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Repurposing a peptide toxin from wasp venom intoantiinfectives with dual antimicrobial andimmunomodulatory properties
Novel antibiotics are urgently needed to combat multidrug-resistant pathogens. Venoms represent previously untapped sources of novel drugs. Here we repurposed mastoparan-L, the toxic active principle derived from the venom of the wasp Vespula lewisii, into synthetic antimicrobials. We engineered within its N terminus a motif conserved among natural peptides with potent immunomodulatory and antimicrobial activities. The resulting peptide, mast-MO, adopted an α-helical structure as determined by NMR, exhibited increased antibacterial properties comparable to standard-of-care antibiotics both in vitro and in vivo, and potentiated the activity of different classes of antibiotics. Mechanism-of-action studies revealed that mast-MO targets bacteria by rapidly permeabilizing their outer membrane. In animal models, the peptide displayed direct antimicrobial activity, led to enhanced ability to attract leukocytes to the infection site, and was able to control inflammation. Permutation studies depleted the remaining toxicity of mast-MO toward human cells, yielding derivatives with antiinfective activity in animals. We demonstrate a rational design strategy for repurposing venoms into promising antimicrobials.
Experimental quantum thermodynamics with linear optics
The study of non-equilibrium physics from the perspective of the quantum limits of thermodynamics and fluctuation relations can be experimentally addressed with linear optical systems. We discuss recent experimental investigations in this scenario and present new proposed schemes while discussing the potential advances they could bring to the field of quantum thermodynamics.
Enhancing the charging power of quantum batteries
Can collective quantum effects make a difference in a meaningful thermodynamic operation? Focusing on energy storage and batteries, we demonstrate that quantum mechanics can lead to an enhancement in the amount of work deposited per unit time, i.e., the charging power, when N batteries are charged collectively. We first derive analytic upper bounds for the collective quantum advantage in charging power for two choices of constraints on the charging Hamiltonian. We then demonstrate that even in the absence of quantum entanglement this advantage can be extensive. For our main result, we provide an upper bound to the achievable quantum advantage when the interaction order is restricted; i.e., at most k batteries are interacting. This constitutes a fundamental limit on the advantage offered by quantum technologies over their classical counterparts.
Full thermalization of a photonic qubit
The generalized amplitude damping (GAD) quantum channel implements the interaction between a qubit and an environment with arbitrary temperature and arbitrary interaction time. Here, we implement a photonic version of the GAD for the case of infinite interaction time (full thermalization). We also show that this quantum channel works as a thermal bath with controlled temperature.
Remote preparation of single photon vortex thermal states
Photon pairs produced in spontaneous parametric down-conversion are naturally entangled in their transverse spatial degrees of freedom including the orbital angular momentum. Pumping a nonlinear crystal with a zero-order Gaussian mode produces quantum correlated signal and idler photons with equal orbital angular momentum and opposite signs. Measurements performed on one of the photons prepares the state of the other remotely. We study the remote state preparation in this system from the perspective of its potential application to Quantum Thermodynamics.