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Published in 2020
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Network Pharmacology-Based Investigation of the System-Level Molecular Mechanisms of the Hematopoietic Activity of Samul-Tang, a Traditional Korean Herbal Formula.

Authors: Lee HS, Lee IH, Park SI, Lee DY

Abstract: Hematopoiesis is a dynamic process of the continuous production of diverse blood cell types to meet the body's physiological demands and involves complex regulation of multiple cellular mechanisms in hematopoietic stem cells, including proliferation, self-renewal, differentiation, and apoptosis. Disruption of the hematopoietic system is known to cause various hematological disorders such as myelosuppression. There is growing evidence on the beneficial effects of herbal medicines on hematopoiesis; however, their mechanism of action remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a network pharmacological-based investigation of the system-level mechanisms underlying the hematopoietic activity of Samul-tang, which is an herbal formula consisting of four herbal medicines, including Angelicae Gigantis Radix, Rehmanniae Radix Preparata, Paeoniae Radix Alba, and Cnidii Rhizoma. In silico analysis of the absorption-distribution-metabolism-excretion model identified 16 active phytochemical compounds contained in Samul-tang that may target 158 genes/proteins associated with myelosuppression to exert pharmacological effects. Functional enrichment analysis suggested that the targets of Samul-tang were significantly enriched in multiple pathways closely related to the hematopoiesis and myelosuppression development, including the PI3K-Akt, MAPK, IL-17, TNF, FoxO, HIF-1, NF-kappa B, and p53 signaling pathways. Our study provides novel evidence regarding the system-level mechanisms underlying the hematopoiesis-promoting effect of herbal medicines for hematological disorder treatment.
Published in 2020
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NanoSolveIT Project: Driving nanoinformatics research to develop innovative and integrated tools for in silico nanosafety assessment.

Authors: Afantitis A, Melagraki G, Isigonis P, Tsoumanis A, Varsou DD, Valsami-Jones E, Papadiamantis A, Ellis LA, Sarimveis H, Doganis P, Karatzas P, Tsiros P, Liampa I, Lobaskin V, Greco D, Serra A, Kinaret PAS, Saarimaki LA, Grafstrom R, Kohonen P, Nymark P, Willighagen E, Puzyn T, Rybinska-Fryca A, Lyubartsev A, Alstrup Jensen K, Brandenburg JG, Lofts S, Svendsen C, Harrison S, Maier D, Tamm K, Janes J, Sikk L, Dusinska M, Longhin E, Runden-Pran E, Mariussen E, El Yamani N, Unger W, Radnik J, Tropsha A, Cohen Y, Leszczynski J, Ogilvie Hendren C, Wiesner M, Winkler D, Suzuki N, Yoon TH, Choi JS, Sanabria N, Gulumian M, Lynch I

Abstract: Nanotechnology has enabled the discovery of a multitude of novel materials exhibiting unique physicochemical (PChem) properties compared to their bulk analogues. These properties have led to a rapidly increasing range of commercial applications; this, however, may come at a cost, if an association to long-term health and environmental risks is discovered or even just perceived. Many nanomaterials (NMs) have not yet had their potential adverse biological effects fully assessed, due to costs and time constraints associated with the experimental assessment, frequently involving animals. Here, the available NM libraries are analyzed for their suitability for integration with novel nanoinformatics approaches and for the development of NM specific Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA) for human and environmental risk assessment, all within the NanoSolveIT cloud-platform. These established and well-characterized NM libraries (e.g. NanoMILE, NanoSolutions, NANoREG, NanoFASE, caLIBRAte, NanoTEST and the Nanomaterial Registry (>2000 NMs)) contain physicochemical characterization data as well as data for several relevant biological endpoints, assessed in part using harmonized Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) methods and test guidelines. Integration of such extensive NM information sources with the latest nanoinformatics methods will allow NanoSolveIT to model the relationships between NM structure (morphology), properties and their adverse effects and to predict the effects of other NMs for which less data is available. The project specifically addresses the needs of regulatory agencies and industry to effectively and rapidly evaluate the exposure, NM hazard and risk from nanomaterials and nano-enabled products, enabling implementation of computational 'safe-by-design' approaches to facilitate NM commercialization.
Published in 2020
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Combination of multicomponent KA(2) and Pauson-Khand reactions: short synthesis of spirocyclic pyrrolocyclopentenones.

Authors: Innocenti R, Lenci E, Menchi G, Trabocchi A

Abstract: The Cu-catalyzed multicomponent ketone-amine-alkyne (KA(2)) reaction was combined with a Pauson-Khand cycloaddition to give access of unprecedented constrained spirocyclic pyrrolocyclopentenone derivatives following a DOS couple-pair approach. The polyfunctional molecular scaffolds were tested on the cyclopentenone reactivity to further expand the skeletal diversity, demonstrating the utility of this combined approach in generating novel spiro compounds as starting material for the generation of chemical libraries. The chemoinformatics characterization of the newly-synthesized molecules gave evidence about structural and physicochemical properties with respect to a set of blockbuster drugs, and showed that such scaffolds are drug-like but more spherical and three-dimensional in character than the drugs.
Published in 2020
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Applications of Network Pharmacology in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research.

Authors: Zhou Z, Chen B, Chen S, Lin M, Chen Y, Jin S, Chen W, Zhang Y

Abstract: Human diseases, especially infectious ones, have been evolving constantly. However, their treatment strategies are not developing quickly. Some diseases are caused by a variety of factors with very complex pathologies, and the use of a single drug cannot solve these problems. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) medication is a unique treatment method in China. TCM formulae contain multiple herbs with multitarget, multichannel, and multilink characteristics. In recent years, with the flourishing development of network pharmacology, a new method for searching therapeutic drugs has emerged. The multitarget action in network pharmacology is consistent with the complex mechanisms of disease and drug action. Using network pharmacology to understand TCM is an emerging trend.
Published in 2020
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DES-ROD: Exploring Literature to Develop New Links between RNA Oxidation and Human Diseases.

Authors: Essack M, Salhi A, Van Neste C, Raies AB, Tifratene F, Uludag M, Hungler A, Zaric B, Zafirovic S, Gojobori T, Isenovic E, Bajic VP

Abstract: Normal cellular physiology and biochemical processes require undamaged RNA molecules. However, RNAs are frequently subjected to oxidative damage. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leads to RNA oxidation and disturbs redox (oxidation-reduction reaction) homeostasis. When oxidation damage affects RNA carrying protein-coding information, this may result in the synthesis of aberrant proteins as well as a lower efficiency of translation. Both of these, as well as imbalanced redox homeostasis, may lead to numerous human diseases. The number of studies on the effects of RNA oxidative damage in mammals is increasing by year due to the understanding that this oxidation fundamentally leads to numerous human diseases. To enable researchers in this field to explore information relevant to RNA oxidation and effects on human diseases, we developed DES-ROD, an online knowledgebase that contains processed information from 298,603 relevant documents that consist of PubMed abstracts and PubMed Central full-text articles. The system utilizes concepts/terms from 38 curated thematic dictionaries mapped to the analyzed documents. Researchers can explore enriched concepts, as well as enriched pairs of putatively associated concepts. In this way, one can explore mutual relationships between any combinations of two concepts from used dictionaries. Dictionaries cover a wide range of biomedical topics, such as human genes and proteins, pathways, Gene Ontology categories, mutations, noncoding RNAs, enzymes, toxins, metabolites, and diseases. This makes insights into different facets of the effects of RNA oxidation and the control of this process possible. The usefulness of the DES-ROD system is demonstrated by case studies on some known information, as well as potentially novel information involving RNA oxidation and diseases. DES-ROD is the first knowledgebase based on text and data mining that focused on the exploration of RNA oxidation and human diseases.
Published in 2020
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Study on the Antibreast Cancer Mechanism and Bioactive Components of Si-Wu-Tang by Cell Type-Specific Molecular Network.

Authors: Zhang B, Zheng R, Wang Y

Abstract: Si-Wu-Tang (SWT), a traditional Chinese herbal formula, has shown an effect on antibreast cancer. However, the mechanisms and bioactive components of SWT are still unclear. Fortunately, cell type-specific molecular network has provided an effective method. This study integrated the data of formula components, all types of biomolecules in the human body, and nonexpressed protein in breast cancer cells and constructed the breast cancer cell network and the biological network that SWT acted on the breast cancer-related targets by Entity Grammar System (EGS). Biological network showed 59 bioactive components acting on 15 breast cancer-related targets. The antibreast cancer mechanisms were summarized by enrichment analysis: regulation of cell death, response to hormone stimulation, response to organic substance, regulation of phosphorylation of amino acids, regulation of cell proliferation, regulation of signal transmission, and affection of gland development. In addition, we discovered that verbascoside played the role of antibreast cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation, but there was not a report on this effect. The results of CCK8 and western blot were consistent with the antibreast cancer effect of verbascoside based on biological network. Biological network modeling by EGS and network analysis provide an effective way for uncovering the mechanism and identifying the bioactive components of SWT.
Published in 2020
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Pharmacodynamics of Ceftiofur Selected by Genomic and Proteomic Approaches of Streptococcus parauberis Isolated from the Flounder, Paralichthys olivaceus.

Authors: Boby N, Abbas MA, Lee EB, Park SC

Abstract: We employed an integrative strategy to present subtractive and comparative metabolic and genomic-based findings of therapeutic targets against Streptococcus parauberis. For the first time, we not only identified potential targets based on genomic and proteomic database analyses but also recommend a new antimicrobial drug for the treatment of olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) infected with S. parauberis. To do that, 102 total annotated metabolic pathways of this bacterial strain were extracted from computational comparative metabolic and genomic databases. Six druggable proteins were identified from these metabolic pathways from the DrugBank database with their respective genes as mtnN, penA, pbp2, murB, murA, coaA, and fni out of 112 essential nonhomologous proteins. Among these hits, 26 transmembrane proteins and 77 cytoplasmic proteins were extracted as potential vaccines and drug targets, respectively. From the FDA DrugBank, ceftiofur was selected to prevent antibiotic resistance as it inhibited our selected identified target. Florfenicol is used for treatment of S. parauberis infection in flounder and was chosen as a comparator drug. All tested strains of fish isolates with S. parauberis were susceptible to ceftiofur and florfenicol with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.0039-1 mug/mL and 0.5-8 mug/mL, IC50 of 0.001-0.5 mug/mL and 0.7-2.7 mug/mL, and minimum biofilm eradication concentrations (MBEC) of 2-256 mug/mL and 4-64 mug/mL, respectively. Similar susceptibility profiles for ceftiofur and florfenicol were found, with ceftiofur observed as an effective and potent antimicrobial drug against both planktonic and biofilm-forming strains of the fish pathogen Streptococcus parauberis, and it can be applied in the aquaculture industry. Thus, our predictive approach not only showed novel therapeutic agents but also indicated that marketed drugs should also be tested for efficacy against newly identified targets of this important fish pathogen.
Published in 2020
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Novel Target Exploration from Hypothetical Proteins of Klebsiella pneumoniae MGH 78578 Reveals a Protein Involved in Host-Pathogen Interaction.

Authors: Pranavathiyani G, Prava J, Rajeev AC, Pan A

Abstract: The opportunistic pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae is a causative agent of several hospital-acquired infections. It has become resistant to a wide range of currently available antibiotics, leading to high mortality rates among patients; this has further led to a demand for novel therapeutic intervention to treat such infections. Using a series of in silico analyses, the present study aims to explore novel drug/vaccine candidates from the hypothetical proteins of K. pneumoniae. A total of 540 proteins were found to be hypothetical in this organism. Analysis of these 540 hypothetical proteins revealed 30 pathogen-specific proteins essential for pathogen survival. A motifs/domain family analysis, similarity search against known proteins, gene ontology, and protein-protein interaction analysis of the shortlisted 30 proteins led to functional assignment for 17 proteins. They were mainly cataloged as enzymes, lipoproteins, stress-induced proteins, transporters, and other proteins (viz., two-component proteins, skeletal proteins and toxins). Among the annotated proteins, 16 proteins, located in the cytoplasm, periplasm, and inner membrane, were considered as potential drug targets, and one extracellular protein was considered as a vaccine candidate. A druggability analysis indicated that the identified 17 drug/vaccine candidates were "novel". Furthermore, a host-pathogen interaction analysis of these identified target candidates revealed a betaine/carnitine/choline transporters (BCCT) family protein showing interactions with five host proteins. Structure prediction and validation were carried out for this protein, which could aid in structure-based inhibitor design.
Published in 2020
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Prediction of antiviral drugs against African swine fever viruses based on protein-protein interaction analysis.

Authors: Zhu Z, Fan Y, Liu Y, Jiang T, Cao Y, Peng Y

Abstract: The African swine fever virus (ASFV) has severely influenced the swine industry of the world. Unfortunately, there is currently no effective antiviral drug or vaccine against the virus. Identification of new anti-ASFV drugs is urgently needed. Here, an up-to-date set of protein-protein interactions between ASFV and swine were curated by integration of protein-protein interactions from multiple sources. Thirty-eight swine proteins were observed to interact with ASFVs and were defined as ASFV-interacting swine proteins. The ASFV-interacting swine proteins were found to play a central role in the swine protein-protein interaction network, with significant larger degree, betweenness and smaller shortest path length than other swine proteins. Some of ASFV-interacting swine proteins also interacted with several other viruses and could be taken as potential targets of drugs for broad-spectrum effect, such as HSP90AB1. Finally, the antiviral drugs which targeted ASFV-interacting swine proteins and ASFV proteins were predicted. Several drugs with either broad-spectrum effect or high specificity on ASFV-interacting swine proteins were identified, such as Polaprezinc and Geldanamycin. Structural modeling and molecular dynamics simulation showed that Geldanamycin could bind with swine HSP90AB1 stably. This work could not only deepen our understanding towards the ASFV-swine interactions, but also help for the development of effective antiviral drugs against the ASFVs.
Published in 2020
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Informatics investigations into anti-thyroid drug induced agranulocytosis associated with multiple HLA-B alleles.

Authors: Ramsbottom KA, Carr DF, Rigden DJ, Jones AR

Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Adverse drug reactions have been linked with HLA alleles in different studies. These HLA proteins play an essential role in the adaptive immune response for the presentation of self and non-self peptides. Anti-thyroid drugs methimazole and propylthiouracil have been associated with drug induced agranulocytosis (severe lower white blood cell count) in patients with B*27:05, B*38:02 and DRB1*08:03 alleles in different populations: Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Han Chinese and Caucasian. METHODS: In this study, informatics methods were used to investigate if any sequence or structural similarities exist between the two associated HLA-B alleles, compared with a set of "control" alleles assumed not be associated, which could help explain the molecular basis of the adverse drug reaction. We demonstrated using MHC Motif Viewer and MHCcluster that the two alleles do not have a propensity to bind similar peptides, and thus at a gross level the structure of the antigen presentation region of the two alleles are not similar. We also performed multiple sequence alignment to identify polymorphisms shared by the risk but not by the control alleles and molecular docking to compare the predicted binding poses of the drug-allele combinations. RESULTS: Two residues, Cys67 and Thr80, were identified from the multiple sequence alignments to be unique to these risk alleles alone. The molecular docking showed the poses of the risk alleles to favour the F-pocket of the peptide binding groove, close to the Thr80 residue, with the control alleles generally favouring a different pocket. The data are thus suggestive that Thr80 may be a critical residue in HLA-mediated anti-thyroid drug induced agranulocytosis, and thus can guide future research and risk assessment.