Author who broke into lab to tamper with investigation now up to half a dozen retractions

Bioconjugate ChemistryKarel Bezouška, the scientist who tried to tamper with an investigation into his work by breaking into a lab refrigerator, has had his fifth and sixth papers retracted.

Here’s the notice from Bioconjugate Chemistry for 2012’s “Dimerization of an Immunoactivating Peptide Derived from Mycobacterial hsp65 Using N-Hydroxysuccinimide Based Bifunctional Reagents Is Critical for Its Antitumor Properties:”

The authors retract this article as it was found that experiments evaluating the binding of synthesized compounds to the CD69 receptor and experiments showing the ability of the synthesized compounds to stimulate human PBMC were manipulated and/or misinterpreted. Authors who were reached support the retraction of this paper.

Evidence of scientific misconduct on the part of Karel Bezouška has been found by the joint Ethical Committee established by the Institute of Microbiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Faculty of Science at the Charles University in Prague.

The authors apologize to all affected parties.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

And here’s the notice for “Synthesis of LacdiNAc-terminated glycoconjugates by mutant galactosyltransferase – A way to new glycodrugs and materials,” which appeared in Glycobiology in 2009 and has been cited 19 times. (The page is titled “Retraction: Article withdrawal: title of article being removed,” which we assume means the production staff was supposed to insert the title of the paper.)

An Ethics Commission convened by the Dean of the Faculty of the Charles University and Director of the Institute of Microbiology AVCR Czech Republic “… declares that Prof. RNDr. Karel Bezouška, DSc. with the highest probability committed ‘scientific misconduct or dangerous or irresponsible deviations from accepted practice how to perform research.’ This scientific misconduct occurred repeatedly.”

As co-author of this publication, Prof. Bezouška was responsible for the accuracy of the data relating to natural killer cell receptors, and notably the section subtitled “Biological activity of products 4–6” and related conclusions. The authors hereby retract the publication based on the re-evaluation study (Rozbesky, Kren et al. 2014) clearly showing that all the data on the binding of saccharides to the NKR-P1 and CD69 receptors (including Table II and Fig. 3) are erroneous.

The corresponding author and co-authors (other than Prof. Bezouška) attest to the accuracy of the molecular, enzymatic, and chemical findings in this report (listed below):

i) A Y284L mutant of human placental β1,4-galactosyltransferase-I was successfully generated. Kinetic analysis demonstrated that the Gal-transferase activity of the mutant enzyme was abolished in favor of its GalNAc-transferase activity.

ii) The Y284L mutant was successfully used in the synthesis of three mono- and bivalent LacdiNAc glycomimetics. All novel structures were fully characterized by NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry.

Rozbesky D, Krejzova J, Krenek K, Prchal J, Hrabal R, Kozisek M, Weignerova L, Fiore M, Dumy P, Renaudet O, Kren V. 2014. Reevaluation of binding properties of recombinant lymphocyte receptors NKR-P1A and CD69 to chemically synthesized glycans and peptides. Int J Mol Sci. 15:1271–1283.

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