Quantitative Biology - Biomolecules Publications (50)

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Quantitative Biology - Biomolecules Publications

Controlling the self-assembly of supramolecular structures is vital for living cells, and a central challenge for engineering at the nano- and microscales. Nevertheless, even particles without optimized shapes can robustly form well-defined morphologies. This is the case in numerous medical conditions where normally soluble proteins aggregate into fibers. Read More


Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a binding protein that regulates availability of steroids hormones in the plasma. Although best known as steroid carrier, studies have associated SHBG in modulating behavioral aspects related to sexual receptivity. Among steroids, estradiol (17\b{eta}-estradiol, oestradiol or E2) is well recognized as the most active endogenous female hormone, exerting important roles in reproductive and nonreproductive functions. Read More


We study here global and local entanglements of open protein chains by implementing the concept of knotoids. Knotoids have been introduced in 2012 by Vladimir Turaev as a generalization of knots in 3-dimensional space. More precisely, knotoids are diagrams representing projections of open curves in 3D space, in contrast to knot diagrams which represent projections of closed curves in 3D space. Read More


Proteins perform their functions usually by interacting with other proteins. Predicting which proteins interact is a fundamental problem. Experimental methods are slow, expensive, and have a high rate of error. Read More


Neurotransmitter receptor molecules, concentrated in synaptic membrane domains along with scaffolds and other kinds of proteins, are crucial for signal transmission across chemical synapses. In common with other membrane protein domains, synaptic domains are characterized by low protein copy numbers and protein crowding, with rapid stochastic turnover of individual molecules. We study here in detail a stochastic lattice model of the receptor-scaffold reaction-diffusion dynamics at synaptic domains that was found previously to capture, at the mean-field level, the self-assembly, stability, and characteristic size of synaptic domains observed in experiments. Read More


At 49 C erythrocytes undergo morphological changes due to an internal force, but the origin of the force that drives changes is not clear. Here we point out that our recent experiments on thermally induced force-release in hemoglobin can provide an explanation for the morphological changes of erythrocytes. Read More


A mathematico-physically valid formulation is required to infer properties of disordered protein conformations from single-molecule F\"orster resonance energy transfer (smFRET). Conformational dimensions inferred by conventional approaches that presume a homogeneous conformational ensemble can be unphysical. When all possible---heterogeneous as well as homogeneous---conformational distributions are taken into account without prejudgement, a single value of average transfer efficiency $\langle E\rangle$ between dyes at two chain ends is generally consistent with highly diverse, multiple values of the average radius of gyration $\langle R_{\rm g}\rangle$. Read More


The extension of DNA during confinement in a nanochannel has attracted substantial attention for next-generation genomics and as a fundamental problem in polymer physics. But recent experiments measuring DNA extension in nanochannels are at odds with even the most basic predictions of current scaling arguments for the conformations of confined semiflexible polymers such as DNA. We posit that this discrepancy arises because the experimental systems do not satisfy the strong inequalities underlying existing scaling approximations. Read More


The potential number of drug like small molecules is estimated to be between 10^23 and 10^60 while current databases of known compounds are orders of magnitude smaller with approximately 10^8 compounds. This discrepancy has led to an interest in generating virtual libraries using hand crafted chemical rules and fragment based methods to cover a larger area of chemical space and generate chemical libraries for use in in silico drug discovery endeavors. Here it is explored to what extent a recurrent neural network with long short term memory cells can figure out sensible chemical rules and generate synthesizable molecules by being trained on existing compounds encoded as SMILES. Read More


Hfq is a bacterial protein that is involved in several aspects of nucleic acids metabolism. It has been described as one of the nucleoid associated proteins shaping the bacterial chromosome, although it is better known to influence translation and turnover of cellular RNAs. Here, we explore the role of Escherichia coli Hfq C-terminal domain in the compaction of double stranded DNA. Read More


Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations allow the exploration of the phase space of biopolymers through the integration of equations of motion of their constituent atoms. The analysis of MD trajectories often relies on the choice of collective variables (CVs) along which the dynamics of the system is projected. We developed a graphical user interface (GUI) for facilitating the interactive choice of the appropriate CVs. Read More


The spreading and regulation of epigenetic marks on chromosomes is crucial to establish and maintain cellular identity. Nonetheless, the dynamical mechanism leading to the establishment and maintenance of a given, cell-line specific, epigenetic pattern is still poorly understood. In this work we propose, and investigate in silico, a possible experimental strategy to illuminate the interplay between 3D chromatin structure and epigenetic dynamics. Read More


We introduce a powerful iterative algorithm to compute protein folding pathways, with realistic all-atom force fields. Using the path integral formalism, we explicitly derive a modified Langevin equation which samples directly the ensemble of reactive pathways, exponentially reducing the cost of simulating thermally activated transitions. The algorithm also yields a rigorous stochastic estimate of the reaction coordinate. Read More


We have earlier reported the MOLSDOCK technique to perform rigid receptor/flexible ligand docking. The method uses the MOLS method, developed in our laboratory. In this paper we report iMOLSDOCK, the 'flexible receptor' extension we have carried out to the algorithm MOLSDOCK. Read More


The correct prediction of protein secondary structures is one of the key issues in predicting the correct protein folded shape, which is used for determining gene function. Existing methods make use of amino acids properties as indices to classify protein secondary structures, but are faced with a significant number of misclassifications. The paper presents a technique for the classification of protein secondary structures based on protein "signal-plotting" and the use of the Fourier technique for digital signal processing. Read More


Since there is now a growing wish by referees to judge the underpinning data for a submitted article it is timely to provide a summary of the data evaluation checks required to be done by a referee. As these checks will vary from field to field this article focuses on the needs of biological X-ray crystallography articles, which is the predominantly used method leading to depositions in the PDB. The expected referee checks of data underpinning an article are described with examples. Read More


Proposal to develop an Improved immunological assay employing primary IgG antibodies and secondary IgM antibodies labeled with quantum dots to amplify antigen detection. Read More


Using atomic force microscopy (AFM) we investigated the interaction of amyloid beta (Ab) (1 42) peptide with chemically modified surfaces in order to better understand the mechanism of amyloid toxicity, which involves interaction of amyloid with cell membrane surfaces. We compared the structure and density of Ab fibrils on positively and negatively charged as well as hydrophobic chemically modified surfaces at physiologically relevant conditions. Read More


Metal ions, including copper and zinc, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimers disease through a variety of mechanisms including increased amyloid \b{eta} affinity and redox effects. Recent reports have demonstrated that the amyloid \b{eta} monomer does not necessarily travel through a definitive intermediary en-route to a stable amyloid fibril structure. Rather, amyloid \b{eta} misfolding may follow a variety of pathways resulting in a fibrillar end-product or a variety of oligomeric end-products with a diversity of structures and sizes. Read More


The missing phase problem in X-ray crystallography is commonly solved using the technique of molecular replacement, which borrows phases from a previously solved homologous structure, and appends them to the measured Fourier magnitudes of the diffraction patterns of the unknown structure. More recently, molecular replacement has been proposed for solving the missing orthogonal matrices problem arising in Kam's autocorrelation analysis for single particle reconstruction using X-ray free electron lasers and cryo-EM. In classical molecular replacement, it is common to estimate the magnitudes of the unknown structure as twice the measured magnitudes minus the magnitudes of the homologous structure, a procedure known as `twicing'. Read More


We present a method of detecting sequence defects by supercoiling DNA with magnetic tweezers. The method is sensitive to a single mismatched base pair in a DNA sequence of several thousand base pairs. We systematically compare DNA molecules with 0 to 16 adjacent mismatches at 1 M monovalent salt and 3. Read More


Computational prediction of membrane protein (MP) structures is very challenging partially due to lack of sufficient solved structures for homology modeling. Recently direct evolutionary coupling analysis (DCA) sheds some light on protein contact prediction and accordingly, contact-assisted folding, but DCA is effective only on some very large-sized families since it uses information only in a single protein family. This paper presents a deep transfer learning method that can significantly improve MP contact prediction by learning contact patterns and complex sequence-contact relationship from thousands of non-membrane proteins (non-MPs). Read More


This paper considers a broadly biologically relevant question of a chain (such as a protein) binding to a sequence of receptors with matching multiple ligands distributed along the chain. This binding is critical in cell adhesion events, and in protein self-assembly. Using a mean field approximation of polymer dynamics, we first calculate the characteristic binding time for a tethered ligand reaching for a specific binding site on the surface. Read More


The ionic environment of biomolecules strongly influences their structure, conformational stability, and inter-molecular interactions.This paper introduces GIBS, a grand-canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) simulation program for computing the thermodynamic properties of ion solutions and their distributions around biomolecules. This software implements algorithms that automate the excess chemical potential calculations for a given target salt concentration. Read More


Molecular motors are nonequilibrium open systems that convert chemical energy to mechanical work. Here we investigate the nonequilibrium energetics of a single molecule kinesin by measuring the motion of an attached probe particle and its response to external forces with optical tweezers. The sum of the heat dissipation estimated from the violation of the fluctuation-response relation and the output power was inconsistent with the input free energy rate, implying that internal dissipation is dominant. Read More


In this conceptual paper we propose to explore the analogy between ontic/epistemic description of quantum phenomena and interrelation between dynamics of conformational and functional states of proteins. Another new idea is to apply theory of automata to model the latter dynamics. In our model protein's behavior is modeled with the aid of two dynamical systems, ontic and epistemic, which describe evolution of conformational and functional states of proteins, respectively. Read More


Predicting the biological function of molecules, be it proteins or drug-like compounds, from their atomic structure is an important and long-standing problem. Function is dictated by structure, since it is by spatial interactions that molecules interact with each other, both in terms of steric complementarity, as well as intermolecular forces. Thus, the electron density field and electrostatic potential field of a molecule contain the "raw fingerprint" of how this molecule can fit to binding partners. Read More


Polysaccharides (carbohydrates) are key regulators of a large number of cell biological processes. However, precise biochemical or genetic manipulation of these often complex structures is laborious and hampers experimental structure-function studies. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations provide a valuable alternative tool to generate and test hypotheses on saccharide function. Read More


Multiplex and multi-directional control of metabolic pathways is crucial for metabolic engineering to improve product yield of fuels, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. To achieve this goal, artificial transcriptional regulators such as CRISPR-based transcription regulators have been developed to specifically activate or repress genes of interest. Here, we found that by deploying guide RNAs to target on DNA sites at different locations of genetic cassettes, we could use just one synthetic CRISPR-based transcriptional regulator to simultaneously activate and repress gene expressions. Read More


Many enhanced sampling methods, such as Umbrella Sampling, Metadynamics or Variationally Enhanced Sampling, rely on the identification of appropriate collective variables. For proteins, even small ones, finding appropriate collective variables has proven challenging. Here we suggest that the NMR $S^2$ order parameter can be used to this effect. Read More


Transcription is regulated through binding factors to gene promoters to activate or repress expression, however, the mechanisms by which factors find targets remain unclear. Using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, we determined in vivo stoichiometry and spatiotemporal dynamics of a GFP tagged repressor, Mig1, from a paradigm signaling pathway of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We find the repressor operates in clusters, which upon extracellular signal detection, translocate from the cytoplasm, bind to nuclear targets and turnover. Read More


Single-molecule FRET is widely used to study helicases by detecting distance changes between a fluorescent donor and an acceptor anchored to overhangs of a forked DNA duplex. However, it has lacked single-base pair (1-bp) resolution required for revealing stepping dynamics in unwinding because FRET signals are usually blurred by thermal fluctuations of the overhangs. We designed a nanotensioner in which a short DNA is bent to exert a force on the overhangs, just as in optical/magnetic tweezers. Read More


A free energy landscape estimation-method based on Bayesian inference is presented and used for comparing the efficiency of thermally enhanced sampling methods with respect to regular molecular dynamics, where the simulations are carried out on two binding states of calmodulin. The proposed free energy estimation method (the GM method) is compared to other estimators using a toy model showing that the GM method provides a robust estimate not subject to overfitting. The continuous nature of the GM method, as well as predictive inference on the number of basis functions, provide better estimates on sparse data. Read More


Protein-ligand binding is a fundamental biological process that is paramount to many other biological processes, such as signal transduction, metabolic pathways, enzyme construction, cell secretion, gene expression, etc. Accurate prediction of protein-ligand binding affinities is vital to rational drug design and the understanding of protein-ligand binding and binding induced function. Existing binding affinity prediction methods are inundated with geometric detail and involve excessively high dimensions, which undermines their predictive power for massive binding data. Read More


Recent experiments and simulations have demonstrated that proteins can fold on the ribosome, but the importance of co-translational folding for the fitness of an organism remains an open question. Here we report a genome-wide analysis that uncovers evidence of evolutionary selection for co-translational folding. We describe a robust statistical approach to identify conserved loci within genes that are significantly enriched in slowly translated codons. Read More


Protein-ligand binding is essential to almost all life processes. The understanding of protein-ligand interactions is fundamentally important to rational drug design and protein design. Based on large scale data sets, we show that protein rigidity strengthening or flexibility reduction is a pivoting mechanism in protein-ligand binding. Read More


Artificial neural networks (ANNs) have gained a well-deserved popularity among machine learning tools upon their recent successful applications in image- and sound processing and classification problems. ANNs have also been applied for predicting the family or function of a protein, knowing its residue sequence. Here we present two new ANNs with multi-label classification ability, showing impressive accuracy when classifying protein sequences into 698 UniProt families (AUC=99. Read More


Thermodynamic bulk measurements of binding reactions critically rely on the validity of the law of mass action and the assumption of a dilute solution. Yet important biological systems such as allosteric ligand-receptor binding, macromolecular crowding, or misfolded molecules may not follow this fundamental law and require a particular reaction model. Here we introduce a fluctuation theorem for ligand binding and an experimental approach using single-molecule force-spectroscopy to determine binding energies, selectivity and allostery of nucleic acids, proteins and peptides in a model-independent fashion. Read More


The Poland-Scheraga model for DNA denaturation, besides playing a central role in applications, has been widely studied in the physical and mathematical literature over the past decades. More recently a natural generalization has been introduced in the biophysics literature to overcome the limits of the original model, namely to allow an excess of bases -- i.e. Read More


Collapsin response mediator protein CRMP2 (gene: DPYSL2) is crucial for neuronal development. The homotetrameric CRMP2 complex is regulated via two mechanisms, first by phosphorylation at, and second by reduction and oxidation of the Cys504 residues of two adjacent subunits. Here, we analyzed the effects of this redox switch on the protein in vitro combined with force field molecular dynamics (MD). Read More


Electrostatic interactions play an important role in the structure and function of proteins. Due to ionizable amino acid residues present on the solvent-exposed surfaces of proteins, the charge on the proteins is not constant but varies with the changes in their environment -- most notably, the pH of the surrounding solution. We study the effects of pH on the charge of four globular proteins by expanding their surface charge distributions in terms of multipoles. Read More


Because of the limitations of classical silicon based computational technology, several alternatives to traditional method in form of unconventional computing have been proposed. In this paper we will focus on DNA computing which is showing the possibility of excellence for its massive parallelism, potential for information storage, speed and energy efficiency. In this paper we will describe how syllogistic reasoning by DNA tweezers can be presented by the semantics of process calculus and DNA strand graph. Read More


Deciphering the links between amino acid sequence and amyloid fibril formation is key for understanding protein misfolding diseases. Here we use Monte Carlo simulations to study aggregation of short peptides in a coarse-grained model with hydrophobic-polar (HP) amino acid sequences and correlated side chain orientations for hydrophobic contacts. A significant heterogeneity is observed in the aggregate structures and in the thermodynamics of aggregation for systems of different HP sequences and different number of peptides. Read More


Essentially all biology is active and dynamic. Biological entities autonomously sense, com- pute, and respond using energy-coupled ratchets that can produce force and do work. The cytoskeleton, along with its associated proteins and motors, is a canonical example of biological active matter, which is responsible for cargo transport, cell motility, division, and morphol- ogy. Read More


There is a long-standing experimental observation that the melting of topologically constrained DNA, such as circular-closed plasmids, is less abrupt than that of linear molecules. This finding points to an intriguing role of topology in the physics of DNA denaturation, which is however poorly understood. Here, we shed light on this issue by combining large-scale Brownian Dynamics simulations with an analytically solvable phenomenological Landau mean field theory. Read More


We used a microfluidic platform to address the problems of obtaining diffraction quality crystals and crystal handling during transfer to the X-ray diffractometer. We optimize crystallization conditions of a pharmaceutical protein and collect X-ray data both in situ and ex situ. Read More


Herein (the first part of my work), I debunk the long-standing hypotheses that explain mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Simple calculations point out that mitochondria are highly proton-deficient microcosms and therefore, elaborate proton pump machinery are not tenable. Further, other elements like the elaborate electron transport chain, chemiosmosis, rotary ATP synthesis, etc. Read More


Ribbons are topological objects of biological and technological importance. Here, we study the folding of thick ribbons with hydrophobic surfaces in a bad solvent in regimes in which either the ribbon's thickness or the solvent molecule size is not vanishingly small compared to the ribbon's width. Extensive Monte Carlo simulations show that ribbons of various lengths and with a small stiffness adopt several distinct configurations as the ground state that include rolled (Archimedean spiral), curled, twisted and globule conformations. Read More


We discuss the gauge field theory approach to protein structure study, which allows a natural way to introduce collective degrees of freedom and nonlinear topological structures. Local symmetry of proteins and its breaking in the medium is considered, what allows to derive Abelian Higgs model of protein backbone, correct folding of which is defined by gauge symmetry breaking due hydrophobic forces. Within this model structure of protein backbone is defined by superposition of one-dimensional topological solitons (kinks), what allows to reproduce the three-dimensional structure of the protein backbone with precision up to 1A and to predict its dynamics. Read More


Natural protein sequences contain a record of their history. A common constraint in a given protein family is the ability to fold to specific structures, and it has been shown possible to infer the main native ensemble by analyzing covariations in extant sequences. Still, many natural proteins that fold into the same structural topology show different stabilization energies, and these are often related to their physiological behavior. Read More