UMR9187 / U1196 – Chemistry, Modelling and Imaging for Biology (CMIB)

Unit publications

Year of publication 2019

B. Augé, E. Dartois, J. Duprat, C. Engrand, G. Slodzian, T.D. Wu, J.L. Guerquin-Kern, H. Vermesse, A. N. Agnihotri, P. Boduch, H. Rothard (2019 Jun 21)

Hydrogen isotopic anomalies in extraterrestrial organic matter: Role of cosmic ray irradiation and implications for UCAMMs

Astronomy & Astrophysics : DOI : 10.1051/0004-6361/201935143 Learn more

Context. Micrometeorites represent, at timescales shorter than a few million years, the dominant source of extraterrestrial matter at the surface of the Earth. Analyses of ultracarbonaceous micrometeorites recovered from Antarctica, known as UCAMMs reveal an exceptionally N-rich organic matter associated with spatially extended high D enrichments. Experiments show that this specific organic matter might have been formed in the outer solar system by energetic irradiation of N-rich icy surfaces.

Aims. We experimentally investigate the hydrogen isotopic fractionation resulting from irradiation of normal and D-rich N2-CH4 ices by high energy ions, simulating the exposition to Galactic cosmic rays of icy bodies surfaces orbiting at large heliocentric distances.

Methods. Films of N2-CH4 ices and a N2-CH4/CD4/N2-CH4 “sandwich” ice were exposed to 129Xe13+ ion beams at 92 and 88 MeV. The chemical evolution of the samples was monitored using in situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. After irradiation, targets were annealed to room temperature. The solid residues of the whole process left after ice sublimation were characterized in situ by infrared spectroscopy, and the hydrogen isotopic composition measured ex situ by imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry at the sub-micron scale (NanoSIMS).

Results. Irradiation leads to the formation of new molecules and radicals. After annealing, the resulting poly-HCN-like macro-molecular residue exhibits an infrared spectrum close to that of UCAMMs. The residue resulting from irradiation of N2-CH4 ices does not exhibit a significant deuterium enrichment comparable to that found in extraterrestrial organic matter. The residue formed by irradiation of D-rich ices shows the formation of isotopic heterogeneities with localised hotspots and an extended contribution likely due to the diffusion of the radiolytic products from the D-rich layer.

Conclusions. These results show that high-energy cosmic ray irradiation does not induce the large hydrogen isotopic fractionation observed at small spatial scale in interplanetary organics. By contrast, large D/H ratio heterogeneities at the sub-micron spatial scale in extraterrestrial organic matter can result from isotopically heterogeneous ices mixtures (i.e. condensed with different D/H ratios), which were transformed into refractory organic matter upon irradiation.

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Ouahiba Sihali-Beloui, Djamila Aroune, Fella Benazouz, Adile Hadji, Salima El-Aoufi, Sergio Marco (2019 Jun 2)

A hypercaloric diet induces hepatic oxidative stress, infiltration of lymphocytes, and mitochondrial reshuffle in Psammomys obesus, a murine model of insulin resistance.

Comptes rendus biologies : DOI : 10.1016/j.crvi.2019.04.003 Learn more

The aim of this study was to show, for the first time, the effect of a hypercaloric diet on the mitochondrial reshuffle of hepatocytes during the progression from steatosis to steatohepatitis to cirrhosis in Psammomys obesus, a typical animal model of the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic and oxidative stresses were induced by feeding the animal through a standard laboratory diet (SD) for nine months. Metabolic parameters, liver malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH), were evaluated. The pathological evolution was examined by histopathology and immunohistochemistry, using CD3 and CD20 antibodies. The dynamics of the mitochondrial structure was followed by transmission electron microscopy. SD induced a steatosis in this animal that evolved under the effect of oxidative and metabolic stress by the appearance of adaptive inflammation and fibrosis leading the animal to the cirrhosis stage with serious hepatocyte damage by the triggering, at first the mitochondrial fusion-fission cycles, which attempted to maintain the mitochondria intact and functional, but the hepatocellular oxidative damage was increased inducing a vicious circle of mitochondrial alteration and dysfunction and their elimination by mitophagy. P. obesus is an excellent animal model of therapeutic research that targets mitochondrial dysfunction in the progression of steatosis.

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Dapeng Zhang, Yujiao Fan, Hui Chen, Sylvain Trépout, Min-Hui Li (2019 May 31)

CO2-activated reversible transition between polymersomes and micelles with AIE fluorescence.

Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) : Accepted Author Manuscript : DOI : 10.1002/anie.201905089 Learn more

Fluorescent polymersomes with both aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and CO2-responsive properties were developed from amphiphilic block copolymer PEG-b-P(DEAEMA-co-TPEMA) in which the hydrophobic block was a copolymer made of tetraphenylethene functionalized methacrylate (TPEMA) and 2-(diethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DEAEMA) with unspecified sequence arrangement. Four block copolymers with different DEAEMA/TPEMA and hydrophilic/hydrophobic ratios were synthesized and bright AIE polymersomes were prepared by nanoprecipitation in THF/water and dioxane/water systems. Polymersomes of PEG45-b-P(DEAEMA36-co-TPEMA6) were chosen to study the CO2-responsive property. Upon CO2 bubbling vesicles transformed to small spherical micelles, and upon Ar bubbling micelles returned to vesicles with the presence of a few intermediate morphologies. These polymersomes might have promising applications as sensors, nanoreactors or controlled release systems.

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Oksana Reznichenko, Alicia Quillévéré, Rodrigo Prado Martins, Nadège Loaëc, Hang Kang, María José Lista, Claire Beauvineau, Jorge González-García, Régis Guillot, Cécile Voisset, Chrysoula Daskalogianni, Robin Fåhraeus, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Marc Blondel, Anton Granzhan (2019 May 23)

Novel cationic bis(acylhydrazones) as modulators of Epstein–Barr virus immune evasion acting through disruption of interaction between nucleolin and G-quadruplexes of EBNA1 mRNA

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry : 178 : 13-29 : DOI : 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.05.042 Learn more


The oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) evades the immune system through limiting the expression of its highly antigenic and essential genome maintenance protein, EBNA1, to the minimal level to ensure viral genome replication, thereby also minimizing the production of EBNA1-derived antigenic peptides. This regulation is based on inhibition of translation of the virally-encoded EBNA1 mRNA, and involves the interaction of host protein nucleolin (NCL) with G-quadruplex (G4) structures that form in the glycine–alanine repeat (GAr)-encoding sequence of the EBNA1 mRNA. Ligands that bind to these G4-RNA can prevent their interaction with NCL, leading to disinhibition of EBNA1 expression and antigen presentation, thereby interfering with the immune evasion of EBNA1 and therefore of EBV (M.J. Lista et al., Nature Commun., 2017, 8, 16043). In this work, we synthesized and studied a series of 20 cationic bis(acylhydrazone) derivatives designed as G4 ligands. The in vitro evaluation showed that most derivatives based on central pyridine (Py), naphthyridine (Naph) or phenanthroline (Phen) units were efficient G4 binders, in contrast to their pyrimidine (Pym) counterparts, which were poor G4 binders due to a significantly different molecular geometry. The influence of lateral heterocyclic units (N-substituted pyridinium or quinolinium residues) on G4-binding properties was also investigated. Two novel compounds, namely PyDH2 and PhenDH2, used at a 5 μM concentration, were able to significantly enhance EBNA1 expression in H1299 cells in a GAr-dependent manner, while being significantly less toxic than the prototype drug PhenDC3 (GI50 > 50 μM). Antigen presentation, RNA pull-down and proximity ligation assays confirmed that the effect of both drugs was related to the disruption of NCL–EBNA1 mRNA interaction and the subsequent promotion of GAr-restricted antigen presentation. Our work provides a novel modular scaffold for the development of G-quadruplex-targeting drugs acting through interference with G4–protein interaction.

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Emilia Puig Lombardi, Allyson Holmes, Daniela Verga, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Alain Nicolas, Arturo Londoño-Vallejo (2019 May 23)

Thermodynamically stable and genetically unstable G-quadruplexes are depleted in genomes across species.

Nucleic acids research : gkz463 : 2019-2020 : DOI : 10.1093/nar/gkz463 Learn more

G-quadruplexes play various roles in multiple biological processes, which can be positive when a G4 is involved in the regulation of gene expression or detrimental when the folding of a stable G4 impairs DNA replication promoting genome instability. This duality interrogates the significance of their presence within genomes. To address the potential biased evolution of G4 motifs, we analyzed their occurrence, features and polymorphisms in a large spectrum of species. We found extreme bias of the short-looped G4 motifs, which are the most thermodynamically stable in vitro and thus carry the highest folding potential in vivo. In the human genome, there is an over-representation of single-nucleotide-loop G4 motifs (G4-L1), which are highly conserved among humans and show a striking excess of the thermodynamically least stable G4-L1A (G3AG3AG3AG3) sequences. Functional assays in yeast showed that G4-L1A caused the lowest levels of both spontaneous and G4-ligand-induced instability. Analyses across 600 species revealed the depletion of the most stable G4-L1C/T quadruplexes in most genomes in favor of G4-L1A in vertebrates or G4-L1G in other eukaryotes. We discuss how these trends might be the result of species-specific mutagenic processes associated to a negative selection against the most stable motifs, thus neutralizing their detrimental effects on genome stability while preserving positive G4-associated biological roles.

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El Hassen Mokrani, Abderrahmane Bensegueni, Ludovic Chaput, Claire Beauvineau, Hanane Djeghim, Liliane Mouawad (2019 May 1)

Identification of New Potent Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors Using Virtual Screening and In Vitro Approaches.

Molecular informatics : 38 : 1800118 : DOI : 10.1002/minf.201800118 Learn more

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is currently the most favorable target for the symptomatic treatment and reduction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to identify new potent inhibitors of this enzyme, we describe herein a new structure‐based virtual screening (SBVS) using the Institut Curie‐CNRS chemical library (ICCL), which contained at the screening date 14307 compounds. The strategy undertaken in this work consisted of the use of several docking programs in SBVS calculations followed by the application of a consensus method (vSDC) and a scrupulous visual analysis. It allowed us to obtain a high degree of success, with a yield of almost 86 %, since 12 hits were identified among only 14 molecules tested in vitro. Still more remarkably, 6 of these hits were more active than galantamine, the reference inhibitor. These hits were predicted to have good ADMET properties. The two most promising compounds can serve as leads for AD treatment.

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Katerina Duskova, Jérémy Lamarche, Souheila Amor, Coralie Caron, Nicolas Queyriaux, Marie Gaschard, Marie-Jose Penouilh, Guillaume De Robillard, Dominique Delmas, Charles H Devillers, Anton Granzhan, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou, Murielle Chavarot-Kerlidou, Bruno Therrien, Sébastien Britton, David Monchaud (2019 Apr 3)

Identification of three-way DNA junction ligands through screening of chemical libraries and validation by complementary in vitro assays.

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry : 62 : 4456-4466 : DOI : 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01978 Learn more


The human genome is replete with repetitive DNA sequences that can fold into thermodynamically stable secondary structures such as hairpins and quadruplexes. Cellular enzymes exist to cope with these structures whose stable accumulation would result in DNA damage through interference with DNA transactions such as transcription and replication. Therefore, chemical stabilization of secondary DNA structures offers an attractive way to foster DNA transaction-associated damages to trigger cell death in proliferating cancer cells. While much emphasis has been recently given to DNA quadruplexes, we focused here on three-way DNA junctions (TWJ) and report on a strategy to identify TWJ-targeting agents through a combination of in vitro techniques (TWJ-Screen, PAGE, FRET-melting, ESI-MS, dialysis equilibrium and SRB assays). We designed a complete workflow and screened 1200 compounds to identify promising three-way DNA junction ligands selected on stringent criteria in terms of TWJ folding ability, affinity and selectivity.

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David Partouche, Jérémie Mathurin, Antoine Malabirade, Sergio Marco, Christophe Sandt, Véronique Arluison, Ariane Deniset-Besseau, Sylvain Trépout (2019 Apr 1)

Correlative infrared nanospectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy to investigate nanometric amyloid fibrils: prospects and challenges.

Journal of microscopy : 274 : 23-31 : DOI : 10.1111/jmi.12779 Learn more

Propagation of structural information through conformational changes in host-encoded amyloid proteins is at the root of many neurodegenerative disorders. Although important breakthroughs have been made in the field, fundamental issues like the 3D-structures of the fibrils involved in some of those disorders are still to be elucidated. To better characterise those nanometric fibrils, a broad range of techniques is currently available. Nevertheless none of them is able to perform direct chemical characterisation of single protein fibrils. In this work, we propose to investigate the structure of the C-terminal region of a bacterial protein called Hfq as a model amyloidogenic protein, using a correlative approach. The complementary techniques used are transmission electron microscopy and a newly developed infrared nanospectroscopy technique called AFM-IR. We introduce and discuss the strategy that we have implemented as well as the protocol, challenges and difficulties encountered during this study to characterise amyloid assemblies at the nearly single-molecule level. LAY DESCRIPTION: Propagation of structural information through conformational changes in amyloid proteins is at the root of many neurodegenerative disorders. Amyloids are nanostructures originating from the aggregation of multiple copies of peptide or protein monomers that eventually form fibrils. Often described as being the cause for the development of various diseases, amyloid fibrils are of major significance in the public health domain. While important breakthroughs have been made in the field, fundamental issues like the 3D-structures of the fibrils implied in some of those disorders are still to be elucidated. To better characterise these fibrils, a broad range of techniques is currently available for the detection and visualisation of amyloid nanostructures. Nevertheless none of them is able to perform direct chemical characterisation of single protein fibrils. In this work, we propose to investigate the structure of model amyloidogenic fibrils using a correlative approach. The complementary techniques used are transmission electron microscopy and a newly developed infrared nanospectroscopy technique called AFM-IR that allows chemical characterisation at the nanometric scale. The strategy, protocol, challenges and difficulties encountered in this approach are introduced and discussed herein.

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Paul D., Marchand A., Verga D., Bombard S., Teulade-Fichou M.P., Rosu F., Gabelica V. (2019 Feb 28)

Probing Ligand and Cation Binding Sites in G-Quadruplex Nucleic Acids by Mass Spectrometry and Electron Photodetachment Dissociation Sequencing

Analyst : 144 : 3518-3524 : DOI : 10.1039/C9AN00398C Learn more

Mass spectrometry provides exquisite detail on ligand and cation binding stoichiometries with a DNA target. The next important step is to develop reliable methods to determine the cation and ligand binding sites in each complex separated by the mass spectrometer. To circumvent the caveat of ligand derivatization for cross-linking, which may alter the ligand binding mode, we explored a tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method that does not require ligand derivatization, and is therefore also applicable to localize metal cations. By obtaining more negative charge states for the complexes using supercharging agents, and by creating radical ions by electron photodetachment, oligonucleotide bonds become weaker than the DNA-cation or DNA-ligand noncovalent bonds upon collision-induced dissociation of the radicals. This electron photodetachment (EPD) method allows to locate the binding regions of cations and ligands by top-down sequencing of the oligonucleotide target. The very potent G-quadruplex ligands 360A and PhenDC3 were found to replace a potassium cation and bind close to the central loop of 4-repeat human telomeric sequences.

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Daghildjian K., Kasselouri A., N’Diaye M., Michel J.P., Vergnaud J., Poyer F., Maillard P., Rosilio V. (2019 Feb 23)

Mannose distribution in glycoconjugated tetraphenylporphyrins governs their uptake mechanism and phototoxicity

Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines : 23 : 175-184 : DOI : 10.1142/S1088424619500184 Learn more

Tetraphenylporphyrins (TPPs) have been proposed for the treatment of retinoblastoma by photodynamic therapy. Glycoconjugated compounds were synthesized for improving TPP solubility and amphipathy, and to specifically target mannose receptors overexpressed at the surface of cells. The efficiency of four TPP derivatives with different chemical structures was compared by phototoxicity tests and flow cytometry experiments. Interestingly, the absence/presence and distribution of saccharide moieties in the various compounds affected differently their mechanism of interaction with cancer cells and their phototoxic efficiency. For glycodendrimeric TPP-1 and TPP-2 incubated with retinoblastoma cells, a fast two-step uptake-equilibrium process was observed, whereas for a dendrimeric TPP without saccharide moieties (TPP-1c) and a glycoconjugated compound with no dendrimeric structure (TPP(DegMan)3) uptake was very slow. The difference in uptake profiles and kinetics between TPP-1c on the one hand and TPP-1 and TPP-2 on the other hand would account for the interaction of the two glycodendrimeric compounds with a mannose receptor. These TPPs encapsulated in endosomes would induce less damage to cells upon illumination. TPP(DegMan)3 showed the highest phototoxicity, but its efficiency was unaffected by pretreatment of cells by mannan. The penetration of this glycoconjugated compound in cells and its phototoxic effect appeared independent of its interaction with a mannose receptor. Thus, if glycoconjugation influenced TPPs behavior in solution and interaction with serum proteins, phototoxicity was not necessarily related to upfront molecular recognition.

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Morgan Pellerano, Delphine Naud-Martin, Florence Mahuteau-Betzer, Marie Morille, May Catherine Morris (2019 Feb 15)

Fluorescent biosensor for detection of the R248Q aggregation-prone mutant of p53.

Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology : 20 : 605-613 : DOI : 10.1002/cbic.201800531 Learn more

The p53 tumour suppressor and guardian of the genome undergoes missense mutations which lead to functional inactivation in 50% human cancers. These mutations occur mostly in the DNA-binding domain of the protein and several of these induce conformational changes which lead to amyloid-like protein aggregation. Here we describe a fluorescent biosensor that reports on the R248Q mutant of p53 in vitro and in living cells, engineered through conjugation of an environmentally-sensitive probe onto a peptide derived from the primary aggregation segment of p53.This biosensor was characterized both in vitro and by fluorescence microscopy following facilitated delivery into cultured cells. We show that this biosensor preferentially reports on the p53 R248Q mutant in PC9 lung cancer cell line compared to other lung cancer cell lines harbouring either wildtype or no p53.

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Coralie Caron, Xuan N T Duong, Régis Guillot, Sophie Bombard, Anton Granzhan (2019 Feb 6)

Interaction of Functionalized Naphthalenophanes with Abasic Sites in DNA: DNA Cleavage, DNA Cleavage Inhibition, and Formation of Ligand-DNA Adducts.

Chemistry - A European Journal : 25 : 1949–1962 : DOI : 10.1002/chem.201805555 Learn more

GA-ChemEurJ-2018-2Ligands interacting with abasic (AP) sites in DNA may generate roadblocks in base-excision DNA repair (BER) due to indirect inhibition of DNA repair enzymes (e.g., APE1) and/or formation of toxic byproducts, resulting from ligand-induced strand cleavage or covalent cross-links. Herein, we prepared and systematically studied a series of 12 putative AP-site ligands, sharing the common naphthalenophane scaffold but endowed with a variety of substituents. Our results demonstrate that most naphthalenophanes bind to AP-sites in DNA and inhibit the APE1-induced hydrolysis of the latter in vitro. Remarkably, their APE1 inhibitory activity, as characterized by IC50 and Ki values, can be directly related to their affinity and selectivity to AP-sites, assessed from the fluorescence-melting experiments. On the other hand, the molecular design of naphthalenophanes has crucial influence on their intrinsic AP-site cleavage activity (i.e., ligand-catalyzed β- and β,δ-elimination reactions at the AP site), as illustrated by the compounds either having an exceptionally high AP-site cleavage activity (e.g., 2,7 BisNP-S, 125-fold more efficacious than spermine) or totally devoid of this activity (four compounds). Finally, we reveal the unprecedented formation of a stable covalent DNA adduct upon reaction of one ligand (2,7-BisNP-NH) with its own product of AP-site cleavage.

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Nathalie Fretellier, Agnès Granottier, Marlène Rasschaert, Anne-Laure Grindel, Fannie Baudimont, Philippe Robert, Jean-Marc Idée, Claire Corot (2019 Feb 1)

Does Age Interfere With Gadolinium Toxicity and Presence in Brain and Bone Tissues?: A Comparative Gadoterate Versus Gadodiamide Study in Juvenile and Adult Rats.

Investigative radiology : 54 : 61-71 : DOI : 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000517 Learn more


The main objective of the study was to assess the effect of age on target tissue total gadolinium (Gd) retention after repeated administration of gadodiamide (linear) or gadoterate (macrocyclic) Gd-based contrast agent (GBCA) in rats. The secondary objective was to assess the potential developmental and long-term consequences of GBCA administration during neonatal and juvenile periods.

Materials and Methods

A total of 20 equivalent human clinical doses (cumulated dose, 12 mmol Gd/kg) of either gadoterate or gadodiamide were administered concurrently by the intravenous route to healthy adult and juvenile rats. Saline was administered to juvenile rats forming the control group. In juvenile rats, the doses were administered from postnatal day 12, that is, once the blood-brain barrier is functional as in humans after birth. The tests were conducted on 5 juvenile rats per sex and per group and on 3 adult animals per sex and per group. T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of the cerebellum was performed at 4.7 T during both the treatment and treatment-free periods. Behavioral tests were performed in juvenile rats. Rats were euthanatized at 11 to 12 weeks (ie, approximately 3 months) after the last administration. Total Gd concentrations were measured in plasma, skin, bone, and brain by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Cerebellum samples from the juvenile rats were characterized by histopathological examination (including immunohistochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein or GFAP, and CD68). Lipofuscin pigments were also studied by fluorescence microscopy. All tests were performed blindly on randomized animals.


Transient skin lesions were observed in juvenile rats (5/5 females and 2/4 males) and not in adult rats having received gadodiamide. Persisting (up to completion of the study) T1 hyperintensity in the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCNs) was observed only in gadodiamide-treated rats. Quantitatively, a slightly higher progressive increase in the DCN/brain stem ratio was observed in adult rats compared with juvenile rats, whereas no difference was noted visually. In all tissues, total Gd concentrations were higher (10- to 30-fold higher) in the gadodiamide-treated groups than in the gadoterate groups. No age-related differences were observed except in bone marrow where total Gd concentrations in gadodiamide-treated juvenile rats were higher than those measured in adults and similar to those measured in cortical bone tissue. No significant treatment-related effects were observed in histopathological findings or in development, behavior, and biochemistry parameters. However, in the elevated plus maze test, a trend toward an anxiogenic effect was observed in the gadodiamide group compared with other groups (nonsignificant). Moreover, in the balance beam test, a high number of trials were excluded in the gadodiamide group because rats (mainly males) did not completely cross the beam, which may also reflect an anxiogenic effect.


No T1 hyperintensity was observed in the DCN after administration of the macrocyclic GBCA gadoterate regardless of age as opposed to administration of the linear GBCA gadodiamide. Repeated administration of gadodiamide in neonatal and juvenile rats resulted in similar total Gd retention in the skin, brain, and bone to that in adult rats with sex having no effect, whereas Gd distribution in bone marrow was influenced by age. Further studies are required to assess the form of the retained Gd and to investigate the potential risks associated with Gd retention in bone marrow in juvenile animals treated with gadodiamide. Regardless of age, total Gd concentration in the brain and bone was 10- to 30-fold higher after administration of gadodiamide compared with gadoterate.

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Delphine Naud-Martin, Corinne Landras-Guetta, Daniela Verga, Deepanjan Ghosh, Sylvain Achelle, Florence Mahuteau-Betzer, Sophie Bombard, Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou (2019 Jan 26)

Selectivity of Terpyridine Platinum Anticancer Drugs for G-quadruplex DNA.

Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) : 24 : 404 : DOI : 10.3390/molecules24030404 Learn more

Guanine-rich DNA can form four-stranded structures called G-quadruplexes (G4s) that can regulate many biological processes. Metal complexes have shown high affinity and selectivity toward the quadruplex structure. Here, we report the comparison of a panel of platinum (II) complexes for quadruplex DNA selective recognition by exploring the aromatic core around terpyridine derivatives. Their affinity and selectivity towards G4 structures of various topologies have been evaluated by FRET-melting (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfert-melting) and Fluorescent Intercalator Displacement (FID) assays, the latter performed by using three different fluorescent probes (Thiazole Orange (TO), TO-PRO-3, and PhenDV). Their ability to bind covalently to the c-myc G4 structure in vitro and their cytotoxicity potential in two ovarian cancerous cell lines were established. Our results show that the aromatic surface of the metallic ligands governs, in vitro, their affinity, their selectivity for the G4 over the duplex structures, and platination efficiency. However, the structural modifications do not allow significant discrimination among the different G4 topologies. Moreover, all compounds were tested on ovarian cancer cell lines and normal cell lines and were all able to overcome cisplatin resistance highlighting their interest as new anticancer drugs.

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M Schmidt-Cernohorska, I Zhernov, E Steib, M Le Guennec, R Achek, S Borgers, D Demurtas, L Mouawad, Z Lansky, V Hamel, P Guichard (2019 Jan 19)

Flagellar microtubule doublet assembly in vitro reveals a regulatory role of tubulin C-terminal tails.

Science (New York, N.Y.) : 363 : 285-288 : DOI : 10.1126/science.aav2567 Learn more

Microtubule doublets (MTDs), consisting of an incomplete B-microtubule at the surface of a complete A-microtubule, provide a structural scaffold mediating intraflagellar transport and ciliary beating. Despite the fundamental role of MTDs, the molecular mechanism governing their formation is unknown. We used a cell-free assay to demonstrate a crucial inhibitory role of the carboxyl-terminal (C-terminal) tail of tubulin in MTD assembly. Removal of the C-terminal tail of an assembled A-microtubule allowed for the nucleation of a B-microtubule on its surface. C-terminal tails of only one A-microtubule protofilament inhibited this side-to-surface tubulin interaction, which would be overcome in vivo with binding protein partners. The dynamics of B-microtubule nucleation and its distinctive isotropic elongation was elucidated by using live imaging. Thus, inherent interaction properties of tubulin provide a structural basis driving flagellar MTD assembly.

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