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  1. Abstract

    Vaccines are considered one of the most significant medical advancements in human history, as they have prevented hundreds of millions of deaths since their discovery; however, modern travel permits disease spread at unprecedented rates, and vaccine shortcomings like thermal sensitivity and required booster shots have been made evident by the COVID‐19 pandemic. Approaches to overcoming these issues appear promising via the integration of vaccine technology with biomaterials, which offer sustained‐release properties and preserve proteins, prevent conformational changes, and enable storage at room temperature. Sustained release and thermal stabilization of therapeutic biomacromolecules is an emerging area that integrates material science, chemistry, immunology, nanotechnology, and pathology to investigate different biocompatible materials. Biomaterials, including natural sugar polymers, synthetic polyesters produced from biologically derived monomers, hydrogel blends, protein–polymer blends, and metal–organic frameworks, have emerged as early players in the field. This overview will focus on significant advances of sustained release biomaterial in the context of vaccines against infectious disease and the progress made towards thermally stable “single‐shot” formulations.

    This article is categorized under:

    Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Infectious Disease

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  2. Abstract

    Herein, we describe a 3D printable hydrogel that is capable of removing toxic metal pollutants from aqueous solution. To achieve this, shear‐thinning hydrogels were prepared by blending chitosan with diacrylated Pluronic F‐127 which allows for UV curing after printing. Several hydrogel compositions were tested for their ability to absorb common metal pollutants such as lead, copper, cadmium and mercury, as well as for their printability. These hydrogels displayed excellent metal adsorption with some examples capable of up to 95% metal removal within 30 min. We show that 3D printed hydrogel structures that would be difficult to fabricate by conventional manufacturing methods can adsorb metal ions significantly faster than solid objects, owing to their higher accessible surface areas. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry

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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Virus-like particles are an emerging class of nano-biotechnology with the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) having found a wide range of applications in imaging, drug delivery, and vaccine development. TMV is typically produced in planta , and, as an RNA virus, is highly susceptible to natural mutation that may impact its properties. Over the course of 2 years, from 2018 until 2020, our laboratory followed a spontaneous point mutation in the TMV coat protein—first observed as a 30 Da difference in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI–MS). The mutation would have been difficult to notice by electrophoretic mobility in agarose or SDS-PAGE and does not alter viral morphology as assessed by transmission electron microscopy. The mutation responsible for the 30 Da difference between the wild-type (wTMV) and mutant (mTMV) coat proteins was identified by a bottom-up proteomic approach as a change from glycine to serine at position 155 based on collision-induced dissociation data. Since residue 155 is located on the outer surface of the TMV rod, it is feasible that the mutation alters TMV surface chemistry. However, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays found no difference in binding between mTMV and wTMV. Functionalization of a nearby residue, tyrosine 139, with diazonium salt, also appears unaffected. Overall, this study highlights the necessity of standard workflows to quality-control viral stocks. We suggest that ESI–MS is a straightforward and low-cost way to identify emerging mutants in coat proteins. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Artificial native-like lipid bilayer systems constructed from phospholipids assembling into unilamellar liposomes allow the reconstitution of detergent-solubilized transmembrane proteins into supramolecular lipid-protein assemblies called proteoliposomes, which mimic cellular membranes. Stabilization of these complexes remains challenging because of their chemical composition, the hydrophobicity and structural instability of membrane proteins, and the lability of interactions between protein, detergent, and lipids within micelles and lipid bilayers. In this work we demonstrate that metastable lipid, protein-detergent, and protein-lipid supramolecular complexes can be successfully generated and immobilized within zeolitic-imidazole framework (ZIF) to enhance their stability against chemical and physical stressors. Upon immobilization in ZIF bio-composites, blank liposomes, and model transmembrane metal transporters in detergent micelles or embedded in proteoliposomes resist elevated temperatures, exposure to chemical denaturants, aging, and mechanical stresses. Extensive morphological and functional characterization of the assemblies upon exfoliation reveal that all these complexes encapsulated within the framework maintain their native morphology, structure, and activity, which is otherwise lost rapidly without immobilization. 
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  5. π-stacking in ground-state dimers/trimers/tetramers ofN-butoxyphenyl(naphthalene)diimide (BNDI) exceeds 50 kcal ⋅ mol−1in strength, drastically surpassing that for the*3[pyrene]2excimer (∼30 kcal ⋅ mol−1; formal bond order = 1) and similar to other weak-to-moderate classical covalent bonds. Cooperative π-stacking in triclinic (BNDI-T) and monoclinic (BNDI-M) polymorphs effects unusually large linear thermal expansion coefficients (αa, αb, αc, β) of (452, −16.8, −154, 273) × 10−6⋅ K−1and (70.1, −44.7, 163, 177) × 10−6⋅ K−1, respectively. BNDI-T exhibits highly reversible thermochromism over a 300-K range, manifest by color changes from orange (ambient temperature) toward red (cryogenic temperatures) or yellow (375 K), with repeated thermal cycling sustained for over at least 2 y.

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