Matching Items (41)

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Investigation of Cu(II) Binding Sites in de Novo Proteins by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Description

Circular Dichroism (CD) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) were used to investigate the metal-binding sites of five different four-helix bundles, which have slight differences in the population of their side chains. Of the four-helix bundles, three have central dinuclear metal

Circular Dichroism (CD) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) were used to investigate the metal-binding sites of five different four-helix bundles, which have slight differences in the population of their side chains. Of the four-helix bundles, three have central dinuclear metal binding sites; two of these three also have outer dinuclear metal binding sites. The other two peptides have two identical, non-central, dinuclear metal binding sites. The CD spectra showed changes in the secondary structure of the peptides, and X-band EPR spectra of these peptides revealed the unique four peak signal of Cu(II). These findings improve our understanding of the metal binding environments of these peptides.

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2016-05

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The Focusing of Proteins Using Dielectrophoresis in an Improved Microfluidic Device

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Dielectrophoresis is a separations strategy that has the potential to separate small amounts of different proteins from each other. The forces at play in the channel used for dielectrophoresis are electroosmotic flow (EOF), electrophoresis (EP), and dielectrophoresis (DEP). EOF is

Dielectrophoresis is a separations strategy that has the potential to separate small amounts of different proteins from each other. The forces at play in the channel used for dielectrophoresis are electroosmotic flow (EOF), electrophoresis (EP), and dielectrophoresis (DEP). EOF is the force exerted on liquid from an applied potential (1). EP is the force exerted on charged particles in a uniform electric field (2). DEP is the force exerted on particles (charged and uncharged) in a non-uniform electric field (3). This experiment was focused on the testing of a new microfluidic device to see if it could improve the focusing of proteins in dielectrophoresis. It was predicted that the addition of a salt bridge would improve focusing by preventing the ions created by the electrolysis of water around the electrodes from interacting with the proteins and causing aggregation, among other problems. Control trials using the old device showed that electrolysis was likely occurring and was the causal agent for poor outcomes. After applying the electric potential for some time a pH front traveled through the channel causing aggregation of proteins and the current in the channel decreased rapidly, even while the voltage was held constant. The resistance in the channels of the control trials also slightly decreased over time, until the pH shift occurred, at which time it increased rapidly. Experimental trials with a new device that included salt bridges eliminated this pH front and had a roughly linear increase of current in the channel with the voltage applied. This device can now be used in future research with protein dielectrophoresis, including in the potential differentiation of different proteins. References: 1) Electroosmosis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006. 2) Electrophoresis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006. 3) Dielectrophoresis. Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England. 2006.

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2016-05

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High resolution spectroscopy, normal mode analysis, and Franck-Condon factors calculation of transition metal-containing molecules

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The objective of the present investigations is to experimentally determine the fundamental molecular properties of the transient metal containing pieces. The transient molecules have been generated using laser ablation production technique and detected by using laser induced fluorescence technique. Ultra-high

The objective of the present investigations is to experimentally determine the fundamental molecular properties of the transient metal containing pieces. The transient molecules have been generated using laser ablation production technique and detected by using laser induced fluorescence technique. Ultra-high resolution spectra of the diatomic molecules, 87SrF, 135&137BaF, YbF, HfF, and IrSi were recorded at a resolution of approximately 30 Mhz. The fine and hyperfine structure of these molecules were determined for the ground and the excited state. The optical Stark splittings of 180HfF and IrSi were recorded and analyzed to determine the permanent electric dipole moments of the ground and the excited state. An effective Hamiltonian operator, including the rotational, centrifugal distortion, spin-orbit, spin-spin, spin-rotation, Λ-doubling, magnetic hyperfine and quadrupole interactions, and Stark effect, was employed to model and analyze the recorded spectra. The electronic spectra of the triatomic molecules, TiO2 and ZrO2, were recorded using pulsed dye laser, LIF, spectrometer at a resolution of 300MHz. These molecules have C2v symmetry. The harmonic frequencies, lifetime measurements were determined. These spectra of ZrO2 and TiO2 were modeled using a normal coordinate analysis and Franck-Condon factor predictions. High resolution field-free and Stark effect spectra of ZrO2 were recorded and for future investigation.

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2013

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Molecular structure and dynamics of spider silk and venom proteins investigated by nuclear magnetic resonance

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Spider dragline silk is well known for its outstanding mechanical properties - a combination of strength and extensibility that makes it one of the toughest materials known. Two proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2), comprise dragline silk

Spider dragline silk is well known for its outstanding mechanical properties - a combination of strength and extensibility that makes it one of the toughest materials known. Two proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2), comprise dragline silk fibers. There has been considerable focus placed on understanding the source of spider silk's unique mechanical properties by investigating the protein composition, molecular structure and dynamics. Chemical compositional heterogeneity of spider silk fiber is critical to understand as it provides important information for the interactions between MaSp1 and MaSp2. Here, the amino acid composition of dragline silk protein was precisely determined using a solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approach on hydrolyzed silk fibers. In a similar fashion, solution-state NMR was applied to probe the "13"C/"15"N incorporation in silk, which is essential to understand for designing particular solid-state NMR methods for silk structural characterization. Solid-state NMR was used to elucidate silk protein molecular dynamics and the supercontraction mechanism. A "2"H-"13"C heteronuclear correlation (HETCOR) solid-state NMR technique was developed to extract site-specific "2"H quadrupole patterns and spin-lattice relaxation rates for understanding backbone and side-chain dynamics. Using this technique, molecular dynamics were determined for a number of repetitive motifs in silk proteins - Ala residing nanocrystalline &beta-sheet; domains, 3"1"-helical regions, and, Gly-Pro-Gly-XX &beta-turn; motifs. The protein backbone and side-chain dynamics of silk fibers in both dry and wet states reveal the impact of water on motifs with different secondary structures. Spider venom is comprised of a diverse range of molecules including salts, small organics, acylpolyamines, peptides and proteins. Neurotoxins are an important family of peptides in spider venom and have been shown to target and modulate various ion channels. The neurotoxins are Cys-rich and share an inhibitor Cys knot (ICK) fold. Here, the molecular structure of one G. rosea tarantula neurotoxin, GsAF2, was determined by solution-state NMR. In addition, the interaction between neurotoxins and model lipid bilayers was probed with solid-state NMR and negative-staining (NS) transmission electron microscopy (TEM). It is shown that the neurotoxins influence lipid bilayer assembly and morphology with the formation of nanodiscs, worm-like micelles and small vesicles.

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2014

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The synthesis and characterization of ionic liquids for alkali-metal batteries and a novel electrolyte for non-humidified fuel cells

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This thesis focused on physicochemical and electrochemical projects directed towards two electrolyte types: 1) class of ionic liquids serving as electrolytes in the catholyte for alkali-metal ion conduction in batteries and 2) gel membrane for proton conduction in fuel cells;

This thesis focused on physicochemical and electrochemical projects directed towards two electrolyte types: 1) class of ionic liquids serving as electrolytes in the catholyte for alkali-metal ion conduction in batteries and 2) gel membrane for proton conduction in fuel cells; where overall aims were encouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Large-scale, sodium-ion batteries are seen as global solutions to providing undisrupted electricity from sustainable, but power-fluctuating, energy production in the near future. Foreseen ideal advantages are lower cost without sacrifice of desired high-energy densities relative to present lithium-ion and lead-acid battery systems. Na/NiCl2 (ZEBRA) and Na/S battery chemistries, suffer from high operation temperature (>300ºC) and safety concerns following major fires consequent of fuel mixing after cell-separator rupturing. Initial interest was utilizing low-melting organic ionic liquid, [EMI+][AlCl4-], with well-known molten salt, NaAlCl4, to create a low-to-moderate operating temperature version of ZEBRA batteries; which have been subject of prior sodium battery research spanning decades. Isothermal conductivities of these electrolytes revealed a fundamental kinetic problem arisen from "alkali cation-trapping effect" yet relived by heat-ramping >140ºC.

Battery testing based on [EMI+][FeCl4-] with NaAlCl4 functioned exceptional (range 150-180ºC) at an impressive energy efficiency >96%. Newly prepared inorganic ionic liquid, [PBr4+][Al2Br7-]:NaAl2Br7, melted at 94ºC. NaAl2Br7 exhibited super-ionic conductivity 10-1.75 Scm-1 at 62ºC ensued by solid-state rotator phase transition. Also improved thermal stability when tested to 265ºC and less expensive chemical synthesis. [PBr4+][Al2Br7-] demonstrated remarkable, ionic decoupling in the liquid-state due to incomplete bromide-ion transfer depicted in NMR measurements.

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices generating electrical energy reacting hydrogen/oxygen gases producing water vapor. Principle advantage is high-energy efficiency of up to 70% in contrast to an internal combustion engine <40%. Nafion-based fuel cells are prone to carbon monoxide catalytic poisoning and polymer membrane degradation unless heavily hydrated under cell-pressurization. This novel "SiPOH" solid-electrolytic gel (originally liquid-state) operated in the fuel cell at 121oC yielding current and power densities high as 731mAcm-2 and 345mWcm-2, respectively. Enhanced proton conduction significantly increased H2 fuel efficiency to 89.7% utilizing only 3.1mlmin-1 under dry, unpressurized testing conditions. All these energy devices aforementioned evidently have future promise; therefore in early developmental stages.

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2014

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Electrostatic properties of water at interfaces with nanoscale solutes

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Molecular dynamics simulations were used to study properties of water at the interface with nanometer-size solutes. We simulated nonpolar attractive Kihara cavities given by a Lennard-Jones potential shifted by a core radius. The dipolar response of the hydration layer to

Molecular dynamics simulations were used to study properties of water at the interface with nanometer-size solutes. We simulated nonpolar attractive Kihara cavities given by a Lennard-Jones potential shifted by a core radius. The dipolar response of the hydration layer to a uniform electric field substantially exceeds that of the bulk. For strongly attractive solutes, the collective dynamics of the hydration layer become slow compared to bulk water, as the solute size is increased. The statistics of electric field fluctuations at the solute center are Gaussian and tend toward the dielectric continuum limit with increasing solute size. A dipolar probe placed at the center of the solute is sensitive neither to the polarity excess nor to the slowed dynamics of the hydration layer. A point dipole was introduced close to the solute-water interface to further study the statistics of electric field fluctuations generated by the water. For small dipole magnitudes, the free energy surface is single-welled, with approximately Gaussian statistics. When the dipole is increased, the free energy surface becomes double-welled, before landing in an excited state, characterized again by a single-welled surface. The intermediate region is fairly broad and is characterized by electrostatic fluctuations significantly in excess of the prediction of linear response. We simulated a solute having the geometry of C180 fullerene, with dipoles introduced on each carbon. For small dipole moments, the solvent response follows the results seen for a single dipole; but for larger dipole magnitudes, the fluctuations of the solute-solvent energy pass through a second maximum. The juxtaposition of the two transitions leads to an approximately cubic scaling of the chemical potential with the dipole strengh. Umbrella sampling techniques were used to generate free energy surfaces of the electric potential fluctuations at the heme iron in Cytochrome B562. The results were unfortunately inconclusive, as the ionic background was not effectively represented in the finite-size system.

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2012

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First principles exploration of crystal structures and physical properties of silicon hydrides KSiH₃ and K₂SiH₆, alkali and alkaline earth metal carbides, and II-V semiconductors ZnSb and ZnAs

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This dissertation is focused on material property exploration and analysis using computational quantum mechanics methods. Theoretical calculations were performed on the recently discovered hexahydride materials A2SiH6 (A=Rb, K) to calculate the lattice dynamics of the systems in order to check

This dissertation is focused on material property exploration and analysis using computational quantum mechanics methods. Theoretical calculations were performed on the recently discovered hexahydride materials A2SiH6 (A=Rb, K) to calculate the lattice dynamics of the systems in order to check for structural stability, verify the experimental Raman and infrared spectrospcopy results, and obtain the theoretical free energies of formation. The electronic structure of the systems was calculated and the bonding and ionic properties of the systems were analyzed. The novel hexahydrides were compared to the important hydrogen storage material KSiH3. This showed that the hypervalent nature of the SiH62- ions reduced the Si-H bonding strength considerably. These hydrogen rich compounds could have promising energy applications as they link to alternative hydrogen fuel technology. The carbide systems Li-C (A=Li,Ca,Mg) were studied using \emph{ab initio} and evolutionary algorithms at high pressures. At ambient pressure Li2C2 and CaC2 are known to contain C22- dumbbell anions and CaC2 is polymorphic. At elevated pressure both CaC2 and Li2C2 display polymorphism. At ambient pressure the Mg-C system contains several experimentally known phases, however, all known phases are shown to be metastable with respect to the pure elements Mg and C. First principle investigation of the configurational space of these compounds via evolutionary algorithms results in a variety of metastable and unique structures. The binary compounds ZnSb and ZnAs are II-V electron-poor semiconductors with interesting thermoelectric properties. They contain rhomboid rings composed of Zn2Sb2 (Zn2As2) with multi-centered covalent bonds which are in turn covalently bonded to other rings via two-centered, two-electron bonds. Ionicity was explored via Bader charge analysis and it appears that the low ionicity that these materials display is a necessary condition of their multicentered bonding. Both compounds were found to have narrow, indirect band gaps with multi-valley valence and conduction bands; which are important characteristics for high thermopower in thermoelectric materials. Future work is needed to analyze the lattice properties of the II-V CdSb-type systems, especially in order to find the origin of the extremely low thermal conductivity that these systems display.

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2013

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Studying the solution behavior of DNA and DNA sliding clamps using various fluorescence techniques

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Solution conformations and dynamics of proteins and protein-DNA complexes are often difficult to predict from their crystal structures. The crystal structure only shows a snapshot of the different conformations these biological molecules can have in solution. Multiple different conformations can

Solution conformations and dynamics of proteins and protein-DNA complexes are often difficult to predict from their crystal structures. The crystal structure only shows a snapshot of the different conformations these biological molecules can have in solution. Multiple different conformations can exist in solution and potentially have more importance in the biological activity. DNA sliding clamps are a family of proteins with known crystal structures. These clamps encircle the DNA and enable other proteins to interact more efficiently with the DNA. Eukaryotic PCNA and prokaryotic β clamp are two of these clamps, some of the most stable homo-oligomers known. However, their solution stability and conformational equilibrium have not been investigated in depth before. Presented here are the studies involving two sliding clamps: yeast PCNA and bacterial β clamp. These studies show that the β clamp has a very different solution stability than PCNA. These conclusions were reached through various different fluorescence-based experiments, including fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), single molecule fluorescence, and various time resolved fluorescence techniques. Interpretations of these, and all other, fluorescence-based experiments are often affected by the properties of the fluorophores employed. Often the fluorescence properties of these fluorophores are influenced by their microenvironments. Fluorophores are known to sometimes interact with biological molecules, and this can have pronounced effects on the rotational mobility and photophysical properties of the dye. Misunderstanding the effect of these photophysical and rotational properties can lead to a misinterpretation of the obtained data. In this thesis, photophysical behaviors of various organic dyes were studied in the presence of deoxymononucleotides to examine more closely how interactions between fluorophores and DNA bases can affect fluorescent properties. Furthermore, the properties of cyanine dyes when bound to DNA and the effect of restricted rotation on FRET are presented in this thesis. This thesis involves studying fluorophore photophysics in various microenvironments and then expanding into the solution stability and dynamics of the DNA sliding clamps.

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2013

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Contact and length dependent effects in single-molecule electronics

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Understanding charge transport in single molecules covalently bonded to electrodes is a fundamental goal in the field of molecular electronics. In the past decade, it has become possible to measure charge transport on the single-molecule level using the STM break

Understanding charge transport in single molecules covalently bonded to electrodes is a fundamental goal in the field of molecular electronics. In the past decade, it has become possible to measure charge transport on the single-molecule level using the STM break junction method. Measurements on the single-molecule level shed light on charge transport phenomena which would otherwise be obfuscated by ensemble measurements of groups of molecules. This thesis will discuss three projects carried out using STM break junction. In the first project, the transition between two different charge transport mechanisms is reported in a set of molecular wires. The shortest wires show highly length dependent and temperature invariant conductance behavior, whereas the longer wires show weakly length dependent and temperature dependent behavior. This trend is consistent with a model whereby conduction occurs by coherent tunneling in the shortest wires and by incoherent hopping in the longer wires. Measurements are supported with calculations and the evolution of the molecular junction during the pulling process is investigated. The second project reports controlling the formation of single-molecule junctions by means of electrochemically reducing two axial-diazonium terminal groups on a molecule, thereby producing direct Au-C covalent bonds in-situ between the molecule and gold electrodes. Step length analysis shows that the molecular junction is significantly more stable, and can be pulled over a longer distance than a comparable junction created with amine anchoring bonds. The stability of the junction is explained by the calculated lower binding energy associated with the direct Au-C bond compared with the Au-N bond. Finally, the third project investigates the role that molecular conformation plays in the conductance of oligothiophene single-molecule junctions. Ethyl substituted oligothiophenes were measured and found to exhibit temperature dependent conductance and transition voltage for molecules with between two and six repeat units. While the molecule with only one repeat unit shows temperature invariant behavior. Density functional theory calculations show that at higher temperatures the oligomers with multiple repeat units assume a more planar conformation, which increases the conjugation length and decreases the effective energy barrier of the junction.

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2013

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Thermodynamics and kinetics of DNA nanostructure assembly

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ABSTRACT The unique structural features of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that are of considerable biological interest also make it a valuable engineering material. Perhaps the most useful property of DNA for molecular engineering is its ability to self-assemble into predictable, double

ABSTRACT The unique structural features of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that are of considerable biological interest also make it a valuable engineering material. Perhaps the most useful property of DNA for molecular engineering is its ability to self-assemble into predictable, double helical secondary structures. These interactions are exploited to design a variety of DNA nanostructures, which can be organized into both discrete and periodic structures. This dissertation focuses on studying the dynamic behavior of DNA nanostructure recognition processes. The thermodynamics and kinetics of nanostructure binding are evaluated, with the intention of improving our ability to understand and control their assembly. Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, multi-helical DNA nanostructures were used to investigate how the valency and arrangement of the connections between DNA nanostructures affect super-structure formation. The study revealed that both the number and the relative position of connections play a significant role in the stability of the final assembly. Next, several DNA nanostructures were designed to gain insight into how small changes to the nanostructure scaffolds, intended to vary their conformational flexibility, would affect their association equilibrium. This approach yielded quantitative information about the roles of enthalpy and entropy in the affinity of polyvalent DNA nanostructure interactions, which exhibit an intriguing compensating effect. Finally, a multi-helical DNA nanostructure was used as a model `chip' for the detection of a single stranded DNA target. The results revealed that the rate constant of hybridization is strongly dominated by a rate-limiting nucleation step.

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2011