Matching Items (95)

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Quinone Removal and Replacement within the Reaction Center Protein of Rhodobacter sphaeroides

Description

With a quantum efficiency of nearly 100%, the electron transfer process that occurs within the reaction center protein of the photosynthetic bacteria Rhodobacter (Rh.) sphaeroides is a paragon for understanding

With a quantum efficiency of nearly 100%, the electron transfer process that occurs within the reaction center protein of the photosynthetic bacteria Rhodobacter (Rh.) sphaeroides is a paragon for understanding the complexities, intricacies, and overall systemization of energy conversion and storage in natural systems. To better understand the way in which photons of light are captured, converted into chemically useful forms, and stored for biological use, an investigation into the reaction center protein, specifically into its cascade of cofactors, was undertaken. The purpose of this experimentation was to advance our knowledge and understanding of how differing protein environments and variant cofactors affect the spectroscopic aspects of and electron transfer kinetics within the reaction of Rh. sphaeroides. The native quinone, ubiquinone, was extracted from its pocket within the reaction center protein and replaced by non-native quinones having different reduction/oxidation potentials. It was determined that, of the two non-native quinones tested—1,2-naphthaquinone and 9,10- anthraquinone—the substitution of the anthraquinone (lower redox potential) resulted in an increased rate of recombination from the P+QA- charge-separated state, while the substitution of the napthaquinone (higher redox potential) resulted in a decreased rate of recombination.

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  • 2015-12

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Exploration of Enzymatic Efficiency in Double-Stranded DNA by Uracil-DNA Glycosylase and Optimization of Glycosylation Reaction of DNA Precursor

Description

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and its relationship to enzymatic efficiency. Chapter 2 centers itself on threose nucleic acid and optimization of a step in the path to its synthesis. While Chapter 1 discusses DNA and Uracil-DNA Glycosylase with regards to the base excision repair pathway, Chapter 2 focuses on chemical synthesis of an intermediate in the pathway to the synthesis of TNA, an analogous structure with a different saccharide in the sugar-phosphate backbone.
Chapter 1 covers the research under Dr. Levitus. Four oligonucleotides were reacted for zero, five, and thirty minutes with uracil-DNA glycosylase and subsequent addition of piperidine. These oligonucleotides were chosen based on their torsional rigidities as predicted by past research and predictions. The objective was to better understand the relationship between the sequence of DNA surrounding the incorrect base and the enzyme’s ability to remove said base in order to prepare the DNA for the next step of the base excision repair pathway. The first pair of oligonucleotides showed no statistically significant difference in enzymatic efficiency with p values of 0.24 and 0.42, while the second pair had a p value of 0.01 at the five-minute reaction. The second pair is currently being researched at different reaction times to determine at what point the enzyme seems to equilibrate and react semi-equally with all sequences of DNA.
Chapter 2 covers the research conducted under Dr. Chaput. Along the TNA synthesis pathway, the nitrogenous base must be added to the threofuranose sugar. The objective was to optimize the original protocol of Vorbrüggen glycosylation and determine if there were better conditions for the synthesis of the preferred regioisomer. This research showed that toluene and ortho-xylene were more preferable as solvents than the original anhydrous acetonitrile, as the amount of preferred isomer product far outweighed the amount of side product formed, as well as improving total yield overall. The anhydrous acetonitrile reaction had a final yield of 60.61% while the ortho-xylene system had a final yield of 94.66%, an increase of approximately 32%. The crude ratio of preferred isomer to side product was also improved, as it went from 18% undesired in anhydrous acetonitrile to 4% undesired in ortho-xylene, both values normalized to the preferred regioisomer.

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  • 2016-05

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Quantifying Solvent Kinetics in Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biomolecules

Description

The relation between water and protein physics is a topic of much interest. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of biomolecules are a common computational technique to obtain atomistic insight into the

The relation between water and protein physics is a topic of much interest. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of biomolecules are a common computational technique to obtain atomistic insight into the physical behavior of biomolecules, including the nature of the interaction between water and the protein. In order to model biomolecules at the highest level of accuracy, an explicit, atomistic representation of the water is typically necessary. The number of water molecules that need to be simulated is normally on the order of thousands. The high dimensional MD dataset is then expanded with considerably more dimensions. We describe here a set of tools which can be used to extract general features of the water behavior, which can then be utilized to build simplified models of the water kinetics which make quantitative predictions, such as the flux rate through a pore.

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  • 2015-12

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Luminometric Analysis of Yeast Calcium Channel Homeostasis Following Hypotonic Shock

Description

Calcium is the only ion capable of triggering electrical and chemical reactions in cells which are part of essential biomolecular processes, such as gene transcription and ion flux. Calcium homeostasis,

Calcium is the only ion capable of triggering electrical and chemical reactions in cells which are part of essential biomolecular processes, such as gene transcription and ion flux. Calcium homeostasis, the control of concentration levels, is therefore crucial for the proper functioning of cells. For example, cardiomyocytes, the cells that form cardiac muscle, rely on calcium transfer process to produce muscle contraction.
The purpose of this work is to study aspects of calcium homeostasis in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae, common yeast. Using luminometric techniques, the response of the yeast was monitored against a set of changes in the environment calcium abundance. The results indicate a complex response as both increase and decreases of external calcium induce elevations in cytosolic calcium concentrations.
Calcium is transferred across compartments by means of channels. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, many of them have been identified; Cch1p-Mid1p, Vcx1p, Pmc1p, Pmr1p, and Yvc1p. Their participation in calcium homeostasis is well established. Observations of cytosolic calcium increase after a hypertonic shock are mainly associated with influx of ions from the environment though the Cch1p-Mid1p. This process is generally considered as driven by calcium concentration gradients. However, recent studies have suggested that the plasma membrane channel, Cch1p-Mid1p, may possess more sophisticated regulation and sensory mechanisms. The results of our experiments support these ideas.
We carried out experiments that subjected yeast to multiple shocks: a hypertonic shock followed by either a second hypertonic shock, a hypotonic shock, or a yeast dilution pulse where the solution volume increases by the calcium concentration has only a small change. The cytosolic calcium concentration of a yeast population was monitored via luminometry.
The main result of this study is the observation of an unexpected response to the combination of hypertonic and hypotonic shocks. In this case it was observed that the cytosolic calcium concentration increased after both shocks. This indicates that cytosolic calcium increases are not solely driven by the presence of concentration gradients. The response after the hypotonic pulse arises from more complex mechanisms that may include sensor activity at the membrane channels and the release of calcium from internal storages.

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  • 2020-05

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Elucidating Structural and Functional Information on the Human Cold-Sensing Protein TRPM8 via Isolating the Pore Domain and Cross-Chimeric Studies

Description

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels are a diverse family of nonselective, polymodal sensors in uni- and multicellular eukaryotes that are implicated in an assortment of biological contexts and human

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels are a diverse family of nonselective, polymodal sensors in uni- and multicellular eukaryotes that are implicated in an assortment of biological contexts and human disease. The cold-activated TRP Melastatin-8 (TRPM8) channel, also recognized as the human body's primary cold sensor, is among the few TRP channels responsible for thermosensing. Despite sustained interest in the channel, the mechanisms underlying TRPM8 activation, modulation, and gating have proved challenging to study and remain poorly understood. In this thesis, I offer data collected on various expression, extraction, and purification conditions tested in E. Coli expression systems with the aim to optimize the generation of a structurally stable and functional human TRPM8 pore domain (S5 and S6) construct for application in structural biology studies. These studies, including the biophysical technique nuclear magnetic spectroscopy (NMR), among others, will be essential for elucidating the role of the TRPM8 pore domain in in regulating ligand binding, channel gating, ion selectively, and thermal sensitivity. Moreover, in the second half of this thesis, I discuss the ligation-independent megaprimer PCR of whole-plasmids (MEGAWHOP PCR) cloning technique, and how it was used to generate chimeras between TRPM8 and its nearest analog TRPM2. I review steps taken to optimize the efficiency of MEGAWHOP PCR and the implications and unique applications of this novel methodology for advancing recombinant DNA technology. I lastly present preliminary electrophysiological data on the chimeras, employed to isolate and study the functional contributions of each individual transmembrane helix (S1-S6) to TRPM8 menthol activation. These studies show the utility of the TRPM8\u2014TRPM2 chimeras for dissecting function of TRP channels. The average current traces analyzed thus far indicate that the S2 and S3 helices appear to play an important role in TRPM8 menthol modulation because the TRPM8[M2S2] and TRPM8[M2S3] chimeras significantly reduce channel conductance in the presence of menthol. The TRPM8[M2S4] chimera, oppositely, increases channel conductance, implying that the S4 helix in native TRPM8 may suppress menthol modulation. Overall, these findings show that there is promise in the techniques chosen to identify specific regions of TRPM8 crucial to menthol activation, though the methods chosen to study the TRPM8 pore independent from the whole channel may need to be reevaluated. Further experiments will be necessary to refine TRPM8 pore solubilization and purification before structural studies can proceed, and the electrophysiology traces observed for the chimeras will need to be further verified and evaluated for consistency and physiological significance.

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  • 2016-05

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Iterative Size Reduction of Bead Placement in Nanosphere Lithography

Description

Nanosphere lithography is a high throughput procedure that has important implications
for facile, low cost scaling of nanostructures. However, current benchtop experiments have
limitations based on the placement of molecular

Nanosphere lithography is a high throughput procedure that has important implications
for facile, low cost scaling of nanostructures. However, current benchtop experiments have
limitations based on the placement of molecular species that exhibit greater than singlemolecular binding. In addition, reliance upon bottom-up self-assembly of close-packed
nanospheres makes it problematic to resolve images using low-cost light microscopes due to the
spacing limitations smaller in magnitude than light wavelength. One method that is created to
resolve this issue is iterative size reduction (ISR), where repetitive ‘iterative’ processes are
employed in order to increase the precision at which single molecules bind to a given substrate.
ISR enables inherent separation of nanospheres and therefore any subsequent single molecule
binding platforms. In addition, ISR targets and encourages single-molecule binding by
systematically reducing binding site size. Results obtained pursuing iteratively reduced
nanostructures showed that many factors are needed to be taken into consideration, including
functionalization of nanosphere particles, zeta potential, and protonation-buffer reactions.
Modalities used for observation of nanoscale patterning and single-molecule binding included
atomic force microscopy (AFM) and ONI super-resolution and fluorescence microscopy. ISR
was also used in conjunction with zero mode waveguides, which are nanoapertures enabling realtime single molecule observation at zeptoliter volumes. Although current limitations and
obstacles still exist with reproducibility and scalability of ISR, it nonetheless exhibits limitless
potential and flexibility in nanotechnology applications.

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  • 2020-05

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Purification of the P66 Outer Membrane Protein of the Bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi

Description

Lyme disease is a common tick-borne illness caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An outer membrane protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, P66, has been suggested as a possible target for

Lyme disease is a common tick-borne illness caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An outer membrane protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, P66, has been suggested as a possible target for Lyme disease treatments. However, a lack of structural information available for P66 has hindered attempts to design medications to target the protein. Therefore, this study attempted to find methods for expressing and purifying P66 in quantities that can be used for structural studies. It was found that by using the PelB signal sequence, His-tagged P66 could be directed to the outer membrane of Escherichia coli, as confirmed by an anti-His Western blot. Further attempts to optimize P66 expression in the outer membrane were made, pending verification via Western blotting. The ability to direct P66 to the outer membrane using the PelB signal sequence is a promising first step in determining the overall structure of P66, but further work is needed before P66 is ready for large-scale purification for structural studies.

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  • 2021-05

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Dependence of the angular velocity of rotation on rotational position at which ATP-binding occurs at the empty catalytic site of the F1-ATPase molecular motor

Description

The FoF1 ATP synthase is a molecular motor critical to the metabolism of virtually all life forms, and it acts in the manner of a hydroelectric generator. The F1 complex

The FoF1 ATP synthase is a molecular motor critical to the metabolism of virtually all life forms, and it acts in the manner of a hydroelectric generator. The F1 complex contains an (αβ)3 (hexamer) ring in which catalysis occurs, as well as a rotor comprised by subunit-ε in addition to the coiled-coil and globular foot domains of subunit-γ. The F1 complex can hydrolyze ATP in vitro in a manner that drives counterclockwise (CCW) rotation, in 120° power strokes, as viewed from the positive side of the membrane. The power strokes that occur in ≈ 300 μsec are separated by catalytic dwells that occur on a msec time scale. A single-molecule rotation assay that uses the intensity of polarized light, scattered from a 75 × 35 nm gold nanorod, determined the average rotational velocity of the power stroke (ω, in degrees/ms) as a function of the rotational position of the rotor (θ, in degrees, measured in reference to the catalytic dwell). The velocity is not constant but rather accelerates and decelerates in two Phases. Phase-1 (0° - 60°) is believed to derive power from elastic energy in the protein. At concentrations of ATP that limit the rate of ATP hydrolysis, the rotor can stop for an ATP-binding dwell during Phase-1. Although the most probable position that the ATP-binding dwell occurs is 40° after the catalytic dwell, the ATP-binding dwell can occur at any rotational position during Phase-1 of the power stroke. Phase-2 of the power stroke (60° - 120°) is believed to be powered by the ATP-binding induced closure of the lever domain of a β-subunit (as it acts as a cam shaft against the γ-subunit). Algorithms were written, to sort and analyze F1-ATPase power strokes, to determine the average rotational velocity profile of power strokes as a function of the rotational position at which the ATP-binding dwell occurs (θATP-bd), and when the ATP-binding dwell is absent. Sorting individual ω(θ) curves, as a function of θATP-bd, revealed that a dependence of ω on
θATP-bd exists. The ATP-binding dwell can occur even at saturating ATP concentrations. We report that ω follows a distinct pattern in the vicinity of the ATP-binding dwell, and that the ω(θ) curve contains the same oscillations within it regardless of θATP-bd. We observed that an acceleration/deceleration dependence before and after the ATP-binding dwell, respectively, remained for increasing time intervals as the dwell occurred later in Phase-1, to a maximum of ≈ 40°. The results were interpreted in terms of a model in which the ATP-binding dwell results from internal drag at a variable position on the γε rotor.

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  • 2016-12

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In Vivo Clinical Animal Trials for an Anti-Fog Coating on Surgical Lenses

Description

One major issue that surgeons face during closed body cavity surgery is fogging of the lens surfaces. The cloudy and opaque lens surface caused by water vapor present in closed

One major issue that surgeons face during closed body cavity surgery is fogging of the lens surfaces. The cloudy and opaque lens surface caused by water vapor present in closed body cavities forces the surgeon to repeatedly remove the endoscope, wipe it, and reinsert it back into the patient. This presents several risks such as increased surgery time, greater scarring, and an increased chance of infection. In order to address this issue, the development of the Thin Fluid Film Device (TFFD™) VitreOx™ aims to render the lens surface hydrophilic, whereas it is typically hydrophobic. By creating a hydrophilic polymeric nanomesh, the 3-D water droplets can be trapped to lie flatter, thus resulting in a flatter 2-D sheeting effect. The light can no longer be refracted at different angles off of the 3-dimensional water beads, thus eliminating the opacity of the lens surface.
Two animal trials were performed involving a rat and two pigs in order to prove the efficacy of VitreOx™ in addition to being compared with competitor, Covidien Clearify. A laparoscopy was performed on each animal, and the length of time that the endoscope took to fog was measured post product application. The results of the optimized animal clinical trials involving two Yucatan pigs showed that the scope treated with Covidien’s Clearify began fogging within 8 minutes and continued to do so for the remained of the surgery, as opposed to the scope with VitreOx™ which remained fog free for the full 90-minute procedure. The results proved the efficacy of our product.
The second part of the thesis aimed to optimize HemoClear™, the blood evacuating TFFD™. This was done by testing a higher concentration of 6 mg/mL fibrinogen as compared to previous work. After conducting an experiment designed to mimic closed-body cavity surgery it was determined that the HemoClear™ eliminated fog 67% of the time and evacuated blood with a success of 83%. Future work aims to continue testing at this concentration with variances in mixing and application technique.

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  • 2015-05

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Exploring Structure and Function of Human Cold Sensing Protein TRPM8 with ROSETTA Comparative Models

Description

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels are a diverse class of ion channels notable as polymodal sensors. TRPM8 is a TRP channel implicated in cold sensation, nociception, and a variety of

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels are a diverse class of ion channels notable as polymodal sensors. TRPM8 is a TRP channel implicated in cold sensation, nociception, and a variety of human diseases, including obesity and cancer. Despite sustained interest in TRPM8 since its discovery in 2001, many of the molecular mechanisms that underlie function are not yet clear. Knowledge of these properties could have implications for medicine and physiological understanding of sensation and signaling. Structures of TRP channels have proven challenging to solve, but recent Cryoelectron microscopy (Cryo-EM) structures of TRPV1 provide a basis for homology-based modeling of TRP channel structures and interactions. I present an ensemble of 11,000 Rosetta computational homology models of TRPM8 based on the recent Cryo-EM apo structure of TRPV1 (PDB code:3J5P). Site-directed mutagenesis has provided clues about which residues are most essential for modulatory ligands to bind, so the models presented provide a platform to investigate the structural basis of TRPM8 ligand modulation complementary to existing functional and structural information. Menthol and icilin appear to interact with interfacial residues in the sensor domain (S1-S4). One consensus feature of these sites is the presence of local contacts to the S4 helix, suggesting this helix may be mechanistically involved with the opening of the pore. Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2)has long been known to interact with the C-terminus of TRPM8, and some of the homology models contain plausible binding pockets where PIP2 can come into contact with charged residues known to be essential for PIP2 modulation. Future in silico binding experiments could provide testable hypothesis for in vitro structural studies, and experimental data (e.g. distance constraints from electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy [EPR]) could further refine the models.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05