccharides. Their aggregation behavior has been studied by a combined use of dynamic light scattering (DLS), electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) and Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS). DLS measurements were performed to reveal the formation and size distribution of the CyPLOS aggregates. EPR measurements, by using 5-doxyl stearic acid (5-DSA) as spin-probe, showed that the aggregates are mainly due to the formation of double layers and allowed to analyze the local fluidity. Finally, SANS measurements allowed estimating the layer thickness of the double layers. Our results indicate that the three CyPLOS analogs show self-aggregation properties that depend on the different nature of the inserted tails.
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 02/2011; 354(2):718-24. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The microstructure of liposomes formed by the lipopolysaccharides (LPS) derived from Burkholderia cenocepacia ET-12 type strain LMG 16656, Burkholderia multivorans strain C1576 and Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain TT111 has been investigated by a combined experimental strategy, including dynamic light scattering (DLS), small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). The results highlight that the LPS molecular structure determines, through a complex interplay of hydrophobic, steric and electrostatic interactions, the morphology of the aggregates formed in aqueous medium. All the considered LPS form liposomes that in most cases present a multilamellar arrangement. The thickness of the hydrophobic domain of each bilayer and the local ordering of the acyl chains are determined not only by the molecular structure of the LPS glycolipid portion (lipid A), but also, indirectly, by the bulkiness of the saccharidic portion. In the case of a long polysaccharidic chain, such as that of the LPS derived from Burkholderia multivorans, liposomes coexist with elongated micellar aggregates, whose population decreases if a typical phospholipid, such as dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) is introduced in the liposome formulation. The effect of temperature has also been considered: for all the considered LPS an extremely smooth transition of the acyl chain self-organization from a gel to a liquid crystalline phase is detected around 30-35 °C. In the biological context, our results suggest that the rich biodiversity of LPS molecular structure could be fundamental to finely tune the structure and functional properties of the outer membrane of Gram negative bacteria.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 11/2010; 12(41):13574-85. · 3.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel fluorescently labelled synthetic ionophore, based on a cyclic phosphate-linked disaccharide (CyPLOS) backbone and decorated with four tetraethylene glycol tails carrying dansyl units, has been synthesised in 12 steps in 26% overall yield. The key intermediate in the synthetic strategy is a novel glucoside building block, serving through its 2- and 3-hydroxy groups as the anchor point for flexible tetraethylene glycol tentacles with reactive azido moieties at their ends. To test the versatility of this glucoside scaffold, it was preliminarily functionalised with a set of diverse probes--as fluorescent, redox-active or hydrophobic tags--either by reduction of the azides followed by condensation with activated carboxylic acid derivatives, or by a direct coupling with a terminal alkyne in a Cu(I)-promoted 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition. Tagging of the monomeric building block with dansyl residues allowed us to prepare a fluorescent, amphiphilic macrocycle, which was investigated for its propensity to self-aggregate in CDCl(3)--studied by means of concentration-dependent (31)P NMR spectroscopy experiments--and in aqueous solution, in which combined dynamic light scattering (DLS) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements provided a detailed physico-chemical analysis of the self-assembled systems, mainly organised in the form of large vesicles. Its ion-transport properties through phospholipid bilayers, determined by HPTS fluorescence assays, showed this compound to be more active than the previously synthesised CyPLOS congeners. Solvent-dependent fluorescence changes for the labelled ionophore in liposome suspension established that the dansyl moieties are dispersed in environments with polarity intermediate between those of CH(2)Cl(2) and propan-2-ol, suggesting that the CyPLOS tentacles infiltrate the mid-polar region of the membranes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present work describes new supramolecular aggregates obtained by co-assembling two different amphiphilic molecules, one containing the bioactive bombesin peptide (BN), or a scramble sequence, and the other, the DOTA chelating agent, (C18)(2)DOTA, capable of forming stable complexes with the radioactive (111)In(III) isotope. The peptide in the amphiphilic monomer is spaced by the lipophilic moiety through ethoxylic spacers of different length: a shorter spacer with five units of dioxoethylene moieties in (C18)(2)L5-peptide, or a longer spacer consisting of a Peg3000 residue in (C18)(2)Peg3000-peptide. Structural characterization by SANS and DLS techniques indicates that, independently from the presence of the peptide containing monomer in the final composition, the predominant aggregates are liposomes of similar shape and size with a hydrodynamic radius R(h) around 200 nm and bilayer thickness, d, of 4 nm. In vitro data show specific binding of the (111)In-(C18)(2)DOTA/(C18)(2)L5-[7-14]BN 90:10 liposomes in receptor expressing cells. However, the presence of the Peg3000 unit on the external liposomal surface, could hide the peptide and prevent the receptor binding. In vivo experiments using (111)In-(C18)(2)DOTA/(C18)(2)L5-[7-14]BN show the expected biological behavior of aggregates of such size and molecular composition, moreover there is an increase in concentration of the GRPR targeting aggregate in the tumors compared to control at the 48 h time point evaluated (2.4% ID/g versus 1.6% ID/g).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mutual diffusion coefficients, Dij, of the ternary system sodium cholate (NaC, component 1)+sodium deoxycholate (NadC, component 2)+water have been determined at five average compositions (c1, c2) keeping c1 constant and varying c2. The possibility to obtain expressions for the four diffusion coefficients in term of the micellization parameters and of the diffusivity of the species in solution is discussed. Data have been qualitatively interpreted. Results for the main term diffusion coefficients have been used in the much more difficult analysis of the cross term diffusion coefficients.
Journal of Molecular Liquids - J MOL LIQ. 01/2010; 156(1):70-75.