William Rhys-Williams

Archimedes Pharma UK, Ltd., Reading, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (23)64.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The human cornea is a tri-laminar structure composed of several cell types with substantial mitotic potential. Age-related changes in the cornea are associated with declining visual acuity and the onset of overt age-related corneal diseases. Corneal transplantation is commonly used to restore vision in patients with damaged or diseased corneas. However, the supply of donor tissue is limited, and thus there is considerable interest in the development of tissue-engineered alternatives. A major obstacle to these approaches is the short replicative lifespan of primary human corneal endothelial cells (HCEC). Accordingly, a comprehensive investigation of the signalling pathways and mechanisms underpinning proliferative lifespan and senescence in HCEC was undertaken. The effects of exogenous human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression, p53 knockdown, disruption of the pRb pathway by over-expression of CDK4 and reduced oxygen concentration on the lifespan of primary HCEC were evaluated. We provide proof-of-principle that forced expression of telomerase, when combined with either p53 knockdown or CDK4 over-expression, is sufficient to produce immortalized HCEC lines. The resultant cell lines express an HCEC-specific transcriptional fingerprint, and retain expression of the corneal endothelial temperature-sensitive potassium channel, suggesting that significant dedifferentiation does not occur as a result of these modes of immortalization. Exploiting these insights into proliferative lifespan barriers in HCEC will underpin the development of novel strategies for cell-based therapies in the human cornea.
    Aging cell 11/2011; 11(2):234-40. · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Small-colony variants (SCVs) of Staphylococcus aureus are phenotypic variants characterised by their small colony size and improved intracellular survival and are associated with persistent and relapsing infections. XF drugs are membrane-active, porphyrin-based antibacterial agents for topical administration, exerting rapid bactericidal activity against actively growing or resting, antibiotic-susceptible and multidrug-resistant strains of S. aureus. In this study, minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) of XF-70 against isogenic, electron-transport deficient, SCV hemB mutants of one meticillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strain and one meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain were evaluated. Macrodilution MICs of XF-70 for MSSA strain 8325-4 and its hemB(+)-complemented derivative (0.5-1mg/L) were reproducible and were slightly higher than that for the SCV hemB mutant (0.25-0.5mg/L) and were not influenced by increasing inoculum size from 10(6) to 10(8) colony-forming units (CFU)/mL. MICs for MRSA strain COL, its SCV hemB mutant and hemB(+)-complemented derivative were equivalent (0.25-1mg/L). MBCs of XF-70 were ≤ 2-fold higher than MICs for all isolates. Extensive killing (≥ 4 log reduction in CFU/mL) was produced by 2mg/L XF-70 within 30 min against SCV hemB mutants both of 8325-4 and COL as well as their respective parent or hemB(+)-complemented derivatives. Pre-incubation of 10(7)CFU/mL of 8325-4 and its SCV hemB mutant with 5 × 10(6) polymorphonuclear neutrophils for 30 min markedly protected phagocytised organisms from rapid extensive killing by bactericidal levels (2mg/L) of subsequently added XF-70. The rapid bactericidal activity of XF-70 at low concentrations both against SCV and normally growing S. aureus is remarkable and represents an attractive potential for the treatment of persistent localised infections.
    International journal of antimicrobial agents 03/2011; 37(6):576-9. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    David J Farrell, Marion Robbins, William Rhys-Williams, William G Love
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    ABSTRACT: XF-73 is a dicationic porphyrin drug with rapid Gram-positive antibacterial activity currently undergoing clinical trials for the nasal decolonization of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In multistep (55-passage) resistance selection studies in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of XF-73, retapamulin, mupirocin, fusidic acid, and vancomycin against four Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus MRSA strains, there was no >4-fold increase in the MIC for XF-73 after 55 passages. In contrast, there was an increase in the MICs for retapamulin (from 0.25 μg/ml to 4 to 8 μg/ml), for mupirocin (from 0.12 μg/ml to 16 to 512 μg/ml), for fusidic acid (from 0.12 μg/ml to 256 μg/ml), and for vancomycin (from 1 μg/ml to 8 μg/ml in two of the four strains tested). Further investigations using S. aureus NRS384 (USA300) and daptomycin demonstrated a 64-fold increase in the MIC after 55 passages (from 0.5 μg/ml to 32 μg/ml) with a >4-fold increase in the MIC obtained after only five passages. Sequencing analysis of selected isolates confirmed previously reported point mutations associated with daptomycin resistance. No cross-resistance to XF-73 was observed with the daptomycin-resistant strains, suggesting that whereas the two drugs act on the bacterial cell membrane, their specific site of action differs. XF-73 thus represents the first in a new class of antibacterial drugs, which (unlike the comparator antibiotics) after 55 passages exhibited a ≤4-fold increase in MIC against the strains tested. Antibacterial drugs with a low propensity for inducing bacterial resistance are much needed for the prevention and treatment of multidrug-resistant bacteria both within and outside the hospital setting.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2010; 55(3):1177-81. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    David J Farrell, Marion Robbins, William Rhys-Williams, William G Love
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    ABSTRACT: The antibacterial activity of XF-73, a dicationic porphyrin drug, was investigated against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with known antibiotic resistance profiles, including resistance to cell wall synthesis, protein synthesis, and DNA and RNA synthesis inhibitors as well as cell membrane-active antibiotics. Antibiotic-sensitive strains for each of the bacterial species tested were also included for comparison purposes. XF-73 was active [minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) 0.25-4 mg/L] against all of the Gram-positive bacteria tested, irrespective of the antibiotic resistance profile of the isolates, suggesting that the mechanism of action of XF-73 is unique compared with the major antibiotic classes. Gram-negative activity was lower (MIC 1 mg/L to > 64 mg/L). Minimum bactericidal concentration data confirmed that the activity of XF-73 was bactericidal. Time-kill kinetics against healthcare-associated and community-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates demonstrated that XF-73 was rapidly bactericidal, with > 5 log(10) kill obtained after 15 min at 2 x MIC, the earliest time point sampled. The post-antibiotic effect (PAE) for XF-73 under conditions where the PAE for vancomycin was < 0.4h was found to be > 5.4 h. XF-73 represents a novel broad-spectrum Gram-positive antibacterial drug with potentially beneficial characteristics for the treatment and prevention of Gram-positive bacterial infections.
    International journal of antimicrobial agents 03/2010; 35(6):531-6. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors report the findings of in vivo studies of XF-70 (a novel, dicationic porphyrin) against Staphylococcus aureus in a murine model of a burn wound infection. Mice received a 15% total body scald burn wound, which were inoculated with S. aureus (1.8 x 10 CFU). After 24 hours, escharectomies were performed and groups (n = 8) received single or two doses (6 hours apart) of XF-70* (100 microg/wound) or silver sulfadiazine, Acticoat, or saline applied topically. Viable bacteria were quantified from homogenized burn tissue biopsies and the spleen by plating dilutions onto agar plates and CFU determination. A single dose of XF-70 reduced bacterial burden by 98.77% (untreated: 2.78 +/- 2.96 x 10 CFU/g vs XF-70 treated: 3.4 +/- 0.19 x 10 CFU/g, P < .01). Two XF-70 doses reduced the growth of S. aureus by 99.96% (1.2 +/- 0.6 x 10 CFU/g, P < .01). These results were similar to the results obtained from commonly used topical antibacterials silver sulfadiazine and Acticoat. The spleens of mice treated with saline had a robust growth of S. aureus (7.0 +/- 1.97 x 10 CFU/g) whereas those treated with one or two XF-70 doses grew only 3.5 +/- 0.002 x 10 CFU/g and 5.7 +/- 0.002 x 10 CFU/g, respectively, a significant (P < .001) reduction in S. aureus dissemination. Single and multiple doses of XF-70 were effective in controlling S. aureus growth in burn wounds and inhibited systemic dissemination of S. aureus. Early treatment of burn wounds with XF-70 may be effective in slowing bacterial dissemination to other tissues.
    Journal of burn care & research: official publication of the American Burn Association 01/2010; 31(3):462-9. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Slow-growing and non-dividing bacteria exhibit tolerance to many antibiotics. However, membrane-active agents may act against bacteria in all growth phases. We sought to examine whether the novel porphyrin antibacterial agents XF-70 and XF-73, which have rapid membrane-perturbing activity against Staphylococcus aureus, retained antistaphylococcal activity against growth-attenuated cells. The killing kinetics of XF-70, XF-73 and various comparator agents against exponential phase cultures of S. aureus SH1000 were compared with effects on cells held at 4 degrees C, non-growing cultures expressing the stringent response induced by mupirocin and bacteria in the stationary phase. Biofilms of S. aureus SH1000 were generated with the Calgary device to examine the activities of XF-70 and XF-73 under a further system exhibiting diminished bacterial growth. Cold culture, stringent response and stationary phase cultures remained susceptible to XF-70 and XF-73, which caused > or =5 log reductions in viability over 2 h. During this period the most active comparator agents (chlorhexidine and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) only promoted a 3 log drop in viability. XF-70 and XF-73 were also highly active against biofilms, with both agents exhibiting low biofilm MICs (1 mg/L) and minimum biofilm eradication concentrations (2 mg/L). XF-70 and XF-73 remained highly active against various forms of slow-growing or non-dividing S. aureus. The results support the hypothesis that membrane-active agents may be particularly effective in eradicating slow- or non-growing bacteria and suggest that XF-70 and XF-73 could be utilized to treat staphylococcal infections where the organisms are only dividing slowly, such as biofilm-associated infections of prosthetic devices.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 11/2009; 65(1):72-8. · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: XF-73 is a novel porphyrin antibacterial agent previously reported to inhibit a range of gram-positive bacterial species, including Staphylococcus aureus. Its mode of action is unknown. Using S. aureus as a model organism we sought to examine the basis of its antibacterial activity. The effects of XF-73 on the growth and survival of S. aureus SH1000 were investigated by viable count and culture absorbance techniques. Inhibition of macromolecular synthesis and disruption of membrane integrity after exposure to XF-73 were examined by radiolabelling experiments, the BacLight fluorescent dye assay and measurement of K(+) and ATP leakage from the cell. The effect of XF-73 on a staphylococcal coupled transcription-translation system was also investigated. XF-73 was rapidly bactericidal against S. aureus SH1000 and demonstrated more rapid killing kinetics than all other comparator agents when tested at an equivalent multiple (4x) of the MIC. Exposure of S. aureus to XF-73 for 10 min completely inhibited DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. XF-73 had no effect on transcription and translation in vitro. Cells exposed to XF-73 gave a positive response in the BacLight assay, which detects membrane damage. The drug also caused substantial loss of K(+) and ATP from the cell, but did not promote bacterial lysis. XF-73 exhibited rapid membrane-perturbing activity, which is likely to be responsible for inhibition of macromolecular synthesis and the death of staphylococci exposed to the drug.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 09/2009; 64(4):735-40. · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the senescent phenotype of human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and the potential involvement of senescent VSMCs in age-related vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis. As such, VSMCs were grown and characterised in vitro to generate senescent VSMCs needed for microarray analysis (Affymetrix). Comparative analysis of the transcriptome profiles of early (14 CPD) and late (39-42 CPD) passage VSMCs found a total of 327 probesets called as differentially expressed: 149 are up-regulated in senescence and 178 repressed (p-value<0.5%, minimum effect size of at least 2-fold differential regulation, explore data at http://www.madras.cf.ac.uk/vsmc). Data mining shows a differential regulation of genes at senescence associated with the development of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification. These included genes with roles in inflammation (IL1beta, IL8, ICAM1, TNFAP3, ESM1 and CCL2), tissue remodelling (VEGF, VEGFbeta, ADM and MMP14) and vascular calcification (MGP, BMP2, SPP1, OPG and DCN). The microarray data for IL1beta, IL8 and MGP were validated by either, ELISA, Western blot analysis or RT-PCR. These data thus provide the first evidence for a role of VSMC senescence in the development of vascular calcification and provides further support for the involvement of senescent VSMCs in the progression of atherosclerosis.
    Experimental gerontology 07/2009; 44(10):659-65. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Racemic ibuprofen has previously been shown to undergo metabolism by Verticillium lecanii to yield (S)-2-[4-(2-hydroxy-2-methylpropyl)phenyl] propionic acid which is enriched in the (S)-enantiomer. However, it had not been possible to elucidate whether ibuprofen or the metabolite was inverted. This paper describes the incubation of ibuprofen in non-growing cultures of V. lecanii, the results of which indicate that racemic ibuprofen is converted into a 70 : 30 (S : R) enantiomeric mixture after 6 d incubation in the absence of any metabolism. This suggests that V. lecanii could be a useful model for the investigation of the mechanism of mammalian chiral inversion of iburprofen.
    Letters in Applied Microbiology 06/2008; 23(6):417 - 420. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The senescence of mitotic cells is hypothesized to play a causal role in organismal aging. Cultures of normal human cells become senescent in vitro as a result of a continuous decline in the mitotic fraction from cell turnover. However, one potential barrier to the evaluation of the frequency and distribution of senescent cells in tissues is the absence of a panel of robust markers for the senescent state. In parallel with an analysis of the growth kinetics of human vascular smooth muscle cells, we have undertaken transcriptomic comparisons of early- and late-passage cultures of human vascular smooth muscle cells to identify potential markers that can distinguish between senescent and growth-competent cells. A wide range of genes are upregulated at senescence in human vascular smooth muscle cells. In particular, we have identified a 12-fold upregulation of expression in the cyclin D1 message, which is reflected in a concomitant upregulation at the protein level. Quantitative cytochemical analysis of senescent and growing vascular smooth muscle cells indicates that cyclin D1 reactivity is a considerably better marker of replicative senescence than senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity. We have applied this new marker (in combination with Ki67, COMET, and TUNEL staining) to the study of human vascular smooth muscle cells treated with resveratrol, a putative anti-aging molecule known to have significant effects on cell growth.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2007; 1119:20-31. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The successful implantation of titanium-based implants for orthopaedic and dental applications is often hindered because of their mobility, which arises because of a lack of direct binding of the metal surface to the mineral phase of the surrounding bone. Ceramic coatings, although ensuring the integration of the implant within the tissue, are unstable and carry risks of delamination and of failure. Recently, a novel biomimetic approach has been developed where porous titanium implants are coated with calcium-binding phospholipids able to catalyse the nucleation of discrete apatite crystals after only 30 min incubation in simulated body fluids. The present work assesses the osteointegrative potential of this new class of coatings in an in vivo rabbit model and compares its performance with those of bare porous titanium and hydroxyapatite-coated titanium. The data obtained show that phosphatidylserine-based coatings, whilst resorbing, drive the growing bone into apposition with the metal surface. This is in contrast to the case of bare titanium.
    Journal of Materials Science Materials in Medicine 10/2006; 17(9):789-94. · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Among the many biomolecules involved in the bone mineralization processes, anionic phospholipids play an important role because of their ability to bind calcium. In particular, phosphatidylserine is a natural component of the plasmalemma and of the matrix vesicles generated from the osteoblast membrane to create nucleation centres for calcium phosphate crystal precipitation. In the present work, we demonstrate that calcium-binding phospholipids can be used as biomimetic coating materials for improving the osteointegration of metal implants. Relatively thick phosphatidylserine-based coatings were deposited on titanium coupons by dip-coating. Upon dehydration in a simulated body fluid phospholipids were quickly crosslinked by calcium and re-arranged into a three-dimensional matrix able to induce rapid formation of a calcium phosphate mineral phase. The rate of mineralization was shown to be dependent on the adopted coating formulation. In the attempt to closely mimic the cell membrane composition, heterogeneous formulations based on the mixing of anionic phospholipids (either phosphatidylserine or phosphatidylinositol) with phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol were synthesized. However, surface plasmon resonance studies as well as scanning electron microscopy and elemental analysis demonstrated that the homogeneous phosphatidylserine coating was a more effective calcification environment than the heterogeneous formulations.
    Journal of The Royal Society Interface 05/2006; 3(7):277-81. · 4.91 Impact Factor
  • European Society for Biomaterials, 18th European Conference on Biomaterials; 01/2003
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    ABSTRACT: A series of in vitro assays for determining the biocompatibility of ocular biomaterials have been developed and used to assess the differences in performance of omafilcon A, etafilcon A and nelfilcon A contact lens materials. The assays assessed bacterial attachment, macrophage adhesion, granulocyte adhesion and activation, epithelial cell adhesion and corneal cell contact damage. Overall, omafilcon A was found to be more biocompatible than the other materials although there was no significant difference between the epithelial cell adhesion and granulocyte adhesion and activation on any of the hydrogels. Etailcon A performed less well compared to nelfilcon A and omafilcon A with respect macrophage adhesion and bacterial adhesion. The results indicate that these biological assays can be successfully applied for the testing of contact lens materials and may be particularly useful in the in vitro screening of new extended wear contact lens materials where cell adhesion and activation may have a greater influence on clinical performance.
    Contact Lens and Anterior Eye 02/2000; 23(4):119-23. · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • M J Thomason, W Rhys-Williams, A W Lloyd, G W Hanlon
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    ABSTRACT: The fungus Verticillium lecanii has previously been shown to be capable of inverting the chirality of ibuprofen and 2-phenylpropionic acid from the (R)-enantiomer to the corresponding (S)-antipode, a phenomenon also observed in mammalian systems including man. An investigation is reported here into the substrate specificity of the enzyme system present in V. lecanii using the following 2-arylpropionic acids: ibuprofen, ketoprofen, indoprofen, suprofen, flurbiprofen and fenoprofen, together with the structurally related compounds 2-phenylbutyric acid, 2-phenoxypropionic acid, mandelic acid, atrolactic acid, etodolac and alpha-methoxyphenylpropionic acid. The results demonstrated that V. lecanii is capable of inverting the chirality of all the 2-arylpropionic acids investigated. All were inverted in the (R) to (S) direction with the exception of ketoprofen, where inversion was observed in the reverse direction. Using the structurally related compounds as substrates, the size of the alkyl substitutent at the alpha-carbon at the methyl group, and the presence of the methyl group at the chiral centre, were found to be critical. These results suggest that V. lecanii could be used as a basis for the production of pure enantiomers of the 2-arylpropionic acids in commercial biotransformations.
    Journal of Applied Microbiology 08/1998; 85(1):155-63. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cordyceps militaris has been previously shown to invert the chirality of (r)-2-phenylpropionic acid to its antipode in the absence of any other biotransformation. To investigate the mechanism of this unusual biotransformation. (r,s)-[2-2H1]-2-phenylpropionic acid, (r,s)-[2-2H,3,3,3-2H3]-2-phenylpropionic acid, and (r,s)-[3,3,3-2H3]-2-phenylpropionic acid were synthesized and incubated with C. militaris. NMR spectroscopy showed that deuterium exchange of the α-methine proton occurred during the inversion process but there was no exchange of the β-methyl protons. There were no significant differences in the rates of chiral inversion of the three deuterated derivatives and the undeuterated compound, and with all the compounds attaining 84% enantiomeric excess of the (s)-enantiomer after 48 h incubation. The deuterium exchange is not therefore the rate limiting process in this biotransformation. The recovery profiles demonstrated that there was rapid metabolism of the β-methyl deuterated derivatives which did not occur for the undeuterated 2-phenylpropionic acid or the derivative which was only deuterated at the α-carbon. These studies clearly illustrate that C. militaris is a useful in vitro model of the chiral inversion of 2-arylpropionic acid derivatives in mammalian systems.
    Enzyme and Microbial Technology - ENZYME MICROB TECHNOL. 01/1998; 22(4):281-287.
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    ABSTRACT: A reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic method, using an organic modifier-phosphate buffered mobile phase, for the determination of the enantiomeric composition of 2-arylpropionic acids and other structurally related compounds in microbial media is described. The method is based on the resolution of diastereoisomeric amides formed from the reaction of the arylpropionic acid with either (-)-(S)-alpha-methylbenzylamine or (-)-(S)-1-(naphthen-1-yl)ethylamine in the presence of 1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-3-ethylcarbodiimide HCl and 1-hydroxybenzotriazole and incorporating an internal standard. The addition of sodium pentanesulphonate to the mobile phase as an ion-pairing agent was necessary to remove unreacted amine to avoid rapid column deterioration. The method provides and efficient, rapid and reproducible means of monitoring the microbial chiral inversion of 2-arylpropionic acids and other structurally related molecules.
    Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 08/1997; 15(11):1765-74. · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • M J Thomason, W Rhys-Williams, A W Lloyd, G W Hanlon
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have demonstrated that Verticillium lecanii might be used as a microbial model of the inversion of 2-arylpropionic acids in man. This paper describes the optimization of the inversion process in respect of culture medium, pH, cell density and substrate concentration. The study demonstrates that optimum inversion occurs in Sørensen's phosphate buffer at pH 5.5. The extent and rate of inversion were also shown to be dependent on substrate concentration and cell density. This study will form the basis of the development of a microbial model of the metabolism of 2-arylpropionic acids which might be suitable for the in-vitro screening of new compounds in this class.
    Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 04/1997; 49(3):263-9. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous investigations have described the development of nongrowing suspensions of Verticillium lecanii as a microbial model of the mammalian chiral inversion of the 2-arylpropionic acids (2-APAs). Mechanistic studies in mammals have shown that inversion involves loss of the alpha-methine proton but retention of the original atoms at the beta-methyl position, and a mechanism has been proposed involving enzymatic epimerisation of acyl-CoA thioester derivatives of the substrate. Inversion of the 2-APAs by V. lecanii exhibits extensive intersubstrate variation in the presence, rate, extent, and direction of inversion, which are different from those observed in mammalian systems, possibly indicating differences in the mechanism of inversion between mammalian and microbial cells. This study involved the investigation of proton/deuterium exchange by 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance following incubation of deuterated derivatives of 2-phenylpropionic acid (2-PPA), a model compound, in cell suspensions of V. lecanii and incubation of undeuterated 2-PPA in cell suspensions containing D2O. The results indicated that the inversion of 2-PPA by V. lecanii also involved exchange of the alpha-methine proton but complete retention of the original atoms at the beta-methyl position. No kinetic deuterium isotope effect was observed, indicating that loss of the alpha-methine proton is not the rate-limiting step of the inversion process. This suggests that the observed differences between microbial and mammalian systems probably involve the stereoselective acyl-CoA thioester formation step and not the subsequent epimerisation of the resultant diastereomers.
    Chirality 02/1997; 9(3):254-60. · 1.72 Impact Factor
  • Chirality 01/1997; 9(3):254-260. · 1.72 Impact Factor