Quantitative Biology - Biomolecules Publications (50)


Quantitative Biology - Biomolecules Publications

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

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

Native horse mucus is characterized with micro- and macrorheology and compared to hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) gel as a model. Both systems show comparable viscoelastic properties on the microscale and for the HEC the macrorheology is in good agreement with the microrheology. For the mucus, the viscoelastic moduli on the macroscale are several orders of magnitude larger than on the microscale. Read More

Liquid-liquid phase separation of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) is a major undergirding factor in the regulated formation of membraneless organelles in the cell. The phase behavior of an IDP is sensitive to its amino acid sequence. Here we apply a recent random-phase-approximation polymer theory to investigate how the tendency for multiple chains of a protein to phase separate, as characterized by the critical temperature $T^*_{\rm cr}$, is related to the protein's single-chain average radius of gyration $\langle R_{\rm g} \rangle$. Read More

It is well-established that many physical properties of DNA at sufficiently long length scales can be understood by means of simple polymer models. One of the most widely used elasticity models for DNA is the twistable worm-like chain (TWLC), which describes the double helix as a continuous elastic rod with bending and torsional stiffness. An extension of the TWLC, which has recently received some attention, is the model by Marko and Siggia, who introduced an additional twist-bend coupling, expected to arise from the groove asymmetry. Read More

Background: It is necessary and essential to discovery protein function from the novel primary sequences. Wet lab experimental procedures are not only time-consuming, but also costly, so predicting protein structure and function reliably based only on amino acid sequence has significant value. TATA-binding protein (TBP) is a kind of DNA binding protein, which plays a key role in the transcription regulation. Read More

Many of the most important processes in cells take place on and across membranes. With the rise of an impressive array of powerful quantitative methods for characterizing these membranes, it is an opportune time to reflect on the structure and function of membranes from the point of view of biological numeracy. To that end, in this article, I review the quantitative parameters that characterize the mechanical, electrical and transport properties of membranes and carry out a number of corresponding order of magnitude estimates that help us understand the values of those parameters. Read More

Proteins have evolved to perform diverse cellular functions, from serving as reaction catalysts to coordinating cellular propagation and development. Frequently, proteins do not exert their full potential as monomers but rather undergo concerted interactions as either homo-oligomers or with other proteins as hetero-oligomers. The experimental study of such protein complexes and interactions has been arduous. Read More

In the course of evolution, proteins undergo important changes in their amino acid sequences, while their three-dimensional folded structure and their biological function remain remarkably conserved. Thanks to modern sequencing techniques, sequence data accumulate at unprecedented pace. This provides large sets of so-called homologous, i. Read More

The role of proton tunneling in biological catalysis remains an open question usually addressed with the tools of biochemistry. Here, we map the proton motion in a hydrogen-bonded system into a problem of pseudo-spins to allow us to approach the problem using quantum information theory and thermodynamics. We investigate the dynamics of the quantum correlations generated through two hydrogen bonds between a prototypical enzyme and a substrate, and discuss the possibility of utilizing these correlations as a resource in the catalytic power of the enzyme. Read More

Allosteric effects are often underlying the activity of proteins and elucidating generic design aspects and functional principles which are unique to allosteric phenomena represents a major challenge. Here an approach which consists in the in silico design of synthetic structures which, as the principal element of allostery, encode dynamical long-range coupling among two sites is presented. The structures are represented by elastic networks, similar to coarse-grained models of real proteins. Read More

Using state-of-the-art techniques combining imaging methods and high-throughput genomic mapping tools leaded to the significant progress in detailing chromosome architecture of various organisms. However, a gap still remains between the rapidly growing structural data on the chromosome folding and the large-scale genome organization. Could a part of information on the chromosome folding be obtained directly from underlying genomic DNA sequences abundantly stored in the databanks? To answer this question, we developed an original discrete double Fourier transform (DDFT). Read More

The key finding in the DNA double helix model is the specific pairing or binding between nucleotides A-T and C-G, and the pairing rules are the molecule basis of genetic code. Unfortunately, no such rules have been discovered for proteins. Here we show that similar rules and intrinsic sequence patterns between intra-protein binding peptide fragments do exist, and they can be extracted using a deep learning algorithm. Read More

Cytosine methylation has been found to play a crucial role in various biological processes, including a number of human diseases. The detection of this small modification remains challenging. In this work, we computationally explore the possibility of detecting methylated DNA strands through direct electrical conductance measurements. Read More

We review the status of protein-based molecular electronics. First we discuss fundamental concepts of electron transfer and transport in and across proteins and proposed mechanisms for these processes. We then describe the immobilization of proteins to solid-state surfaces in both nanoscale and macroscopic approaches, and highlight how different methodologies can alter protein electronic properties. Read More

Recently developed deep learning techniques have significantly improved the accuracy of various speech and image recognition systems. In this paper we show how to adapt some of these techniques to create a novel chained convolutional architecture with next-step conditioning for improving performance on protein sequence prediction problems. We explore its value by demonstrating its ability to improve performance on eight-class secondary structure prediction. Read More

PHAST is a software package written in standard Fortran, with MPI and CUDA extensions, able to efficiently perform parallel multicanonical Monte Carlo simulations of single or multiple heteropolymeric chains, as coarse-grained models for proteins. The outcome data can be straightforwardly analyzed within its microcanonical Statistical Thermodynamics module, which allows for computing the entropy, caloric curve, specific heat and free energies. As a case study, we investigate the aggregation of heteropolymers bioinspired on $A\beta_{25-33}$ fragments and their cross-seeding with $IAPP_{20-29}$ isoforms. Read More

The 70 kDa Heat Shock Proteins Hsp70 have several essential functions in living systems, such as protecting proteins against protein aggregation, assisting protein folding, remodeling protein complexes and driving the translocation into organelles. These functions require high affinity for non-specific amino-acid sequences that are ubiquitous in proteins. It has been recently shown that this high affinity, called ultra-affinity, depends on a process driven out of equilibrium by ATP hydrolysis. Read More

Emergence of antibiotic resistance due to New Delhi Metallo $\beta$-lactamase (NDM-1) bacterial enzymes is of great concern due to their ability to hydrolyze wide range of antibiotics. Efforts are ongoing to obtain the atomistic details of the hydrolysis mechanism in order to develop novel drugs and inhibitors against NDM-1. Especially, it remains elusive how drug molecules of different family of antibiotics are hydrolyzed by NDM-1 in an efficient manner. Read More

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is involved in many regulatory and catalytic processes in the cell. The function of any RNA molecule is intimately related with its structure. In-line probing experiments provide valuable structural datasets for a variety of RNAs and are used to characterize conformational changes in riboswitches. Read More

Recent experiments have shown that trivalent ion, spermidine$^{3+}$, can provoke lateral microphase segregation in DNA brushes. Using molecular simulations and simple theoretical arguments, we explore the effects of trivalent counterions on polyelectrolyte brushes. At a proper range of grafting density, polymer size, and ion concentration, the brush polymers collapse heterogeneously into octopus-like surface micelles. Read More

The percentage and sequence of AT and GC base pairs and charges on the DNA backbone contribute significantly to the stiffness of DNA. This elastic property of DNA also changes with small interacting ligands. The single-molecule force spectroscopy technique shows different interaction modes by measuring the mechanical properties of DNA bound with small ligands. Read More

Free energy perturbation (FEP) is frequently used to evaluate the free energy change of a biological process, e.g. the drug binding free energy or the ligand solvation free energy. Read More

As high-throughput biological sequencing becomes faster and cheaper, the need to extract useful information from sequencing becomes ever more paramount, often limited by low-throughput experimental characterizations. For proteins, accurate prediction of their functions directly from their primary amino-acid sequences has been a long standing challenge. Here, machine learning using artificial recurrent neural networks (RNN) was applied towards classification of protein function directly from primary sequence without sequence alignment, heuristic scoring or feature engineering. Read More

Nonnative residual interactions have attracted increasing attention in recent protein folding researches. Experimental and theoretical investigations had been set out to catch nonnative contacts that might dominate key events in protein folding. However, energetic frustrations caused by nonnative inter-residue interactions are not systematically characterized, due to the complicated folding mechanism. Read More

Identifying protein functional sites (PFSs) and protein-ligand interactions (PLIs) are critically important in understanding the protein function and the involved biochemical reactions. As large amount of unknown proteins are quickly accumulated in this post-genome era, an urgent task arises to predict PFSs and PLIs at residual level. Nowadays many knowledge-based methods have been well developed for prediction of PFSs, however, accurate methods for PLI prediction are still lacking. Read More