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Esteves, C, Palma S, Costa H, Alves C, Santos G, Ramou E, Roque AC.  2022.  VOC Sensing in Humid and Dry Environments, may. 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Olfaction and Electronic Nose (ISOEN). :1–3.: IEEE AbstractPDFWebsite

We report the development of gas-sensing multicomponent hybrid materials to be used under humidified and dried environments without the need of sample preconditioning or heavy signal processing. The easy tunability and the unique characteristics presented by the multicomponent hybrid materials suggests their use in nearterm applications in electronic nose systems able to operate in dry or humidified environments.

Hussain, A, Semeano ATS, Palma SICJ, Pina AS, Almeida J, Medrado BF, Pádua ACCS, Carvalho AL, Dionísio M, Li RWC, Gamboa H, Ulijn RV, Gruber J, Roque ACA.  2017.  Tunable Gas Sensing Gels by Cooperative Assembly. Advanced Functional Materials. 1700803:1–9. AbstractPDFWebsite

The cooperative assembly of biopolymers and small molecules can yield functional materials with precisely tunable properties. Here, the fabrication, characterization, and use of multicomponent hybrid gels as selective gas sensors are reported. The gels are composed of liquid crystal droplets self-assembled in the presence of ionic liquids, which further coassemble with biopolymers to form stable matrices. Each individual component can be varied and acts cooperatively to tune gels' structure and function. The unique molecular environment in hybrid gels is explored for supramolecular recognition of volatile compounds. Gels with distinct compositions are used as optical and electrical gas sensors, yielding a combinatorial response conceptually mimicking olfactory biological systems, and tested to distinguish volatile organic compounds and to quantify ethanol in automotive fuel. The gel response is rapid, reversible, and reproducible. These robust, versatile, modular, pliant electro-optical soft materials possess new possibilities in sensing triggered by chemical and physical stimuli.

Semeano, ATS, Maffei DF, Palma S, Li RWC, Franco BDGM, Roque ACA, Gruber J.  2018.  Tilapia fish microbial spoilage monitored by a single optical gas sensor. Food Control. 89:72-76. AbstractPDFWebsite

As consumption of fish and fish-based foods increases, non-destructive monitoring of fish freshness also becomes more prominent. Fish products are very perishable and prone to microbiological growth, not always easily detected by organoleptic evaluation. The analysis of the headspace of fish specimens through gas sensing is an interesting approach to monitor fish freshness. Here we report a gas sensing method for monitoring Tilapia fish spoilage based on the application of a single gas sensitive gel material coupled to an optical electronic nose. The optical signals of the sensor and the extent of bacterial growth were followed over time, and results indicated good correlation between the two determinations, which suggests the potential application of this simple and low cost system for Tilapia fish freshness monitoring.

Esteves, C, Palma SICJ, Costa HMA, Alves C, Santos GMC, Ramou E, Carvalho AL, Alves V, Roque ACA.  2022.  Tackling Humidity with Designer Ionic Liquid-Based Gas Sensing Soft Materials, dec. Advanced Materials. 34:2107205., Number 8: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractPDFWebsite

Relative humidity is simultaneously a sensing target and a contaminant in gas and volatile organic compound (VOC) sensing systems, where strategies to control humidity interference are required. An unmet challenge is the creation of gas-sensitive materials where the response to humidity is controlled by the material itself. Here, humidity effects are controlled through the design of gelatin formulations in ionic liquids without and with liquid crystals as electrical and optical sensors, respectively. In this design, the anions [DCA]− and [Cl]− of room temperature ionic liquids from the 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium family tailor the response to humidity and, subsequently, sensing of VOCs in dry and humid conditions. Due to the combined effect of the materials formulations and sensing mechanisms, changing the anion from [DCA]− to the much more hygroscopic [Cl]−, leads to stronger electrical responses and much weaker optical responses to humidity. Thus, either humidity sensors or humidity-tolerant VOC sensors that do not require sample preconditioning or signal processing to correct humidity impact are obtained. With the wide spread of 3D- and 4D-printing and intelligent devices, the monitoring and tuning of humidity in sustainable biobased materials offers excellent opportunities in e-nose sensing arrays and wearable devices compatible with operation at room conditions.

Rodrigues, R, Palma SICJ, Correia VJ, Padrao I, Pais J, Banza M, Alves C, Deuermeier J, Martins C, Costa HMA, Ramou E, Silva Pereira C, Roque ACA.  2020.  Sustainable plant polyesters as substrates for optical gas sensors. Materials Today Bio. 8:100083. AbstractPDF

The fast and non-invasive detection of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by gas sensors and electronic
noses is a growing field of interest, mostly due to a large scope of potential applications. Additional drivers for the
expansion of the field include the development of alternative and sustainable sensing materials. The discovery
that isolated cross-linked polymeric structures of suberin spontaneously self-assemble as a film inspired us to
develop new sensing composite materials consisting of suberin and a liquid crystal (LC). Due to their stimuliresponsive and optically active nature, liquid crystals are interesting probes in gas sensing. Herein, we report
the isolation and the chemical characterization of two suberin types (from cork and from potato peels) resorting to
analyses of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and Xray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The collected data highlighted their compositional and structural differences. Cork suberin showed a higher proportion of longer aliphatic constituents and is more esterified than potato
suberin. Accordingly, when casted it formed films with larger surface irregularities and a higher C/O ratio. When
either type of suberin was combined with the liquid crystal 5CB, the ensuing hybrid materials showed distinctive
morphological and sensing properties towards a set of 12 VOCs (comprising heptane, hexane, chloroform,
toluene, dichlormethane, diethylether, ethyl acetate, acetonitrile, acetone, ethanol, methanol, and acetic acid).
The optical responses generated by the materials are reversible and reproducible, showing stability for 3 weeks.
The individual VOC-sensing responses of the two hybrid materials are discussed taking as basis the chemistry of
each suberin type. A support vector machines (SVM) algorithm based on the features of the optical responses was
implemented to assess the VOC identification ability of the materials, revealing that the two distinct suberin-based
sensors complement each other, since they selectively identify distinct VOCs or VOC groups. It is expected that
such new environmentally-friendly gas sensing materials derived from natural diversity can be combined in arrays
to enlarge selectivity and sensing capacity.

Pappas, CG, Wijerathne N, Sahoo JK, Jain A, Kroiss D, Sasselli IR, Pina AS, Lampel A, Ulijn RV.  2020.  Spontaneous Aminolytic Cyclization and Self-Assembly ofDipeptide Methyl Esters in Water. ChemSystemsChem. 2(e2000013):1-7.
Pádua, AC, Osório D, Rodrigues J, Santos G, Porteira A, Palma S, Roque A, Gamboa H.  2018.  Scalable and Easy-to-use System Architecture for Electronic Noses. In Proceedings of the 11th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies . :179-186., Madeira: BIODEVICES AbstractPDF

The purpose of this work was the development of a scalable and easy-to-use electronic noses (E-noses) system architecture for volatile organic compounds sensing, towards the final goal of using several E-noses acquiring large datasets at the same time. In order to accomplish this, each E-nose system is comprised by a delivery system, a detection system and a data acquisition and control system. In order to increase the scalability, the data is stored in a database common to all E-noses. Furthermore, the system was designed so it would only require five simple steps to setup a new E-nose if needed, since the only parameter that needs to be changed is the ID of the new E-nose. The user interacts with a node using an interface, allowing for the control and visualization of the experiment. At this stage, there are three different E-nose prototypes working with this architecture in a laboratory environment.

dos Santos, R, Carvalho AL, Roque ACA.  2017.  Renaissance of protein crystallization and precipitation in biopharmaceuticals purification. Biotechnology Advances. 35:–., Number 1: Elsevier Inc. AbstractWebsite

The current chromatographic approaches used in protein purification are not keeping pace with the increasing biopharmaceutical market demand. With the upstream improvements, the bottleneck shifted towards the downstream process. New approaches rely in Anything But Chromatography methodologies and revisiting former techniques with a bioprocess perspective. Protein crystallization and precipitation methods are already implemented in the downstream process of diverse therapeutic biological macromolecules, overcoming the current chromatographic bottlenecks. Promising work is being developed in order to implement crystallization and precipitation in the purification pipeline of high value therapeutic molecules. This review focuses in the role of these two methodologies in current industrial purification processes, and highlights their potential implementation in the purification pipeline of high value therapeutic molecules, overcoming chromatographic holdups.

Alves, BM, Borlido L, Rosa SASL, Silva MFF, Aires-Barros MR, Roque ACA, Azevedo AM.  2015.  Purification of human antibodies from animal cell cultures using gum arabic coated magnetic particles. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology. 90:838–846., Number 5: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd AbstractWebsite

BACKGROUND The emergence of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as new biopharmaceutical products requires the development of new purification methods that are not only effective but are able to reduce production costs. To address the problematic recovery of mAbs, gum arabic (GA) coated magnetic particles (MPs) were used for the purification of human antibodies from animal cells supernatants. RESULTS MPs were synthesized via co-precipitation and exhibited a spherical-like physical aspect, with an average hydrodynamic diameter of 473 nm and a zeta potential of –26 mV. The adsorption and elution of IgG on these adsorbents was thoroughly studied. Adsorption of human IgG was enhanced at pH 6, for which a qmax of 244 mg IgG g−1 MPs and Kd of 25 mg L−1 were obtained. Increasing salt concentrations at a basic pH (1 mol L−1 NaCl at pH 11) were found to improve the elution of bound IgG. The MPs were challenged with an artificial protein mixture containing human IgG, albumin, insulin and apo-transferrin. An overall yield of 84% was achieved, retrieving 92% of bound IgG. CONCLUSIONS MPs were successfully used for the capture of monoclonal antibodies from two distinct mammalian cell cultures, a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) and a hybridoma cell culture supernatants. The elution yields were high, ranging between 84% and 94%, with overall yields ranging from 72% to 88%. Final purities of 85% were reached for hybridoma cell supernatants. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry

Santos, G, Alves C, Pádua AC, Palma S, Gamboa H, Roque ACA.  2019.  An Optimized E-nose for Efficient Volatile Sensing and Discrimination. Proceedings of the 12th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies - Volume 1: BIODEVICES. , Prague, Czech Republic AbstractPDF

Electronic noses (E-noses), are usually composed by an array of sensors with different selectivities towards classes of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These devices have been applied to a variety of fields, including environmental protection, public safety, food and beverage industries, cosmetics, and clinical diagnostics. This work demonstrates that it is possible to classify eleven VOCs from different chemical classes using a single gas sensing biomaterial that changes its optical properties in the presence of VOCs. To accomplish this, an in-house built E-nose, tailor-made for the novel class of gas sensing biomaterials, was improved and combined with powerful machine learning techniques. The device comprises a delivery system, a detection system and a data acquisition and control system. It was designed to be stable, miniaturized and easy-to-handle. The data collected was pre-processed and features and curve fitting parameters were extracted from the original response. A recursive feature selection method was applied to select the best features, and then a Support Vector Machine classifier was implemented to distinguish the eleven distinct VOCs. The results show that the followed methodology allowed the classification of all the VOCs tested with 94.6% (± 0.9%) accuracy.

Frazão, J, Palma SICJ, Costa HMA, Alves C, Roque ACA, Silveira M.  2021.  Optical Gas Sensing with Liquid Crystal Droplets and Convolutional Neural Networks. Sensors. 21(8):2854.PDF
dos Santos, R, Iria I, Manuel AM, Leandro AP, Madeira CAC, Gonçalves J, Carvalho AL, Roque ACA.  2020.  Magnetic Precipitation: A New Platform for Protein Purification. Biotechnology Journal. 15(9):2000151.
Santos, R, Romão MJ, Roque ACA, Carvalho AL.  2021.  Magnetic particles used in a new approach for designed protein crystallization. CrystEngComm. 23(5):1083-1090.
Palma, SICJ, Frazao J, Alves R, Costa HMA, Alves C, Gamboa H, Silveira M, Roque ACA.  2022.  Learning to see VOCs with Liquid Crystal Droplets, may. 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Olfaction and Electronic Nose (ISOEN). :1–4.: IEEE AbstractPDFWebsite

In hybrid gels with immobilized liquid crystal
(LC) droplets, fast and unique optical texture variations are
generated when distinct volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
interact with the LC and disturb its molecular order. The
optical texture variations can be observed under a polarized
optical microscope or transduced into a signal representing the
variations of light transmitted through the LC. We show how
hybrid gels can accurately identify 11 distinct VOCs by using
deep learning to analyze optical texture variations of individual
droplets (0.93 average F1-score) and by using machine learning
to analyze 1D optical signals from multiple droplets in hybrid
gels (0.88 average F1-score)

Gonçalves, WB, Cervantes EP, Pádua ACCS, Santos G, Palma SICJ, Li RWC, Roque ACA, Gruber J.  2021.  Ionogels Based on a Single Ionic Liquid for Electronic Nose Application, jul. Chemosensors. 9(201), Number 8: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute AbstractPDFWebsite

Ionogel are versatile materials, as they present the electrical properties of ionic liquids and also dimensional stability, since they are trapped in a solid matrix, allowing application in electronic devices such as gas sensors and electronic noses. In this work, ionogels were designed to act as a sensitive layer for the detection of volatiles in a custom-made electronic nose. Ionogels composed of gelatin and a single imidazolium ionic liquid were doped with bare and functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles, producing ionogels with adjustable target selectivity. After exposing an array of four ionogels to 12 distinct volatile organic compounds, the collected signals were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA) and by several supervised classification methods, in order to assess the ability of the electronic nose to distinguish different volatiles, which showed accuracy above 98%.

Cerff, M, Scholz A, Franzreb M, Batalha IL, Roque ACA, Posten C.  2013.  In situ magnetic separation of antibody fragments from Escherichia coli in complex media. BMC biotechnology. 13(1):44. AbstractWebsite

In situ magnetic separation (ISMS) has emerged as a powerful tool to overcome process constraints such as product degradation or inhibition of target production. In the present work, an integrated ISMS process was established for the production of his-tagged single chain fragment variable (scFv) D1.3 antibodies (?D1.3?) produced by E. coli in complex media. This study investigates the impact of ISMS on the overall product yield as well as its biocompatibility with the bioprocess when metal-chelate and triazine-functionalized magnetic beads were used.

Both particle systems are well suited for separation of D1.3 during cultivation. While the triazine beads did not negatively impact the bioprocess, the application of metal-chelate particles caused leakage of divalent copper ions in the medium. After the ISMS step, elevated copper concentrations above 120?mg/L in the medium negatively influenced D1.3 production. Due to the stable nature of the model protein scFv D1.3 in the biosuspension, the application of ISMS could not increase the overall D1.3 yield as was shown by simulation and experiments.

We could demonstrate that triazine-functionalized beads are a suitable low-cost alternative to selectively adsorb D1.3 fragments, and measured maximum loads of 0.08?g D1.3 per g of beads. Although copper-loaded metal-chelate beads did adsorb his-tagged D1.3 well during cultivation, this particle system must be optimized by minimizing metal leakage from the beads in order to avoid negative inhibitory effects on growth of the microorganisms and target production. Hereby, other types of metal chelate complexes should be tested to demonstrate biocompatibility. Such optimized particle systems can be regarded as ISMS platform technology, especially for the production of antibodies and their fragments with low stability in the medium. The proposed model can be applied to design future ISMS experiments in order to maximize the overall product yield while the amount of particles being used is minimized as well as the number of required ISMS steps.

Maugeri, G, Lychko I, Sobral R, Roque ACA.  2019.  Identification and Antibiotic-Susceptibility Profiling of Infectious Bacterial Agents: A Review of Current and FutureTrends. Biotechnology Journal. 14(1700750) AbstractPDFWebsite

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most worrying threats to humankind with extremely high healthcare costs associated. The current technologies used in clinical microbiology to identify the bacterial agent and profile antimicrobial susceptibility are time‐consuming and frequently expensive. As a result, physicians prescribe empirical antimicrobial therapies. This scenario is often the cause of therapeutic failures, causing higher mortality rates and healthcare costs, as well as the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. As such, new technologies for rapid identification of the pathogen and antimicrobial susceptibility testing are needed. This review summarizes the current technologies, and the promising emerging and future alternatives for the identification and profiling of antimicrobial resistance bacterial agents, which are expected to revolutionize the field of clinical diagnostics.

Sandu, ICA, Roque ACA, Matteini P, Schäfer S, Agati G, Correia CR, Viana JFFP.  2012.  Fluorescence recognition of proteinaceous binders in works of art by a novel integrated system of investigation. Microscopy Research and Technique. 75(3):316-24. AbstractWebsite

Fluorescence microscopy and microspectrofluorometry are important tools in the characterization and identification of proteins, offering a great range of applications in conservation science. Because of their high selectivity and sensitivity, the combination of these techniques can be exploited for improved recognition and quantification of proteinaceous binders in paintings and polychromed works of art. The present article explores an analytical protocol integrating fluorescence microscopy and fluorometry for both identification and mapping of proteinaceous binders (in particular egg and glues) in paint samples. The study has been carried out on historically accurate reconstructions simulating the structure and composition of tempera and oil paints containing these binders. To assess the spatial distribution of specific proteins within the paint layers, cross-sections from the reconstructions were analyzed by fluorescence imaging after staining with an exogenous fluorophore. Reference fluorescence spectra for each layer were acquired by a multichannel spectral analyzer and compared after Gaussian deconvolution. The results obtained demonstrated the effectiveness of the integrated protocol, highlighting the potential for the use of fluorescent staining coupled with microspectrofluorometry as a routine diagnostic tool in conservation science. The current work creates a set of fully characterized reference samples for further comparison with those from actual works of art.

Borlido, L, Azevedo AM, Sousa AG, Oliveira PH, Roque ACA, Aires-Barros MR.  2012.  Fishing human monoclonal antibodies from a CHO cell supernatant with boronic acid magnetic particles. Journal of Chromatography B. 903:163-170. AbstractWebsite

In this work we have evaluated the potential of boronic acid functionalized magnetic particles for the one-step capture of a human monoclonal antibody (mAb) from a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell culture supernatant. For comparison, Protein A coated magnetic particles were also used. The most important factor influencing the overall process yield and product purity in boronic acid particles was found to be the binding pH. Basic pH values promoted higher purities while resulting in decreased yields due to the competing effects of molecules such as glucose and lactate present in the cell culture supernatant. After optimization, the particles were successfully used in a multi-cycle purification process of the mAb from the CHO feedstock. Boronic acid particles were able to achieve an average overall yield of 86% with 88% removal of CHO host cell proteins (HCP) when the binding was performed at pH 7.4, while at pH 8.5 these values were 58% and 97%, respectively. In both cases, genomic DNA removal was in excess of 97%. Comparatively, Protein A particles recorded an average overall yield of 80% and an HCP removal greater than 99%. The adsorption of the mAb to the boronic acid particles was shown to be mediated by strong affinity interactions. Overall, boronic acid based purification processes can offer a cost-effective alternative to Protein A as the direct capturing step from the mammalian cell culture.

Moreira, IP, Sato L, Alves C, Palma S, Roque AC.  2021.  Fish gelatin-based films for gas sensing. BIODEVICES 2021 - 14th International Conference on Biomedical Electronics and Devices; Part of the 14th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies, BIOSTEC 2021. :32–39.: SciTePress Abstract102062.pdf

Electronic noses (e-noses) mimic the complex biological olfactory system, usually including an array of gas sensors to act as the olfactory receptors and a trained computer with signal-processing and pattern recognition tools as the brain. In this work, a new stimuli-responsive material is shown, consisting of self-assembled droplets of liquid crystal and ionic liquid stabilised within a fish gelatin matrix. These materials change their opto/electrical properties upon contact with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). By using an in-house developed e-nose, these new gas-sensing films yield characteristic optical signals for VOCs from different chemical classes. A support vector machine classifier was implemented based on 12 features of the signals. The results show that the films are excellent identifying hydrocarbon VOCs (toluene, heptane and hexane) (95% accuracy) but lower performance was found to other VOCs, resulting in an overall 60.4% accuracy. Even though they are not reusable, these sustainable gas-sensing films are stable throughout time and reproducible, opening several opportunities for future optoelectronic devices and artificial olfaction systems.

Palma, SICJ, Esteves C, Pádua AC, Alves CM, Santos GMC, Costa HMA, Dionisio M, Gamboa H, Gruber J, Roque ACA.  2019.  Enhanced gas sensing with soft functional materials, May 2019. ISOEN 2019 - 18th International Symposium on Olfaction and Electronic Nose, Proceedings. , Fukuoka, Japan: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. AbstractPDF

The materials described in this work result from the selfassembly of liquid crystals and ionic liquids into droplets,
stabilized within a biopolymeric matrix. These systems are
extremely versatile gels, in terms of composition, and offer
potential for fine tuning of both structure and function, as
each individual component can be varied. Here, the
characterization and application of these gels as sensing thin
films in gas sensor devices is presented. The unique
supramolecular structure of the gels is explored for molecular
recognition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by
employing gels with distinct formulations to yield
combinatorial optical and electrical responses used in the
distinction and identification of VOCs.

Fernandes, CSM, Teixeira GDG, Iranzo O, Roque ACA.  2018.  Engineered protein variants for bioconjugation. Biomedical Applications of Functionalized Nanomaterials - Concepts, Development and Clinical Translation. (Sarmento, Bruno, Jose Das Neves, Eds.).: Elsevier
Esteves C, Santos GMC, Alves C, Palma S, Porteira AR, Filho J, HA C, Alves VD, Faustino BMM, Ferreira I, Gamboa H, Roque ACA.  2019.  Effect of film thickness in gelatin hybrid gels for artificial olfaction. Materials Today Bio. 1:-. AbstractPDFWebsite

Artificial olfaction is a fast-growing field aiming to mimic natural olfactory systems. Olfactory systems rely on a first step of molecular recognition in which volatile organic compounds (VOCs) bind to an array of specialized olfactory proteins. This results in electrical signals transduced to the brain where pattern recognition is performed. An efficient approach in artificial olfaction combines gas-sensitive materials with dedicated signal processing and classification tools. In this work, films of gelatin hybrid gels with a single composition that change their optical properties upon binding to VOCs were studied as gas-sensing materials in a custom-built electronic nose. The effect of films thickness was studied by acquiring signals from gelatin hybrid gel films with thicknesses between 15 and 90 μm when exposed to 11 distinct VOCs. Several features were extracted from the signals obtained and then used to implement a dedicated automatic classifier based on support vector machines for data processing. As an optical signature could be associated to each VOC, the developed algorithms classified 11 distinct VOCs with high accuracy and precision (higher than 98%), in particular when using optical signals from a single film composition with 30 μm thickness. This shows an unprecedented example of soft matter in artificial olfaction, in which a single gelatin hybrid gel, and not an array of sensing materials, can provide enough information to accurately classify VOCs with small structural and functional differences.

Santana, SDF, Dhadge VL, Roque ACA.  2012.  Dextran-Coated Magnetic Supports Modified with a Biomimetic Ligand for IgG Purification. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 4(11):5907–5914. AbstractWebsite

extran-coated iron oxide magnetic particles modified with ligand 22/8, a protein A mimetic ligand, were prepared and assessed for IgG purification. Dextran was chosen as the agent to modify the surface of magnetic particles by presenting a negligible level of nonspecific adsorption. For the functionalization of the particles with the affinity ligand toward antibodies, three methods have been explored. The optimum coupling method yielded a theoretical maximum capacity for human IgG calculated as 568 ± 33 mg/g and a binding affinity constant of 7.7 × 104 M–1. Regeneration, recycle and reuse of particles was also highly successful for five cycles with minor loss of capacity. Moreover, this support presented specificity and effectiveness for IgG adsorption and elution at pH 11 directly from crude extracts with a final purity of 95% in the eluted fraction.

dos Santos, R, Figueiredo C, Viecinski AC, Pina AS, Barbosa AJM, Roque ACA.  2019.  Designed affinity ligands to capture human serum albumin. Journal of Chromatography A. 1583:88-97. AbstractWebsite

Human serum albumin (HSA) in an important therapeutic agent and disease biomarker, with an increasing market demand. By proteins and drugs that bind to HSA as inspiration, a combinatorial library of 64 triazine-based ligands was rationally designed and screened for HSA binding at physiological conditions. Two triazine-based lead ligands (A3A2 and A6A5), presenting more than 50% HSA bound and high enrichment factors, were selected for further studies. Binding and elution conditions for HSA purification from human plasma were optimized for both ligands. The A6A5 adsorbent yielded a purified HSA sample with 98% purity at 100% recovery yield under mild binding and elution conditions.

Sandu, ICA, Schäfer S, Magrini D, Bracci S, Roque ACA.  2012.  Cross-Section and Staining-Based Techniques for Investigating Organic Materials in Painted and Polychrome Works of Art: A Review.. Microscopy and Microanalysis. 18(4):860-875. AbstractWebsite

The article presents a review of the use of cross-section and staining techniques for investigating natural organic materials (mainly proteinaceous and oil-based binders/varnishes) in painted and polychrome artworks, considering the requirements of conservation practice and routine diagnostics. The reviewed literature calls attention to the importance of using cross sections to prepare samples for optical microscopy and to different properties of embedding resins; the most appropriate instrumental conditions for optical microscopy; and the advantages and disadvantages of the most common staining techniques. A few case studies were selected to illustrate the use of autofluorescence (intrinsic fluorescence) and induced fluorescence (using specific staining tests and fluorophore-labeled antibodies) for mapping and identifying organic paint materials in cross sections. New directions of research in cross-section analyses and fluorescence-based techniques for the identification and mapping of artistic materials are presented. The complementary use of different stains on the same cross section, further exploration of intrinsic and induced fluorescence of aged versus fresh materials, and applicability of cross-section observation and staining as complementary methods for assessing the effectiveness of restoration treatments, such as cleaning and consolidation, are discussed in the last section of the article.

Palma, SICJ, Carvalho A, Silva J, Martins P, Marciello M, Fernandes AR, del Puerto Morales M, Roque ACA.  2015.  Covalent coupling of gum arabic onto superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for MRI cell labeling: physicochemical and in vitro characterization. Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging. 10:320–328., Number 4 AbstractWebsite

Gum arabic (GA) is a hydrophilic composite polysaccharide derived from exudates of Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal trees. It is biocompatible, possesses emulsifying and stabilizing properties and has been explored as coating agent of nanomaterials for biomedical applications, namely magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). Previous studies focused on the adsorption of GA onto MNPs produced by co-precipitation methods. In this work, MNPs produced by a thermal decomposition method, known to produce uniform particles with better crystalline properties, were used for the covalent coupling of GA through its free amine groups, which increases the stability of the coating layer. The MNPs were produced by thermal decomposition of Fe(acac)3 in organic solvent and, after ligand-exchange with meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), GA coating was achieved by the establishment of a covalent bond between DMSA and GA moieties. Clusters of several magnetic cores entrapped in a shell of GA were obtained, with good colloidal stability and promising magnetic relaxation properties (r2/r1 ratio of 350). HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cell line was used for in vitro cytotoxicity evaluation and cell-labeling efficiency studies. We show that, upon administration at the respective IC50, GA coating enhances MNP cellular uptake by 19 times compared to particles bearing only DMSA moieties. Accordingly, in vitro MR images of cells incubated with increasing concentrations of GA-coated MNP present dose-dependent contrast enhancement. The obtained results suggest that the GA magnetic nanosystem could be used as a MRI contrast agent for cell-labeling applications. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fernandes, CSM, Gonçalves B, Sousa M, Martins DL, Barroso T, Pina AS, Peixoto C, Aguiar-Ricardo A, Roque ACA.  2015.  Biobased Monoliths for Adenovirus Purification. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 7(12):6605-6612., Number 12 AbstractWebsite

Adenoviruses are important platforms for vaccine development and vectors for gene therapy, increasing the demand for high titers of purified viral preparations. Monoliths are macroporous supports regarded as ideal for the purification of macromolecular complexes, including viral particles. Although common monoliths are based on synthetic polymers as methacrylates, we explored the potential of biopolymers processed by clean technologies to produce monoliths for adenovirus purification. Such an approach enables the development of disposable and biodegradable matrices for bioprocessing. A total of 20 monoliths were produced from different biopolymers (chitosan, agarose, and dextran), employing two distinct temperatures during the freezing process (−20 °C and −80 °C). The morphological and physical properties of the structures were thoroughly characterized. The monoliths presenting higher robustness and permeability rates were further analyzed for the nonspecific binding of Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) preparations. The matrices presenting lower nonspecific Ad5 binding were further functionalized with quaternary amine anion-exchange ligand glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride hydrochloride by two distinct methods, and their performance toward Ad5 purification was assessed. The monolith composed of chitosan and poly(vinyl) alcohol (50:50) prepared at −80 °C allowed 100% recovery of Ad5 particles bound to the support. This is the first report of the successful purification of adenovirus using monoliths obtained from biopolymers processed by clean technologies.

Fernandes, CSM, dos Santos R, Ottengy S, Viecinski AC, Béhar G, Mouratou B, Pecorari F, Roque ACA.  2016.  Affitins for protein purification by affinity magnetic fishing. Journal of Chromatography A. 1457:50–58.: Elsevier B.V. AbstractWebsite

Currently most economical and technological bottlenecks in protein production are placed in the down-stream processes. With the aim of increasing the efficiency and reducing the associated costs, variousaffinity ligands have been developed. Affitins are small, yet robust and easy to produce, proteins derivedfrom the archaeal extremophilic “7 kDa DNA-binding” protein family. By means of combinatorial pro-tein engineering and ribosome display selection techniques, Affitins have shown to bind a diversity oftargets. In this work, two previously developed Affitins (anti-lysozyme and anti-IgG) were immobilizedonto magnetic particles to assess their potential for protein purification by magnetic fishing. The opti-mal lysozyme and human IgG binding conditions yielded 58 mg lysozyme/g support and 165 mg IgG/gsupport, respectively. The recovery of proteins was possible in high yield (≥95{%}) and with high purity,namely ≥95{%} and 81{%}, when recovering lysozyme from Escherichia coli supernatant and IgG from humanplasma, respectively. Static binding studies indicated affinity constants of 5.0 × 104M−1and 9.3 × 105M−1for the anti-lysozyme and anti-IgG magnetic supports. This work demonstrated that Affitins, which canbe virtually evolved for any protein of interest, can be coupled onto magnetic particles creating novelaffinity adsorbents for purification by magnetic fishing.

Roque, ACA, Silva CSO, Taipa ÂM.  2007.  Affinity-based methodologies and ligands for antibody purification: Advances and perspectives. Journal of Chromatography A. 1160:44–55., Number 1-2 AbstractWebsite

Many successful, recent therapies for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis are based on the recognition between native or genetically engineered antibodies and cell-surface receptors. Although naturally produced by the immune system, the need for antibodies with unique specificities and designed for single application, has encouraged the search for novel antibody purification strategies. The availability of these products to the end-consumer is strictly related to manufacture costs, particularly those attributed to downstream processing. Over the last decades, academia and industry have developed different types of interactions and separation techniques for antibody purification, affinity-based strategies being the most common and efficient methodologies. The affinity ligands utilized range from biological to synthetic designed molecules with enhanced resistance and stability. Despite the successes achieved, the purification “paradigm” still moves interests and efforts in the continuous demand for improved separation performances. This review will focus on recent advances and perspectives in antibody purification by affinity interactions using different techniques, with particular emphasis on affinity chromatography.

Dias, AMGC, dos Santos R, Iranzo O, Roque ACA.  2016.  Affinity adsorbents for proline-rich peptide sequences: a new role for WW domains. RSC Adv.. 6:68979-68988.: The Royal Society of Chemistry AbstractWebsite

The WW domain derived from human Yes-associated protein (hYAP65_WW) recognizes proline-rich peptides. The structural and chemical robustness of WW domains makes them appealing candidates to target and capture these peptides in affinity purification processes. In this work{,} the chemical synthesis of the hYAP65_WW domain containing a terminal cysteine for oriented coupling onto the chromatographic matrix was successfully achieved by a fragment solution condensation reaction and by incorporation of pseudoproline dipeptide units. Both strategies yielded a hYAP65_WW protein with the characteristic WW domain folding. The purified hYAP65_WW domain was immobilized in a chromatographic matrix and tested for binding to a proline-rich peptide. The adsorbent bound 92 ng of peptide per mg of support and the elution was particularly efficient when employing a low pH or an increase in salt concentration. This work sets the ground for the application of WW domains as affinity reagents towards the capture and elution of peptides and proteins rich in proline sequences.

Santana, SDF, Pina AS, Roque ACA.  2012.   Immobilization of enterokinase on magnetic supports for the cleavage of fusion proteins. Journal of Biotechnology. 161:378–382. AbstractWebsite

Magnetic nanobiocatalysts for tag cleavage on fusion proteins have been prepared by immobilizing
enterokinase (EK) onto iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles coated with biopolymers. Two different
chemistries have been explored for the covalent coupling of EK, namely carbodiimide (EDC coupling)
and maleimide activation (Sulfo coupling). Upon immobilization, EK initial activity lowered but EDC coupling lead to higher activity retention. Regarding the stability ofthe nanobiocatalysts,thesewere recycled
up to ten times with the greater activity losses observed in the first two cycles. The immobilized EK also
proved to cleave a control fusion protein and to greatly simplify the separation of the enzyme from the
reaction mixture.