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The complexity of free radical reactivity in living organisms can be modeled by biomimetic systems, carefully designed to allow mechanisms and kinetics to be studied in an environment, which – while simplified – is well correlated with the real conditions.
Our research group has developed expertise in designing biomimetic models for the radical-based chemical mechanisms involved in cellular stress, as well as in analytical procedures to identify biomolecule modifications, and to isolate and characterize the products. The development of biomimetic models requires a multidisciplinary approach, combining chemical synthesis and analytical methods with the necessary biological knowledge and skills. This research has direct applications in molecular medicine, indicating the oxidative and radical stress connected to disease and aging, and offering solutions to control its unwanted health effects. Moreover, the studies in biomimetic models help to develop methods in diagnostics and biomarker discovery, leading to new methods for the quantification of free radical activity in vivo.

The following biomimetic models are studied:

  • Radical reactions in large unilamellar vesicles (LUVET) made of natural or synthetic phospholipids, different modes of free radical generation (radiolysis, photolysis, Fenton chemistry), mechanism of reactions and influence of environmental factors, effects of added molecular partners;

  • Diffusibility of free radical species in vesicles suspension and related kinetic processes with application to parallel damage in cellular environment (DNA, protein and lipids);

  • Tandem radical damage involving protein and lipid domains with the discovery of protein desulfurization processes under reductive conditions;

  • Oligonucleotide models containing appropriately modified nucleosides (tandem lesions) for the study of enzymatic repair;

  • Effects of antitumoral drugs or other drug types and factors to cause membrane damage and/or parallel DNA-membrane damage.



Radicals and dormant species in biology and polymer chemistry
Chatgilialoglu, C.; Ferreri, C.; Matyjaszewski, K. ChemPlusChem 201681, 11–29. 

Recent Publications:

Polypyridyl-Based Copper Phenanthrene Complexes: A New Type of Stabilized Artificial Chemical Nuclease.
Fantoni, N.Z.; Molphy, Z.; Slator, C.; Menounou, G.; Toniolo, G.; Mitrikas, G.; McKee, V.; Chatgilialoglu, C.; Kellett, A. Chem.–Eur. J. 2019, 25, 221–237.

[Cu(TPMA)(Phen)](ClO4)2: Metallodrug Nanocontainer Delivery and Membrane Lipidomics of a Neuroblastoma Cell Line Coupled with a Liposome Biomimetic Model Focusing on Fatty Acid Reactivity.
Toniolo, G.; Louka, M.; Menounou, G.; Fantoni, N.Z.; Mitrikas, G.; Efthimiadou, E.K.; Masi, A.; Bortolotti, M.; Polito, L.; Bolognesi, A.; Kellett, A.; Ferreri, C.; Chatgilialoglu, C. ACS Omega 2018, 3, 15952–15965.

Development of multi-layered and multi-sensitive polymeric nanocontainers for cancer therapy: in vitro evaluation.
Toniolo, G; Efthimiadou, E.K.; Kordas, G.; Chatgilialoglu, C. Sci. Rep. 2018, 8, Article number: 14704 . OPEN ACCESS


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