Matching Items (30)

Acute tau knockdown in the hippocampus of adult mice causes learning and memory deficits

Description

To date, it has been difficult to elucidate the role of tau in learning and memory during adulthood due to developmental compensation of other microtubule associated proteins in Tau knockout (KO) mice. Here, we generated an adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressing

To date, it has been difficult to elucidate the role of tau in learning and memory during adulthood due to developmental compensation of other microtubule associated proteins in Tau knockout (KO) mice. Here, we generated an adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressing a doxycycline (doxy)-inducible short-hairpin (sh) RNA targeted to tau, and stereotaxically and bilaterally injected 7-month-old C57BL/6 mice with either the AAV-shRNAtau or an AAV expressing a scramble shRNA sequence. Seven days after the injections, all animals were administered doxy for thirty-five days to induce expression of shRNAs, after which they were tested in the open field, rotarod and Morris water maze (MWM) to assess anxiety like behavior, motor coordination and spatial reference memory, respectively. Our results show that reducing tau in the adult hippocampus produces significant impairments in motor coordination, endurance and spatial memory. Tissue analyses shows that tau knockdown reduces hippocampal dendritic spine density and the levels of BDNF and synaptophysin, two proteins involved in memory formation and plasticity. Our approach circumvents the developmental compensation issues observed in Tau KO models and shows that reducing tau levels during adulthood impairs cognition.

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2018-05

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Algorithmic Prediction of Binding Sites of TNFα/TNFR2 and PD-1/PD-L1

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Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally make the same predictions using only sequence information would be

Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally make the same predictions using only sequence information would be more efficient, both in time and resources. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an algorithm developed to predict regions of high-binding on proteins as it applies to determining the regions of interaction between binding partners. This approach was applied to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), its receptor TNFR2, programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), and one of its ligand PD-L1. The algorithms applied accurately predicted the binding region between TNFα and TNFR2 in which the interacting residues are sequential on TNFα, however failed to predict discontinuous regions of binding as accurately. The interface of PD-1 and PD-L1 contained continuous residues interacting with each other, however this region was predicted to bind weaker than the regions on the external portions of the molecules. Limitations of this approach include use of a linear search window (resulting in inability to predict discontinuous binding residues), and the use of proteins with unnaturally exposed regions, in the case of PD-1 and PD-L1 (resulting in observed interactions which would not occur normally). However, this method was overall very effective in utilizing the available information to make accurate predictions. The use of the microarray to obtain binding information and a computer algorithm to analyze is a versatile tool capable of being adapted to refine accuracy.

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2018-05

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Alternative Plate-based MSIA Protein Analysis Technique

Description

Biomarkers are the cornerstone of modern-day medicine. They are defined as any biological substance in or outside the body that gives insight to the body's condition. Doctors and researchers can measure specific biomarkers to diagnose and treat patients, such as

Biomarkers are the cornerstone of modern-day medicine. They are defined as any biological substance in or outside the body that gives insight to the body's condition. Doctors and researchers can measure specific biomarkers to diagnose and treat patients, such as the concentration of hemoglobin Alc and its connection to diabetes. There are a variety of methods, or assays, to detect biomarkers, but the most common assay is enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A new-generation assay termed mass spectrometric immunoassay (MSIA) can measure proteoforms, the different chemical variations of proteins, and their relative abundance. ELISA on the other hand measures the overall concentration of protein in the sample. Measuring each of the proteoforms of a protein is important because only one or two variations could be biologically significant and/or cause diseases. However, running MSIA is expensive. For this reason, an alternative plate-based MSIA technique was tested for its ability to detect the proteoforms of a protein called apolipoprotein C-III (ApoC-III). This technique combines the protein capturing procedure of ELISA to isolate the protein with detection in a mass spectrometer. A larger amount of ApoC-III present in the body indicates a considerable risk for coronary heart disease. The precision of the assay is determined on the coefficient of variation (CV). A CV value is the ratio of standard deviation in relation to the mean, represented as a percentage. The smaller the percentage, the less variation the assay has, and therefore the more ability it has to detect subtle changes in the biomarker. An accepted CV would be less than 10% for single-day tests (intra-day) and less than 15% for multi-day tests (inter-day). The plate-based MSIA was started by first coating a 96-well round bottom plate with 2.5 micrograms of ApoC-III antibody. Next, a series of steps were conducted: a buffer wash, then the sample incubation, followed by another buffer wash and two consecutive water washes. After the final wash, the wells were filled with a MALDI matrix, then spotted onto a gold plate to dry. The dry gold target was then placed into a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer to produce mass spectra for each spot. The mass spectra were calibrated and the area underneath each of the four peaks representing the ApoC-III proteoforms was exported as an Excel file. The intra-day CV values were found by dividing the standard deviation by the average relative abundance of each peak. After repeating the same procedure for three more days, the inter-day CVs were found using the same method. After completing the experiment, the CV values were all within the acceptable guidelines. Therefore, the plate-based MSIA is a viable alternative for finding proteoforms than the more expensive MSIA tips. To further validate this, additional tests will need to be conducted with different proteins and number of samples to determine assay flexibility.

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2017-12

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MicroRNA Function and Role in Splenocyte ST2 Expression via Cellular Transfection

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Stroke is a devastating disease that affects thousands of individuals each year. Stroke, specifically cerebral ischemia, and immune responses are important areas of study and focus. Previous studies on stroke in mouse models had shown the upregulation of a specific

Stroke is a devastating disease that affects thousands of individuals each year. Stroke, specifically cerebral ischemia, and immune responses are important areas of study and focus. Previous studies on stroke in mouse models had shown the upregulation of a specific micro-RNA: miR-1224. We hypothesized that miR-1224 was responsible for the regulation of the ST2 receptor protein’s expression. We performed cellular transfection on murine splenocytes with four different miRNAs—miR-1224-mimic, miR-1224-inhibitor, miR-451-mimic, and a control. We predicted that transfection with 1224m would decrease ST2 expression, while transfection with 1224i would increase ST2 expression. Two complete trials were run, and analysis of the results included RT-PCR of both miRNA samples and mRNA samples to confirm transfection and controlled transcription. Reverse transcription and qPCR of miRNA was done in order to confirm that transfection was in fact successful. Reverse transcription and qPCR of the mRNA was done in order to confirm that ST2 mRNA was not altered; this allowed us to attribute any changes in ST2 protein levels to miRNA interactions, as the mRNA levels were consistent. Western blotting was done in order to assess relative protein content. We found that transfection with 1224m slightly decreased ST2 expression and transfection with 1224i slightly increased ST2 expression, however, after assessing the p-values through statistical analyses, neither difference was significant. As such, our hypothesis was rejected as it is not evident that miR-1224 plays a significant role on ST2 gene expression. Future studies are needed in order to analyze alternate protein targets to fully assess the role of miR-1224.

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2018-05

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Computational Study of Conformation Dynamics and Allostery in WW Protein Domains

Description

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a mutation at a predicted regulatory site of a short, 46 residue-long, protein interaction module composed of a WW domain and corresponding polyproline ligand (PDB id: 1k9r). The dynamic flexibility index (DFI) was computed for the binding site of the wild type and mutant WW domains to quantify the mutations effect on the rigidity of the binding pocket. DFI is used as a metric to quantify the resilience of a given position to perturbation along the chain. Using steered molecular dynamics (SMD), we also measure the effect of the point mutation on allosteric regulation by approximating the binding free energy of the system calculated using Jarzynski's Equality. Calculation of the DFI shows that the overall flexibility of the protein complex increases as a result of the distal point mutation. Total change in DFI percentile of the binding site showed a 0.067 increase suggesting an allosteric, loss of function mutation. Furthermore, we see that the change in the binding free energy is greater for that of the mutated complex supporting the idea that an increase in flexibility is correlated to a decrease in proteinlig and binding affinity. We show that sequence mutation of an allosteric site affects the mechanical stability and functionality of the binding pocket.

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2018-05

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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 treatments. However, a lack of structural information available

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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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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Characterization of the Heat Stress Tolerance of an  Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase Mutant

Description

Abiotic stresses, such as heat, can drive protein misfolding and aggregation, leading to inhibition of cellular function and ultimately cell death. Unexpectedly, a thermotolerant Escherichia coli was identified from a pool of antibiotic resistant RNA polymerase β subunit (rpoB) mutants.

Abiotic stresses, such as heat, can drive protein misfolding and aggregation, leading to inhibition of cellular function and ultimately cell death. Unexpectedly, a thermotolerant Escherichia coli was identified from a pool of antibiotic resistant RNA polymerase β subunit (rpoB) mutants. This stress tolerant phenotype was characterized through exposure to high temperature and ethanol. After 30-minute exposure of cells to 55°C or 25% ethanol, the mutant displayed 100 times greater viability than the wild-type, indicating that the rpoB mutation may have broadly affected the cellular environment to reduce protein misfolding and/or prevent protein aggregation. To further test this hypothesis, we examined thermotolerance of cells lacking heat shock chaperone DnaJ (Hsp40), which is a cochaperone of one of the most abundant and conserved chaperones, DnaK (Hsp70). The deletion of dnaJ led to severe growth defects in the wild-type, namely a slower growth rate and extreme filamentation at 42°C. The severity of the growth defects increased after additionally deleting DnaJ analog, CbpA. However, these defects were significantly ameliorated by the rpoB mutation. Finally, the rpoB mutant was found to be minimally affected by the simultaneous depletion of DnaK and DnaJ compared to the wild-type, which failed to form single colonies at 37°C and 42°C. Based on these observations, it is proposed that the rpoB mutant’s robust thermotolerant phenotype results from a cellular environment protective against protein aggregation or improper folding. The folding environment of the rpoB mutants should be further examined to elucidate the mechanism by which both antibiotic resistance and thermotolerance can be conferred.

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2020-05

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The role of mutations in protein structural dynamics and function: a multi-scale computational approach

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Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many diseases are not well understood. In this thesis, protein folding is explored using a multi-scale modeling method including (i) geometric constraint based simulations that efficiently search for native like topologies and (ii) reservoir replica exchange molecular dynamics, which identify the low free energy structures and refines these structures toward the native conformation. A test set of eight proteins and three ancestral steroid receptor proteins are folded to 2.7Å all-atom RMSD from their experimental crystal structures. Protein evolution and disease associated mutations (DAMs) are most commonly studied by in silico multiple sequence alignment methods. Here, however, the structural dynamics are incorporated to give insight into the evolution of three ancestral proteins and the mechanism of several diseases in human ferritin protein. The differences in conformational dynamics of these evolutionary related, functionally diverged ancestral steroid receptor proteins are investigated by obtaining the most collective motion through essential dynamics. Strikingly, this analysis shows that evolutionary diverged proteins of the same family do not share the same dynamic subspace. Rather, those sharing the same function are simultaneously clustered together and distant from those functionally diverged homologs. This dynamics analysis also identifies 77% of mutations (functional and permissive) necessary to evolve new function. In silico methods for prediction of DAMs rely on differences in evolution rate due to purifying selection and therefore the accuracy of DAM prediction decreases at fast and slow evolvable sites. Here, we investigate structural dynamics through computing the contribution of each residue to the biologically relevant fluctuations and from this define a metric: the dynamic stability index (DSI). Using DSI we study the mechanism for three diseases observed in the human ferritin protein. The T30I and R40G DAMs show a loss of dynamic stability at the C-terminus helix and nearby regulatory loop, agreeing with experimental results implicating the same regulatory loop as a cause in cataracts syndrome.

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Date Created
2011

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Study of protein production, folding, crystallization and structure: survival of motor neuron protein and Fenna-Matthews-Olson protein

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Protein crystallization has become an extremely important tool in biochemistry since the first structure of the protein Myoglobin was solved in 1958. Survival of motor neuron protein has proved to be an elusive target in regards to producing crystals of

Protein crystallization has become an extremely important tool in biochemistry since the first structure of the protein Myoglobin was solved in 1958. Survival of motor neuron protein has proved to be an elusive target in regards to producing crystals of sufficient quality for X-ray diffraction. One form of Survival of motor neuron protein has been found to be a cause of the disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy that currently affects 1 in 6000 live births. The production, purification and crystallization of Survival of motor neuron protein are detailed. The Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein from Pelodictyon phaeum is responsible for the transfer of energy from the chlorosome complex to the reaction center of the bacteria. The three-dimensional structure of the protein has been solved to a resolution of 2.0Å with the Rwork and Rfree values being 16.6% and 19.9% respectively. This new structure is compared to the FMO protein structures of Prosthecocholoris aestuarii 2K and Chlorobium tepidum. The early structures of FMO contained seven bacteriochlorophyll-a (BChl) molecules but the recent discovery that there is an eighth BChl molecule in Ptc. aestuarii 2K and Cbl. tepidum and now in Pld. phaeum requires that the energy transfer mechanism be reexamined. Simulated spectra are fitted to the experimental optical spectra to determine how the BChl molecules transfer energy through the protein. The inclusion of the eighth BChl molecule within these simulations may have an impact on how energy transfer through FMO can be described. In conclusion, a reliable method of purifying and crystallizing the SMNWT protein is detailed, the placement of the 8th BChl-a within the electron density and the implications on energy transfer within the FMO protein when the 8th BChl-a is included from the green sulfur bacteria Pld. phaeum is discussed.

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Date Created
2010