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Characterization of carbonaceous aerosol over the north Atlantic Ocean

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Atmospheric particulate matter has a substantial impact on global climate due to its ability to absorb/scatter solar radiation and act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Yet, little is known about marine aerosol, in particular, the carbonaceous fraction. In the present

Atmospheric particulate matter has a substantial impact on global climate due to its ability to absorb/scatter solar radiation and act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Yet, little is known about marine aerosol, in particular, the carbonaceous fraction. In the present work, particulate matter was collected, using High Volume (HiVol) samplers, onto quartz fiber substrates during a series of research cruises on the Atlantic Ocean. Samples were collected on board the R/V Endeavor on West–East (March–April, 2006) and East–West (June–July, 2006) transects in the North Atlantic, as well as on the R/V Polarstern during a North–South (October–November, 2005) transect along the western coast of Europe and Africa. The aerosol total carbon (TC) concentrations for the West–East (Narragansett, RI, USA to Nice, France) and East–West (Heraklion, Crete, Greece to Narragansett, RI, USA) transects were generally low over the open ocean (0.36±0.14 μg C/m3) and increased as the ship approached coastal areas (2.18±1.37 μg C/m3), due to increased terrestrial/anthropogenic aerosol inputs. The TC for the North–South transect samples decreased in the southern hemisphere with the exception of samples collected near the 15th parallel where calculations indicate the air mass back trajectories originated from the continent. Seasonal variation in organic carbon (OC) was seen in the northern hemisphere open ocean samples with average values of 0.45 μg/m3 and 0.26 μg/m3 for spring and summer, respectively. These low summer time values are consistent with SeaWiFS satellite images that show decreasing chlorophyll a concentration (a proxy for phytoplankton biomass) in the summer. There is also a statistically significant (p<0.05) decline in surface water fluorescence in the summer. Moreover, examination of water–soluble organic carbon (WSOC) shows that the summer aerosol samples appear to have a higher fraction of the lower molecular weight material, indicating that the samples may be more oxidized (aged). The seasonal variation in aerosol content seen during the two 2006 cruises is evidence that a primary biological marine source is a significant contributor to the carbonaceous particulate in the marine atmosphere and is consistent with previous studies of clean marine air masses.

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2011

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Synthesis and evaluation of a new class of cancer chemotherapeutics based on purine-like extended amidines

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A potential new class of cancer chemotherapeutic agents has been synthesized by varying the 2 position of a benzimidazole based extended amidine. Compounds 6-amino-2-chloromethyl-4-imino-1-(2-methansulfonoxyethyl)-5-methyl-1H-benzimidazole-7-one (1A) and 6-amino-2-hydroxypropyl-4-imino-1-(2-methansulfonoxyethyl)-5-methyl-1H-benzimidazole-7-one (1B) were assayed at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Developmental Therapeutic Program (DTP)

A potential new class of cancer chemotherapeutic agents has been synthesized by varying the 2 position of a benzimidazole based extended amidine. Compounds 6-amino-2-chloromethyl-4-imino-1-(2-methansulfonoxyethyl)-5-methyl-1H-benzimidazole-7-one (1A) and 6-amino-2-hydroxypropyl-4-imino-1-(2-methansulfonoxyethyl)-5-methyl-1H-benzimidazole-7-one (1B) were assayed at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Developmental Therapeutic Program (DTP) and found to be cytotoxic at sub-micromolar concentrations, and have shown between a 100 and a 1000-fold increase in specificity towards lung, colon, CNS, and melanoma cell lines. These ATP mimics have been found to correlate with sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1), a protein implicated in drug resistance and cell survival in various cancer cell lines. Using the DTP COMPARE algorithm, compounds 1A and 1B were shown to correlate to each other at 77%, but failed to correlate with other benzimidazole based extended amidines previously synthesized in this laboratory suggesting they operate through a different biological mechanism.

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2011

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Mapping the RNA-protein interface in telomerase RNP

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In the 1970s James Watson recognized the inability of conventional DNA replication machinery to replicate the extreme termini of chromosomes known as telomeres. This inability is due to the requirement of a building block primer and was termed the

In the 1970s James Watson recognized the inability of conventional DNA replication machinery to replicate the extreme termini of chromosomes known as telomeres. This inability is due to the requirement of a building block primer and was termed the end replication problem. Telomerase is nature's answer to the end replication problem. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein which extends telomeres through reverse transcriptase activity by reiteratively copying a short intrinsic RNA sequence to generate 3' telomeric extensions. Telomeres protect chromosomes from erosion of coding genes during replication, as well as differentiate native chromosome ends from double stranded breaks. However, controlled erosion of telomeres functions as a naturally occurring molecular clock limiting the replicative capacity of cells. Telomerase is over activated in many cancers, while inactivation leads to multiple lifespan limiting human diseases. In order to further study the interaction between telomerase RNA (TR) and telomerase reverse transcriptase protein (TERT), vertebrate TERT fragments were screened for solubility and purity following bacterial expression. Soluble fragments of medaka TERT including the RNA binding domain (TRBD) were identified. Recombinant medaka TRBD binds specifically to telomerase RNA CR4/CR5 region. Ribonucleotide and amino acid pairs in close proximity within the medaka telomerase RNA-protein complex were identified using photo-activated cross-linking in conjunction with mass spectrometry. The identified cross-linking amino acids were mapped on known crystal structures of TERTs to reveal the RNA interaction interface of TRBD. The identification of this RNA TERT interaction interface furthers the understanding of the telomerase complex at a molecular level and could be used for the targeted interruption of the telomerase complex as a potential cancer treatment.

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2011

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Timing and structural control of gold mineralization, Santa Gertrudis, Sonora, Mexico

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The Santa Gertrudis Mining District of Sonora, Mexico contains more than a dozen purported Carlin-like, sedimentary-hosted, disseminated-gold deposits. A series of near-surface, mostly oxidized gold deposits were open-pit mined from the calcareous and clastic units of the Cretaceous Bisbee Group.

The Santa Gertrudis Mining District of Sonora, Mexico contains more than a dozen purported Carlin-like, sedimentary-hosted, disseminated-gold deposits. A series of near-surface, mostly oxidized gold deposits were open-pit mined from the calcareous and clastic units of the Cretaceous Bisbee Group. Gold occurs as finely disseminated, sub-micron coatings on sulfides, associated with argillization and silicification of calcareous, carbonaceous, and siliciclastic sedimentary rocks in structural settings. Gold occurs with elevated levels of As, Hg, Sb, Pb, and Zn. Downhole drill data within distal disseminated gold zones reveal a 5:1 ratio of Ag:Au and strong correlations of Au to Pb and Zn. This study explores the timing and structural control of mineralization utilizing field mapping, geochemical studies, drilling, core logging, and structural analysis. Most field evidence indicates that mineralization is related to a single pulse of moderately differentiated, Eocene intrusives described as Mo-Cu-Au skarn with structurally controlled distal disseminated As-Ag-Au.

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2011

Surface stress during electro-oxidation of carbon monoxide and bulk stress evolution during electrochemical intercalation of lithium

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This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered electrodes. It also investigates surface stress evolution during electro-oxidation of

This work investigates in-situ stress evolution of interfacial and bulk processes in electrochemical systems, and is divided into two projects. The first project examines the electrocapillarity of clean and CO-covered electrodes. It also investigates surface stress evolution during electro-oxidation of CO at Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111} and Ru{0001} electrodes. The second project explores the evolution of bulk stress that occurs during intercalation (extraction) of lithium (Li) and formation of a solid electrolyte interphase during electrochemical reduction (oxidation) of Li at graphitic electrodes. Electrocapillarity measurements have shown that hydrogen and hydroxide adsorption are compressive on Pt{111}, Ru/Pt{111}, and Ru{0001}. The adsorption-induced surface stresses correlate strongly with adsorption charge. Electrocatalytic oxidation of CO on Pt{111} and Ru/Pt{111} gives a tensile surface stress. A numerical method was developed to separate both current and stress into background and active components. Applying this model to the CO oxidation signal on Ru{0001} gives a tensile surface stress and elucidates the rate limiting steps on all three electrodes. The enhanced catalysis of Ru/Pt{111} is confirmed to be bi-functional in nature: Ru provides adsorbed hydroxide to Pt allowing for rapid CO oxidation. The majority of Li-ion batteries have anodes consisting of graphite particles with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as binder. Intercalation of Li into graphite occurs in stages and produces anisotropic strains. As batteries have a fixed size and shape these strains are converted into mechanical stresses. Conventionally staging phenomena has been observed with X-ray diffraction and collaborated electrochemically with the potential. Work herein shows that staging is also clearly observed in stress. The Li staging potentials as measured by differential chronopotentiometry and stress are nearly identical. Relative peak heights of Li staging, as measured by these two techniques, are similar during reduction, but differ during oxidation due to non-linear stress relaxation phenomena. This stress relaxation appears to be due to homogenization of Li within graphite particles rather than viscous flow of the binder. The first Li reduction wave occurs simultaneously with formation of a passivating layer known as the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). Preliminary experiments have shown the stress of SEI formation to be tensile (~+1.5 MPa).

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2011

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Analysis of nucleosome dynamics by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy

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Nucleosomes are the basic repetitive unit of eukaryotic chromatin and are responsible for packing DNA inside the nucleus of the cell. They consist of a complex of eight histone proteins (two copies of four proteins H2A, H2B, H3 and

Nucleosomes are the basic repetitive unit of eukaryotic chromatin and are responsible for packing DNA inside the nucleus of the cell. They consist of a complex of eight histone proteins (two copies of four proteins H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) around which 147 base pairs of DNA are wrapped in ~1.67 superhelical turns. Although the nucleosomes are stable protein-DNA complexes, they undergo spontaneous conformational changes that occur in an asynchronous fashion. This conformational dynamics, defined by the "site-exposure" model, involves the DNA unwrapping from the protein core and exposing itself transiently before wrapping back. Physiologically, this allows regulatory proteins to bind to their target DNA sites during cellular processes like replication, DNA repair and transcription. Traditional biochemical assays have stablished the equilibrium constants for the accessibility to various sites along the length of the nucleosomal DNA, from its end to the middle of the dyad axis. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), we have established the position dependent rewrapping rates for nucleosomes. We have also used Monte Carlo simulation methods to analyze the applicability of FRET fluctuation spectroscopy towards conformational dynamics, specifically motivated by nucleosome dynamics. Another important conformational change that is involved in cellular processes is the disassembly of nucleosome into its constituent particles. The exact pathway adopted by nucleosomes is still not clear. We used dual color fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to study the intermediates during nucleosome disassembly induced by changing ionic strength. Studying the nature of nucleosome conformational change and the kinetics is very important in understanding gene expression. The results from this thesis give a quantitative description to the basic unit of the chromatin.

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2011

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Synthesis and characterization of thionated reduced graphene oxides and their thin films

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Thiol functionalization is one potentially useful way to tailor physical and chemical properties of graphene oxides (GOs) and reduced graphene oxides (RGOs). Despite the ubiquitous presence of thiol functional groups in diverse chemical systems, efficient thiol functionalization has been challenging

Thiol functionalization is one potentially useful way to tailor physical and chemical properties of graphene oxides (GOs) and reduced graphene oxides (RGOs). Despite the ubiquitous presence of thiol functional groups in diverse chemical systems, efficient thiol functionalization has been challenging for GOs and RGOs, or for carbonaceous materials in general. In this work, thionation of GOs has been achieved in high yield through two new methods that also allow concomitant chemical reduction/thermal reduction of GOs; a solid-gas metathetical reaction method with boron sulfides (BxSy) gases and a solvothermal reaction method employing phosphorus decasulfide (P4S10). The thionation products, called "mercapto reduced graphene oxides (m-RGOs)", were characterized by employing X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction, UV-Vis spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, electron probe analysis, scanning electron microscopy, (scanning) transmission electron microscopy, nano secondary ion mass spectrometry, Ellman assay and atomic force microscopy. The excellent dispersibility of m-RGOs in various solvents including alcohols has allowed fabrication of thin films of m-RGOs. Deposition of m-RGOs on gold substrates was achieved through solution deposition and the m-RGOs were homogeneously distributed on gold surface shown by atomic force microscopy. Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films of m-RGOs were obtained by transferring their Langmuir films, formed by simple drop casting of m-RGOs dispersion on water surface, onto various substrates including gold, glass and indium tin oxide. The m-RGO LB films showed low sheet resistances down to about 500 kΩ/sq at 92% optical transparency. The successful results make m-RGOs promising for applications in transparent conductive coatings, biosensing, etc.

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2013

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Novel strategies for producing proteins with non-proteinogenic amino acids

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The biological and chemical diversity of protein structure and function can be greatly expanded by position-specific incorporation of non-natural amino acids bearing a variety of functional groups. Non-cognate amino acids can be incorporated into proteins at specific sites by using

The biological and chemical diversity of protein structure and function can be greatly expanded by position-specific incorporation of non-natural amino acids bearing a variety of functional groups. Non-cognate amino acids can be incorporated into proteins at specific sites by using orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase/tRNA pairs in conjunction with nonsense, rare, or 4-bp codons. There has been considerable progress in developing new types of amino acids, in identifying novel methods of tRNA aminoacylation, and in expanding the genetic code to direct their position. Chemical aminoacylation of tRNAs is accomplished by acylation and ligation of a dinucleotide (pdCpA) to the 3'-terminus of truncated tRNA. This strategy allows the incorporation of a wide range of natural and unnatural amino acids into pre-determined sites, thereby facilitating the study of structure-function relationships in proteins and allowing the investigation of their biological, biochemical and biophysical properties. Described in Chapter 1 is the current methodology for synthesizing aminoacylated suppressor tRNAs. Aminoacylated suppressor tRNACUAs are typically prepared by linking pre-aminoacylated dinucleotides (aminoacyl-pdCpAs) to 74 nucleotide (nt) truncated tRNAs (tRNA-COH) via a T4 RNA ligase mediated reaction. Alternatively, there is another route outlined in Chapter 1 that utilizes a different pre-aminoacylated dinucleotide, AppA. This dinucleotide has been shown to be a suitable substrate for T4 RNA ligase mediated coupling with abbreviated tRNA-COHs for production of 76 nt aminoacyl-tRNACUAs. The synthesized suppressor tRNAs have been shown to participate in protein synthesis in vitro, in an S30 (E. coli) coupled transcription-translation system in which there is a UAG codon in the mRNA at the position corresponding to Val10. Chapter 2 describes the synthesis of two non-proteinogenic amino acids, L-thiothreonine and L-allo-thiothreonine, and their incorporation into predetermined positions of a catalytically competent dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) analogue lacking cysteine. Here, the elaborated proteins were site-specifically derivitized with a fluorophore at the thiothreonine residue. The synthesis and incorporation of phosphorotyrosine derivatives into DHFR is illustrated in Chapter 3. Three different phosphorylated tyrosine derivatives were prepared: bis-nitrobenzylphosphoro-L-tyrosine, nitrobenzylphosphoro-L-tyrosine, and phosphoro-L-tyrosine. Their ability to participate in a protein synthesis system was also evaluated.

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2013

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Studies on the three-dimensional structures of proteins using X-ray crystallography

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X-ray diffraction is the technique of choice to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins. In this study it has been applied to solve the structure of the survival motor neuron (SMN) proteins, the Fenna-Mathews-Olson (FMO) from Pelodictyon phaeum (Pld. phaeum)

X-ray diffraction is the technique of choice to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins. In this study it has been applied to solve the structure of the survival motor neuron (SMN) proteins, the Fenna-Mathews-Olson (FMO) from Pelodictyon phaeum (Pld. phaeum) protein, and the synthetic ATP binding protein DX. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive genetic disease resulting in muscle atrophy and paralysis via degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord. In this work, we used X-ray diffraction technique to solve the structures of the three variant of the of SMN protein, namely SMN 1-4, SMN-WT, and SMN-Δ7. The SMN 1-4, SMN-WT, and SMN-Δ7 crystals were diffracted to 2.7 Å, 5.5 Å and 3.0 Å, respectively. The three-dimensional structures of the three SMN proteins have been solved. The FMO protein from Pld. phaeum is a water soluble protein that is embedded in the cytoplasmic membrane and serves as an energy transfer funnel between the chlorosome and the reaction center. The FMO crystal diffracted to 1.99Å resolution and the three-dimensional structure has been solved. In previous studies, double mutant, DX, protein was purified and crystallized in the presence of ATP (Simmons et al., 2010; Smith et al. 2007). DX is a synthetic ATP binding protein which resulting from a random selection of DNA library. In this study, DX protein was purified and crystallized without the presence of ATP to investigate the conformational change in DX structure. The crystals of DX were diffracted to 2.5 Å and the three-dimensional structure of DX has been solved.

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2013

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Directed evolution of gp120 binding mutants of the lectin Cyanovirin-N

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Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a naturally occurring lectin originally isolated from the cyanobacteria Nostoc ellipsosporum. This 11 kDa lectin is 101 amino acids long with two binding sites, one at each end of the protein. CV-N specifically binds to terminal Manα1-2Manα

Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a naturally occurring lectin originally isolated from the cyanobacteria Nostoc ellipsosporum. This 11 kDa lectin is 101 amino acids long with two binding sites, one at each end of the protein. CV-N specifically binds to terminal Manα1-2Manα motifs on the branched, high mannose Man9 and Man8 glycosylations found on enveloped viruses including Ebola, Influenza, and HIV. wt-CVN has micromolar binding to soluble Manα1-2Manα and also inhibits HIV entry at low nanomolar concentrations. CV-N's high affinity and specificity for Manα1-2Manα makes it an excellent lectin to study for its glycan-specific properties. The long-term aim of this project is to make a variety of mutant CV-Ns to specifically bind other glycan targets. Such a set of lectins may be used as screening reagents to identify biomarkers and other glycan motifs of interest. As proof of concept, a T7 phage display library was constructed using P51G-m4-CVN genes mutated at positions 41, 44, 52, 53, 56, 74, and 76 in binding Domain B. Five CV-N mutants were selected from the library and expressed in BL21(DE3) E. coli. Two of the mutants, SSDGLQQ-P51Gm4-CVN and AAGRLSK-P51Gm4-CVN, were sufficiently stable for characterization and were examined by CD, Tm, ELISA, and glycan array. Both proteins have CD minima at approximately 213 nm, indicating largely β-sheet structure, and have Tm values greater than 40°C. ELISA against gp120 and RNase B demonstrate both proteins' ability to bind high mannose glycans. To more specifically determine the binding specificity of each protein, AAGRLSK-P51Gm4-CVN, SSDGLQQ-P51Gm4-CVN, wt-CVN, and P51G-m4-CVN were sent to the Consortium for Functional Glycomics (CFG) for glycan array analysis. AAGRLSK-P51Gm4-CVN, wt-CVN, and P51G-m4-CVN, have identical specificities for high mannose glycans containing terminal Manα1-2Manα. SSDGLQQ-P51Gm4-CVN binds to terminal GlcNAcα1-4Gal motifs and a subgroup of high mannose glycans bound by P51G-m4-CVN. SSDGLQQ-wt-CVN was produced to restore anti-HIV activity and has a high nanomolar EC50 value compared to wt-CVN's low nanomolar activity. Overall, these experiments show that CV-N Domain B can be mutated and retain specificity identical to wt-CVN or acquire new glycan specificities. This first generation information can be used to produce glycan-specific lectins for a variety of applications.

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2013