Matching Items (3)

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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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Date Created
2013

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Investigating the stoichiometry of RuBisCO activase by fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy

Description

Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, commonly known as RuBisCO, is an enzyme involved in carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms. The enzyme is subject to a mechanism-based deactivation during its catalytic cycle. RuBisCO activase (Rca), an ancillary enzyme belonging to the AAA+

Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, commonly known as RuBisCO, is an enzyme involved in carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms. The enzyme is subject to a mechanism-based deactivation during its catalytic cycle. RuBisCO activase (Rca), an ancillary enzyme belonging to the AAA+ family of the ATP-ases, rescues RuBisCO by facilitating the removal of the tightly bound sugar phosphates from the active sites of RuBisCO. In this work, we investigated the ATP/ADP dependent oligomerization equilibrium of fluorescently tagged Rca for a wide range of concentrations using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Results show that in the presence of ADP-Mg2+, the oligomerization state of Rca gradually changes in steps of two subunits. The most probable association model supports the dissociation constants (K_d) of ∼4, 1, 1 μM for the monomer-dimer, dimer-tetramer, and tetramer-hexamer equlibria, respectively. Rca continues to assemble at higher concentrations which are indicative of the formation of aggregates. In the presence of ATP-Mg2+, a similar stepwise assembly is observed. However, at higher concentrations (30-75 µM), the average oligomeric size remains relatively unchanged around six subunits per oligomer. This is in sharp contrast with observations in ADP-Mg2+, where a marked decrease in the diffusion coefficient of Rca was observed, consistent with the formation of aggregates. The estimated K_d values obtained from the analysis of the FCS decays were similar for the first steps of the assembly process in both ADP-Mg2+ and ATP-Mg2+. However, the formation of the hexamer from the tetramer is much more favored in ATP-Mg2+, as evidenced from 20 fold lower K_d associated with this assembly step. This suggests that the formation of a hexameric ring in the presence of ATP-Mg2+. In addition to that, Rca aggregation is largely suppressed in the presence of ATP-Mg2+, as evidenced from the 1000 fold larger K_d value for the hexamer-24 mer association step. In essence, a fluorescence-based method was developed to monitor in vitro protein oligomerization and was successfully applied with Rca. The results provide a strong hint at the active oligomeric structure of Rca, and this information will hopefully help the ongoing research on the mechanistic enzymology of Rca.

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Date Created
2014

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Understanding the Self-assembly Pathway of Higher Plant Rubisco Activase

Description

Rubisco activase (Rca) from higher plants is a stromal ATPase essential for reactivating Rubiscos rendered catalytically inactive by endogenous inhibitors. Rca’s functional state is thought to consist of ring-like hexameric assemblies, similar to other members of the AAA+ protein superfamily.

Rubisco activase (Rca) from higher plants is a stromal ATPase essential for reactivating Rubiscos rendered catalytically inactive by endogenous inhibitors. Rca’s functional state is thought to consist of ring-like hexameric assemblies, similar to other members of the AAA+ protein superfamily. However, unlike other members, it does not form obligate hexamers and is quite polydisperse in solution, making elucidation of its self-association pathway challenging. This polydispersity also makes interpretation of traditional biochemical approaches difficult, prompting use of a fluorescence-based technique (Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy) to investigate the relationship between quaternary structure and function. Like cotton β Rca, tobacco β Rca appears to assemble in a step-wise and nucleotide-dependent manner. Incubation in varying nucleotides appears to alter the equilibrium between varying oligomers, either promoting or minimizing the formation of larger oligomers. High concentrations of ADP seem to favor continuous assembly towards larger oligomers, while assembly in the presence of ATP-yS (an ATP analog) appears to halt continuous assembly in favor of hexameric species. In contrast, assembly in the “Active ATP Turnover” condition (a mixture of ATP and ADP) appears to favor an almost equal distribution of tetramer and hexamer, which when compared with ATPase activity, shows great alignment with maximum activity in the low µM range. Despite this alignment, the decrease in ATPase activity does not follow any particular oligomer, but rather decreases with increasing aggregation, suggesting that assembly dynamics may regulate ATPase activity, rather than the formation/disappearance of one specific oligomer. Work presented here also indicates that all oligomers larger than hexamers are catalytically inactive, thus providing support for the idea that they may serve as a storage mechanism to minimize wasteful hydrolysis. These findings are also supported by assembly work carried out on an Assembly Mutant (R294V), known for favoring formation of closed-ring hexamers. Similar assembly studies were carried out on spinach Rca, however, due to its aggregation propensity, FCS results were more difficult to interpret. Based on these findings, one could argue that assembly dynamics are essential for Rca function, both in ATPase and in regulation of Rubisco carboxylation activity, thus providing a rational for Rca’s high degree of polydispersity.

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Date Created
2018