Enzio Ragg

University of Milan, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (66)105.34 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The chemoenzymatic deacylation of ramoplanin A2 is described for the first time: ramoplanin A2 was Boc-protected and hydrogenated to Boc-protected tetrahydroramoplanin, which was subsequently deacylated using an acylase from Actinoplanes utahensis NRRL 12052. The chemoenzymatic process proceeded with 80% overall yield, which favourably compares with the previously described chemical deacylation.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 06/2012; 22(16):5283-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bis-2,3-heteroarylmaleimides and polyheterocondensed imides joined through nitrogen atoms of the N,N'-bis(ethyl)-1,3-propanediamine linker were prepared from substituted maleic anhydrides and symmetrical diamines in good to satisfactory yields and short reaction times using microwave heating. The novel molecules were shown to inhibit proliferation of human tumor cells (NCI-H460 lung carcinoma) and rat aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) with variable potencies. Compound 11a, the most potent one of the series, showed IC(50) values comparable to those observed for the leading molecule elinafide in both cell lines, but with a higher selectivity toward human tumor cells. Compound 11a affected G1/S phase transition of the cell cycle, showed in vitro DNA intercalating activity and in vivo antitumor activity. A thorough structural analysis of the 11a-DNA complex was also made by mean of NMR and computational techniques.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 09/2011; 19(18):5291-9. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lithium salts dissolved in ionic liquids (ILs) are interesting alternatives to the commonly used electrolytes for Li-ion batteries. In this study, the solution of Li [bis-(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide] (LiTFSI) in N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium TFSI (PYR14TFSI) ionic liquid in the 0.1:0.9 molar ratio is studied by heteronuclear NOE and NMR diffusion measurements. The main purpose is to spot on the interions organization and mobility. NOE data support the existence of strongly coordinated Li+ species, whereas variable temperature measurements of the self-diffusion coefficients D show large, selective, and unexpected enhancement of Li+ mobility with T. The measured activation energy for Li+ diffusion is significantly larger than those of TFSI− and PYR14+. These findings can be related to the mechanism of Li+ diffusion in ILs based on disruption formation of the coordination shells of Li+ with TFSI anions rather than on the Brownian motion of the whole Li+ coordinated species.Keywords (keywords): ionic liquids; NMR spectroscopy; NOE; diffusion; lithium batteries
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. 01/2011; 2(3).
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    ABSTRACT: Bovine β-casein and its C-terminal sequence (191–209) were previously shown to possess immunomodulatory properties in studies on partially purified peptides from hydrolysates, where minor amounts of contaminants may affect the cellular response. The inhibitory effect of β-casein and of eight C-terminus synthetic β-casein peptides on mitogen-induced spleen cell proliferation was compared. Use of synthetic peptides allowed the unambiguous and accurate identification that a seven amino acid sequence at the C-terminus, including a PFP motif, was sufficient for immunomodulation. Substitution of the last proline (P206) in the PFP motif with D-Pro had a negative impact on the immunosuppressory activity of all these short peptides, whereas substitution of P206 with structural analogues of proline had almost no impact. A relationship was found between the immunomodulatory properties and the structural features of these peptides, as assessed by various spectroscopic approaches, indicating a role of structure in eliciting the immunomodulatory activity of these peptides.
    International Dairy Journal - INT DAIRY J. 01/2011; 21(10):770-776.
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    ABSTRACT: An understanding of the integrated relationships among the principal cellular functions that govern the bioenergetic reactions of an organism is necessary to determine how cells remain viable and optimise their fitness in the environment. Urease is a complex enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea to ammonia and carbonic acid. While the induction of urease activity by several microorganisms has been predominantly considered a stress-response that is initiated to generate a nitrogen source in response to a low environmental pH, here we demonstrate a new role of urease in the optimisation of cellular bioenergetics. We show that urea hydrolysis increases the catabolic efficiency of Streptococcus thermophilus, a lactic acid bacterium that is widely used in the industrial manufacture of dairy products. By modulating the intracellular pH and thereby increasing the activity of β-galactosidase, glycolytic enzymes and lactate dehydrogenase, urease increases the overall change in enthalpy generated by the bioenergetic reactions. A cooperative altruistic behaviour of urease-positive microorganisms on the urease-negative microorganisms within the same environment was also observed. The physiological role of a single enzymatic activity demonstrates a novel and unexpected view of the non-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that govern the bioenergetics of a bacterial cell, highlighting a new role for cytosol-alkalizing biochemical pathways in acidogenic microorganisms.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(11):e15520. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The GB virus C or hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) is a single-stranded positive sense RNA virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae family. Recent years have seen the publication of numerous works in which coinfection with GBV-C/HGV and HIV has been associated with slower progression of the illness and a higher survival rate of patients once AIDS has developed. The mechanism by which the GBV-C/HGV virus has a "protective effect" in patients with HIV has still not been defined. Study of the interaction of the GBV-C/HGV and HIV viruses could lead to the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of AIDS. Given that the mechanism responsible for the beneficial effect exercised by the GBV-C/HGV virus in the course of HIV infection has not been defined, the present work is intended as a study of the structure and interactions between the fusion peptide of HIV-1, gp41(1-23), and synthetic peptide sequences of the E2 envelope protein of GBV-C/HGV using biophysical techniques. Our results highlight that the E2(269-286) sequence interacts with the target fusion peptide of HIV-1 and modifies its conformation.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 05/2009; 113(20):7383-91. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A water soluble derivative (2) of topopyrones was selected for NMR studies directed to elucidate the mode of binding with specific oligonucleotides. Topopyrone 2 can intercalate into the CG base pairs, but the residence time into the double helix is very short and a fast chemical exchange averaging occurs at room temperature between the free and bound species. The equilibria involved become slow below room temperature, thus allowing to measure a mean lifetime of the complex of ca. 7 ms at 15 degrees C. Structural models of the complex with d(CGTACG)(2) were developed on the basis of DOSY, 2D NOESY and (31)P NMR experiments. Topopyrone 2 presents a strong tendency to self-associate. In the presence of oligonucleotide a certain number of ligand molecules are found to externally stack to the double-helix, in addition to a small fraction of the same ligand intercalated. The external binding to the ionic surface of the phosphoribose chains may thus represents the first step of the intercalation process.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 01/2009; 17(2):484-91. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of root-released compounds of transplastomic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) on the soil bacterial community structure, and their potential to support horizontal gene transfer (HGT) to bacteria have been studied. Soil microcosms were exposed to root-released compounds collected from transplastomic and non-transgenic tobacco cultivars. Cluster analysis of automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) profiles of the soil bacterial community after 48 h incubation grouped the transgenic cultivar apart from the non-transgenic, indicating that it had a rhizodeposition pattern different from the parental plants. However, these differences were less than between the two non-transgenic tobacco cultivars studied. NMR characterization of the root-released compounds showed some differences in chemical fingerprinting pattern between the transplastomic and the parental cultivar. However, the effect on bacterial community structure was transient, and tended to disappear after 96 h of incubation. The potential of root-released compounds as a source of transforming DNA for bacteria was investigated by using four potential recipient species. No transformants were obtained following exposure of all the recipients to the root-released compounds. Root-released compounds amended to transgene donor DNA decreased the transformation frequency of Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1200, while Azospirillum, Agrobacterium, and Sinorhizobium strains failed to develop competence also in the presence of an external added transgene source. Detection of plastid sequences by PCR suggested that a very low amount of fragmented plastid donor DNA was present in the root-released compounds.
    Environmental Biosafety Research 01/2008; 7(1):11-24.
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    ABSTRACT: In this work, we present a structural characterization of the putative fusion peptide E2(279-298) corresponding to the E2 envelope protein of the HGV/GBV-C virus by (1)H NMR, CD and MD studies performed in H(2)O/TFE and in lipid model membranes. The peptide is largely unstructured in water, whereas in H(2)O/TFE and in model membranes it adopts an helical structure (approximately 65-70%). The partitioning free energy DeltaG ranges from -6 to -7.5 kcal mol(-1). OCD measurements on peptide-containing hydrated and oriented lipid multilayers showed that the peptide adopts a predominantly surface orientation. The (1)H NMR data (observed NOEs, deuterium exchange rates, Halpha chemical shift index and vicinal coupling constants) and the molecular dynamics calculations support the conclusions that the peptide adopts a stable helix in the C-terminal 9-18 residues slightly inserted into the lipid bilayer and a major mobility in the amino terminus of the sequence (1-8 residues).
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 10/2007; 465(1):187-96. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bowman-Birk serine protease inhibitors are a family of small plant proteins, whose physiological role has not been ascertained as yet, while chemopreventive anticarcinogenic properties have repeatedly been claimed. In this work we present data on the isolation of a lentil (Lens culinaris, L., var. Macrosperma) seed trypsin inhibitor (LCTI) and its functional and structural characterization. LCTI is a 7448 Da double-headed trypsin/chymotrypsin inhibitor with dissociation constants equal to 0.54 nM and 7.25 nM for the two proteases, respectively. The inhibitor is, however, hydrolysed by trypsin in a few minutes timescale, leading to a dramatic loss of its affinity for the enzyme. This is due to a substantial difference in the kon and k*on values (1.1 microM-1.s-1 vs. 0.002 microM-1.s-1), respectively, for the intact and modified inhibitor. A similar behaviour was not observed with chymotrypsin. The twenty best NMR structures concurrently showed a canonical Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI) conformation with two antipodal beta-hairpins containing the inhibitory domains. The tertiary structure is stabilized by ion pairs and hydrogen bonds involving the side chain and backbone of Asp10-Asp26-Arg28 and Asp36-Asp52 residues. At physiological pH, the final structure results in an asymmetric distribution of opposite charges with a negative electrostatic potential, centred on the C-terminus, and a highly positive potential, surrounding the antitryptic domain. The segment 53-55 lacks the anchoring capacity found in analogous BBIs, thus rendering the protein susceptible to hydrolysis. The inhibitory properties of LCTI, related to the simultaneous presence of two key amino acids (Gln18 and His54), render the molecule unusual within the natural Bowman-Birk inhibitor family.
    FEBS Journal 10/2006; 273(17):4024-39. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An improved procedure for the microbial hydroxylations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, 1) and 15 beta,16 beta-methylene-dehydroepiandrosterone (2) was studied using whole cells of Botryodiplodia malorum and Colletotrichum lini. C. lini catalyzed 7 alpha- and 15 alpha-hydroxylation of 1 and 7 alpha-hydroxylation of 2, while B. malorum gave 7 beta-hydroxylation of both the substrates. The stability of the enzymatic activity was higher in the presence of co-substrates (i.e., glucose or mannitol) allowing for repeated batches of the biotransformations. The yields of 7 alpha,15 alpha-dihydroxy-1 production were improved obtaining 5.8 gl(-1) (recovered product) from 7.0 gl(-1) of substrate. The structures of the hydroxylated products were assigned by a combination of two-dimensional NMR proton-proton and proton-carbon correlation techniques.
    Steroids 07/2006; 71(6):429-34. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Seeds of the water plant Trapa natans L. (water chestnut) can germinate in strict anoxia. The seedlings show seminal roots growing upwards while shoot buds remain quiescent until O2 becomes available. Trapa seedlings are highly tolerant to anoxia. The rate of ethanol fermentation was 21.2 μmol (g FW)−1 h−1, while production of lactate was negligible and lower than that of succinate. The seminal root of Trapa compares better to the rice coleoptile rather than to the rice root, both functionally and as to the metabolic response to anoxia. The anaerobic germination of Nuphar luteum L. and Scirpus mucronatus L. was also characterized by a limited developmental program.
    Physiologia Plantarum 04/2006; 86(1):168 - 172. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 31 P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscope (NMR) was used to study the response of Phacelia tanacetifolia seeds to dark and light conditions during the first 72 h of incubation. Changes in the chemical shifts (δ) of the pH-dependent 31P-NMR signals from the vacuolar and the cytoplasmic orthophosphate pools were correlated with the different incubation conditions. In the dark (favorable to germination), the cytoplasmic pH remained nearly constant over the whole period considered, while the vacuolar pH shitted to more acidic values after the 24th h of incubation. In the light (inhibiting germination), the values of cytoplasmic pH tended to become more acidic than in the dark after the 24th h of incubation, while the vacuolar pH remained practically constant. When seed germination was inhibited in the dark by butyric acid (BA). a permeant weak acid, the values of cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH were similar to those of the ungerminated seeds incubated in the light. When, vice versa, seed germination was promoted in the light by fusicoccin (FC), the values of cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH were similar to those of the dark-germinated seeds. A progressive augmentation of P, metabolism occurred both in the dark and in the light up to the 24th h of incubation. Subsequently, light blocked any further evolution of this parameter. Treatment with butyric acid in the dark again mimicked the effect of light, while FC reversed the negative effect of light. The data show that in Phacelia tanacetifolia seeds germination is linked to a more alkaline cytoplasmic pH. The finding that the light-dependent metabolic inhibition occurs after an early activation of metabolism, i.e. after the first 24 h. suggests that the effects of light on the cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH depend on the early metabolic processes involved in the control of the homeostasis of cell pH and/or on the inhibition of the reactivation of the transport mechanisms.
    Physiologia Plantarum 04/2006; 93(4):577 - 583. · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Angewandte Chemie International Edition 03/2006; 45(7):1123-6. · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 200 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract, please click on HTML or PDF.
    ChemInform 01/2006; 37(9).
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of an analogue of distamycin, FCE-24517, with the ‘AT-rich’ DNA fragment d(CGTATACG)2, was studied in solution by the combined usage of 2D techniques, TOCSY, NOESY, ROESY and 13C/1H shift correlation experiments. The formation of the complex destroys the C2 symmetry of the double helix, leading to a doubling of the nucleotide resonances. Proton and carbon atoms were assigned in the complex in terms of specific strand and residue. The imino protons of the base pairs, involved in hydrogen bonding and the H-2 protons of adenine moieties, were determinant for defining the binding sites of the drug. The presence of multiple equilibrium reactions was proved by means of NOESY and ROESY spectra, where all the chemical-exchange cross peaks were analysed. The FCE-24517 signals in the complex were attributed and some stereospecific assignments performed. Two sets of resonances for FCE were identified, showing that the drug exists in two different chemical environments, corresponding to two different modes of binding in slow chemical exchange. Significant intermolecular NOE interactions between the drug and the nucleotide have allowed the binding sites in the minor groove of the DNA fragment to be located.
    Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry 04/2005; 32(3):139 - 150. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 2D 31P/1H correlation spectroscopy has been used to assign individual phosphates in the self-complementary DNA fragment d(CGTACG), which is present in solution as a B-DNA type double helix. 31P chemical shift variation with temperature and with the base sequence has been studied, and evidence is given of a steric clash between purines in the minor groove, affecting the chemical shift of the innermost TpA phosphate. For this hexanucleotide there is a good correlation of 31P shifts with both the helical twist (∑1) and roll angle (∑2) Calladine-Dickerson sum functions. Different types of linear correlations, also including data from other nuclotides, have been performed. The results show that it is more appropriate to consider the change in chemical shifts as it occurs during melting rather than the actual 31P shifts. An interesting correlation was also found between 31P chemical shifts and P,H-3′ coupling constants.
    Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry 04/2005; 27(7):640 - 646. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel alkaloid with an unprecedented ring system consisting of a dodecahydro-7-oxa-9a-aza-benzo[a]azulene ring (1), has been isolated from cultures of Clitocybe concava (Basidiomycetae). Its structure and relative stereochemistry were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic data. Concavine presents a weak antibacterial activity.
    Tetrahedron Letters - TETRAHEDRON LETT. 01/2005; 46(46):8037-8039.
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    ABSTRACT: Brostallicin (PNU-166196) is a synthetic alpha-bromoacrylic, second-generation DNA minor groove binder structurally related to distamycin A, presently in Phase II trials in Europe and the United States. The compound shows broad antitumor activity in preclinical models and dramatically reduced in vitro myelotoxicity in human hematopoietic progenitor cells compared with that of other minor groove binders. Brostallicin showed a 3-fold higher activity in melphalan-resistant L1210 murine leukemia cells than in the parental line (IC(50) = 0.46 and 1.45 ng/ml, respectively) under conditions in which the cytotoxicity of conventional antitumor agents was either unaffected or reduced. This melphalan-resistant cell line has increased levels of glutathione (GSH) in comparison with the parental cells. Conversely, GSH depletion by buthionine sulfoximine in a human ovarian carcinoma cell line (A2780) significantly decreased both the cytotoxic and the proapoptotic effects of brostallicin. In one experiment, human glutathione S-transferase pi (GST-pi) cDNA was transfected into A2780 cells, and four clones of A2780 with different expression levels of GST-pi were generated (i.e., two clones with high and two clones with low GST-pi expression). A 2-3-fold increase in GST-pi levels resulted in a 2-3-fold increase in cytotoxic activity of brostallicin. Similar results were obtained for GST-pi-transfected human breast carcinoma cells (MCF-7). Brostallicin showed 5.8-fold increased cytotoxicity in GST-pi-transfected versus empty vector-transfected cells with low GST-pi expression. In an in vivo experiment, A2780 clones were implanted into nude mice. The antitumor activity of brostallicin was higher in the GST-pi-overexpressing tumors without increased toxicity. Regarding the mechanism of action, brostallicin interacts reversibly with the DNA minor groove TA-rich sequences but appears unreactive in classical in vitro DNA alkylation assays. We speculated that an intracellular reactive nucleophilic species, e.g., GSH, could react with the alpha-bromoacrylamide moiety functions. Experiments on the interaction with plasmid DNA showed a change of the DNA topology from supercoiled to circular form (nicking) in the presence of GSH, whereas no change was found in its absence. In vitro incubations of brostallicin were performed with the human recombinant GST isoenzymes A1-1, M1-1, and P1-1 (alpha, mu and pi isoenzymes, respectively) in the presence of GSH. The decrease in brostallicin levels was monitored in these incubations; the rate of loss (and therefore brostallicin metabolism) was significantly higher for the M1-1 and P1-1 isoenzymes than for the A1-1 isoenzyme.
    Cancer Research 05/2002; 62(8):2332-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Organic Chemistry - J ORG CHEM. 04/2002; 60(12).