Vol 15, No 1 (2023)


Biomedical Nanosystems for in vivo Detoxification: From Passive Delivery Systems to Functional Nanodevices and Nanorobots

Pashirova T.N., Shaihutdinova Z.M., Mironov V.F., Masson P.


The problem of low efficiency of nanotherapeutic drugs challenges the creation of new alternative biomedical nanosystems known as robotic nanodevices. In addition to encapsulating properties, nanodevices can perform different biomedical functions, such as precision surgery, in vivo detection and imaging, biosensing, targeted delivery, and, more recently, detoxification of endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. Nanodevices for detoxification are aimed at removing toxic molecules from biological tissues, using a chemical- and/or enzyme-containing nanocarrier for the toxicant to diffuse inside the nanobody. This strategy is opposite to drug delivery systems that focus on encapsulating drugs and releasing them under the influence of external factors. The review describes various kinds of nanodevices intended for detoxification that differ by the type of poisoning treatment they provide, as well as the type of materials and toxicants. The final part of the review is devoted to enzyme nanosystems, an emerging area of research that provides fast and effective neutralization of toxins in vivo.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):4-12
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Research Articles

B Cell Profiling in Patients with Pemphigus Vulgaris

Abrikosova V.A., Mokrushina Y.A., Ovchinnikova L.A., Larina E.N., Terekhov S.S., Baranova M.N., Lomakin Y.A., Balabashin D.S., Bobik T.V., Kaliberda E.N., Knorre V.D., Shpilevaya M.V., Aliev T.T., Deryabin D.G., Karamova A.E., Kubanov A.A., Kirpichnikov M.P., Smirnov I.V.


Pemphigus vulgaris is a severe, socially significant autoimmune disease associated with autoantibodies to the desmoglein 3 antigen. The disease affects all age groups, beginning at 18 years of age; the mortality rate of pemphigus can reach as high as 50%, depending on a patient’s age and a number of other factors. There is no highly selective or personalized therapy for pemphigus vulgaris at the moment. One of the well-known therapeutic approaches to the disease is to use rituximab, an anti-CD20 antibody that can help achieve B cell depletion in peripheral blood. To solve the problem of nonspecific elimination of B cells in patients with pemphigus vulgaris, it is reasonable to use specific immunoligands, their choice being based on an assessment of the level of autoantibodies specific to each of the fragments of desmoglein. In this work, the proportion of autoreactive B cells in patients diagnosed with pemphigus vulgaris is found to be 0.09–0.16%; a positive correlation was revealed between the antibody level and the number of autoreactive B cells to various fragments of desmoglein.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):13-18
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Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Various Autophagy Inhibitors in A549 Cancer Stem Cells

Aleksandrova K.V., Suvorova I.I.


Numerous studies have already established that autophagy plays a central role in the survival of all cells, including malignant ones. Autophagy is a central cog in the general mechanism that provides the intracellular proteostasis determining cellular physiological and phenotypic characteristics. The accumulated data show that autophagy largely contributes to cancer cell stemness. Thus, autophagy modulation is considered one of the promising pharmacological targets in therapy aimed at cancer stem cell elimination. However, autophagy is a multi-stage intracellular process that involves numerous protein participants. In addition, the process can be activated simultaneously by various signaling modules. Therefore, it is no small feat to select an effective pharmacological drug against autophagy. What’s more, the search for potential chemotherapeutic agents that could eliminate cancer stem cells through pharmacological inhibition of autophagy is still under way. In the present work, we selected a panel of autophagy inhibitors (Autophinib, SBI-0206965, Siramesine, MRT68921, and IITZ-01), some of whom have been recently identified as effective autophagy inhibitors in cancer cells. Using A549 cancer cells, which express the core stem factors Oct4 and Sox2, we evaluated the effect of these drugs on the survival and preservation of the original properties of cancer stem cells. Among the agents selected, only Autophinib demonstrated a significant toxic effect on cancer stem cells. The obtained results demonstrate that autophagy inhibition by Autophinib downregulates the expression of the Sox2 protein in A549 cells, and that this downregulation correlates with a pronounced induction of apoptosis. Moreover, Autophinib-treated A549 cells are unable to form spheroids, which indicates a reduction in stemness. Thus, among the drugs studied, only Autophinib can be considered a potential agent against cancer stem cells.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):19-25
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An Analysis of Genetic Predisposition to Hereditary Catalepsy in a Mouse Model of Neuropsychiatric Disorders Using Whole-Genome Sequencing Data

Andreeva T.V., Gusev F.E., Sinyakova N.A., Kulikov A.V., Grigorenko A.P., Adrianova I.Y., Bazovkina D.V., Rogaev E.I.


Catalepsy is a behavioral condition that is associated with severe psychopathologies, including schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. In some mouse strains, catalepsy can be induced by pinching the skin at the scruff of the neck. The main locus of hereditary catalepsy in mice has recently been linked to the 105–115 Mb fragment of mouse chromosome 13 by QTL analysis. We performed whole-genome sequencing of catalepsy-resistant and catalepsy-prone mouse strains in order to pinpoint the putative candidate genes related to hereditary catalepsy in mice. We remapped the previously described main locus for hereditary catalepsy in mice to the chromosome region 103.92–106.16 Mb. A homologous human region on chromosome 5 includes genetic and epigenetic variants associated with schizophrenia. Furthermore, we identified a missense variant in catalepsy-prone strains within the Nln gene. Nln encodes neurolysin, which degrades neurotensin, a peptide reported to induce catalepsy in mice. Our data suggest that Nln is the most probable candidate for the role of major gene of hereditary, pinch-induced catalepsy in mice and point to a shared molecular pathway between catalepsy in mice and human neuropsychiatric disorders.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):26-30
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Genetic Variants Associated with Bronchial Asthma Specific to the Population of the Russian Federation

Akhmerova Y.N., Shpakova T.A., Grammatikati K.S., Mitrofanov S.I., Kazakova P.G., Mkrtchian A.A., Zemsky P.Y., Pilipenko M.N., Feliz N.V., Frolova L.V., Frolovskaya A.A., Yudin V.S., Keskinov A.A., Kraevoy S.A., Yudin S.M., Skvortsova V.I.


Bronchial asthma (BA) is a disease that still lacks an exhaustive treatment protocol. In this regard, the global medical community pays special attention to the genetic prerequisites for the occurrence of this disease. Therefore, the search for the genetic polymorphisms underlying bronchial asthma has expanded considerably. As the present study progressed, a significant amount of scientific medical literature was analyzed and 167 genes reported to be associated with the development of bronchial asthma were identified. A group of participants (n = 7,303) who had voluntarily provided their biomaterial (venous blood) to be used in the research conducted by the Federal Medical Biological Agency of Russia was formed to subsequently perform a bioinformatic verification of known associations and search for new ones. This group of participants was divided into four cohorts, including two sex-distinct cohorts of individuals with a history of asthma and two sex-distinct cohorts of apparently healthy individuals. A search for polymorphisms was made in each cohort among the selected genes, and genetic variants were identified whose difference in occurrence in the different cohorts was statistically significant (significance level less than 0.0001). The study revealed 11 polymorphisms that affect the development of asthma: four genetic variants (rs869106717, rs1461555098, rs189649077, and rs1199362453), which are more common in men with bronchial asthma compared to apparently healthy men; five genetic variants (rs1923038536, rs181066119, rs143247175, rs140597386, and rs762042586), which are more common in women with bronchial asthma compared to apparently healthy women; and two genetic variants (rs1219244986 and rs2291651) that are rare in women with a history of asthma.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):31-41
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Analysis of the Involvement of NMDA Receptors in Analgesia and Hypothermia Induced by the Activation of TRPV1 Ion Channels

Ivanova E.A., Matyushkin A.I., Voronina T.A.


NMDA glutamate receptors play an important role in normal and pathophysiological nociception. At the periphery, they can interact with TRPV1 ion channels. The blockade of TRPV1 ion channels decreases NMDA-induced hyperalgesia, and NMDA receptor antagonists suppress the pain response to the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin. Since TRPV1 ion channels and NMDA receptors can functionally interact at the periphery, it would be interesting to investigate the possibility that they interact in the CNS. A single subcutaneous injection of 1 mg/kg of capsaicin was found to raise the thermal pain threshold in the tail flick test in mice, which reproduces the spinal flexion reflex, owing to the ability of capsaicin to cause long-term desensitization of nociceptors. Preventive administration of either noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists (high-affinity MK-801 20 µg/kg and 0.5 mg/kg subcutaneously; low-affinity hemantane 40 mg/kg intraperitoneally) or the selective TRPV1 antagonist BCTC (20 mg/kg intraperitoneally) inhibit the capsaicin-induced increase in the pain threshold. Capsaicin (1 mg/kg, subcutaneous injection) induces transient hypothermia in mice, which is brought about by hypothalamus-triggered vegetative reactions. This effect is prevented by BCTC but not by the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):42-50
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RNAcontacts: A Pipeline for Predicting Contacts from RNA Proximity Ligation Assays

Margasyuk S.D., Vlasenok M.A., Li G., Cao C., Pervouchine D.D.


High-throughput RNA proximity ligation assays are molecular methods that are used to simultaneously analyze the spatial proximity of many RNAs in living cells. Their principle is based on cross-linking, fragmentation, and subsequent religation of RNAs, followed by high-throughput sequencing. The generated fragments have two different types of splits, one resulting from pre-mRNA splicing and the other formed by the ligation of spatially close RNA strands. Here, we present RNAcontacts, a universal pipeline for detecting RNA–RNA contacts in high-throughput RNA proximity ligation assays. RNAcontacts circumvents the inherent problem of mapping sequences with two distinct types of splits using a two-pass alignment, in which splice junctions are inferred from a control RNA-seq experiment on the first pass and then provided to the aligner as bona fide introns on the second pass. Compared to previously developed methods, our approach allows for a more sensitive detection of RNA contacts and has a higher specificity with respect to splice junctions that are present in the biological sample. RNAcontacts automatically extracts contacts, clusters their ligation points, computes the read support, and generates tracks for visualizing through the UCSC Genome Browser. The pipeline is implemented in Snakemake, a reproducible and scalable workflow management system for rapid and uniform processing of multiple datasets. RNAcontacts is a generic pipeline for the detection of RNA contacts that can be used with any proximity ligation method as long as one of the interacting partners is RNA. RNAcontacts is available via the GitHub repository https://github.com/smargasyuk/RNAcontacts/

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):51-57
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The Relationship of Precursor Cluster Concentration in a Saturated Crystallization Solution to Long-Range Order During the Transition to the Solid Phase

Marchenkova M.A., Boikova A.S., Ilina K.B., Konarev P.V., Pisarevsky Y.V., Dyakova Y.A., Kovalchuk M.V.


A model for the transition from disordered liquid state to the solid phase has been proposed based on establishing a correlation between the concentration of precursor clusters in a saturated solution and the features of solid phase formation. The validity of the model has been verified experimentally by simultaneously studying the oligomeric structure of lysozyme protein solutions and the peculiarities of solid phase formation from these solutions. It was shown that no solid phase is formed in the absence of precursor clusters (octamers) in solution; perfect monocrystals are formed at a small concentration of octamers; mass crystallization is observed with an increasing degree of supersaturation (and concentration of octamers); further increase in octamer concentration leads to the formation of an amorphous phase.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):58-68
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Specificity of Penicillin Acylases in Deprotection of N-Benzyloxycarbonyl Derivatives of Amino Acids

Morozova I.A., Guranda D.F., Panin N.V., Švedas V.K.


Changes in the structure of the N-acyl group in N-acylated amino acid derivatives significantly affect both the recognition and activity of penicillin acylases on this series of substrates. However, penicillin acylases from both Alcaligenes faecalis and Escherichia coli are capable of removing the N-benzyloxycarbonyl protecting group in amino acid derivatives under mild conditions without the use of toxic reagents. Efficiency in using penicillin acylases in preparative organic synthesis can be improved by utilizing modern rational enzyme design methods.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):69-73
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Creation of Recombinant Biocontrol Agents by Genetic Programming of Yeast

Pipiya S.O., Mirzoeva N.Z., Baranova M.N., Eliseev I.E., Mokrushina Y.A., Shamova O.V., Gabibov A.G., Smirnov I.V., Terekhov S.S.


Bacterial infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens pose an extremely serious and elusive problem in healthcare. The discovery and targeted creation of new antibiotics are today among the most important public health issues. Antibiotics based on antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are of particular interest due to their genetically encoded nature. A distinct advantage of most AMPs is their direct mechanism of action that is mediated by their membranolytic properties. The low rate of emergence of antibiotic resistance associated with the killing mechanism of action of AMPs attracts heightened attention to this field. Recombinant technologies enable the creation of genetically programmable AMP producers for large-scale generation of recombinant AMPs (rAMPs) or the creation of rAMP-producing biocontrol agents. The methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris was genetically modified for the secreted production of rAMP. Constitutive expression of the sequence encoding the mature AMP protegrin-1 provided the yeast strain that effectively inhibits the growth of target gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. An antimicrobial effect was also observed in the microculture when a yeast rAMP producer and a reporter bacterium were co-encapsulated in droplets of microfluidic double emulsion. The heterologous production of rAMPs opens up new avenues for creating effective biocontrol agents and screening antimicrobial activity using ultrahigh-throughput technologies.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):74-80
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Characterization of the C6D7-RBD Human Monoclonal Antibody Specific to the SARS-CoV-2 S Protein Receptor-Binding Domain

Romanenko Y.O., Silkina M.V., Kartseva A.S., Marin M.A., Shkuratova M.A., Makarova M.A., Ryabko A.K., Konyshkova D.A., Zeninskaya N.A., Khlyntseva A.E., Shemyakin I.G., Firstova V.V.


The new coronavirus infection COVID-19 is an acute viral disease that affects primarily the upper respiratory tract. The etiological agent of COVID-19 is the SARS-CoV-2 RNA virus (Coronaviridae family, Betacoronavirus genus, Sarbecovirus subgenus). We have developed a high-affinity human monoclonal antibody, called C6D7-RBD, which is specific to the S protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) from the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan-Hu-1 strain and exhibits virus-neutralizing activity in a test with recombinant antigens: angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and RBD.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):81-86
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Distortion of Population Statistics due to the Use of Different Methodological Approaches to the Construction of Genomic DNA Libraries

Sharko F.S., Zhur K.V., Trifonov V.A., Prokhortchouk E.B.


Several different methods of DNA library preparation for paleogenetic studies are now available. However, the chemical reactions underlying each of them can affect the primary sequence of ancient DNA (aDNA) in the libraries and taint the results of a statistical analysis. In this paper, we compare the results of a sequencing of the aDNA libraries of a Bronze Age sample from burials of the Caucasian burial ground Klady, prepared using three different approaches: (1) shotgun sequencing, (2) strategies for selecting target genomic regions, and (3) strategies for selecting target genomic regions, including DNA pre-treatment with a mixture of uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG) and endonuclease VIII. The impact of the studied approaches to genomic library preparation on the results of a secondary analysis of the statistical data, namely F4 statistics, ADMIXTURE, and principal component analysis (PCA), was analyzed. It was shown that preparation of genomic libraries without the use of UDG can result in distorted statistical data due to postmortem chemical modifications of the aDNA. This distortion can be alleviated by analyzing only the single nucleotide polymorphisms caused by transversions in the genome.

Acta Naturae. 2023;15(1):87-96
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