Matching Items (9)

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Plant-expressed cocaine hydrolase variants of butyrylcholinesterase exhibit altered allosteric effects of cholinesterase activity and increased inhibitor sensitivity

Description

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which target the central and peripheral nervous systems. Variants of BChE were rationally designed to increase the enzyme’s ability to hydrolyze the psychoactive enantiomer of cocaine. These variants were cloned, and then expressed using the magnICON transient expression system in plants and their enzymatic properties were investigated. In particular, we explored the effects that these site-directed mutations have over the enzyme kinetics with various substrates of BChE. We further compared the affinity of various anticholinesterases including organophosphorous nerve agents and pesticides toward these BChE variants relative to the wild type enzyme. In addition to serving as a therapy for cocaine addiction-related diseases, enhanced bioscavenging against other harmful agents could add to the practicality and versatility of the plant-derived recombinant enzyme as a multivalent therapeutic.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-09-05

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Collective Dynamics Differentiates Functional Divergence in Protein Evolution

Description

Protein evolution is most commonly studied by analyzing related protein sequences and generating ancestral sequences through Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods, and/or by resurrecting ancestral proteins in the lab and

Protein evolution is most commonly studied by analyzing related protein sequences and generating ancestral sequences through Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods, and/or by resurrecting ancestral proteins in the lab and performing ligand binding studies to determine function. Structural and dynamic evolution have largely been left out of molecular evolution studies. Here we incorporate both structure and dynamics to elucidate the molecular principles behind the divergence in the evolutionary path of the steroid receptor proteins. We determine the likely structure of three evolutionarily diverged ancestral steroid receptor proteins using the Zipping and Assembly Method with FRODA (ZAMF). Our predictions are within ∼2.7 Å all-atom RMSD of the respective crystal structures of the ancestral steroid receptors. Beyond static structure prediction, a particular feature of ZAMF is that it generates protein dynamics information. We investigate the differences in conformational dynamics of diverged proteins by obtaining the most collective motion through essential dynamics. Strikingly, our analysis shows that evolutionarily diverged proteins of the same family do not share the same dynamic subspace, while those sharing the same function are simultaneously clustered together and distant from those, that have functionally diverged. Dynamic analysis also enables those mutations that most affect dynamics to be identified. It correctly predicts all mutations (functional and permissive) necessary to evolve new function and ∼60% of permissive mutations necessary to recover ancestral function.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012-03-29

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Computational Study of Conformation Dynamics and Allostery in WW Protein Domains

Description

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a mutation at a predicted regulatory site of a short, 46 residue-long, protein interaction module composed of a WW domain and corresponding polyproline ligand (PDB id: 1k9r). The dynamic flexibility index (DFI) was computed for the binding site of the wild type and mutant WW domains to quantify the mutations effect on the rigidity of the binding pocket. DFI is used as a metric to quantify the resilience of a given position to perturbation along the chain. Using steered molecular dynamics (SMD), we also measure the effect of the point mutation on allosteric regulation by approximating the binding free energy of the system calculated using Jarzynski's Equality. Calculation of the DFI shows that the overall flexibility of the protein complex increases as a result of the distal point mutation. Total change in DFI percentile of the binding site showed a 0.067 increase suggesting an allosteric, loss of function mutation. Furthermore, we see that the change in the binding free energy is greater for that of the mutated complex supporting the idea that an increase in flexibility is correlated to a decrease in proteinlig and binding affinity. We show that sequence mutation of an allosteric site affects the mechanical stability and functionality of the binding pocket.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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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,

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-06

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Deciphering Allosteric Interactions and Their Role in Protein Dynamics and Function

Description

Traditionally, allostery is perceived as the response of a catalytic pocket to perturbations induced by binding at another distal site through the interaction network in a protein, usually associated with

Traditionally, allostery is perceived as the response of a catalytic pocket to perturbations induced by binding at another distal site through the interaction network in a protein, usually associated with a conformational change responsible for functional regulation. Here, I utilize dynamics-based metrics, Dynamic Flexibility Index and Dynamic Coupling Index to provide insight into how 3D network of interactions wire communications within a protein and give rise to the long-range dynamic coupling, thus regulating key allosteric interactions. Furthermore, I investigate its role in modulating protein function through mutations in evolution. I use Thioredoxin and β-lactamase enzymes as model systems, and show that nature exploits "hinge-shift'' mechanism, where the loss in rigidity of certain residue positions of a protein is compensated by reduced flexibility of other positions, for functional evolution. I also developed a novel approach based on this principle to computationally engineer new mutants of the promiscuous ancestral β-lactamase (i.e., degrading both penicillin and cephatoxime) to exhibit specificity only towards penicillin with a better catalytic efficiency through population shift in its native ensemble.I investigate how allosteric interactions in a protein can regulate protein interactions in a cell, particularly focusing on E. coli ribosome. I describe how mutations in a ribosome can allosterically change its associating with magnesium ions, which was further shown by my collaborators to distally impact the number of biologically active Adenosine Triphosphate molecules in a cell, thereby, impacting cell growth. This allosteric modulation via magnesium ion concentrations is coined, "ionic allostery''. I also describe, the role played by allosteric interactions to regulate information among proteins using a simplistic toy model of an allosteric enzyme. It shows how allostery can provide a mechanism to efficiently transmit information in a signaling pathway in a cell while up/down regulating an enzyme’s activity.
The results discussed here suggest a deeper embedding of the role of allosteric interactions in a protein’s function at cellular level. Therefore, bridging the molecular impact of allosteric regulation with its role in communication in cellular signaling can provide further mechanistic insights of cellular function and disease development, and allow design of novel drugs regulating cellular functions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Biophysical Methods to Quantify Cancer Cells and Microengineered Cancer Tissues Properties

Description

Mechanical properties, in particular elasticity, of cancer cells and their microenvironment are important in governing cancer cell fate, for example function, mobility, adhesion, and invasion. Among all tools to measure

Mechanical properties, in particular elasticity, of cancer cells and their microenvironment are important in governing cancer cell fate, for example function, mobility, adhesion, and invasion. Among all tools to measure the mechanical properties, the precision and ease of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to directly apply force—in the range of Pico to micronewtons—onto samples—with length scales from nanometers to tens of micrometers—has made it a powerful tool to investigate the mechanics of materials. AFM is widely used to measure deformability and stiffness of soft biological samples. Principally, these samples are indented by the AFM probe and the forces and indentation depths are recorded. The generated force-indentation curves are fitted with an elastic contact model to quantify the elasticity (e.g. stiffness). AFM is a precise tool; however, the results are as accurate as the contact model used to analyze them. A new contact model was introduced to analyze force-indentation curves generated by spherical AFM probes for deep indentations. The experimental and finite element analysis results demonstrated that the new contact model provides more accurate mechanical properties throughout the indentation depth up to radius of the indenter, while the Hertz model underestimates the mechanical properties. In the classical contact models, it is assumed that the sample is vertically homogenous; however, many biological samples—for example cells—are heterogeneous. A novel two-layer model was utilized to probe Polydimethylsiloxane hydrogel (PDMS) layers on PDMS substrates with stiffness mismatch. In this experiment the stiffness of the substrate was deconvoluted from the AFM measurements to obtain the stiffness of the layer. AFM and confocal reflectance microscopy were utilized along with a novel 3D microengineered breast cancer tumor model to study the crosstalk between cancer tumor and the stromal cells (CAFs) and the ECM remodeling caused by their interplay. The results showed that as the cancer cells invade into the extracellular matrix (ECM), they release PDGF ligands which enable Cafes to remodel the ECM and this remodeling increased the invasion rate of the cancer cells. Next, the effect of the ECM remodeling on anti-cancer drug resistant was investigated within the 3D microengineered cancer model. It was demonstrated that the combinatory treatment by anti-cancer and-anti-fibrotic drugs enhance the efficiency of the cancer treatment. A novel DNA-based 3D hydrogel model with tunable stiffness was investigated by AFM. The results showed the hydrogel stiffness can be enhanced by adding DNA crosslinkers. In addition, the stiffness was reduced to the control sample level by introducing the displacement DNA. Biophysical quantifications along with the in vitro microengineered tumor models provide a unique frame work to study cancer in more detail.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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A study of the structure and internal dynamics of calcitonin gene-related peptide

Description

Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) is an intrinsically disordered protein

that has no regular secondary structure, but plays an important role in vasodilation and pain transmission in migraine. Little is known about

Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) is an intrinsically disordered protein

that has no regular secondary structure, but plays an important role in vasodilation and pain transmission in migraine. Little is known about the structure and dynamics of the monomeric state of CGRP or how CGRP is able to function in the cell, despite the lack of regular secondary structure. This work focuses characterizing the non-local structural and dynamical properties of the CGRP monomer in solution, and understanding how these are affected by the sequence and the solution environment. The unbound, free state of CGRP is measured using a nanosecond laser-pump spectrophotometer, which allows measuring the end-to-end distance (a non-local structural property) and the rate of end-to-end contact formation (intra-chain diffusional dynamics). The data presented in this work show that electrostatic interactions strongly modulate the structure of CGRP, and that peptide-solvent interactions are sequence and charge dependent and can have a significant effect on the internal dynamics of the peptide. In the last few years migraine research has shifted focus to disrupting the CGRP-receptor pathway through the design of pharmacological drugs that bind to either CGRP or its receptor, inhibiting receptor activation and therefore preventing or reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. Understanding what types of intra- and inter-chain interactions dominate in CGRP can help better design drugs that disrupt the binding of CGRP to its receptor.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Instrumentation for molecular electronics device research

Description

This dissertation describes work on three projects concerning the design and implementation of instrumentation used to study potential organic electronic devices. The first section describes the conducting atomic force microscope

This dissertation describes work on three projects concerning the design and implementation of instrumentation used to study potential organic electronic devices. The first section describes the conducting atomic force microscope (CAFM) in the study of the mechanical and electronic interactions between DNA bases and nucleosides. Previous STM data suggested that an STM tip could recognize single base pairs through an electronic interaction after a functionalized tip made contact with a self assembled monolayer then was retracted. The conducting AFM was employed in order to understand the mechanical interactions of such a system and how they were affecting electrical responses. The results from the conducting AFM showed that the scanning probe system was measuring multiple base-pair interactions, and thus did not have single base resolution. Further, results showed that the conductance between a single base-nucleoside pair is below the detection limit of a potential commercial sequencing device. The second section describes the modifications of a scanning probe microscope in order to study the conductance of single organic molecules under illumination. Modifications to the scanning probe microscope are described as are the control and data analysis software for an experiment testing the single molecule conductance of an organic molecule under illumination. This instrument was then tested using a novel charge-separation molecule, which is being considered for its potential photovoltaic properties. The experiments showed that the instrumentation is capable of detecting differences in conductance upon laser illumination of the molecule on a transparent conductive surface. The third section describes measurements using the illuminated CAFM, as well as the design and construction of an illuminated mercury drop electrode apparatus. Both instruments were tested by attempting to observe photovoltaic behavior in a novel self-organized film of the charge-separation molecules mentioned in the previous paragraph. Results and calculations show that the conducting AFM is not a useful tool in the examination of these organic photovoltaics, while the mercury drop apparatus measured photovoltaic effects in the film. Although photovoltaic effects were measurable with the mercury drop electrode, it was found that the film exhibited very low photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2010