Matching Items (15)

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Small molecule detection by surface plasmon resonance: improvements in sensitivity and kinetic measurement

Description

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the observed target molecules. The following work advances the current SPR sensor paradigm for the purpose of small molecule detection. The detection limits of two orthogonal components of SPR measurement are targeted: speed and sensitivity. In the context of this report, speed refers to the dynamic range of measured kinetic rate constants, while sensitivity refers to the target molecule mass limitation of conventional SPR measurement. A simple device for high-speed microfluidic delivery of liquid samples to a sensor surface is presented to address the temporal limitations of conventional SPR measurement. The time scale of buffer/sample switching is on the order of milliseconds, thereby minimizing the opportunity for sample plug dispersion. The high rates of mass transport to and from the central microfluidic sensing region allow for SPR-based kinetic analysis of binding events with dissociation rate constants (kd) up to 130 s-1. The required sample volume is only 1 μL, allowing for minimal sample consumption during high-speed kinetic binding measurement. Charge-based detection of small molecules is demonstrated by plasmonic-based electrochemical impedance microscopy (P-EIM). The dependence of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on surface charge density is used to detect small molecules (60-120 Da) printed on a dextran-modified sensor surface. The SPR response to an applied ac potential is a function of the surface charge density. This optical signal is comprised of a dc and an ac component, and is measured with high spatial resolution. The amplitude and phase of local surface impedance is provided by the ac component. The phase signal of the small molecules is a function of their charge status, which is manipulated by the pH of a solution. This technique is used to detect and distinguish small molecules based on their charge status, thereby circumventing the mass limitation (~100 Da) of conventional SPR measurement.

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2013

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Methods and instrumentation of sample injection for XFEL experiments

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ABSTRACT

X-Ray crystallography and NMR are two major ways of achieving atomic

resolution of structure determination for macro biomolecules such as proteins. Recently, new developments of hard X-ray pulsed free electron laser XFEL opened up new possibilities to break the dilemma of

ABSTRACT

X-Ray crystallography and NMR are two major ways of achieving atomic

resolution of structure determination for macro biomolecules such as proteins. Recently, new developments of hard X-ray pulsed free electron laser XFEL opened up new possibilities to break the dilemma of radiation dose and spatial resolution in diffraction imaging by outrunning radiation damage with ultra high brightness femtosecond X-ray pulses, which is so short in time that the pulse terminates before atomic motion starts. A variety of experimental techniques for structure determination of macro biomolecules is now available including imaging of protein nanocrystals, single particles such as viruses, pump-probe experiments for time-resolved nanocrystallography, and snapshot wide- angle x-ray scattering (WAXS) from molecules in solution. However, due to the nature of the "diffract-then-destroy" process, each protein crystal would be destroyed once

probed. Hence a new sample delivery system is required to replenish the target crystal at a high rate. In this dissertation, the sample delivery systems for the application of XFELs to biomolecular imaging will be discussed and the severe challenges related to the delivering of macroscopic protein crystal in a stable controllable way with minimum waste of sample and maximum hit rate will be tackled with several different development of injector designs and approaches. New developments of the sample delivery system such as liquid mixing jet also opens up new experimental methods which gives opportunities to study of the chemical dynamics in biomolecules in a molecular structural level. The design and characterization of the system will be discussed along with future possible developments and applications. Finally, LCP injector will be discussed which is critical for the success in various applications.

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2014

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In vitro selection of aptamers and protein

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Since Darwin popularized the evolution theory in 1895, it has been completed and studied through the years. Starting in 1990s, evolution at molecular level has been used to discover functional molecules while studying the origin of functional molecules in nature

Since Darwin popularized the evolution theory in 1895, it has been completed and studied through the years. Starting in 1990s, evolution at molecular level has been used to discover functional molecules while studying the origin of functional molecules in nature by mimicing the natural selection process in laboratory. Along this line, my Ph.D. dissertation focuses on the in vitro selection of two important biomolecules, deoxynucleotide acid (DNA) and protein with binding properties. Chapter two focuses on in vitro selection of DNA. Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids that generated from a random pool and fold into stable three-dimensional structures with ligand binding sites that are complementary in shape and charge to a desired target. While aptamers have been selected to bind a wide range of targets, it is generally thought that these molecules are incapable of discriminating strongly alkaline proteins due to the attractive forces that govern oppositely charged polymers. By employing negative selection step to eliminate aptamers that bind with off-target through charge unselectively, an aptamer that binds with histone H4 protein with high specificity (>100 fold)was generated. Chapter four focuses on another functional molecule: protein. It is long believed that complex molecules with different function originated from simple progenitor proteins, but very little is known about this process. By employing a previously selected protein that binds and catalyzes ATP, which is the first and only protein that was evolved completely from random pool and has a unique α/β-fold protein scaffold, I fused random library to the C-terminus of this protein and evolved a multi-domain protein with decent properties. Also, in chapter 3, a unique bivalent molecule was generated by conjugating peptides that bind different sites on the protein with nucleic acids. By using the ligand interactions by nucleotide conjugates technique, off-the shelf peptide was transferred into high affinity protein capture reagents that mimic the recognition properties of natural antibodies. The designer synthetic antibody amplifies the binding affinity of the individual peptides by ∼1000-fold to bind Grb2 with a Kd of 2 nM, and functions with high selectivity in conventional pull-down assays from HeLa cell lysates.

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2013

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

Description

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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Exploiting bioparticles: from new properties of liposomes to novel applications of bioaerosol analysis

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Bioparticles comprise a diverse amount of materials ubiquitously present in nature. From proteins to aerosolized biological debris, bioparticles have important roles spanning from regulating cellular functions to possibly influencing global climate. Understanding their structures, functions, and properties provides

Bioparticles comprise a diverse amount of materials ubiquitously present in nature. From proteins to aerosolized biological debris, bioparticles have important roles spanning from regulating cellular functions to possibly influencing global climate. Understanding their structures, functions, and properties provides the necessary tools to expand our fundamental knowledge of biological systems and exploit them for useful applications. In order to contribute to this efforts, the work presented in this dissertation focuses on the study of electrokinetic properties of liposomes and novel applications of bioaerosol analysis. Using immobilized lipid vesicles under the influence of modest (less than 100 V/cm) electric fields, a novel strategy for bionanotubule fabrication with superior throughput and simplicity was developed. Fluorescence and bright field microscopy was used to describe the formation of these bilayer-bound cylindrical structures, which have been previously identified in nature (playing crucial roles in intercellular communication) and made synthetically by direct mechanical manipulation of membranes. In the biological context, the results of this work suggest that mechanical electrostatic interaction may play a role in the shape and function of individual biological membranes and networks of membrane-bound structures. A second project involving liposomes focused on membrane potential measurements in vesicles containing trans-membrane pH gradients. These types of gradients consist of differential charge states in the lipid bilayer leaflets, which have been shown to greatly influence the efficacy of drug targeting and the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Here, these systems are qualitatively and quantitatively assessed by using voltage-sensitive membrane dyes and fluorescence spectroscopy. Bioaerosol studies involved exploring the feasibility of a fingerprinting technology based on current understanding of cellular debris in aerosols and arguments regarding sampling, sensitivity, separations and detection schemes of these debris. Aerosolized particles of cellular material and proteins emitted by humans, animals and plants can be considered information-rich packets that carry biochemical information specific to the living organisms present in the collection settings. These materials could potentially be exploited for identification purposes. Preliminary studies evaluated protein concentration trends in both indoor and outdoor locations. Results indicated that concentrations correlate to certain conditions of the collection environment (e.g. extent of human presence), supporting the idea that bioaerosol fingerprinting is possible.

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2011

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Femtosecond x-ray protein nanocrystallography and correlated fluctuation small-angle x-ray scattering

Description

With the advent of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), an opportunity has arisen to break the nexus between radiation dose and spatial resolution in diffractive imaging, by outrunning radiation damage altogether when using single X-ray pulses so brief that they

With the advent of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), an opportunity has arisen to break the nexus between radiation dose and spatial resolution in diffractive imaging, by outrunning radiation damage altogether when using single X-ray pulses so brief that they terminate before atomic motion commences. This dissertation concerns the application of XFELs to biomolecular imaging in an effort to overcome the severe challenges associated with radiation damage and macroscopic protein crystal growth. The method of femtosecond protein nanocrystallography (fsPNX) is investigated, and a new method for extracting crystallographic structure factors is demonstrated on simulated data and on the first experimental fsPNX data obtained at an XFEL. Errors are assessed based on standard metrics familiar to the crystallography community. It is shown that resulting structure factors match the quality of those measured conventionally, at least to 9 angstrom resolution. A new method for ab-initio phasing of coherently-illuminated nanocrystals is then demonstrated on simulated data. The method of correlated fluctuation small-angle X-ray scattering (CFSAXS) is also investigated as an alternative route to biomolecular structure determination, without the use of crystals. It is demonstrated that, for a constrained two-dimensional geometry, a projection image of a single particle can be formed, ab-initio and without modeling parameters, from measured diffracted intensity correlations arising from disordered ensembles of identical particles illuminated simultaneously. The method is demonstrated experimentally, based on soft X-ray diffraction from disordered but identical nanoparticles, providing the first experimental proof-of-principle result. Finally, the fundamental limitations of CFSAXS is investigated through both theory and simulations. It is found that the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for CFSAXS data is essentially independent of the number of particles exposed in each diffraction pattern. The dependence of SNR on particle size and resolution is considered, and realistic estimates are made (with the inclusion of solvent scatter) of the SNR for protein solution scattering experiments utilizing an XFEL source.

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2011

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An investigation of the interaction of DNA with selected peptides and proteins

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The communication of genetic material with biomolecules has been a major interest in cancer biology research for decades. Among its different levels of involvement, DNA is known to be a target of several antitumor agents. Additionally, tissue specific interaction between

The communication of genetic material with biomolecules has been a major interest in cancer biology research for decades. Among its different levels of involvement, DNA is known to be a target of several antitumor agents. Additionally, tissue specific interaction between macromolecules such as proteins and structurally important regions of DNA has been reported to define the onset of certain types of cancers.

Illustrated in Chapter 1 is the general history of research on the interaction of DNA and anticancer drugs, most importantly different congener of bleomycin (BLM). Additionally, several synthetic analogues of bleomycin, including the structural components and functionalities, are discussed.

Chapter 2 describes a new approach to study the double-strand DNA lesion caused by antitumor drug bleomycin. The hairpin DNA library used in this study displays numerous cleavage sites demonstrating the versatility of bleomycin interaction with DNA. Interestingly, some of those cleavage sites suggest a novel mechanism of bleomycin interaction, which has not been reported before.

Cytidine methylation has generally been found to decrease site-specific cleavage of DNA by BLM, possibly due to structural change and subsequent reduced bleomycin-mediated recognition of DNA. As illustrated in Chapter 3, three hairpin DNAs known to be strongly bound by bleomycin, and their methylated counterparts, were used to study the dynamics of bleomycin-induced degradation of DNAs in cancer cells. Interestingly, cytidine methylation on one of the DNAs has also shown a major shift in the intensity of bleomycin induced double-strand DNA cleavage pattern, which is known to be a more potent form of bleomycin induced cleavages.

DNA secondary structures are known to play important roles in gene regulation. Chapter 4 demonstrates a structural change of the BCL2 promoter element as a result of its dynamic interaction with the individual domains of hnRNP LL, which is essential to facilitate the transcription of BCL2. Furthermore, an in vitro protein synthesis technique has been employed to study the dynamic interaction between protein domains and the i-motif DNA within the promoter element. Several constructs were made involving replacement of a single amino acid with a fluorescent analogue, and these were used to study FRET between domain 1 and the i-motif, the later of which harbored a fluorescent acceptor nucleotide analogue.

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2014

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Identification and characterization of functional biomolecules by in vitro selection

Description

In vitro selection technologies allow for the identification of novel biomolecules endowed with desired functions. Successful selection methodologies share the same fundamental requirements. First, they must establish a strong link between the enzymatic function being selected (phenotype) and the genetic

In vitro selection technologies allow for the identification of novel biomolecules endowed with desired functions. Successful selection methodologies share the same fundamental requirements. First, they must establish a strong link between the enzymatic function being selected (phenotype) and the genetic information responsible for the function (genotype). Second, they must enable partitioning of active from inactive variants, often capturing only a small number of positive hits from a large population of variants. These principles have been applied to the selection of natural, modified, and even unnatural nucleic acids, peptides, and proteins. The ability to select for and characterize new functional molecules has significant implications for all aspects of research spanning the basic understanding of biomolecules to the development of new therapeutics. Presented here are four projects that highlight the ability to select for and characterize functional biomolecules through in vitro selection.

Chapter one outlines the development of a new characterization tool for in vitro selected binding peptides. The approach enables rapid screening of peptide candidates in small sample volumes using cell-free translated peptides. This strategy has the potential to accelerate the pace of peptide characterization and help advance the development of peptide-based affinity reagents.

Chapter two details an in vitro selection strategy for searching entire genomes for RNA sequences that enhance cap-independent initiation of translation. A pool of sequences derived from the human genome was enriched for members that function to enhance the translation of a downstream coding region. Thousands of translation enhancing elements from the human genome are identified and the function of a subset is validated in vitro and in cells.

Chapter three discusses the characterization of a translation enhancing element that promotes rapid and high transgene expression in mammalian cells. Using this ribonucleic acid sequence, a series of full length human proteins is expressed in a matter of only hours. This advance provides a versatile platform for protein synthesis and is espcially useful in situations where prokaryotic and cell-free systems fail to produce protein or when post-translationally modified protein is essential for biological analysis.

Chapter four outlines a new selection strategy for the identification of novel polymerases using emulsion droplet microfluidics technology. With the aid of a fluorescence-based activity assay, libraries of polymerase variants are assayed in picoliter sized droplets to select for variants with improved function. Using this strategy a variant of the 9°N DNA polymerase is identified that displays an enhanced ability to synthesize threose nucleic acid polymers.

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2015

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Photophysical properties and applications of fluorescent probes in studying DNA conformation and dynamics

Description

Fluorescence spectroscopy is a popular technique that has been particularly useful in probing biological systems, especially with the invention of single molecule fluorescence. For example, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is one tool that has been helpful in probing distances

Fluorescence spectroscopy is a popular technique that has been particularly useful in probing biological systems, especially with the invention of single molecule fluorescence. For example, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is one tool that has been helpful in probing distances and conformational changes in biomolecules. In this work, important properties necessary in the quantification of FRET were investigated while FRET was also applied to gain insight into the dynamics of biological molecules. In particular, dynamics of damaged DNA was investigated. While damages in DNA are known to affect DNA structure, what remains unclear is how the presence of a lesion, or multiple lesions, affects the flexibility of DNA, especially in relation to damage recognition by repair enzymes. DNA conformational dynamics was probed by combining FRET and fluorescence anisotropy along with biochemical assays. The focus of this work was to investigate the relationship between dynamics and enzymatic repair. In addition, to properly quantify fluorescence and FRET data, photophysical phenomena of fluorophores, such as blinking, needs to be understood. The triplet formation of the single molecule dye TAMRA and the photoisomerization yield of two different modifications of the single molecule cyanine dye Cy3 were examined spectroscopically to aid in accurate data interpretation. The combination of the biophysical and physiochemical studies illustrates how fluorescence spectroscopy can be used to answer biological questions.

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2015

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DNA nanostructures as programmable biomolecular scaffolds for enzymatic systems

Description

Nature is a master at organizing biomolecules in all intracellular processes, and researchers have conducted extensive research to understand the way enzymes interact with each other through spatial and orientation positioning, substrate channeling, compartmentalization, and more.

DNA nanostructures of high

Nature is a master at organizing biomolecules in all intracellular processes, and researchers have conducted extensive research to understand the way enzymes interact with each other through spatial and orientation positioning, substrate channeling, compartmentalization, and more.

DNA nanostructures of high programmability and complexity provide excellent scaffolds to arrange multiple molecular/macromolecular components at nanometer scale to construct interactive biomolecular complexes and networks. Due to the sequence specificity at different positions of the DNA origami nanostructures, spatially addressable molecular pegboard with a resolution of several nm (less than 10 nm) can be achieved. So far, DNA nanostructures can be used to build nanodevices ranging from in vitro small molecule biosensing to sophisticated in vivo therapeutic drug delivery systems and multi-enzyme networks.

This thesis focuses on how to use DNA nanostructures as programmable biomolecular scaffolds to arranges enzymatic systems. Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, we survey approaches used to generate protein-DNA conjugates and the use of structural DNA nanotechnology to engineer rationally designed nanostructures. Second, novel strategies for positioning enzymes on DNA nanoscaffolds has been developed and optimized, including site-specific/ non site-specific protein-DNA conjugation, purification and characterization. Third, an artificial swinging arm enzyme-DNA complex has been developed to mimic substrate channeling process. Finally, we extended to build a artificial 2D multi-enzyme network.

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2016