Matching Items (40)

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-11-21

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-01-27

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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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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Mechanics of cancer cells in 3D microenvironments

Description

Mechanical properties (e.g. deformability or stiffness) are critical to a cancer cell's ability to maneuver through and exert forces upon the extracellular matrix, and thus affect its ability to metastasize.

Mechanical properties (e.g. deformability or stiffness) are critical to a cancer cell's ability to maneuver through and exert forces upon the extracellular matrix, and thus affect its ability to metastasize. §3.1 introduces the experimental method combining atomic force microscope (AFM) based indentation and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). §3.2 presents a method combining AFM and confocal microscopy (AFM stiffness nanotomography), and results on normal and pre-cancerous esophageal cells which indicate that even in the earliest stages, cancer cells exhibit increased deformability. §3.3 presents experimental results on weakly metastatic breast cancer cells that compare well with values obtained from other experimental methods and demonstrates that the mechanical response of cells to sharp and mesoscale probes differ significantly. §3.4 presents experimental results indicating that metastatic breast cancer cells are more deformable than normal counterparts, and demonstrates that indentation measurements with sharp probes are capable of identifying mechanical differences between cytoplasmic, nuclear and nucleolar regions of the cell. §3.5 presents results on weakly metastatic breast cancer cells sensitive and resistant to tamoxifen (an estrogen antagonist), and demonstrate that estrogen has a significant effect on cell stiffness. §3.6 applies stiffness nanotomography to study metastatic breast cancer cells allowed to invade 3D collagen gels, demonstrating the ability to use AFM indentation on heterogeneous samples, and shows that cell stiffness increases during the invasion process for partially and fully embedded metastatic breast cancer cells.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Insulator based dielectrophoretic trapping of single mammalian cells

Description

This work demonstrated a novel microfluidic device based on direct current (DC) insulator based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) for trapping individual mammalian cells in a microfluidic device. The novel device is also

This work demonstrated a novel microfluidic device based on direct current (DC) insulator based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) for trapping individual mammalian cells in a microfluidic device. The novel device is also applicable for selective trapping of weakly metastatic mammalian breast cancer cells (MCF-7) from mixtures with mammalian Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) and highly metastatic mammalian breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231. The advantage of this approach is the ease of integration of iDEP structures in microfliudic channels using soft lithography, the use of DC electric fields, the addressability of the single cell traps for downstream analysis and the straightforward multiplexing for single cell trapping. These microfluidic devices are targeted for capturing of single cells based on their DEP behavior. The numerical simulations point out the trapping regions in which single cell DEP trapping occurs. This work also demonstrates the cell conductivity values of different cell types, calculated using the single-shell model. Low conductivity buffers are used for trapping experiments. These low conductivity buffers help reduce the Joule heating. Viability of the cells in the buffer system was studied in detail with a population size of approximately 100 cells for each study. The work also demonstrates the development of the parallelized single cell trap device with optimized traps. This device is also capable of being coupled detection of target protein using MALDI-MS.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Photoluminescence enhancement of Ge quantum dots by exploiting the localized surface plasmon of epitaxial Ag islands

Description

This dissertation presents research findings regarding the exploitation of localized surface plasmon (LSP) of epitaxial Ag islands as a means to enhance the photoluminescence (PL) of Germanium (Ge) quantum dots

This dissertation presents research findings regarding the exploitation of localized surface plasmon (LSP) of epitaxial Ag islands as a means to enhance the photoluminescence (PL) of Germanium (Ge) quantum dots (QDs). The first step of this project was to investigate the growth of Ag islands on Si(100). Two distinct families of Ag islands have been observed. “Big islands” are clearly faceted and have basal dimensions in the few hundred nm to μm range with a variety of basal shapes. “Small islands” are not clearly faceted and have basal diameters in the 10s of nm range. Big islands form via a nucleation and growth mechanism, and small islands form via precipitation of Ag contained in a planar layer between the big islands that is thicker than the Stranski-Krastanov layer existing at room-temperature.

The pseudodielectric functions of epitaxial Ag islands on Si(100) substrates were investigated with spectroscopic ellipsometry. Comparing the experimental pseudodielectric functions obtained for Si with and without Ag islands clearly identifies a plasmon mode with its dipole moment perpendicular to the surface. This observation is confirmed using a simulation based on the thin island film (TIF) theory. Another mode parallel to the surface may be identified by comparing the experimental pseudodielectric functions with the simulated ones from TIF theory. Additional results suggest that the LSP energy of Ag islands can be tuned from the ultra-violet to the infrared range by an amorphous Si (α-Si) cap layer.

Heterostructures were grown that incorporated Ge QDs, an epitaxial Si cap layer and Ag islands grown atop the Si cap layer. Optimum growth conditions for distinct Ge dot ensembles and Si cap layers were obtained. The density of Ag islands grown on the Si cap layer depends on its thickness. Factors contributing to this effect may include the average strain and Ge concentration on the surface of the Si cap layer.

The effects of the Ag LSP on the PL of Ge coherent domes were investigated for both α-Si capped and bare Ag islands. For samples with low-doped substrates, the LSPs reduce the Ge dot-related PL when the Si cap layer is below some critical thickness and have no effect on the PL when the Si cap layer is above the critical thickness. For samples grown on highly-doped wafers, the LSP of bare Ag islands enhanced the PL of Ge QDs by ~ 40%.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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The role of mutations in protein structural dynamics and function: a multi-scale computational approach

Description

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many diseases are not well understood. In this thesis, protein folding is explored using a multi-scale modeling method including (i) geometric constraint based simulations that efficiently search for native like topologies and (ii) reservoir replica exchange molecular dynamics, which identify the low free energy structures and refines these structures toward the native conformation. A test set of eight proteins and three ancestral steroid receptor proteins are folded to 2.7Å all-atom RMSD from their experimental crystal structures. Protein evolution and disease associated mutations (DAMs) are most commonly studied by in silico multiple sequence alignment methods. Here, however, the structural dynamics are incorporated to give insight into the evolution of three ancestral proteins and the mechanism of several diseases in human ferritin protein. The differences in conformational dynamics of these evolutionary related, functionally diverged ancestral steroid receptor proteins are investigated by obtaining the most collective motion through essential dynamics. Strikingly, this analysis shows that evolutionary diverged proteins of the same family do not share the same dynamic subspace. Rather, those sharing the same function are simultaneously clustered together and distant from those functionally diverged homologs. This dynamics analysis also identifies 77% of mutations (functional and permissive) necessary to evolve new function. In silico methods for prediction of DAMs rely on differences in evolution rate due to purifying selection and therefore the accuracy of DAM prediction decreases at fast and slow evolvable sites. Here, we investigate structural dynamics through computing the contribution of each residue to the biologically relevant fluctuations and from this define a metric: the dynamic stability index (DSI). Using DSI we study the mechanism for three diseases observed in the human ferritin protein. The T30I and R40G DAMs show a loss of dynamic stability at the C-terminus helix and nearby regulatory loop, agreeing with experimental results implicating the same regulatory loop as a cause in cataracts syndrome.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Path integral Monte Carlo simulations of quantum wires

Description

One dimensional (1D) and quasi-one dimensional quantum wires have been a subject of both theoretical and experimental interest since 1990s and before. Phenomena such as the "0.7 structure" in the

One dimensional (1D) and quasi-one dimensional quantum wires have been a subject of both theoretical and experimental interest since 1990s and before. Phenomena such as the "0.7 structure" in the conductance leave many open questions. In this dissertation, I study the properties and the internal electron states of semiconductor quantum wires with the path integral Monte Carlo (PIMC) method. PIMC is a tool for simulating many-body quantum systems at finite temperature. Its ability to calculate thermodynamic properties and various correlation functions makes it an ideal tool in bridging experiments with theories. A general study of the features interpreted by the Luttinger liquid theory and observed in experiments is first presented, showing the need for new PIMC calculations in this field. I calculate the DC conductance at finite temperature for both noninteracting and interacting electrons. The quantized conductance is identified in PIMC simulations without making the same approximation in the Luttinger model. The low electron density regime is subject to strong interactions, since the kinetic energy decreases faster than the Coulomb interaction at low density. An electron state called the Wigner crystal has been proposed in this regime for quasi-1D wires. By using PIMC, I observe the zig-zag structure of the Wigner crystal. The quantum fluctuations suppress the long range correla- tions, making the order short-ranged. Spin correlations are calculated and used to evaluate the spin coupling strength in a zig-zag state. I also find that as the density increases, electrons undergo a structural phase transition to a dimer state, in which two electrons of opposite spins are coupled across the two rows of the zig-zag. A phase diagram is sketched for a range of densities and transverse confinements. The quantum point contact (QPC) is a typical realization of quantum wires. I study the QPC by explicitly simulating a system of electrons in and around a Timp potential (Timp, 1992). Localization of a single electron in the middle of the channel is observed at 5 K, as the split gate voltage increases. The DC conductance is calculated, which shows the effect of the Coulomb interaction. At 1 K and low electron density, a state similar to the Wigner crystal is found inside the channel.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012