Barbara Calamini

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States

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Publications (6)15.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxylstilbene) has been proposed to elicit a variety of positive health effects including protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease. The highest affinity target of resveratrol identified so far is the oxidoreductase enzyme quinone reductase 2 (QR2), which is believed to function in metabolic reduction and detoxification processes; however, evidence exists linking QR2 to the metabolic activation of quinones, which can lead to cell toxicity. Therefore, inhibition of QR2 by resveratrol may protect cells against reactive intermediates and eventually cancer. With the aim of identifying novel inhibitors of QR2, we designed, synthesized, and tested two generations of resveratrol analogue libraries for inhibition of QR2. In addition, X-ray crystal structures of six of the resveratrol analogues in the active site of QR2 were determined. Several novel inhibitors of QR2 were successfully identified as well as a compound that inhibits QR2 with a novel binding orientation.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 07/2013; · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resveratrol has demonstrated cancer chemopreventive activity in animal models and some clinical trials are underway. In addition, resveratrol was shown to promote cell survival, increase lifespan and mimic caloric restriction, thereby improving health and survival of mice on high-calorie diet. All of these effects are potentially mediated by the pleiotropic interactions of resveratrol with different enzyme targets including COX-1 (cyclo-oxygenase-1) and COX-2, NAD+-dependent histone deacetylase SIRT1 (sirtuin 1) and QR2 (quinone reductase 2). Nonetheless, the health benefits elicited by resveratrol as a direct result of these interactions with molecular targets have been questioned, since it is rapidly and extensively metabolized to sulfate and glucuronide conjugates, resulting in low plasma concentrations. To help resolve these issues, we tested the ability of resveratrol and its metabolites to modulate the function of some known targets in vitro. In the present study, we have shown that COX-1, COX-2 and QR2 are potently inhibited by resveratrol, and that COX-1 and COX-2 are also inhibited by the resveratrol 4'-O-sulfate metabolite. We determined the X-ray structure of resveratrol bound to COX-1 and demonstrate that it occupies the COX active site similar to other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Finally, we have observed that resveratrol 3- and 4'-O-sulfate metabolites activate SIRT1 equipotently to resveratrol, but that activation is probably a substrate-dependent phenomenon with little in vivo relevance. Overall, the results of this study suggest that in vivo an interplay between resveratrol and its metabolites with different molecular targets may be responsible for the overall beneficial health effects previously attributed only to resveratrol itself.
    Biochemical Journal 05/2010; 429(2):273-82. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Biochem. J. 08/2008; 413(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin exerts its biological effects through at least two transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptors, MT1 and MT2, and a lower-affinity cytosolic binding site, designated MT3. MT3 has recently been identified as QR2 (quinone reductase 2) (EC which is of significance since it links the antioxidant effects of melatonin to a mechanism of action. Initially, QR2 was believed to function analogously to QR1 in protecting cells from highly reactive quinones. However, recent studies indicate that QR2 may actually transform certain quinone substrates into more highly reactive compounds capable of causing cellular damage. Therefore it is hypothesized that inhibition of QR2 in certain cases may lead to protection of cells against these highly reactive species. Since melatonin is known to inhibit QR2 activity, but its binding site and mode of inhibition are not known, we determined the mechanism of inhibition of QR2 by melatonin and a series of melatonin and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) analogues, and we determined the X-ray structures of melatonin and 2-iodomelatonin in complex with QR2 to between 1.5 and 1.8 A (1 A=0.1 nm) resolution. Finally, the thermodynamic binding constants for melatonin and 2-iodomelatonin were determined by ITC (isothermal titration calorimetry). The kinetic results indicate that melatonin is a competitive inhibitor against N-methyldihydronicotinamide (K(i)=7.2 microM) and uncompetitive against menadione (K(i)=92 microM), and the X-ray structures shows that melatonin binds in multiple orientations within the active sites of the QR2 dimer as opposed to an allosteric site. These results provide new insights into the binding mechanisms of melatonin and analogues to QR2.
    Biochemical Journal 08/2008; 413(1):81-91. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organophosphorus hydrolase detoxifies a broad range of organophosphate pesticides and the chemical warfare agents (CWAs) sarin and VX. Previously, rational genetic engineering produced OPH variants with 30-fold enhancements in the hydrolysis of CWA and their analogs. One interesting variant (H254R) in which the histidine at position 254 was changed to an arginine showed a 4-fold increase in the hydrolysis of demetonS (VX analog), a 14-fold decrease with paraoxon (an insecticide), and a 183-fold decrease with DFP (sarin analog). The three-dimensional structure of this enzyme at 1.9A resolution with the inhibitor, diethyl 4-methylbenzylphosphonate (EBP), revealed that the inhibitor did not bind at the active site, but bound exclusively into a well-defined surface pocket 12 A away from the active site. This structural feature was accompanied by non-competitive inhibition of paraoxon hydrolysis by EBP with H254R, in contrast to the native enzyme, which showed competitive inhibition. These parallel structure-function characteristics identify a functional, allosteric site on the surface of this enzyme.
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 11/2005; 442(2):169-79. · 3.37 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2005; 61.

Publication Stats

107 Citations
15.50 Total Impact Points


  • 2005–2010
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • College of Pharmacy
      Chicago, IL, United States
    • Texas A&M University
      • Department of Biochemistry/Biophysics
      College Station, TX, United States