Research

 

Research lines:

Biochemistry: molecular structures, biochemical mechanisms and biomedical applications

  • Study of the non-covalent interactions of neutral and cationic organic compounds and metal complexes with nucleic acids
  • New biomarkers of oxidative stress: a molecular approach
  • Structural Characterization of Carbohydrates by Mass Spectrometry
  • Saliva proteome and oral pathologies
  • Development of proteomics methodologies with biomedical applications

Molecular Energetics

  • Mass spectrometry studies on structural and physicochemical properties of ionic liquids

Proteomics Lab

 

 

 

Study of the non-covalent interactions of neutral and cationic organic compounds and metal complexes with nucleic acids

The main goal of this research project is to develop mass spectrometric methods to understand the interactions betweenoligodeoxynucleotides secondary structures and new potential DNA-binding drugs, cationic and neutral , such as Ru(II) complexes, porphyrins and fullerenes. A related, second goal, is to investigate the gas-phase chemistry of both the oligodeoxynucleotides and the potential  binding drugs, using MS2 and MSn to explore fragmentation mechanisms

 

New biomarkers of oxidative stress: a molecular approach

The damage can be induced by the structural modification of the peptide/protein by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other radicalar species, or by cross-linking reactions between peptide/protein and the oxidation products of other biomolecules (lipids, phospholipids, and DNA bases). We have been working on the development of mass spectrometry methods to allow the identification at biological levels, of radical oxidation products using mass spectrometry. In order to achieve this objective we have been analysing by mass spectrometry spin adducts and other oxidation products formed by the oxidation of amino acids and peptides.

 

Structural characterization of carbohydrates by mass spectrometry

Analysis of standards of glucose, namely disaccharides and trisaccharides with different type of linkage and anomeric configuration were performed by ESI-MS and ESI-MS/MS. Fragmentations of different adducts, [M+X]+, with X=Li and Na, were studied and interesting results were found that allowed the differentiation of both type linkage and anomeric configuration of these isomeric compounds by ESI-MS/MS. The works are being extended to oligosaccharide standards of manose and galactose. Analysis of oligosaccharides obtained from  gellans, exoplysaccharides produced from bacteria ,were done using ESI-MS,ESI- MS/MS and MALDI-MS and MS/MS.. The results obtained allowed finding detailed structural information and identify the different compositions of these exopolysaccharides depending on it origin.

 

Saliva proteome and oral pathologies

Considering that saliva is of outmost importance for the oral health, t he main aim of our research is the analysis of saliva and salivary glands proteome and peptidome in physiological and pathological conditions using animal models and human samples. Directly related and in addition we are particularly interested in the study of the secretion process mechanisms and control. Mice and rats are used as the animal models. Human samples under study, with the clinical support of several health institutions, are from patients with: dental caries; head and neck cancer, Sjogren syndrome and diabetes.

 

Development of proteomics methodologies with biomedical applications

Cell response to oxidative stress: In line with our involvement on the study of oxidative stress we have expanded our work to the study of oxidative stress induced by photo-oxidation. Using proteomics we evaluated the response of COS-7 mammalian cell line under oxidative stress conditions (photo-oxidation).

 

Mass spectrometry studies on structural and physicochemical properties of ionic liquids

Ionic liquids have been the subject of an increasingly number of publications due to their unique physicochemical properties: negligible vapour pressure, relatively low viscosity, high thermal and chemical stability, amongst others, which makes them green alternatives to classical organic solvents.

ESI-MS is currently being used in the determination of physicochemical quantities, such as solubility of imidazolium and phosphonium based ionic liquids in water. The structural organization of ionic liquids in the liquid phase, which includes identification of aggregates and relative interaction energies between cations and anions is being investigated using ESI-MS, ESI-MS/MS and the kinetic method.