Matching Items (3)

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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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Date Created
2013

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Development of an artificial genetic system capable of Darwinian evolution

Description

The principle of Darwinian evolution has been applied in the laboratory to nucleic acid molecules since 1990, and led to the emergence of in vitro evolution technique. The methodology of in vitro evolution surveys a large number of different molecules

The principle of Darwinian evolution has been applied in the laboratory to nucleic acid molecules since 1990, and led to the emergence of in vitro evolution technique. The methodology of in vitro evolution surveys a large number of different molecules simultaneously for a pre-defined chemical property, and enrich for molecules with the particular property. DNA and RNA sequences with versatile functions have been identified by in vitro selection experiments, but many basic questions remain to be answered about how these molecules achieve their functions. This dissertation first focuses on addressing a fundamental question regarding the molecular recognition properties of in vitro selected DNA sequences, namely whether negatively charged DNA sequences can be evolved to bind alkaline proteins with high specificity. We showed that DNA binders could be made, through carefully designed stringent in vitro selection, to discriminate different alkaline proteins. The focus of this dissertation is then shifted to in vitro evolution of an artificial genetic polymer called threose nucleic acid (TNA). TNA has been considered a potential RNA progenitor during early evolution of life on Earth. However, further experimental evidence to support TNA as a primordial genetic material is lacking. In this dissertation we demonstrated the capacity of TNA to form stable tertiary structure with specific ligand binding property, which suggests a possible role of TNA as a pre-RNA genetic polymer. Additionally, we discussed the challenges in in vitro evolution for TNA enzymes and developed the necessary methodology for future TNA enzyme evolution.

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2013

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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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Date Created
2015