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The to 70th birthday of Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine S. O. Kosterin

Serhiy Kosterin is a renowned biochemist and biophysicist, full member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, professor, laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine in science and technology. The academic research interests of Prof. S.O. Kosterin include a wide range of current problems of biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, biophysics and molecular physiology, with a special focus on enzymology, biomembranology, intracellular calcium homeostasis, electro- and pharmacomechanical coupling in myocytes, as well as the kinetics of biochemical reactions. Prof. Kosterin devotes a great deal of efforts to develop new methods of kinetic analysis of complex biochemical and biophysical processes, such as enzymatic catalysis, membrane transport, receptor-ligand interaction, intracellular calcium signaling, muscle contraction-relaxation. In co-operation with colleagues, Serhiy Kosterin developed a mathematical model of intracellular calcium homeostasis in smooth muscles. He carried out an analysis of thermodynamic behavior specific for the “enzyme-substrate-reversible effector” system; proposed a universal method for studying the mechanism of action of the reversible inhibitor in the system “enzyme/transport protein – transported substrate/substance – reversible inhibitor”; developed the thermodynamic theory of the formation of the Gibbs-Donnan potential in the “membrane vesicles – dilution medium” system. Prof. Serhiy Kosterin meets his 70th birthday in the full bloom of life and with grandiose plans.

Standing on the shoulders of giants: James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and the birth of molecular biology

T. V. Danylova1*, S. V. Komisarenko2

1National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;
2Palladin Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy pf Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;

Received: 14 April 2020; Accepted: 15 May 2020

In the 20th century, DNA became a magnet, attracting representatives of various sciences. Prominent researchers competed among themselves to discover the structure of DNA and to explain the mechanisms that determine our “natural fate”, i.e., our heredity. An American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer Linus Pauling, a British physicist and molecular biologist Maurice Wilkins, a British chemist, biophysicist, and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, an American geneticist, molecular biologist, zoologist James Watson, a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist Francis Crick were among them. They searched for the scientific explanation for the enigma of life hidden in DNA. An accurate description of DNA double-helical structure belongs to James Watson and Francis Crick. However, the missing pieces of the puzzle were elaborated by Rosalind Franklin, who was not given enough credit for her dedicated scientific work. Unlike her, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material. Whatever the DNA story is, it shows that all great scientific discoveries are not made from scratch. The immense number of people have contributed to the development of science and literally every researcher stands on the shoulders of giants, while the idea itself is in the air. The discovery of the structure of DNA became a cornerstone for the new scientific paradigm – biology acquired a molecular and biochemical basis.

The contribution of Nobel prize laureates to research of the protein structure: J. Sumner, J. Northrop, W. Stanley, L. Pauling, F. Sanger, M. Perutz, J. Kendrew

V. M. Danilova, R. P. Vynogradova, S. V. Komisarenko

Palladin Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;

Received: 11 Match 2020; Accepted: 15 May 2020

The second half of the 20th century was marked by remarkable discoveries in the chemistry and biochemistry of proteins, in particular, in establishing the protein structure. James Sumner, John Northrop, and Wendell Stanley, the Nobel Laureates in chemistry in 1946, were the first to isolate individual enzymes and viruses in a pure crystalline form and prove their protein nature, thereby making an invaluable scientific contribution to the development of important biological disciplines such as biochemistry, enzymology, virology, and molecular biology. A significant contribution to understanding chemical bonding in the formation of the different levels of a protein structure was made by Linus Pauling – a prominent American scientist of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 “for his research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances”. Biochemists know him well as the author of the secondary structure of proteins – the α-helix and the β-sheet. Frederick Sanger, a two-time Nobel Prize winner (1958 and 1980), was the first among researchers who determined the primary amino acid sequence of a protein, for example, of two insulin polypeptide chains A and B. F. Sanger proved that the sequence nature of proteins’ structures is analogous to that of gene sequences in the DNA, and thus, the same principles may be applied. The difficult question of how a protein molecule is arranged in space was answered by the English biochemists Max F. Perutz and John C. Kendrew. They determined the three-dimensional structure of hemoglobin and myoglobin proteins by X-ray diffraction and were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962 “for their studies of the structures of globular proteins”.

Tautomeric hypothesis: to be or not to be? Quantum-mechanical verdict

O. O. Brovarets’*, D. M. Hovorun

Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine;

Received: 07 April 2020; Accepted: 15 May 2020

This paper represents itself comment on the work “Soler-Polo, D., Mendieta-Moreno, J.I., Trabada, D.G., Mendieta, J., Ortega, J. Proton Transfer in Guanine-Cytosine Base Pairs in B-DNA. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2019, 15, 12, 6984-6991”. In this Comment it was outlined thoughts according the possibility for the Watson-Crick G⸱C DNA base pair to tautomerise by the Löwdin’s mechanism and so to cause spontaneous point mutations. Based on the comprehensive analysis, authors arrive to the conclusion that mechanism, which has been analyzed in work (J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2019, 15, 12, 6984-6991) is not possible.

Crassula genus plants response to temperature stress depends on anatomical structure and antioxidant system

N. V. Nuzhyna*, M. M. Gaidarzhy, A. V. Holubenko

ESC “Institute of Biology and Medicine”, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine;

Received:  09 October 2020; Accepted: 15 May 2020

Plant adaptation to climate conditions of certain territories has emerged within the course of evolution, shows at all organizational levels from morphological-anatomical to biochemical and is embedded into the plant genes. Survival of plants in such conditions as rapid temperature drops and rises in the range of 20 °C or more depends on their biochemical defense system’s ability to quickly respond to such stress, as well as on the plant’s structural features. Therefore, our goal was to analyze changes of biochemical parameters under conditions of abrupt hyperthermia in four species of Crassula Linne genus and to establish the connection between their anatomical and morphological features and the peculiarities of the biochemical reactions. Plants of Crassula brevifolia Harvey, Crassula lanuliginosa Harvey, Crassula muscosa Linne and Сrassula perfoliata var. minor (Haworth) G.D. Rowley species were held in air thermostats at 40 °C and 50 °C for 3 h, the control temperature being 26 °C. Stress response was analyzed by malondialdehyde content, superoxide dismutase and peroxidase activity and pigments content. Additionally, anatomical structure of the leaves was investigated. Antioxidant response to short-term high temperature varied in different species of the Crassula genus by its directionality and intensity, and depended on the anatomical features of the plant. The additional protective mechanisms were involved in the least heat-resistant plants, such as increased carotenoids­ and flavonoids contents. More powerful SOD and peroxidase activities under rapid heating in plants with more effective protection at the anatomical level were showed.

Fatty acid composition of sulfate-reducing bacteria isolated from technogenic ecotopes

D. R. Аbdulinа, G. O. Iutynska, L. M. Purish

Danylo Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;

Received: 14 June 2019; Accepted: 15 May 2020

The growth of technogenic (man-caused) load on the environment leads to the disturbance of natural ecotopes and is a stress factor for the widespread sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Changes of SRB fatty acid composition are considered to be not only one of the mechanisms of adaptation and protection from negative stress but also one of the chemotaxonomic features that can be used as the indicator of bacteria genus and its presence in natural ecotopes. The aim of the work was to determine the  fatty acid composition of sulfate-reducing bacteria  strains isolated from different technogenic ecotopes. The spectrum of 17 fatty acids was determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The predominance of saturated C14:0, C15:0, C16:0 and C18:0 and the presence of unsaturated C16:1 and C18:1 fatty acids in SRB lipids were demonstrated. Correlation analysis showed that SRB isolated from the same technogenic locations were characterized by substantial similarity of fatty acid profiles despite belonging to different genera. Thus, fatty acid compositions of SRB strains Desulfovibrio sp. K1 and K2 isolated from soils near gas main-pipeline had correlation index r = 0.94 and that Desulfovibrio sp. TC2, Desulfotomaculum sp. TC3 and Desulfomicrobium sp. TC4 isolated from city heat system ecotope had correlation index r = 0.97-0.99. The obtained data on increased saturation degree of SRB fatty acids and decreased membrane fluidity indexes could be used for assessing the degree of SRB adaptation to the influence of man-caused loading as a stress factor.

Sulfonamides influence on the activity of thylakoid ATPase isolated from spinach chloroplasts

Е. K. Zolotareva, A. P. Khomochkin, O. B. Onoiko

M. G. Kholodhy Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;

Received: 13 September 2019; Accepted: 15 May 2020

The effect of two water-soluble sulfonamides: aromatic 4-aminobenzenesulfonamide (SA) and aliphatic trifluoromethylsulfonamide (TFMSA) on the latent and stimulated ATPase activity of the catalytic part of the thylakoid ATP synthase isolated from spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) chloroplasts was studied. Three methods of ATPase activity stimulation were applied in the work: brief heating of the enzyme at 62 °С; incubation with 20% methanol; 25 mM sodium sulfite adding to the reaction medium. TFMSA effectively inhibited the ATPase activity of the enzyme at all types of activation. I50 (TFMSA) value for was found to be about 5 μM in the case of enzyme heat treatment and 1 μM in the case of enzyme activation with sulfite or methanol. SA did not affect ATPase activity at stimulation with sulfite and inhibited with I50 about 50 μM at stimulation by heating or methanol. No effect of SA on latent enzyme activity was observed, while TFMSA was shown to activate latent ATPase by about 6 times. The data obtained showed that both sulfonamide compounds, known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, are able to modify the activity of chloroplast ATPase.

The influence of coordinative tartrate and malatogermanate compounds on the activity of α-L-rhamnosidase preparations from Penicillium tardum, Eupenicillium erubescens and Cryptococcus albidus

О. V. Gudzenko1, L. D. Varbanets1*, І. I. Seifullina2,
E. А. Chebanenko2, E. Е. Martsinko2, Е. V. Аfanasenko2

1Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;
2Mechnikov Odessa National State University, Ukraine;

Received: 26 November 2019; Accepted: 15 May 2020

Recently enzyme preparations of microbial origin become increasingly important in different industries. Preparations of α-L-rhamnosidase are used in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in scientific work as a tool for analytical research. We have obtained purified α-L-rhamnosidase preparations from Penicillium tardum, Eupenicillium erubescens and Cryptococcus albidus microorganism strains which are effective enzyme producers. The aim of the study was to estimate the ability of germanium coordination compounds to enhance enzyme catalytic activity. The effects of 11 heterometal mixed ligand tartrate (malate-)germanate compounds at 0.01 and 0.1% concentration on the activity of α-L-rhamnosidase preparations from Penicillium tardum IMV F-100074, Eupenicillium erubescens and Cryptococcus albidus 1001 were studied at 0.5 and 24 h exposition. The inhibitory effect of [Ni(bipy)3]4[{Ge2(OH)2(Tart)2}3Cl2]·15H2 on P. tardum α-L-rhamnosidase was revealed. All studied compounds except [CuCl(phen)2][Ge(OH)(HMal)2] were shown to increase activity of P. tardum α-L-rhamnosidase at a longer term of exposition. Activity of E. erubescens α-L-rhamnosidase was shown to be stimulated by d-metal cation-free compounds. C. albidus α-L-rhamnosidase occurred to be insensitive to all compounds studied.

Anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects of polyherbal composition in patients with chronic cholecystitis

M. Gahramanova1,2, I. Khalilova3, A. Omarov3,
Ya. Susak4, M. Rudyk2, L. Skivka2*

1Nargiz Medical Center, Baku, Azerbaijan;
2ESC “Institute of Biology and Medicine”, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine;
3Department of Life Sciences & Center for Cell Pathology Research, Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan;
4Bogomolets National Medical University, Kyiv, Ukraine;

Received: 21 November 2019; Accepted: 15 May 2020

Herbal preparations are widely used in the complementary treatment of inflammatory diseases including hepatobiliary disorders, among which chronic cholecystitis is one of the most common. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of the water extract from polyherbal composition consisting of eight medicinal plants (Helichrysum arenarium, Mentha piperita, Calendula officinalis, Taraxacum officinale, Polygonum aviculare, Matricaria chamomilla, Portulaca oleracea, Hypericum perforatum) on biochemical and haematologic indices as well as on immune reactivity parameters in patients with chronic cholecystitis. It was found that  consumption of polyherbal tea during 45 days was followed by normalization of liver biochemical indices (serum level of cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase and  aspartate aminotransferase activity, total and unconjugated bilirubin levels and diminution of hematological (leukocytosis, increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio) and immunological (increased serum level of pro-inflammatory cytokines) signs of systemic inflammation in patients with hepatobiliary disorder. The results of the research showed that the studied polygerbal composition can be recommended as a component of the complementary therapy for patients with chronic cholecystitis.

Peculiarities of ammonia metabolism in the liver of rats under the conditions of different nutrients content in a diet

G. P. Kopylchuk, I. Y. Ivanovich, O. M. Voloshchuk

Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University,
Institute of Biology, Chemistry and Natural Resources, Ukraine;

Received: 27 June 2019; Accepted: 15 May 2020

The peculiarities of the metabolic transformations of ammonia in the liver of rats under the conditions of protein deprivation and high content of sucrose in the diet were studied in the research. It has been established that animals kept on high-sucrose (group III) and low-protein/high-sucrose diet (group IV) had hyperammonemia, whereas in rats maintained under the conditions of protein deficiency in the diet (group II) the blood level of ammonia nitrogen was within normal range. The revealed hyperammonemia in animals of the III and IV groups was accompanied by a marked decrease in the activity of mitochondrial enzymes, which provide a replenishment of the endogenous ammonia pool – glutamate dehydrogenase and monoamine oxidase, reaching the minimum values in conditions of the maintenance of animals on the high-sucrose diet. At the same time, there was a marked decrease in the activity of ammonia neutralization enzymes – carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, more significant in animals of the IV group, as well as glutamine synthetase. The obtained results allow us to conclude that the hyperammonemia revealed in animals maintained on the high-sucrose diet is not related to the enhanced formation of ammonia, but to the disturbances in the processes of its detoxification in the liver. At the same time, under the conditions of alimentary protein deprivation, a decrease in the activity of the key enzymes of ammonia formation (glutamate dehydrogenase and monoamine oxidase) and neutralization (carbamoyl phosphate synthetase and glutamine synthetase) is probably due to the lack of substrates for these enzymatic reactions. The obtained research results can be used to develop a strategy for correction of the disorders of ammonia metabolism under the conditions of different content of sucrose and protein in diet.