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Creators/Authors contains: "Angeles-Boza, Alfredo M."

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  1. Abstract In the search for novel broad-spectrum therapeutics to fight chronic infections, inflammation, and cancer, host defense peptides (HDPs) have garnered increasing interest. Characterizing their biologically-active conformations and minimum motifs for function represents a requisite step to developing them into efficacious and safe therapeutics. Here, we demonstrate that metallating HDPs with Cu 2+ is an effective chemical strategy to improve their cytotoxicity on cancer cells. Mechanistically, we find that prepared as Cu 2+ -complexes, the peptides not only physically but also chemically damage lipid membranes. Our testing ground features piscidins 1 and 3 (P1/3), two amphipathic, histidine-rich, membrane-interacting, and cell-penetratingmore »HDPs that are α-helical bound to membranes. To investigate their membrane location, permeabilization effects, and lipid-oxidation capability, we employ neutron reflectometry, impedance spectroscopy, neutron diffraction, and UV spectroscopy. While P1-apo is more potent than P3-apo, metallation boosts their cytotoxicities by up to two- and seven-fold, respectively. Remarkably, P3-Cu 2+ is particularly effective at inserting in bilayers, causing water crevices in the hydrocarbon region and placing Cu 2+ near the double bonds of the acyl chains, as needed to oxidize them. This study points at a new paradigm where complexing HDPs with Cu 2+ to expand their mechanistic reach could be explored to design more potent peptide-based anticancer therapeutics.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Inspired by the architecture of the macrocycle of heme d 1 , a series of synthetic mono-, di- and tri-β-oxo-substituted porphyrinoid cobalt( ii ) complexes were evaluated as electrocatalytic CO 2 reducers, identifying complexes of unusually high efficiencies in generating multi-electron reduction products, including CH 4 .