Matching Items (52)

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A Designed “Nested” Dimer of Cyanovirin-N Increases Antiviral Activity

Description

Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is an antiviral lectin with potent activity against enveloped viruses, including HIV. The mechanism of action involves high affinity binding to mannose-rich glycans that decorate the surface of

Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is an antiviral lectin with potent activity against enveloped viruses, including HIV. The mechanism of action involves high affinity binding to mannose-rich glycans that decorate the surface of enveloped viruses. In the case of HIV, antiviral activity of CV-N is postulated to require multivalent interactions with envelope protein gp120, achieved through a pseudo-repeat of sequence that adopts two near-identical glycan-binding sites, and possibly involves a 3D-domain-swapped dimeric form of CV-N. Here, we present a covalent dimer of CV-N that increases the number of active glycan-binding sites, and we characterize its ability to recognize four glycans in solution. A CV-N variant was designed in which two native repeats were separated by the “nested” covalent insertion of two additional repeats of CV-N, resulting in four possible glycan-binding sites. The resulting Nested CV-N folds into a wild-type-like structure as assessed by circular dichroism and NMR spectroscopy, and displays high thermal stability with a T[subscript m] of 59 °C, identical to WT. All four glycan-binding domains encompassed by the sequence are functional as demonstrated by isothermal titration calorimetry, which revealed two sets of binding events to dimannose with dissociation constants K[subscript d] of 25 μM and 900 μM, assigned to domains B and B’ and domains A and A’ respectively. Nested CV-N displays a slight increase in activity when compared to WT CV-N in both an anti-HIV cellular assay and a fusion assay. This construct conserves the original binding specifityies of domain A and B, thus indicating correct fold of the two CV-N repeats. Thus, rational design can be used to increase multivalency in antiviral lectins in a controlled manner.

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  • 2016-06-06

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Evaluation of pre-analytical factors affecting plasma DNA analysis

Description

Circulating tumor DNA analysis has several potential applications in cancer diagnostics. However, results in literature vary considerably, often due to different blood collection methods and protocols. Several new products to

Circulating tumor DNA analysis has several potential applications in cancer diagnostics. However, results in literature vary considerably, often due to different blood collection methods and protocols. Several new products to address pre-analytical variables of cfDNA processing have recently become available, and little is understood about their effects on DNA quality and downstream applications. We evaluated the effects of blood collection protocols and DNA extraction kits on cfDNA yield, quality, and fragment size using droplet-digital PCR (ddPCR) and targeted deep sequencing. To quantify cfDNA yield and size distribution, we developed a multiplexed ddPCR assay with FAM-labeled short amplicons and TET-labeled long amplicons targeting housekeeping genes. After assay validation, we compared the performance of several commercially-available cfDNA extraction kits using control plasma samples and different blood collection protocols using paired plasma samples from healthy volunteers. To assess whether cell-stabilizing preservative in Streck tubes may induce low-abundance noise in cfDNA, we performed molecularly-tagged targeted deep sequencing and developed an informatics approach for enumeration and variant calling from uniquely tagged DNA fragments. We found a significant difference between extraction methods but no significant difference across blood collection protocols in cfDNA yield or size distribution. Sequencing results showed no significant evidence of preservative-induced cfDNA damage across tested blood collection protocols. In summary, the multiplexed ddPCR assay enabled quantitative assessment of cfDNA extraction methods and blood collection protocols, and allowed for normalization of input to create reproducible sequencing libraries. Our results suggest that plasma samples processed up to 72 hours following venipuncture in Streck Cell-free DNA tubes may be used for downstream sequencing of circulating tumor DNA in patients with cancer.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Light-induced CO2 Reduction By Cobalt-cytochrome b562: Rational Design and Directed Evolution Approaches

Description

The successful reduction of CO2 and protons by a light-induced cobalt porphyrin/cytb562 hybrid metalloenzyme in water is reported. Incorporation of the porphyrin into a protein scaffold results in increases in

The successful reduction of CO2 and protons by a light-induced cobalt porphyrin/cytb562 hybrid metalloenzyme in water is reported. Incorporation of the porphyrin into a protein scaffold results in increases in CO and H2 production over naked porphyrin. Rational point mutations to the CoPPIX binding site of cytb562 modulate production, indicating possible further improvements in catalytic activity.

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  • 2020-05

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Bioconjugation of Enzymes and IDPs for Development of Membraneless Organelles

Description

Typical eukaryotic organelles use membranes formed by lipid bilayers in order to compartmentalize their functions within the cell. However, cells also contain membraneless organelles formed by intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs)

Typical eukaryotic organelles use membranes formed by lipid bilayers in order to compartmentalize their functions within the cell. However, cells also contain membraneless organelles formed by intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) via liquid-liquid phase separation. The organelles form localized compartments that separate their contents from the environment.1 Here, this mechanism is used to generate artificial membraneless organelles that comprise a chemical reaction. An IDP, DEAD-box helicase (Ddx4), was bioconjugated to an enzyme, horseradish peroxidase (HRP), through the use of a bifunctional chemical linker, succinimidyl 4-(N-maleimidomethyl)cyclohexane-1-carboxylate (SMCC), in order to examine if the enzyme could be incorporated in droplets and whether its activity would be affected. The conjugation of HRP-SMCC (43.4 kDa) to Ddx4 (25.6 kDa) was successful: SDS-PAGE analysis confirmed the presence of a product that was within the range of a full conjugate.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Modulating Cyanovirin-N Lectins to Improve Glycoprotein Recognition

Description

Antiviral lectins are potential candidates for future therapies against enveloped viruses like HIV due to their ability to recognize and bind glycans displayed on their surface. Cyanovirin-N (CVN), a lectin

Antiviral lectins are potential candidates for future therapies against enveloped viruses like HIV due to their ability to recognize and bind glycans displayed on their surface. Cyanovirin-N (CVN), a lectin that specifically recognizes mannose-rich moieties, serves as a useful model for studying these glycan-recognition mechanisms. This study seeks to improve CVN's glycan-binding affinity by conjugating a boronic acid functional group to the N-terminus via N-terminal specific reductive alkylation by way of a benzaldehyde handle. However, large discrepancies were observed when attempting to confirm a successful conjugation, and further work is necessary to identify the causes and solutions for these issues.

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Date Created
  • 2018-12

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Engineered Hydrogen Production in Heliobacteria using Clostridial Hydrogenase: A Probe for Understanding Cell Physiology

Description

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest phototrophic systems, the central component of which is a Type I reaction center (RC) <br/>that pumps protons to generate the electrochemical gradient for making ATP. Heliobacteria <br/>preform cyclic electron flow (CEF) with the RC in the light but can also grow chemotropically in <br/>the dark. Many anaerobes like heliobacteria, such as other members of the class Clostridia, <br/>possess the capability to produce hydrogen via a hydrogenase enzyme in the cell, as protons can <br/>serve as an electron acceptor in anaerobic metabolism. However, the species of heliobacteria <br/>studied here, H. modesticaldum have been seen to produce hydrogen via their nitrogenase <br/>enzyme but not when this enzyme is inactive. This study aimed to investigate if the reason for <br/>their lack of hydrogen production was due to a lack of an active hydrogenase enzyme, possibly <br/>indicating that the genes required for activity were lost by an H. modesticaldum ancestor. This <br/>was done by introducing genes encoding a clostridial [FeFe] hydrogenase from C. thermocellum<br/>via conjugation and measuring hydrogen production in the transformant cells. Transformant cells <br/>produced hydrogen and cells without the genes did not, meaning that the heliobacteria ferredoxin <br/>was capable of donating electrons to the foreign hydrogenase to make hydrogen. Because the <br/>[FeFe] hydrogenase must receive electrons from the cytosolic ferredoxin, it was hypothesized <br/>that hydrogen production in heliobacteria could be used to probe the redox state of the ferredoxin <br/>pool in conditions of varying electron availability. Results of this study showed that hydrogen <br/>production was affected by electron availability variations due to varying pyruvate <br/>concentrations in the media, light vs dark environment, use acetate as a carbon source, and being <br/>provided external electron donors. Hydrogen production, therefore, was predicted to be an <br/>effective indicator of electron availability in the reduced ferredoxin pool.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Development of a HaloTag® Linker for Applications in Photobiocatalysis

Description

The use of enzyme-catalyst interfaces is underexplored in the field of biocatalysis, particularly in studies on enabling novel reactivity of enzymes. For this thesis, the HaloTag® protein tagging platform was

The use of enzyme-catalyst interfaces is underexplored in the field of biocatalysis, particularly in studies on enabling novel reactivity of enzymes. For this thesis, the HaloTag® protein tagging platform was proposed as a bioconjugation method for a pinacol coupling reaction using lipases, as a model for novel reactivities proceeding via ketyl radical intermediates and hydrogen-bonding-facilitated redox attenuation. After an initial lipase screening of 9 lipases, one lipase (Candida rugosa) was found to perform the pinacol coupling of p-anisaldehyde under standard conditions (fluorescein and 530nm light, 3% yield). Based on a retrosynthetic analysis for the photocatalyst-incorporated HaloTag® linker, the intermediates haloamine 1 and aldehyde 6 were synthesized. Further experiments are underway or planned to complete linker synthesis and conduct pinacol coupling experiments with a bioconjugated system. This project underscores the promising biocatalytic promiscuity of lipases for performing reactions proceeding through ketyl radical intermediates, as well as the underdeveloped potential of incorporating bioengineering principles like bioconjugation into biocatalysis to overcome kinetic barriers to electron transfer and optimize biocatalytic reactions.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Algorithmic Prediction of Binding Sites of TNFα/TNFR2 and PD-1/PD-L1

Description

Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally

Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally make the same predictions using only sequence information would be more efficient, both in time and resources. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an algorithm developed to predict regions of high-binding on proteins as it applies to determining the regions of interaction between binding partners. This approach was applied to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), its receptor TNFR2, programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), and one of its ligand PD-L1. The algorithms applied accurately predicted the binding region between TNFα and TNFR2 in which the interacting residues are sequential on TNFα, however failed to predict discontinuous regions of binding as accurately. The interface of PD-1 and PD-L1 contained continuous residues interacting with each other, however this region was predicted to bind weaker than the regions on the external portions of the molecules. Limitations of this approach include use of a linear search window (resulting in inability to predict discontinuous binding residues), and the use of proteins with unnaturally exposed regions, in the case of PD-1 and PD-L1 (resulting in observed interactions which would not occur normally). However, this method was overall very effective in utilizing the available information to make accurate predictions. The use of the microarray to obtain binding information and a computer algorithm to analyze is a versatile tool capable of being adapted to refine accuracy.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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CO2 Reduction via Functionalized Protein/Organometallic Complexes

Description

As prices for fuel along with the demand for renewable resources grow, it becomes of paramount importance to develop new ways of obtaining the energy needed to carry out the

As prices for fuel along with the demand for renewable resources grow, it becomes of paramount importance to develop new ways of obtaining the energy needed to carry out the tasks we face daily. Costs of production due to energy and time constraints impose severe limitations on what is viable. Biological systems, on the other hand, are innately efficient both in terms of time and energy by handling tasks at the molecular level. Utilizing this efficiency is at the core of this research. Proper manipulation of even common proteins can render complexes functionalized for specific tasks. In this case, the coupling of a rhenium-based organometallic ligand to a modified myoglobin containing a zinc porphyrin, allow for efficient reduction of carbon dioxide, resulting in energy that can be harnessed and byproducts which can be used for further processing. Additionally, a rhenium based ligand functionalized via biotin is tested in conjunction with streptavidin and ruthenium-bipyridine.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12

Modulating the Binding Affinity of Cyanovirin-N

Description

Over the past two decades, a significant amount of research has been conducted investigating cyanovirin-N (CVN), which has been shown to be an effective antiviral agent by inhibiting entry of

Over the past two decades, a significant amount of research has been conducted investigating cyanovirin-N (CVN), which has been shown to be an effective antiviral agent by inhibiting entry of HIV into the cell. The virucidal activity of CVN is attributed to the tight binding interactions with the glycosylated surfaces of the envelope protein gp120. In this study we investigated how the incorporation of various single point mutations in the glycan binding site would ultimately affect the overall binding affinity of the protein with the glycan. These mutations were predicted through computational methods. Using a BP-docking program and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, the free energy change upon the ligand binding to the each protein was determined. Experimental work and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC) was used to determine the Kd values for each protein mutant. A total of three different CVN mutants, T57S, S52T, and a double mutant T57S-S52T, or simply TS, were investigated on the background of P51G-m4-CVN. After conducting the experimental work, it was concluded that the overall fold and stability of the protein was conserved for each mutant. ITC data showed that T57S displayed the lowest dissociation constant valued in the micromolar range. In fact, T57S had a much lower Kd value in comparison to P51G-m4. In contrast, the double mutant TS, showed poor binding affinity for the glycan. When comparing experimental data with the data provided by MD simulation and BP-docking, the results were fairly correlated for all mutants, except for that of the double mutant, TS. According to information provided by MD simulation and BP docking, the binding of the sugar to TS is a very exergonic reaction, which is indicative of very negative free energy change (ΔG). However, the experimental Kd, which was very high, contradicts this data and is thus indicative of lower binding affinity for the glycan. This contradiction is currently being investigated.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05