Matching Items (43)

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Atomic Force Microscopy Imaging of Chromatin in Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Esophageal Cells

Description

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study structural differences in the chromatin of cancerous (CP-D) and non-cancerous (EPC2) cell lines. Chromatin samples were extracted using a salt fractionation protocol and subject to Mnase digestion for 2, 4, 8,

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study structural differences in the chromatin of cancerous (CP-D) and non-cancerous (EPC2) cell lines. Chromatin samples were extracted using a salt fractionation protocol and subject to Mnase digestion for 2, 4, 8, and 16 minutes. Samples were then immobilized on APTES-functionalized mica sheets. Images were produced using the tapping mode capabilities of the AFM and structural differences between cell lines were quantified using image processing software. Vast differences in chromatin structure were observed between cancerous and non-cancerous cell lines and it was discovered that CP-D chromatin is present as scattered nucleosomes and nucleosome aggregates while EPC2 chromatin is present in intricate arrays. It was also observed that in both the CP-D and EPC2 cell lines, nucleosomes were more isolated and less apparent at longer Mnase digestion times. These findings lead to the conclusion that as the DNA becomes sufficiently digested, chromatin and nucleosomal arrays begin to deteriorate and lose their complex and elaborate structure.

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2019-05

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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 dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a

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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2018-05

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Correlating Confocal Microscopy and Atomic Force Indentation Reveals Metastatic Cancer Cells Stiffen During Invasion Into Collagen I Matrices

Description

Mechanical interactions between cells and their microenvironment dictate cell phenotype and behavior, calling for cell mechanics measurements in three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices (ECM). Here we describe a novel technique for quantitative mechanical characterization of soft, heterogeneous samples in 3D. The

Mechanical interactions between cells and their microenvironment dictate cell phenotype and behavior, calling for cell mechanics measurements in three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices (ECM). Here we describe a novel technique for quantitative mechanical characterization of soft, heterogeneous samples in 3D. The technique is based on the integration of atomic force microscopy (AFM) based deep indentation, confocal fluorescence microscopy, finite element (FE) simulations and analytical modeling. With this method, the force response of a cell embedded in 3D ECM can be decoupled from that of its surroundings, enabling quantitative determination of the elastic properties of both the cell and the matrix. We applied the technique to the quantification of the elastic properties of metastatic breast adenocarcinoma cells invading into collagen hydrogels. We found that actively invading and fully embedded cells are significantly stiffer than cells remaining on top of the collagen, a clear example of phenotypical change in response to the 3D environment. Treatment with Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) inhibitor significantly reduces this stiffening, indicating that actomyosin contractility plays a major role in the initial steps of metastatic invasion.

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2016-01-27

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HDL Particles Incorporate Into Lipid Bilayers – A Combined AFM and Single Molecule Fluorescence Microscopy Study

Description

The process, how lipids are removed from the circulation and transferred from high density lipoprotein (HDL) – a main carrier of cholesterol in the blood stream – to cells, is highly complex. HDL particles are captured from the blood stream

The process, how lipids are removed from the circulation and transferred from high density lipoprotein (HDL) – a main carrier of cholesterol in the blood stream – to cells, is highly complex. HDL particles are captured from the blood stream by the scavenger receptor, class B, type I (SR-BI), the so-called HDL receptor. The details in subsequent lipid-transfer process, however, have not yet been completely understood. The transfer has been proposed to occur directly at the cell surface across an unstirred water layer, via a hydrophobic channel in the receptor, or after HDL endocytosis. The role of the target lipid membrane for the transfer process, however, has largely been overlooked. Here, we studied at the single molecule level how HDL particles interact with synthetic lipid membranes. Using (high-speed) atomic force microscopy and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) we found out that, upon contact with the membrane, HDL becomes integrated into the lipid bilayer. Combined force and single molecule fluorescence microscopy allowed us to directly monitor the transfer process of fluorescently labelled amphiphilic lipid probe from HDL particles to the lipid bilayer upon contact.

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Date Created
2017-11-21

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Combined AFM and Fluorescence Measurements for the Investigation of Nanophotonic Effects on Single Fluorophores

Description

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy to conduct biological and materials research. This

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy to conduct biological and materials research. This method is used to investigate nanophotonic effects on single fluorophores, including quantum dots and fluorescent molecules. For single fluorescent molecules, we investigate the effects of quenching of fluorescence with the probe of an atomic force microscope which is combined and synchronized with a confocal fluorescence lifetime microscope. For quantum dots, we investigate the correlation between the topographic and fluorescence data. With this method of combining an atomic force microscope with a confocal microscope, it is anticipated that there will be applications in nanomaterial characterization and life sciences; such as the determination of the structure of small molecular systems on surfaces, molecular interactions, as well as the structure and properties of fluorescent nanomaterials.

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Date Created
2013-05

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Interactions driving the collapse of islet amyloid polypeptide: implications for amyloid aggregation

Description

Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes.

Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes. To date, not much is known about the monomeric state of hIAPP or how it undergoes an irreversible transformation from disordered peptide to insoluble aggregate. IAPP contains a highly conserved disulfide bond that restricts hIAPP(1-8) into a short ring-like structure: N_loop. Removal or chemical reduction of N_loop not only prevents cell response upon binding to the CGRP receptor, but also alters the mass per length distribution of hIAPP fibers and the kinetics of fibril formation. The mechanism by which N_loop affects hIAPP aggregation is not yet understood, but is important for rationalizing kinetics and developing potential inhibitors. By measuring end-to-end contact formation rates, Vaiana et al. showed that N_loop induces collapsed states in IAPP monomers, implying attractive interactions between N_loop and other regions of the disordered polypeptide chain . We show that in addition to being involved in intra-protein interactions, the N_loop is involved in inter-protein interactions, which lead to the formation of extremely long and stable β-turn fibers. These non-amyloid fibers are present in the 10 μM concentration range, under the same solution conditions in which hIAPP forms amyloid fibers. We discuss the effect of peptide cyclization on both intra- and inter-protein interactions, and its possible implications for aggregation. Our findings indicate a potential role of N_loop-N_loop interactions in hIAPP aggregation, which has not previously been explored. Though our findings suggest that N_loop plays an important role in the pathway of amyloid formation, other naturally occurring IAPP variants that contain this structural feature are incapable of forming amyloids. For example, hIAPP readily forms amyloid fibrils in vitro, whereas the rat variant (rIAPP), differing by six amino acids, does not. In addition to being highly soluble, rIAPP is an effective inhibitor of hIAPP fibril formation . Both of these properties have been attributed to rIAPP's three proline residues: A25P, S28P and S29P. Single proline mutants of hIAPP have also been shown to kinetically inhibit hIAPP fibril formation. Because of their intrinsic dihedral angle preferences, prolines are expected to affect conformational ensembles of intrinsically disordered proteins. The specific effect of proline substitutions on IAPP structure and dynamics has not yet been explored, as the detection of such properties is experimentally challenging due to the low molecular weight, fast reconfiguration times, and very low solubility of IAPP peptides. High-resolution techniques able to measure tertiary contact formations are needed to address this issue. We employ a nanosecond laser spectroscopy technique to measure end-to-end contact formation rates in IAPP mutants. We explore the proline substitutions in IAPP and quantify their effects in terms of intrinsic chain stiffness. We find that the three proline mutations found in rIAPP increase chain stiffness. Interestingly, we also find that residue R18 plays an important role in rIAPP's unique chain stiffness and, together with the proline residues, is a determinant for its non-amyloidogenic properties. We discuss the implications of our findings on the role of prolines in IDPs.

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Date Created
2013

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AFM study of gene silencing by DNA methylation and its interactions involving chromatin and methyl CpG binding proteins

Description

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression.

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression. We present a study comparing methylated DNA and normal DNA wrt its persistence length and contour length. Although, previous experiments and studies show no difference between the physical properties of the two, the data collected and interpreted here gives a different picture to the methylation phenomena and its effect on gene silencing. The study was extended to the artificially reconstituted chromatin and its interactions with the methyl CpG binding proteins were also probed.

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Date Created
2012

Engineering a three dimensional micropatterned tumor model for breast cancer cell migration studies

Description

Breast cancer cell invasion is a highly orchestrated process driven by a myriad of complex microenvironmental stimuli. These complexities make it difficult to isolate and assess the effects of specific parameters including matrix stiffness and tumor architecture on disease progression.

Breast cancer cell invasion is a highly orchestrated process driven by a myriad of complex microenvironmental stimuli. These complexities make it difficult to isolate and assess the effects of specific parameters including matrix stiffness and tumor architecture on disease progression. In this regard, morphologically accurate tumor models are becoming instrumental to perform fundamental studies on cancer cell invasion within well-controlled conditions. In this study, the use of photocrosslinkable hydrogels and a novel, two-step photolithography technique was explored to microengineer a 3D breast tumor model. The microfabrication process presented herein enabled precise localization of the cells and creation of high stiffness constructs adjacent to a low stiffness matrix. To validate the model, breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231, MCF7) and normal mammary epithelial cells (MCF10A) were embedded separately within the tumor model and cellular proliferation, migration and cytoskeletal organization were assessed. Proliferation of metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells was significantly higher than tumorigenic MCF7 and normal mammary MCF10A cells. MDA-MB-231 exhibited highly migratory behavior and invaded the surrounding matrix, whereas MCF7 or MCF10A cells formed clusters that were confined within the micropatterned circular features. F-actin staining revealed unique 3D protrusions in MDA-MB-231 cells as they migrated throughout the surrounding matrix. Alternatively, there were abundance of 3D clusters formed by MCF7 and MCF10A cells. The results revealed that gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel, integrated with the two-step photolithography technique, has great promise in creating 3D tumor models with well-defined features and tunable stiffness for detailed studies on cancer cell invasion and drug responsiveness.

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Date Created
2015

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DNA sequencing by recognition tunnelling

Description

Single molecules in a tunnel junction can now be interrogated reliably using chemically-functionalized electrodes. Monitoring stochastic bonding fluctuations between a ligand bound to one electrode and its target bound to a second electrode ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration) gives insight into the

Single molecules in a tunnel junction can now be interrogated reliably using chemically-functionalized electrodes. Monitoring stochastic bonding fluctuations between a ligand bound to one electrode and its target bound to a second electrode ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration) gives insight into the nature of the intermolecular bonding at a single molecule-pair level, and defines the requirements for reproducible tunneling data. Importantly, at large tunnel gaps, there exists a regime for many molecules in which the tunneling is influenced more by the chemical identity of the molecules than by variability in the molecule-metal contact. Functionalizing a pair of electrodes with recognition reagents (the "free analyte" configuration) can generate a distinct tunneling signal when an analyte molecule is trapped in the gap. This opens up a new interface between chemistry and electronics with immediate implications for rapid sequencing of single DNA molecules.

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2012

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Reconstruction methods In free electron laser X-ray diffraction

Description

One of the most important issues in femtosecond free electron laser X-ray diraction is to reconstruct the 3D charge density of molecule from a mass of diraction snapshots. In order to determine the orientation of single molecule from diraction patterns,

One of the most important issues in femtosecond free electron laser X-ray diraction is to reconstruct the 3D charge density of molecule from a mass of diraction snapshots. In order to determine the orientation of single molecule from diraction patterns, we rst determine the moments and products of inertia of this from 2D experiment data (diraction patterns or EM images to obtain the elements of the inertia tensor. If diraction patterns from uniformly random orientations or some preferred orientations are collected, the principal axes of the molecule can be extracted, together with the Euler angles which relate the principal axes of the molecule to the laboratory frame axes. This is achieved by nding the maximum and minimum values for the measured moments from many single-molecule patterns. Simulations for GroEL protein indicates that the calculation of the autocorrelation help eliminate the Poisson noise in Cryo- EM images and can make correct orientation determination. The eect of water jacket surrounding the protein molecule is studied based on molecular dynamics simulation result. The intensities from water and interference is found to suppress those from protein itself. A method is proposed and applied to the simulation data to show the possibility for it to overcome the water background problem. The scattering between Bragg re ections from nanocrystals is used to aid solution of the phase problem. We describe a method for reconstructing the charge density of a typical molecule within a single unit cell, if suciently nely-sampled diraction data are available from many nanocrystals of dierent sizes lying in the same orientations without knowledge of the distribution of particle size or requiring atomic-resolution data. Triple correlation of the diraction patterns are made use of to reconiii

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Date Created
2011