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Strain Induced Fragility Transition in Metallic Glass

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Relaxation dynamics are the central topic in glassy physics. Recently, there is an emerging view that mechanical strain plays a similar role as temperature in altering the relaxation dynamics. Here, we report that mechanical strain in a model metallic glass

Relaxation dynamics are the central topic in glassy physics. Recently, there is an emerging view that mechanical strain plays a similar role as temperature in altering the relaxation dynamics. Here, we report that mechanical strain in a model metallic glass modulates the relaxation dynamics in unexpected ways. We find that a large strain amplitude makes a fragile liquid become stronger, reduces dynamical heterogeneity at the glass transition and broadens the loss spectra asymmetrically, in addition to speeding up the relaxation dynamics. These findings demonstrate the distinctive roles of strain compared with temperature on the relaxation dynamics and indicate that dynamical heterogeneity inherently relates to the fragility of glass-forming materials.

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2015-05-18

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High Quality Transparent TiO2/Ag/TiO2 Composite Electrode Films Deposited on Flexible Substrate at Room Temperature by Sputtering

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Multilayer structures of TiO2/Ag/TiO2 have been deposited onto flexible substrates by room temperature sputtering to develop indium-free transparent composite electrodes. The effect of Ag thicknesses on optical and electrical properties and the mechanism of conduction have been discussed. The critical

Multilayer structures of TiO2/Ag/TiO2 have been deposited onto flexible substrates by room temperature sputtering to develop indium-free transparent composite electrodes. The effect of Ag thicknesses on optical and electrical properties and the mechanism of conduction have been discussed. The critical thickness (tc) of Ag mid-layer to form a continuous conducting layer is 9.5 nm and the multilayer has been optimized to obtain a sheet resistance of 5.7 Ω/sq and an average optical transmittance of 90% at 590 nm. The Haacke figure of merit (FOM) for tc has one of the highest FOMs with 61.4 × 10-3 Ω-1/sq.

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Date Created
2013-06-07

Electrostatic Effects in the Folding of the SH3 Domain of the c-Src Tyrosine Kinase: pH-Dependence in 3D-Domain Swapping and Amyloid Formation

Description

The SH3 domain of the c-Src tyrosine kinase (c-Src-SH3) aggregates to form intertwined dimers and amyloid fibrils at mild acid pHs. In this work, we show that a single mutation of residue Gln128 of this SH3 domain has a significant

The SH3 domain of the c-Src tyrosine kinase (c-Src-SH3) aggregates to form intertwined dimers and amyloid fibrils at mild acid pHs. In this work, we show that a single mutation of residue Gln128 of this SH3 domain has a significant effect on: (i) its thermal stability; and (ii) its propensity to form amyloid fibrils. The Gln128Glu mutant forms amyloid fibrils at neutral pH but not at mild acid pH, while Gln128Lys and Gln128Arg mutants do not form these aggregates under any of the conditions assayed. We have also solved the crystallographic structures of the wild-type (WT) and Gln128Glu, Gln128Lys and Gln128Arg mutants from crystals obtained at different pHs. At pH 5.0, crystals belong to the hexagonal space group P6522 and the asymmetric unit is formed by one chain of the protomer of the c-Src-SH3 domain in an open conformation. At pH 7.0, crystals belong to the orthorhombic space group P212121, with two molecules at the asymmetric unit showing the characteristic fold of the SH3 domain. Analysis of these crystallographic structures shows that the residue at position 128 is connected to Glu106 at the diverging β-turn through a cluster of water molecules. Changes in this hydrogen-bond network lead to the displacement of the c-Src-SH3 distal loop, resulting also in conformational changes of Leu100 that might be related to the binding of proline rich motifs. Our findings show that electrostatic interactions and solvation of residues close to the folding nucleation site of the c-Src-SH3 domain might play an important role during the folding reaction and the amyloid fibril formation.

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Date Created
2014-12-09

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A Hinge Migration Mechanism Unlocks the Evolution of Green-to-Red Photoconversion in GFP-Like Proteins

Description

In proteins, functional divergence involves mutations that modify structure and dynamics. Here we provide experimental evidence for an evolutionary mechanism driven solely by long-range dynamic motions without significant backbone adjustments, catalytic group rearrangements, or changes in subunit assembly. Crystallographic structures

In proteins, functional divergence involves mutations that modify structure and dynamics. Here we provide experimental evidence for an evolutionary mechanism driven solely by long-range dynamic motions without significant backbone adjustments, catalytic group rearrangements, or changes in subunit assembly. Crystallographic structures were determined for several reconstructed ancestral proteins belonging to a GFP class frequently employed in superresolution microscopy. Their chain flexibility was analyzed using molecular dynamics and perturbation response scanning. The green-to-red photoconvertible phenotype appears to have arisen from a common green ancestor by migration of a knob-like anchoring region away from the active site diagonally across the β barrel fold. The allosterically coupled mutational sites provide active site conformational mobility via epistasis. We propose that light-induced chromophore twisting is enhanced in a reverse-protonated subpopulation, activating internal acid-base chemistry and backbone cleavage to enlarge the chromophore. Dynamics-driven hinge migration may represent a more general platform for the evolution of novel enzyme activities.

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2015-01-06

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Preparation and Hydrosilylation Activity of a Molybdenum Carbonyl Complex That Features a Pentadentate Bis(imino)pyridine Ligand

Description

Attempts to prepare low-valent molybdenum complexes that feature a pentadentate 2,6-bis(imino)pyridine (or pyridine diimine, PDI) chelate allowed for the isolation of two different products. Refluxing Mo(CO)6 with the pyridine-substituted PDI ligand, PyEtPDI, resulted in carbonyl ligand substitution and formation of

Attempts to prepare low-valent molybdenum complexes that feature a pentadentate 2,6-bis(imino)pyridine (or pyridine diimine, PDI) chelate allowed for the isolation of two different products. Refluxing Mo(CO)6 with the pyridine-substituted PDI ligand, PyEtPDI, resulted in carbonyl ligand substitution and formation of the respective bis(ligand) compound (PyEtPDI)2Mo (1). This complex was investigated by single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and density functional theory calculations indicated that 1 possesses a Mo(0) center that back-bonds into the π*-orbitals of the unreduced PDI ligands. Heating an equimolar solution of Mo(CO)[subscript 6] and the phosphine-substituted PDI ligand, Ph2PPrPDI, to 120 °C allowed for the preparation of (Ph2PPrPDI)Mo(CO) (2), which is supported by a κ5-N,N,N,P,P-Ph2PPrPDI chelate. Notably, 1 and 2 have been found to catalyze the hydrosilylation of benzaldehyde at 90 °C, and the optimization of 2-catalyzed aldehyde hydrosilylation at this temperature afforded turnover frequencies of up to 330 h–1. Considering additional experimental observations, the potential mechanism of 2-mediated carbonyl hydrosilylation is discussed.

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Date Created
2014-09-01

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Prevalent and Distinct Spliceosomal 3 '-end Processing Mechanisms for Fungal Telomerase RNA

Description

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated TER 3′-end cleavage mechanism in Neurospora crassa that is distinct

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated TER 3′-end cleavage mechanism in Neurospora crassa that is distinct from that found specifically in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. While the S. pombe TER intron contains the canonical 5′-splice site GUAUGU, the N. crassa TER intron contains a non-canonical 5′-splice site AUAAGU that alone prevents the second step of splicing and promotes spliceosomal cleavage. The unique N. crassa TER 5′-splice site sequence is evolutionarily conserved in TERs from Pezizomycotina and early branching Taphrinomycotina species. This suggests that the widespread and basal N. crassa-type spliceosomal cleavage mechanism is more ancestral than the S. pombe-type. The discovery of a prevalent, yet distinct, spliceosomal cleavage mechanism throughout diverse fungal clades furthers our understanding of TER evolution and non-coding RNA processing.

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2015-01-01

A DNA-Directed Light-Harvesting/Reaction Center System

Description

A structurally and compositionally well-defined and spectrally tunable artificial light-harvesting system has been constructed in which multiple organic dyes attached to a three-arm-DNA nanostructure serve as an antenna conjugated to a photosynthetic reaction center isolated from Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1. The

A structurally and compositionally well-defined and spectrally tunable artificial light-harvesting system has been constructed in which multiple organic dyes attached to a three-arm-DNA nanostructure serve as an antenna conjugated to a photosynthetic reaction center isolated from Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1. The light energy absorbed by the dye molecules is transferred to the reaction center, where charge separation takes place. The average number of DNA three-arm junctions per reaction center was tuned from 0.75 to 2.35. This DNA-templated multichromophore system serves as a modular light-harvesting antenna that is capable of being optimized for its spectral properties, energy transfer efficiency, and photostability, allowing one to adjust both the size and spectrum of the resulting structures. This may serve as a useful test bed for developing nanostructured photonic systems.

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2014-11-26

Serial Time-Resolved Crystallography of Photosystem II Using a Femtosecond X-Ray Laser

Description

Photosynthesis, a process catalysed by plants, algae and cyanobacteria converts sunlight to energy thus sustaining all higher life on Earth. Two large membrane protein complexes, photosystem I and II (PSI and PSII), act in series to catalyse the light-driven reactions

Photosynthesis, a process catalysed by plants, algae and cyanobacteria converts sunlight to energy thus sustaining all higher life on Earth. Two large membrane protein complexes, photosystem I and II (PSI and PSII), act in series to catalyse the light-driven reactions in photosynthesis. PSII catalyses the light-driven water splitting process, which maintains the Earth’s oxygenic atmosphere. In this process, the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of PSII cycles through five states, S0 to S4, in which four electrons are sequentially extracted from the OEC in four light-driven charge-separation events. Here we describe time resolved experiments on PSII nano/microcrystals from Thermosynechococcus elongatus performed with the recently developed technique of serial femtosecond crystallography. Structures have been determined from PSII in the dark S1 state and after double laser excitation (putative S3 state) at 5 and 5.5 Å resolution, respectively. The results provide evidence that PSII undergoes significant conformational changes at the electron acceptor side and at the Mn4CaO5 core of the OEC. These include an elongation of the metal cluster, accompanied by changes in the protein environment, which could allow for binding of the second substrate water molecule between the more distant protruding Mn (referred to as the ‘dangler’ Mn) and the Mn3CaOx cubane in the S2 to S3 transition, as predicted by spectroscopic and computational studies. This work shows the great potential for time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography for investigation of catalytic processes in biomolecules.

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Date Created
2014-09-11

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Ge1-ySny (y=0.01-0.10) Alloys on Ge-Buffered Si: Synthesis, Microstructure, and Optical Properties

Description

Novel hydride chemistries are employed to deposit light-emitting Ge1-y Snyalloys with y ≤ 0.1 by Ultra-High Vacuum Chemical Vapor Deposition (UHV-CVD) on Ge-buffered Si wafers. The properties of the resultant materials are systematically compared with similar alloys grown directly on Si wafers.

Novel hydride chemistries are employed to deposit light-emitting Ge1-y Snyalloys with y ≤ 0.1 by Ultra-High Vacuum Chemical Vapor Deposition (UHV-CVD) on Ge-buffered Si wafers. The properties of the resultant materials are systematically compared with similar alloys grown directly on Si wafers. The fundamental difference between the two systems is a fivefold (and higher) decrease in lattice mismatch between film and virtual substrate, allowing direct integration of bulk-like crystals with planar surfaces and relatively low dislocation densities. For y ≤ 0.06, the CVD precursors used were digermane Ge2H6 and deuterated stannane SnD4. For y ≥ 0.06, the Ge precursor was changed to trigermane Ge3H8, whose higher reactivity enabled the fabrication of supersaturated samples with the target film parameters. In all cases, the Ge wafers were produced using tetragermane Ge4H10 as the Ge source. The photoluminescence intensity from Ge1-y Sny /Ge films is expected to increase relative to Ge1-y Sny /Si due to the less defected interface with the virtual substrate. However, while Ge1-y Sny /Si films are largely relaxed, a significant amount of compressive strain may be present in the Ge1-y Sny /Ge case. This compressive strain can reduce the emission intensity by increasing the separation between the direct and indirect edges. In this context, it is shown here that the proposed CVD approach to Ge1-y Sny /Ge makes it possible to approach film thicknesses of about 1  μm, for which the strain is mostly relaxed and the photoluminescence intensity increases by one order of magnitude relative to Ge1-y Sny /Si films. The observed strain relaxation is shown to be consistent with predictions from strain-relaxation models first developed for the Si1-x Gex /Si system. The defect structure and atomic distributions in the films are studied in detail using advanced electron-microscopy techniques, including aberration corrected STEM imaging and EELS mapping of the average diamond–cubic lattice.

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Date Created
2014-10-07

A Self-Regulating Template in Human Telomerase

Description

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template sequence from the integral TR. The specific mechanism of how

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template sequence from the integral TR. The specific mechanism of how the telomerase active site uses this short template region accurately and efficiently during processive DNA repeat synthesis has remained elusive. Here we report that the human TR template, in addition to specifying the DNA sequence, is embedded with a single-nucleotide signal to pause DNA synthesis. After the addition of a dT residue to the DNA primer, which is specified by the 49 rA residue in the template, telomerase extends the DNA primer with three additional nucleotides and then pauses DNA synthesis. This sequence-defined pause site coincides precisely with the helix paired region 1 (P1)-defined physical template boundary and precludes the incorporation of nontelomeric nucleotides from residues outside the template region. Furthermore, this sequence-defined pausing mechanism is a key determinant, in addition to the P1-defined template boundary, for generating the characteristic 6-nt ladder banding pattern of telomeric DNA products in vitro. In the absence of the pausing signal, telomerase stalls nucleotide addition at multiple sites along the template, generating DNA products with heterogeneous terminal repeat registers. Our findings demonstrate that this unique self-regulating mechanism of the human TR template is essential for high-fidelity synthesis of DNA repeats.

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Date Created
2014-08-05