Matching Items (28)

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Exploration of Enzymatic Reactivity of Human Endonuclease Enzyme APE1 in Clustered DNA Damages Involving an Abasic Site

Description

This study was conducted to understand the reactivity of APE1 in repairing abasic sites associated with clustered DNA damages and to determine if the efficiency of APE1 enzyme is affected

This study was conducted to understand the reactivity of APE1 in repairing abasic sites associated with clustered DNA damages and to determine if the efficiency of APE1 enzyme is affected by the type of bases (purines or pyrimidines) neighboring the AP site. DNA damages are always occurring in living cells and if left uncorrected can lead to various problems such as diseases and even cell death. Cells are able to recognize and correct these DNA damages to prevent further damages to the genome, and the Base Excision Repair (BER) pathway is one of the mechanisms used in repairing DNA damages. A former student in the Levitus Lab, Elana Maria Shepherd Stennett, henceforth referred to as Elana worked on this project. She observed that the activity of the APE1 enzyme increased some when the base opposing the abasic site was changed from thymine (T) to adenine (A) while no difference was observed when the surrounding bases were changed. Thus, this experiment was conducted to further study the results she obtained and to possibly validate her findings. The AP sites used in this study are natural abasic sites created by UDG glycosylase enzyme from a double stranded uracil-containing DNA samples ordered from IDT technologies. Each reaction was carried out at physiological temperature (37degrees Celsius) and analyzed using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Exploration of Enzymatic Efficiency in Double-Stranded DNA by Uracil-DNA Glycosylase and Optimization of Glycosylation Reaction of DNA Precursor

Description

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and its relationship to enzymatic efficiency. Chapter 2 centers itself on threose nucleic acid and optimization of a step in the path to its synthesis. While Chapter 1 discusses DNA and Uracil-DNA Glycosylase with regards to the base excision repair pathway, Chapter 2 focuses on chemical synthesis of an intermediate in the pathway to the synthesis of TNA, an analogous structure with a different saccharide in the sugar-phosphate backbone.
Chapter 1 covers the research under Dr. Levitus. Four oligonucleotides were reacted for zero, five, and thirty minutes with uracil-DNA glycosylase and subsequent addition of piperidine. These oligonucleotides were chosen based on their torsional rigidities as predicted by past research and predictions. The objective was to better understand the relationship between the sequence of DNA surrounding the incorrect base and the enzyme’s ability to remove said base in order to prepare the DNA for the next step of the base excision repair pathway. The first pair of oligonucleotides showed no statistically significant difference in enzymatic efficiency with p values of 0.24 and 0.42, while the second pair had a p value of 0.01 at the five-minute reaction. The second pair is currently being researched at different reaction times to determine at what point the enzyme seems to equilibrate and react semi-equally with all sequences of DNA.
Chapter 2 covers the research conducted under Dr. Chaput. Along the TNA synthesis pathway, the nitrogenous base must be added to the threofuranose sugar. The objective was to optimize the original protocol of Vorbrüggen glycosylation and determine if there were better conditions for the synthesis of the preferred regioisomer. This research showed that toluene and ortho-xylene were more preferable as solvents than the original anhydrous acetonitrile, as the amount of preferred isomer product far outweighed the amount of side product formed, as well as improving total yield overall. The anhydrous acetonitrile reaction had a final yield of 60.61% while the ortho-xylene system had a final yield of 94.66%, an increase of approximately 32%. The crude ratio of preferred isomer to side product was also improved, as it went from 18% undesired in anhydrous acetonitrile to 4% undesired in ortho-xylene, both values normalized to the preferred regioisomer.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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A Determination of the Sequence-Dependent Kinetic Constants of Uracil-DNA Glycosylase

Description

Mutations in the DNA of somatic cells, resulting from inaccuracies in DNA<br/>replication or exposure to harsh conditions (ionizing radiation, carcinogens), may be<br/>loss-of-function mutations, and the compounding of these mutations can

Mutations in the DNA of somatic cells, resulting from inaccuracies in DNA<br/>replication or exposure to harsh conditions (ionizing radiation, carcinogens), may be<br/>loss-of-function mutations, and the compounding of these mutations can lead to cancer.<br/>Such mutations can come in the form of thymine dimers, N-𝛽 glycosyl bond hydrolysis,<br/>oxidation by hydrogen peroxide or other radicals, and deamination of cytosine to uracil.<br/>However, many cells possess the machinery to counteract the deleterious effects of<br/>such mutations. While eukaryotic DNA repair enzymes decrease the incidence of<br/>mutations from 1 mistake per 10^7 nucleotides to 1 mistake per 10^9 nucleotides, these<br/>mutations, however sparse, are problematic. Of particular interest is a mutation in which<br/>uracil is incorporated into DNA, either by spontaneous deamination of cysteine or<br/>misincorporation. Such mutations occur about one in every 107 cytidine residues in 24<br/>hours. DNA uracil glycosylase (UDG) recognizes these mutations and cleaves the<br/>glycosidic bond, creating an abasic site. However, the rate of this form of DNA repair<br/>varies, depending on the nucleotides that surround the uracil. Most enzyme-DNA<br/>interactions depend on the sequence of DNA (which may change the duplex twist),<br/>even if they only bind to the sugar-phosphate backbone. In the mechanism of uracil<br/>excision, UDG flips the uracil out of the DNA double helix, and this step may be<br/>impaired by base pairs that neighbor the uracil. The deformability of certain regions of<br/>DNA may facilitate this step in the mechanism, causing these regions to be less<br/>mutable. In DNA, base stacking, a form of van der Waals forces between the aromatic<br/>nucleic bases, may make these uracil inclusions more difficult to excise. These regions,<br/>stabilized by base stacking interactions, may be less susceptible to repair by<br/>glycosylases such as UDG, and thus, more prone to mutation.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Role of RAG2 C-terminal region in enforcing appropriate recombination cleavage directed at legitimate DNA targets

Description

V(D)J Recombination is the mechanism responsible for generating diversity in the repertoire of antigen receptors of T and B cells. This recombination process proceeds in two steps: site-specific cleavage mediated

V(D)J Recombination is the mechanism responsible for generating diversity in the repertoire of antigen receptors of T and B cells. This recombination process proceeds in two steps: site-specific cleavage mediated lymphocyte-specific recombinase known as Recombination Activating Genes 1 and 2 complex (RAG) at the junction of coding gene segments and their flanking recombination signal sequence (RSS) and then followed by rejoining of the double strand broken DNA by the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) complex. Mutations and truncations of the RAG-recombinase have been found associated with genomic instability and chromosomal translocation. It has been hypothesized that these RAG mutants may have abnormality in their interactions with recombination intermediates, ultimately causing premature release of the ends for aberrant joining. Additionally, these mutations have an increase in targeting non-B type DNA instead of legitimate recombination substrates that contain RSSs. To directly test these hypotheses, we have developed a fluorescence-based detection system to monitor in real time the recombination cleavage reaction from the pre-cleavage to the post-cleavage stages and to compare RAG-DNA interactions between wild type and mutant RAG1/2 during this process. Our study provides important insight into the ability of the C-terminus of RAG to regulate RAG recombinase activity.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12

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The Interaction of Rubisco and Rubisco Activase: A FRET-based Study

Description

Rubisco is a very important protein which catalyzes the addition of CO2 to ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) to form two molecules of 3-phosphoglycerate in photosynthesis. Rubisco activase is the protein which

Rubisco is a very important protein which catalyzes the addition of CO2 to ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) to form two molecules of 3-phosphoglycerate in photosynthesis. Rubisco activase is the protein which functions to uninhibit Rubisco, however proof of a physical interaction has never been shown. A possible method for determining the interaction of the two proteins is by Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) based analysis of the two proteins. Attempts to get a FRET signal from these two proteins have been unsuccessful. To get better results, Ficoll 70, a crowding agent, was used. Analysis suggests that Ficoll 70 does not affect the fluorescence of Alexa-fluor 488 and Alexa-fluor 647 used to label the two proteins. Further analysis also suggests that while the Alexa label on Rubisco activase does not affect the ATPase activity of the protein, the protein also does not have a high rate of ATP turnover.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

Intrinsic stability and oligomerization dynamics of DNA processivity clamps

Description

Sliding clamps are ring-shaped oligomeric proteins that are essential for processive deoxyribonucleic acid replication. Although crystallographic structures of several clamps have been determined, much less is known about clamp structure

Sliding clamps are ring-shaped oligomeric proteins that are essential for processive deoxyribonucleic acid replication. Although crystallographic structures of several clamps have been determined, much less is known about clamp structure and dynamics in solution. Here, we characterized the intrinsic solution stability and oligomerization dynamics of the homodimeric Escherichia coli β and the homotrimeric Saccharomyces cerevisiae proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) clamps using single-molecule approaches. We show that E. coli β is stable in solution as a closed ring at concentrations three orders of magnitude lower than PCNA. The trimeric structure of PCNA results in slow subunit association rates and is largely responsible for the lower solution stability. Despite this large difference, the intrinsic lifetimes of the rings differ by only one order of magnitude. Our results show that the longer lifetime of the E. coli β dimer is due to more prominent electrostatic interactions that stabilize the subunit interfaces.

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Date Created
  • 2013-11-30

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Investigating the Effect of Salts and Small Molecule on Dissociation and Association Kinetics of the DNA Processivity Clamps using Fluorescence Techniques

Description

In this study, the stability of two protein homo-oligomers, the β clamp (homodimer) from E. coli and the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) from the yeast cell, were characterized. These

In this study, the stability of two protein homo-oligomers, the β clamp (homodimer) from E. coli and the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) from the yeast cell, were characterized. These clamps open through one interface by another protein called clamp loader, which helps it to encircle the DNA template strand. The β clamp protein binds with DNA polymerase and helps it to slide through the template strand and prevents its dissociation from the template strand. The questions need to be to answered in this research are, whether subunit stoichiometry contributes to the stability of the clamp proteins and how does the clamp loader open up the clamp, does it have to exert force on the clamp or does it take advantage of the dynamic behavior of the interface?

The x-ray crystallography structure of the β clamp suggests that there are oppositely charged amino acid pairs present at the interface of the dimer. They can form strong electrostatic interactions between them. However, for Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA), there are no such charged amino acids present at its interface. High sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations were used to disrupt the electrostatic interactions at the interface. The role of charged pairs in the clamp interface was characterized by measuring the apparent diffusion times (\tau_{app}) with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). However, the dissociation of the Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) trimer does not depend on sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration.

In the next part of my thesis, potassium glutamate (KGlu) and glycine betaine (GB) were used to investigate their effect on the stability of both clamp proteins. FCS experiments with labeled β clamp and Proliferation Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) were performed containing different concentrations of potassium glutamate and glycine betaine in the solution, showed that the apparent diffusion time\ {(\tau}_{app}) increases with potassium glutamate and glycine betaine concentrations, which indicate clamps are forming higher-order oligomers. Solute molecules get excluded from the protein surface when the binding affinity of the protein surface for water molecules is more than solutes (potassium glutamate, and glycine betaine), which has a net stabilizing effect on the protein structure.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Measurement of molecular conductance

Description

This dissertation describes the work on two projects which involves measuring molecular conductance and studying their properties on the nanoscale using various Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) techniques. The first molecule

This dissertation describes the work on two projects which involves measuring molecular conductance and studying their properties on the nanoscale using various Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) techniques. The first molecule studied was a porphyrin-fullerene moiety known as a molecular Dyad for photovoltaic applications. This project is further divided into two section, the first one involving the characterization of the Dyad monolayers and conductance measurement in the dark. The Dyads are designed to form charge separated states on illumination. The lifetime of the charged states have been measured efficiently but the single-molecule conductance through the molecules have yet to be characterized. The second part of the project describes the set-up of a novel sample stage which enables the study of molecular conductance under illumination. This part also describes the subsequent study of the molecule under illumination and the observation of a unique charge-separated state. It also contains the verification of the presence of this charge-separated using other characterization techniques like transient absorption spectroscopy. The second project described in the dissertation was studying and comparing the predicted rectifying nature of two molecules, identical in every way except for one stereocenter. This project describes the formation of monolayers of the molecule on gold and then studying and analyzing the current-voltage characteristics of the molecules and looking for rectification. Both the molecules proved to be rectifying, one more than the other as predicted by theoretical calculations.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Multifaceted regulation of V(D)J recombination

Description

V(D)J recombination is responsible for generating an enormous repertoire of immunoglobulins and T cell receptors, therefore it is a centerpiece to the formation of the adaptive immune system. The V(D)J

V(D)J recombination is responsible for generating an enormous repertoire of immunoglobulins and T cell receptors, therefore it is a centerpiece to the formation of the adaptive immune system. The V(D)J recombination process proceeds through two steps, site-specific cleavage at RSS (Recombination Signal Sequence) site mediated by the RAG recombinase (RAG1/2) and the subsequent imprecise resolution of the DNA ends, which is carried out by the ubiquitous non-homologous end joining pathway (NHEJ). The V(D)J recombination reaction is obliged to be tightly controlled under all circumstances, as it involves generations of DNA double strand breaks, which are considered the most dangerous lesion to a cell. Multifaceted regulatory mechanisms have been evolved to create great diversity of the antigen receptor repertoire while ensuring genome stability. The RAG-mediated cleavage reaction is stringently regulated at both the pre-cleavage stage and the post-cleavage stage. Specifically, RAG1/2 first forms a pre-cleavage complex assembled at the boarder of RSS and coding flank, which ensures the appropriate DNA targeting. Subsequently, this complex initiates site-specific cleavage, generating two types of double stranded DNA breaks, hairpin-ended coding ends (HP-CEs) and blunt signal ends (SEs). After the cleavage, RAG1/2 proteins bind and retain the recombination ends to form post-cleavage complexes (PCC), which collaborates with the NHEJ machinery for appropriate transfer of recombination ends to NHEJ for proper end resolution. However, little is known about the molecular basis of this collaboration, partly attributed to the lack of sensitive assays to reveal the interaction of PCC with HP-CEs. Here, for the first time, by using two complementary fluorescence-based techniques, fluorescence anisotropy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), I managed to monitor the RAG1/2-catalyzed cleavage reaction in real time, from the pre-cleavage to the post-cleavage stages. By examining the dynamic fluorescence changes during the RAG-mediated cleavage reactions, and by manipulating the reaction conditions, I was able to characterize some fundamental properties of RAG-DNA interactions before and after cleavage. Firstly, Mg2+, known as a physiological cofactor at the excision step, also promotes the HP-CEs retention in the RAG complex after cleavage. Secondly, the structure of pre-cleavage complex may affect the subsequent collaborations with NHEJ for end resolution. Thirdly, the non-core region of RAG2 may have differential influences on the PCC retention of HP-CEs and SEs. Furthermore, I also provide the first evidence of RAG1-mediated regulation of RAG2. Our study provides important insights into the multilayered regulatory mechanisms, in modulating recombination events in developing lymphocytes and paves the way for possible development of detection and diagnotic markers for defective recombination events that are often associated immunodeficiency and/or lymphoid malignancy.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Photophysics of symmetric and asymmetric cyanines in solution and conjugated to biomolecules

Description

Fluorescence spectroscopy is a powerful tool for biophysical studies due to its high sensitivity and broad availability. It is possible to detect fluorescence from single molecules allowing researchers to

Fluorescence spectroscopy is a powerful tool for biophysical studies due to its high sensitivity and broad availability. It is possible to detect fluorescence from single molecules allowing researchers to see the behavior of subpopulations whose presence is obscured by “bulk” collection methods. The fluorescent probes used in these experiments are affected by the solution and macromolecular environments they are in. A misunderstanding of a probe’s photophysics can lead researchers to assign observed behavior to biomolecules, when in fact the probe is responsible. On the other hand, a probe’s photophysical behavior is a signature of the environment surrounding it; it can be exploited to learn about the biomolecule(s) under study. A thorough examination of a probe’s photophysics is critical to data interpretation in both cases and is the focus of this work. This dissertation investigates the photophysical behavior of symmetric and asymmetric cyanines in a variety of solution and biomolecular environments. Using fluorescent techniques—such as time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS)—it was found that cyanines are influenced by the local environment. In the first project, the symmetric cyanines are found to be susceptible to paramagnetic species, such as manganese(II), that enhance the intersystem crossing (ISC) rate increasing triplet blinking and accelerating photobleaching. Another project found the increase in fluorescence of Cy3 in the protein induced fluorescence enhancement (PIFE) technique is due to reduced photoisomerization caused by the proximity of protein to Cy3. The third project focused on asymmetric cyanines; their photophysical behavior has not been previously characterized. Dy630 as a free dye behaves like Cy3; it has a short lifetime and can deactivate via photoisomerization. Preliminary experiments on Dy dyes conjugated to DNA show these dyes do not photoisomerize, and do not show PIFE potential. Further research will explore other conjugation strategies, with the goal of optimizing conditions in which Dy630 can be used as the red-absorbing analogue of Cy3 for PIFE applications. In summary, this dissertation focused on photophysical investigations, the understanding of which forms the backbone of rigorous fluorescent studies and is vital to the development of the fluorescence field.

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Date Created
  • 2017