Gumming Up Appetite to Treat Obesity – Vitamin B12 Bioconjugate Project (& Graphic) Mention In Scientific American

From the "free press" division of the blog, a recent post by Ferris Jabr on the site highlights yet another evolutionarily fascinating application of cyanocobalamin (herein referred to as B12) out of the Rob Doyle Lab for the non-invasive delivery of small molecules into the human-person. Here, a mechanism for the delivery of human peptide YY (hPYY) into the bloodstream via a food-free mechanism (unless you count the gum flavorings as a fruit). From the thorough and accessible article (with a decent balance of sciam and non-sciam redirecting)…

CHEMICAL COUPLE: The appetite-suppressing hormone hPYY hitches a ride with vitamin B-12 from the stomach to the bloodstream (caption credit: sciam).

Losing weight is not always about anticipating swimsuit season or squeezing into skinny jeans—for the clinically obese, losing weight is about fighting serious illness and reclaiming health. But the primal part of the brain that regulates appetite will not place a moratorium on hunger just because someone and their doctor acknowledge the need to lose weight. Researchers at Syracuse University are working toward a unique solution: a stick of chewing gum that suppresses appetite.

A slightly-larger version of the image on the site is reproduced above (with the image credit most welcome on the site). For a bit more information about the general properties of B12 and its potential applications for other diet-related issues, a few articles described here @swv link to more complete discussions…

* Vitamin B12 In Drug Delivery: Breaking Through The Barriers To A B12 Bioconjugate Pharmaceutical

* The Binding Of Vitamin B12 To Transcobalamin(II); Structural Considerations For Bioconjugate Design – A Molecular Dynamics Study

* B12-Insulin Bioconjugate/Transcobalamin(II)/Insulin Receptor Cover Image For The April Issue Of Clinical Chemistry

* New B12-Insulin-TCII-Insulin Receptor Cover Image For This Month's ChemMedChem (March 2009)

* Exploring the Implications of Vitamin B12 Conjugation to Insulin on Insulin Receptor Binding and Cellular Uptake

Vitamin B12 In Drug Delivery: Breaking Through The Barriers To A B12 Bioconjugate Pharmaceutical

In press in Expert Opinion On Drug Delivery (DOI:10.1517/17425247.2011.539200). The theory section (the only part I can properly speak to) builds on the discussion section of the full theory paper in Molecular Biosystems from earlier this year, providing an outlet for some of the more speculative design possibilities for trinary B12 bioconjugate design. Given that (1) there are mechanisms for cleavage at both of the proposed positions and (2) the molecular dynamics work indicates that, at least, TCII (transcobalamin II) can easily accommodate a bi-functionalized cobalamin, the A-B12-C design possibility is probably the most interesting long-term idea to come out of the computational side of the B12-insulin bioconjugate study (or so I argue).

Having "B12" and "cobalamin" in a blog post guarantees a bunch of useless moderation-necessary comments from vita-spam sites.

Susan M. Clardy, Damian G. Allis, Timothy J. Fairchild & Robert P. Doyle

Syracuse University, Syracuse, Department of Chemistry, NY 13244-4100, USA

Importance of the field: Vitamin B12 (B12) is a rare and vital micronutrient for which mammals have developed a complex and highly efficient dietary uptake system. This uptake pathway consists of a series of proteins and receptors, and has been utilized to deliver several bioactive and/or imaging molecules from 99mTc to insulin.

Areas covered in this review: The current field of B12-based drug delivery is reviewed, including recent highlights surrounding the very pathway itself.

What the reader will gain: Despite over 30 years of work, no B12-based drug delivery conjugate has reached the market-place, hampered by issues such as limited uptake capacity, gastrointestinal degradation of the conjugate or high background uptake by healthy tissues. Variability in dose response among individuals, especially across ageing populations and slow oral uptake (several hours), has also slowed development and interest.

Take home message: This review is intended to stress again the great potential, as yet not fully realized, for B12-based therapeutics, tumor imaging and oral drug delivery. This review discusses recent reports that demonstrate that the issues noted above can be overcome and need not be seen as negating the great potential of B12 in the drug delivery field.

Exploring the Implications of Vitamin B12 Conjugation to Insulin on Insulin Receptor Binding and Cellular Uptake

In press, in the journal ChemMedChem (and, because I think it's hip, I note that the current "obligatory" image for the wikipedia article for ChemMedChem features the image I made for the review article on the topic addressed in this new study). As with many theory papers (there's some experiment in there, too), this very brief article summarizes several months of cyanocobalamin (B12) parameterization and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The purpose of the theory was to address all of the major structural snapshots in the uptake process associated with the insulin-B12 bioconjugate being developed as part of the much heralded oral insulin project in Robert Doyle's group here at Syracuse. These structures include:

1. The structure and dynamic properties of the insulin-B12 bioconjugate
2. The binding of B12 to Transcobalamin II (TCII) (for B12 parameterization)
3. The binding of the insulin-B12 bioconjugate to TCII (and the steric demands therein)
4. The interaction of the insulin-B12 bioconjugate, bound to TCII, with the insulin Receptor (IR)

The quantum chemical (for the B12 geometry and missing force constants) and molecular dynamics (GROMACS with the GROMOS96 (53a6)) simulation work is going to serve as the basis for several posts here (eventually) about parameterization, topology generation, and force field development.

As an example of some of the insights modeling provides, the figure above shows the insulin-B12 bioconjugate (the insulin is divided into A and B chains, the A chain in blue and the important division of the insulin B chain in the front half of the rainbow). Insulin is a rather large-scale example of many of the same molecular issues that arise in the analysis of solid-state molecular crystals by either terahertz or inelastic neutron scattering spectroscopy. The packing of molecules in their crystal lattices can lead to significant changes in molecular geometry, be these changes in the stabilization of higher-energy molecular conformations or even deformations in the covalent framework. In the case of insulin, it is found that the crystal geometry (also the geometry of stored insulin in the body) is quite different from the solution-phase form. It's even worse! The B chain end (B20-B30) in the solid-state geometry covers (protects?) the business-end of the insulin binding region to the Insulin Receptor. One can imagine the difficulty in proposing the original binding model for insulin to its receptor from the original crystal data given that the actual binding region is blocked off in the solid-state form! The "Extended" form in the figure is representative of "multiple other" conformations of the B20-B30 region (which mimics the characterized T-state of insulin), those geometries for which the insulin binding region (blue and green) is completely exposed. This extended geometry is also the one that separates the bulk of the insulin structure from the covalently-linked B12 (at Lys29) and, it is argued from the MD simulations in the paper, enables the B12 to still tightly bind to TCII despite the presence of all this steric bulk.

Amanda K. Petrus1, Damian G. Allis1, Robert P. Smith2, Timothy J. Fairchild3 and Robert P. Doyle1

1. Department of Chemistry, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
2. Department of Construction Management and Wood Products Engineering, SUNY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
3. Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA

Extract: We recently reported a vitamin B12 (B12) based insulin conjugate that produced significantly decreased blood glucose levels in diabetic STZ-rat models. The results of this study posed a fundamental question, namely what implications does B12 conjugation have on insulin's interaction with its receptor? To explore this question we used a combination of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and immuno-electron microscopy (IEM).