December 28, 2022

Simple Tips on Savings

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During the pandemic, one of the affected aspects in our day-to-day living is financial. Some lost their job while some works in a reduced time. Because of this, it gives us difficulties in doing their monthly savings since our income is sacrificed. Most of our savings during the pandemic has been used up in order to survive the daily situation.

As of this time, we are not returning to the normal life. Many of us are now back in their regular work and starting to save again. I just want to share something Mommy and I were doing in our saving money and this might work with you too.

How to do it?

Compute and Set Aside
Before doing this part, I must say that honesty is the key.

You need to declare your combined monthly income then set aside a fixed percentage of it depending on your target. Remember, be realistic in giving your target. You can start in a lower value since you are still in the adjustment period. As the time goes, you can gradually increase your target.

Be sure that our monthly target shall be at least 10% of your monthly income. This part of your savings should not be touched unless in cases of emergencies.

Monitor Your Monthly Bills
Based on your previous bills, you can have an estimate of your monthly billings especially for the utilities like electricity, water, internet, gas, etc. You must also include salary for the househelp (if there is), kids monthly tuition fees, house rentals, and monthly auto-loan amortization.

This amount will be deducted in your combined monthly income.

Set Your Spending Limit
The remaining amount will be your alloted monthly spending and will be divided into four (4) weeks to determine your weekly spending limit.

Plan Your Spending
With the comouted weekly spending limits, try to plan your spending based on what is needed at home. Having an inventory before doing the grocery can help in determining what to buy. This will also help you track your items and avoid over stocking of household items.

Needs and Wants
It is very important to determine your spending based on your needs and wants. If you have in mind to buy, think first if it is necessary right away or you can delay it for a month or two. This will give you time to increase your savings alloted for the item of your target.

Save in Advance
If you have settling something on an annual basis or you are targeting in buying new appliances, you can start saving in advance. For example, if you are paying your vehicle's annual insurance every end of the year, you can start saving as early as January. By the time you need to pay, it is either you already have enough money or only a little bit short of the amount to be paid.

To give you a summary on the above tips, here is a sample computation:




In case of extra income like bonuses,, incentives, or commissions, you can do the same thing by saving a part of it then the rest can be use to treat yourself and your family.

I hope this one can help you save part of your income. 

Do you have some tips on how to save a part of your income?
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A Brief History Of Pizza

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Throughout the world, pizza is one of the most adored dishes. People from all walks of life have enjoyed it for centuries. And today, pizza lovers celebrate the food year-round with some pizza delivery open Bridgeport CT. Here is a brief overview of how pizza came to be.

Modern pizza originated from flatbread dishes eaten all over Italy for centuries beforehand.
Invented in Naples, Italy, pizza as we know it started out as a simple flatbread with tomato and cheese. It was popular with the working class in Naples and was thought to be the best since sliced bread.

Pizza was also popular in England, Spain, and France. The early pizzas had ingredients such as garlic, cheese, and olive oil. They were topped with tomatoes and sometimes anchovies.

The first pizza shop in Naples, Port Alba, was opened in the 18th century. In the mid-18th century, flatbreads with cheese and basil were sold in hot ovens. Afterward, savory toppings were piled on top.

Raffaele Esposito, a pizza maker in Naples, invented the first pizza with cheese and tomato. He named it the Margherita and served it to Queen Margherita of Italy.

Several historians say that flatbreads, such as pizza, existed in Italy as early as the 6th century BC. Egyptians and Persians also ate flatbreads from the Middle East. They were also topped with spices and olive oil.

Pizzarelli is a type of bread that Roman Jews used during the Passover festival.
During the Passover feast, Roman Jews would have served pizzarelle as their Passover bread. These bite-sized flatbreads are made with rolled-out matzo meal, eggs, raisins, and orange zest. They are traditionally dipped in honey.

This particular type of food has been made for thousands of years. Archeologists have found records of bread being baked over 7,000 years ago in Sardinia. In addition, Greek, Roman, and Persian records show that people would add other ingredients to pieces of bread.

Roman Jewish cuisine has a rich culinary history, incorporating Italian, Sicilian, and Libyan influences. The Jewish community in Rome was established more than two centuries ago. Although the Jewish community has grown and evolved, the cuisine has remained largely unchanged.

The food is served at the Passover seder, a special family meal commemorating God's Exodus from Egypt. The seder requires strict dietary laws. A Passover seder includes prayers, recitations, and symbolic foods. It is usually celebrated with great pomp and ceremony.

Pizza lovers everywhere celebrate the world's perfect food throughout the year.
Across the globe, pizza lovers celebrate the world's perfect food throughout the year. Pizza is the most popular food in the world. The average person eats 23 pounds of pizza annually in the United States.

Pizza is available in hot and cold varieties and can be customized to taste. It is a versatile food that is enjoyed by kids and adults alike. It also contains glutamate, a substance that stimulates the human taste buds.

Pizza is considered the ultimate comfort food and has been known to attract families to dinner parties. Many children love cheese pizza.

Pizza originated in Italy, where it was a simple street food for the working class. It was later brought to the United States by Italian immigrants. As pizza became more popular, it began to spread throughout the world. In the US, 13% of the population eats pizza regularly.

While many people eat pizza for family dinners, it is also famous for parties and dates. In the US, more than a dozen pizza days are celebrated annually. Some of these are National Sausage Pizza Day, National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National Pizza Month, National Pizza Party Day, and more.
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December 12, 2022

Curing African Sickness Using Biological Trojan Horse

On my previous post, I mentioned that I will be shariing some of the topics on my #RoadToMSChemistry Journey. Here is one of the topics and this is how it was written including the references.

Curing African Sickness Using Biological Trojan Horse

When we hear or read the word Trojan Horse, we usually referred to the wooden horse used by the Greeks during the Trojan War. However, in the modern era, it is known as a computer malware that mimics a legitimate program ending up with phishing and spying of a computer’s content. (“What Is a Trojan Horse? Trojan Virus and Malware Explained”).

‌Since Trojan Horse is related to a virus, how about living things- humans and animals? Can there be also the so-called biological Trojan Horse?

Studying enzymes, particularly in irreversible inhibitors, lead to the discovery of new drugs and is considered to be one of the Biological Trojan Horses. These inhibitors react by attaching themselves to the functional groups of enzymes which are responsible for the primary enzyme’s activity. Once the covalent bond was formed between the active sites of the enzyme and irreversible inhibitor, the former will be deactivated halting the cell’s growth and reproduction (Nelson 571–572).

One type of irreversible inhibitor is the suicide inactivator or also called mechanism-based inactivators. These inactivators react only upon binding with the enzyme’s active site. Upon reacting with the active site, instead of producing a common product from an enzymatic reaction, it will create a highly reactive substance that will combine and inactivates the enzyme.

How do these Biological Trojan Horses use in the field of medicine? One example of the study of enzymes and suicide inactivators is in the treatment of African Sleeping Sickness.

African Sleeping Sickness, is commonly observed in the East and West parts of the African Continent. It is caused by a unicellular protozoan trypanosome (T. brucei rhodesience and T. brucei gambiense,) carried by the tsetse fly (Pascholati et al.). At first, this illness is manageable not until the late 20th century. With the continuous changes in the virus’ protection coat or antigen, vaccines are no longer effective as they should be (Nelson 571–72).

One mechanism studied in the treatment of African Sleeping Sickness is the reaction catalyzed by ornithine decarboxylase with diflouromethylornithine (DMFO) as suicide inactivators (Reddy, ch.2).

How does the reaction go?

Figure 1. ODC-catalyzed biosynthesis pathway forming putrescine and regeneration of PLP.

The primary step in decarboxylation of ornithine, with pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) as a co-factor, is the formation of Schiff base, an imine intermediate. This will go a rapid reaction forming putrescine, diamime and regenerates PLP (Figure 1) (Reddy, ch.2)

Putrescine is the diamine needed in the biosynthesis as precursor of polyamines spermine and spermidine which is an essential part of eukaryotic cells (Poulin et al.). 

The presence of a suicide inactivator diflouromethylornithine (DMFO) in the reaction with PLP forms a Schiff base which proceeds with the elimination of fluorine atom and carbon dioxide forming a secondary metabolite flouroolefin derivative. This terminal flouroolefin part will become highly reactive with the nuclephilic thiol residue at the enzyme’s active site. This will undergo Michael’s addition followed by a fast elimination of the fluorine atom forming an inactivated enzyme (Figure 2)(Reddy, ch.2).

Figure 2. Reaction pathway of DFMO and PLP forming a highly reactive Schiff base. Upon further reaction with the enzyme active site, it will for an inactivated ezyme.

With the continuous study and research in enzymology and metabolism, more and more drugs or treatments will be discovered especially to the diseases that are currently incurable. Although it will take several times, Biological Trojan Horses are just around the corner waiting to be found.

References:

Nelson, David. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 7th ed., W.H. Freeman, 2017.


Pascholati, Cauê P., et al. “The Interaction of an Antiparasitic Peptide Active against African Sleeping Sickness with Cell Membrane Models.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, vol. 74, no. 2, 2009, pp. 504–10. Crossrefhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2009.08.018.


Poulin, R., et al. “Mechanism of the Irreversible Inactivation of Mouse Ornithine Decarboxylase by Alpha-Difluoromethylornithine. Characterization of Sequences at the Inhibitor and Coenzyme Binding Sites.” Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 267, no. 1, 1992, pp. 150–58. Crossrefhttps://doi.org/10.1016/s0021-9258(18)48472-4.


Reddy, Prakash. Organofluorine Compounds in Biology and Medicine. Elsevier Gezondheidszorg, 2015.


“What Is a Trojan Horse? Trojan Virus and Malware Explained.” Fortinet, www.fortinet.com/resources/cyberglossary/trojan-horse-virus. Accessed 17 Mar. 2022.



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December 1, 2022

An Understanding of Protease Mechanisms Lead to New Treatments of HIV Infection


In time with the HIV Awareness Month, I am glad to share one of my reaction papers in my graduate study program.

I hope that this can somewaht add information about human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.


 An Understanding of Protease Mechanisms Lead to New Treatments of HIV Infection

“…I would raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country, which is the Philippines…” This is one part of Pia Wurztbach’s response to the final Q&A of Miss Universe 2015 where she hooked the crown.

What is the real status of HIV in the Philippines?
The case of HIV in the Philippines increased up to 207% from 2010 to 2019 with a death toll increase of 338%. This is considered the fastest rising in the Asia and Pacific region. In 2019, there are about 97,000 persons living with HIV or PLHIV. The majority of these PLHIV are persons who injected drugs, men who have sex with men, sex workers, and transgender (Nguyen).

The virus can be transmitted through body fluids like blood, breastmilk, semen, and vaginal secretions but does not pass by kissing, hugging, sharing food, or drinks (“HIV/AIDS”).

Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is the main causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS, which emerges in the 80s and is considered an epidemic worldwide.

HIV is a retrovirus having its genetic information is in the form of RNA and has a reverse transcriptase enabling the virus to use the RNA in the synthesis of complementary DNA (Nelson, 587).

How do HIV infection proceeds?
The infection occurs when the viral and cellular membrane fused with the facilitation of viral envelope glycoprotein and the receptors CD4 of the target cells.

When the virus enters the cell, its RNA is reversed-transcribed to DNA by the reverse transcriptase. The HIV genetic material will combine with the host’s cell using the integrase enzyme followed by transcription into the messenger RNA and replicated into viral polyproteins. The HIV protease will incise these polyproteins to form new virions and become ready to infect another host’s cell. With the destruction of the host’s genetic materials and continuous production of virions results in the death of infected cells (Brik and Wong 5–14).

HIV awareness month,HIV awarenes,HIV,HV protease,AIDS,HIV protease mechanism,HIV cycle,#RoadToMSChemistry,road to MSChemistry,MSChemistry,
Figure 1. The life cycle of HIV (“Life Cycle | NIH”)

 

Based on the mechanism, there are 3 major enzymes of the HIV used in the cycle – reverse transcriptase, integrase, and HIV protease. With these three enzymes, the HIV protease is the most studied in the development of treatments against HIV.


Proteases are classified into two huge groups according to their ability to catalyze the mechanism. The first class uses a nucleophilic atom, either hydroxyl or thiol of the amino acid side chain to start the amide hydrolysis (Brik and Wong 5–14).


The second classification requires two aspartyl β-carboxyl groups in the enzymatic sites to activate a water molecule for nucleophilic reaction on a peptide bond. It is referred to as aspartyl protease where HIV protease belongs (Windsor et al. 1465).


One way to inhibit the proliferation of HIV is by disturbance of the HIV protease enzyme responsible for the breakdown of polyprotein virus using protease inhibitors called anti-retroviral or ARVs. Here are several USFDA-approved ARVs given to PLHIV (Brik and Wong 5–14).


HIV awareness month,HIV awarenes,HIV,HV protease,AIDS,HIV protease mechanism,HIV cycle,#RoadToMSChemistry,road to MSChemistry,MSChemistry,
Figure 2. Structures of different HIV protease inhibitors or antiretrovirals.


The different HIV protease inhibitors vary in their structures but have similarities in terms of the main chain with a hydroxyl group in the β-position from the benzyl group (Nelson, 589).


Refer to the figure below regarding one of the accepted mechanisms for the aspartyl protease (HIV protease) mechanism.

 

HIV awareness month,HIV awarenes,HIV,HV protease,AIDS,HIV protease mechanism,HIV cycle,#RoadToMSChemistry,road to MSChemistry,MSChemistry,
Figure 3. One of the acceptable mechanisms of HIV protease.

Studying the mechanisms for HIV protease enzyme, and other enzymes is a good starting point in the discovery of new drugs that can cure (or at least control its progress) not only HIV but also other chronic illnesses. The available ARVs help extend the lifespan of the PLHIV.


Recently, there is a reported case of PLHIV cured of the said retrovirus. The patient undergoes stem cell treatment using cord blood with the mutation that prevents the entrance of HIV into the cell. Thirty-seven (37) months after the transplant, the patient chooses to top the use of ARVs. After 14 months, the patient did not show any signs of HIV in the blood tests as well as detectable antibodies to the virus (Mandavilli).


With this information, it can be a great breakthrough for researchers to further study the mechanism on how the stem cell procedure works in killing the HIV in the body which will lead to the right medicine or drug in the cure of this incurable disease.


References:

Brik, Ashraf, and Chi-Huey Wong. “HIV-1 Protease: Mechanism and Drug Discovery.” Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, vol. 1, no. 1, 2002, pp. 5–14. Crossrefhttps://doi.org/10.1039/b208248a.

 

“HIV/AIDS.” WHO, 30 Nov. 2021, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hiv-aids.

 

“Life Cycle | NIH.” CLINICAL INFO.HIV.GOV, clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/glossary/life-cycle. Accessed 21 Mar. 2022.

 

Mandavilli, Apoorva. “A Woman Is Cured of H.I.V. Using a Novel Treatment.” The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2022, www.nytimes.com/2022/02/15/health/hiv-cure-cord-blood.html.

 

Nelson, David. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 7th ed., W.H. Freeman, 2017.

 

Nguyen, Alice. “The HIV Epidemic in the Philippines: Affected Populations.” The Borgen Project, 26 Jan. 2021, borgenproject.org/hiv-epidemic-in-the-philippines.

 

Windsor, Ian W., et al. “An N→π* Interaction in the Bound Substrate of Aspartic Proteases Replicates the Oxyanion Hole.” ACS Catalysis, vol. 9, no. 2, 2018, pp. 1464–71. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.8b04142.

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