Cardiac troponin (cTn) is the Ca2+-sensitive molecular switch that controls cardiac muscle activation and relaxation. However, the molecular detail of the switching mechanism and how the Ca2+ signal received at cardiac troponin C (cTnC) is communicated to cardiac troponin I (cTnI) are still elusive. To unravel the structural details of troponin switching, we performed ensemble Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations of the cardiac troponin core domain complex. The distance distributions of forty five inter-residue pairs were obtained under Ca2+-free and saturating Ca2+ conditions from time-resolved FRET measurements. These distances were incorporated as restraints during the MD simulations of the cardiac troponin core domain. Compared to the Ca2+-saturated structure, the absence of regulatory Ca2+ perturbed the cTnC N-domain hydrophobic pocket which assumed a closed conformation. This event partially unfolded the cTnI regulatory region/switch. The absence of Ca2+, induced flexibility to the D/E linker and the cTnI inhibitory region, and rotated the cTnC N-domain with respect to rest of the troponin core domain. In the presence of saturating Ca2+ the above said phenomenon were absent. We postulate that the secondary structure perturbations experienced by the cTnI regulatory region held within the cTnC N-domain hydrophobic pocket, coupled with the rotation of the cTnC N-domain would control the cTnI mobile domain interaction with actin. Concomitantly the rotation of the cTnC N-domain and perturbation of the D/E linker rigidity would control the cTnI inhibitory region interaction with actin to effect muscle relaxation.
Amyloid fibrils playing a critical role in disease expression, have recently been found to exhibit the excellent mechanical properties such as elastic modulus in the order of 10 GPa, which is comparable to that of other mechanical proteins such as microtubule, actin filament, and spider silk. These remarkable mechanical properties of amyloid fibrils are correlated with their functional role in disease expression. This suggests the importance in understanding how these excellent mechanical properties are originated through self-assembly process that may depend on the amino acid sequence. However, the sequence-structure-property relationship of amyloid fibrils has not been fully understood yet. In this work, we characterize the mechanical properties of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) fibrils with respect to their molecular structures as well as their amino acid sequence by using all-atom explicit water molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The simulation result suggests that the remarkable bending rigidity of amyloid fibrils can be achieved through a specific self-aggregation pattern such as antiparallel stacking of β strands (peptide chain). Moreover, we have shown that a single point mutation of hIAPP chain constituting a hIAPP fibril significantly affects the thermodynamic stability of hIAPP fibril formed by parallel stacking of peptide chain, and that a single point mutation results in a significant change in the bending rigidity of hIAPP fibrils formed by antiparallel stacking of β strands. This clearly elucidates the role of amino acid sequence on not only the equilibrium conformations of amyloid fibrils but also their mechanical properties. Our study sheds light on sequence-structure-property relationships of amyloid fibrils, which suggests that the mechanical properties of amyloid fibrils are encoded in their sequence-dependent molecular architecture.
Energetic frustration is becoming an important topic for understanding the mechanisms of protein folding, which is a long-standing big biological problem usually investigated by the free energy landscape theory. Despite the significant advances in probing the effects of folding frustrations on the overall features of protein folding pathways and folding intermediates, detailed characterizations of folding frustrations at an atomic or residue level are still lacking. In addition, how and to what extent folding frustrations interact with protein topology in determining folding mechanisms remains unclear. In this paper, we tried to understand energetic frustrations in the context of protein topology structures or native-contact networks by comparing the energetic frustrations of five homologous Im9 alpha-helix proteins that share very similar topology structures but have a single hydrophilic-to-hydrophobic mutual mutation. The folding simulations were performed using a coarse-grained Gō-like model, while non-native hydrophobic interactions were introduced as energetic frustrations using a Lennard-Jones potential function. Energetic frustrations were then examined at residue level based on φ-value analyses of the transition state ensemble structures and mapped back to native-contact networks. Our calculations show that energetic frustrations have highly heterogeneous influences on the folding of the four helices of the examined structures depending on the local environment of the frustration centers. Also, the closer the introduced frustration is to the center of the native-contact network, the larger the changes in the protein folding. Our findings add a new dimension to the understanding of protein folding the topology determination in that energetic frustrations works closely with native-contact networks to affect the protein folding.
Surface disinfectants are part of broader preventive strategies preventing the transmission of bacteria, fungi and viruses in medical institutions. To evaluate their virucidal efficacy, these products must be tested with appropriate model viruses with different physico-chemical properties under conditions representing practical application in hospitals.
The aim of this study was to evaluate a quantitative carrier assay. Furthermore, different putative model viruses like adenovirus type 5 (AdV-5) and different animal parvoviruses were evaluated with respect to their tenacity and practicability in laboratory handling. To evaluate the robustness of the method, some of the viruses were tested in parallel in different laboratories in a multi-center study. Different biocides, which are common active ingredients of surface disinfectants, were used in the test. After drying on stainless steel discs as the carrier, model viruses were exposed to different concentrations of three alcohols, peracetic acid (PAA) or glutaraldehyde (GDA), with a fixed exposure time of 5 minutes. Residual virus was determined after treatment by endpoint titration.
All parvoviruses exhibited a similar stability with respect to GDA, while AdV-5 was more susceptible. For PAA, the porcine parvovirus was more sensitive than the other parvoviruses, and again, AdV-5 presented a higher susceptibility than the parvoviruses. All parvoviruses were resistant to alcohols, while AdV-5 was only stable when treated with 2-propanol. The analysis of the results of the multi-center study showed a high reproducibility of this test system.
In conclusion, two viruses with different physico-chemical properties can be recommended as appropriate model viruses for the evaluation of the virucidal efficacy of surface disinfectants: AdV-5, which has a high clinical impact, and murine parvovirus (MVM) with the highest practicability among the parvoviruses tested.
Benzotriazole and borate derivatives have long been used as multifunctional additives to lubricants. A novel, environmentally friendly additive borate ester (NHB), which contains boron, ethanolamine, and benzotriazole groups in one molecule, was synthesized by a multi-step reaction, and its tribological properties in rapeseed oil (RSO) were investigated by a four-ball tribometer. The hydrolysis stability of the additive was investigated by half-time and open observation methods, and the mechanism of hydrolysis stability was discussed through Gaussian calculation. The novel compound NHB showed excellent performance under extreme pressure, against wearing, and in reducing friction, and its hydrolysis time is more than 1,220 times, which is better than that of triethyl borate. The mass ratio of NHB is bigger than that of the mixed liquid of triethyl borate and ethanolamine. The lone electron of amino N atoms forms a coordination effect with the B atom to compensate for the shortage of electrons in the B atom and to improve the hydrolysis stability of NHB. The surface morphology and the traces of different elements in the tribofilms formed with 1.0 wt.% NHB in were detected with scanning electron microscopy(SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX)and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy(XPS). The results shown that the additive caused a tribochemical reaction with the steel ball surface during the lubricating process. A mixed boundary lubrication film that contains organic nitrogen and inorganic salts, such as BN, B2O3, FeOx, Fe–O–B, and FeB, was also formed, and the formation of the lubricating film improved the tribological properties of the base oil.
There is increasing demand for reconstruction of glottal insufficiency. Several injection materials have been examined for this purpose, but all had limitations, such as poor long-term durability, migration from the injection site, inflammation, granuloma formation, and interference with vocal fold vibration due to viscoelastic mismatch. Here, we developed a novel injection material, consisting of polycaprolactone (PCL) microspheres, which exhibits better viscoelasticity than conventional materials, and Pluronic F127 carrier, which decreases the migration of the injection materials. The material was injected into rabbits with glottal insufficiency and compared with the FDA-approved injection material, calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA). Endoscopic and histological examinations indicated that PCL/Pluronic F127 remained at the injection site with no inflammatory response or granuloma formation, whereas CaHA leaked out and migrated from the injection site. Therefore, vocal fold augmentation was almost completely retained during the 12-month follow-up period in this study. Moreover, induced phonation and high-speed recording of vocal fold vibration showed decreased vocal fold gap area in the PCL/Pluronic F127 group. Our newly developed injection material, PCL/Pluronic F127, permits efficient augmentation of paralyzed vocal fold without complications, a concept that can be applied clinically, as demonstrated by the successful long-term follow-up.
A variety of metal-binding compounds have been found to exert anti-cancer activity. We postulated that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a membrane-permeable metal-binding compound, might have anti-cancer activity in the presence of metals. We found that NAC/Cu(II) significantly alters growth and induces apoptosis in human cancer lines, yet NAC/Zn(II) and NAC/Fe(III) do not. We further confirmed that this cytotoxicity of NAC/Cu(II) is attributed to reactive oxygen species (ROS). These findings indicate that the combination of Cu(II) and thiols generates cytotoxic ROS that induce apoptosis in cancer cells. They also indicate a fourth class of anti-neoplastic metal-binding compounds, the “ROS generator”.
N-acetylcysteine; Copper; Metal binding; Anti-cancer; Hydrogen peroxide
An established synchronous solid surface fluorimetry (S-SSF) was utilized for in situ study the photolysis processes of anthracene (An) and pyrene (Py) adsorbed on the leaf surfaces of Kandelia obovata seedlings (Ko) and Aegiceras corniculata (L.) Blanco seedlings (Ac). Experimental results demonstrated that the photolysis of An and Py adsorbed on the leaf surfaces of two mangrove species under the laboratory conditions, followed first-order kinetics with their photolysis rates in the order of Ac>Ko. In addition, with the same amount of substances, the photolysis rate of An adsorbed on the same mangrove leaf surfaces was much faster than the adsorbed Py. In order to investigate further, the photolysis processes of An and Py in water were also studied for comparison. And the photolysis of An and Py in water also followed first-order kinetics. Moreover, for the same initial amount, the photolysis rate of the PAH in water was faster than that adsorbed on the leaf surfaces of two mangrove species. Therefore, photochemical behaviors of PAHs were dependent not only on their molecular structures but also the physical-chemical properties of the substrates on which they are adsorbed.
Porous calcium phosphate ceramics are used in orthopedic and craniofacial applications to treat bone loss, or in dental applications to replace missing teeth. The implantation of these materials, however, does not induce stem cell differentiation, so suitable additional materials such as porous calcium phosphate discs are needed to influence physicochemical responses or structural changes. Rabbit adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) and mouse osteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1) were evaluated in vitro by the MTT assay, semi-quantitative RT-PCR, and immunoblotting using cells cultured in medium supplemented with extracts from bioceramics, including calcium metaphosphate (CMP), hydroxyapatite (HA) and collagen-grafted HA (HA-col). In vivo evaluation of the bone forming capacity of these bioceramics in rat models using femur defects and intramuscular implants for 12 weeks was performed. Histological analysis showed that newly formed stromal-rich tissues were observed in all the implanted regions and that the implants showed positive immunoreaction against type I collagen and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). The intramuscular implant region, in particular, showed strong positive immunoreactivity for both type I collagen and ALP, which was further confirmed by mRNA expression and immunoblotting results, indicating that each bioceramic material enhanced osteogenesis stimulation. These results support our hypothesis that smart bioceramics can induce osteoconduction and osteoinduction in vivo, although mature bone formation, including lacunae, osteocytes, and mineralization, was not prominent until 12 weeks after implantation.
Single-cell sampling with RNA-seq analysis plays an important role in reference laboratory; cytogenomic diagnosis for specimens on glass-slides or rare cells in circulating blood for tumor and genetic diseases; measurement of sensitivity and specificity in tumor-tissue genomic analysis with mixed-cells; mechanism analysis of differentiation and proliferation of cancer stem cell for academic purpose. Our single- cell RNA-seq technique shows that fragments were 250–450 bp after fragmentation, amplification, and adapter addition. There were 11.6 million reads mapped in raw sequencing reads (19.6 million). The numbers of mapped genes, mapped transcripts, and mapped exons were 31,332, 41,210, and 85,786, respectively. All QC results demonstrated that RNA-seq techniques could be used for single-cell genomic performance. Analysis of the mapped genes showed that the number of genes mapped by RNA-seq (6767 genes) was much higher than that of differential display (288 libraries) among similar specimens which we have developed and published. The single-cell RNA-seq can detect gene splicing using different subtype TGF-beta analysis. The results from using Q-rtPCR tests demonstrated that sensitivity is 76% and specificity is 55% from single-cell RNA-seq technique with some gene expression missing (2/8 genes). However, it will be feasible to use RNA-seq techniques to contribute to genomic medicine at single-cell level.
This study sought to evaluate the impact of oat beta-glucan on insulin resistance in mice fed on high-fat and high-fructose diet with fructose (10%, w/v) added in drinking water for 10 weeks.
The results showed that supplementation with oat beta-glucan could significantly reduce the insulin resistance both in low-dose (200 mg/kg−1 body weight) and high-dose (500 mg/kg−1 body weight) groups, but the high-dose group showed a more significant improvement in insulin resistance (P<0.01) compared with model control (MC) group along with significant improvement in hepatic glycogen level, oral glucose, and insulin tolerance. Moreover, hepatic glucokinase activity was markedly enhanced both in low-dose and high-dose groups compared with that of MC group (P<0.05).
These results suggested that supplementation of oat beta-glucan alleviated insulin resistance and the effect was dose dependent.
oat beta-glucan; high-fat; high-fructose; insulin resistance; mice
Previously we have shown that gradual changes in the structure of elastin during an elastase treatment can lead to important transition stages in the mechanical behavior of arteries . However, in vivo arteries are constantly being loaded due to systolic and diastolic pressures and so understanding the effects of loading on the enzymatic degradation of elastin in arteries is important. With biaxial tensile testing, we measured the mechanical behavior of porcine thoracic aortas digested with a mild solution of purified elastase (5 U/mL) in the presence of a static stretch. Arterial mechanical properties and biochemical composition were analyzed to assess the effects of mechanical stretch on elastin degradation. As elastin is being removed, the dimensions of the artery increase by more than 20% in both the longitude and circumference directions. Elastin assays indicate a faster rate of degradation when stretch was present during the digestion. A simple exponential decay fitting confirms the time constant for digestion with stretch (0.11±0.04 h−1) is almost twice that of digestion without stretch (0.069±0.028 h−1). The transition from J-shaped to S-shaped stress vs. strain behavior in the longitudinal direction generally occurs when elastin content is reduced by about 60%. Multiphoton image analysis confirms the removal/fragmentation of elastin and also shows that the collagen fibers are closely intertwined with the elastin lamellae in the medial layer. After removal of elastin, the collagen fibers are no longer constrained and become disordered. Release of amorphous elastin during the fragmentation of the lamellae layers is observed and provides insights into the process of elastin degradation. Overall this study reveals several interesting microstructural changes in the extracellular matrix that could explain the resulting mechanical behavior of arteries with elastin degradation.
Vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAb) for treatment of (+)-methamphetamine (METH) abuse are in late stage preclinical and early clinical trial phases, respectively. These immunotherapies work as pharmacokinetic antagonists, sequestering METH and its metabolites away from sites of action in the brain and reduce the rewarding and toxic effects of the drug. A key aspect of these immunotherapy strategies is the understanding of the subtle molecular interactions important for generating antibodies with high affinity and specificity for METH. We previously determined crystal structures of a high affinity anti-METH therapeutic single chain antibody fragment (scFv6H4, KD = 10 nM) in complex with METH and the (+) stereoisomer of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or “ecstasy”). Here we report the crystal structure of scFv6H4 in homo-trimeric unbound (apo) form (2.60Å), as well as monomeric forms in complex with two active metabolites; (+)-amphetamine (AMP, 2.38Å) and (+)-4-hydroxy methamphetamine (p-OH-METH, 2.33Å). The apo structure forms a trimer in the crystal lattice and it results in the formation of an intermolecular composite beta-sheet with a three-fold symmetry. We were also able to structurally characterize the coordination of the His-tags with Ni2+. Two of the histidine residues of each C-terminal His-tag interact with Ni2+ in an octahedral geometry. In the apo state the CDR loops of scFv6H4 form an open conformation of the binding pocket. Upon ligand binding, the CDR loops adopt a closed formation, encasing the drug almost completely. The structural information reported here elucidates key molecular interactions important in anti-methamphetamine abuse immunotherapy.
Interactions of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP or amylin) with the cell membrane are correlated with the dysfunction and death of pancreatic islet β-cells in type II diabetes. Formation of receptor-independent channels by hIAPP in membrane is regarded as one of the membrane-damaging mechanisms that induce ion homeostasis and toxicity in islet β-cells. Here, we investigate the dynamic structure, ion conductivity, and membrane interactions of hIAPP channels in the DOPC bilayer using molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations. We use the NMR-derived β-strand-turn-β-strand motif as a building block to computationally construct a series of annular-like hIAPP structures with different sizes and topologies. In the simulated lipid environments, the channels lose their initial continuous β-sheet network and break into oligomeric subunits, which are still loosely associated to form heterogeneous channel conformations. The channels’ shapes, morphologies and dimensions are compatible with the doughnut-like images obtained by atomic force microscopy, and with those of modeled channels for Aβ, the β2-microglobulin-derived K3 peptides, and the β-hairpin-based channels of antimicrobial peptide PG-1. Further, all channels induce directional permeability of multiple ions across the bilayers from the lower to the upper leaflet. This similarity suggests that loosely-associated β-structure motifs can be a general feature of toxic, unregulated channels. In the absence of experimental high-resolution atomic structures of hIAPP channels in the membrane, this study represents a first attempt to delineate some of the main structural features of the hIAPP channels, for a better understanding of the origin of amyloid toxicity and the development of pharmaceutical agents.
hIAPP; ion channel; directional permeability; molecular dynamics
Hemoglobin dissociation is of great interest in protein process and clinical medicine as well as in artificial blood research. However, the pathway and mechanisms of pH-dependent human Hb dissociation are not clear, whether Hb would really dissociate into monomers is still a question. Therefore, we have conducted a multi-technique investigation on the structure and function of human Hb versus pH. Here we demonstrate that tetramer hemoglobin can easily dissociate into dimer in abnormal pH and the tetramer → dimer dissociation is reversible if pH returns to normal physiological value. When the environmental pH becomes more acidic (<6.5) or alkaline (>8.0), Hb can further dissociate from dimer to monomer. The proportion of monomers increases while the fraction of dimers decreases as pH declines from 6.2 to 5.4. The dimer → monomer dissociation is accompanied with series changes of protein structure thus it is an irreversible process. The structural changes in the dissociated Hbs result in some loss of their functions. Both the Hb dimer and monomer cannot adequately carry and release oxygen to the tissues in circulation. These findings provide a comprehensive understanding on the pH-dependent protein transitions of human Hb, give guideline to explain complex protein processes and the means to control protein dissociation or re-association reaction. They are also of practical value in clinical medicine, blood preservation and blood substitute development.
α-Hemolysin (α-HL) is a self-assembling, channel-forming toxin that is produced as a soluble monomer by Staphylococcus aureus strains. Until now, α-HL has been a significant virulence target for the treatment of S. aureus infection. In our previous report, we demonstrated that some natural compounds could bind to α-HL. Due to the binding of those compounds, the conformational transition of α-HL from the monomer to the oligomer was blocked, which resulted in inhibition of the hemolytic activity of α-HL. However, these results have not indicated how the binding of the α-HL inhibitors influence the conformational transition of the whole protein during the oligomerization process. In this study, we found that three natural compounds, Oroxylin A 7-O-glucuronide (OLG), Oroxin A (ORA), and Oroxin B (ORB), when inhibiting the hemolytic activity of α-HL, could bind to the “stem” region of α-HL. This was completed using conventional Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. By interacting with the novel binding sites of α-HL, the ligands could form strong interactions with both sides of the binding cavity. The results of the principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that because of the inhibitors that bind to the “stem” region of α-HL, the conformational transition of α-HL from the monomer to the oligomer was restricted. This caused the inhibition of the hemolytic activity of α-HL. This novel inhibition mechanism has been confirmed by both the steered MD simulations and the experimental data obtained from a deoxycholate-induced oligomerization assay. This study can facilitate the design of new antibacterial drugs against S. aureus.
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are integral membrane proteins involved in a wide variety of biological processes in eukaryotic cells, and are targeted by a large fraction of marketed drugs. GPCR kinases (GRKs) play important roles in feedback regulation of GPCRs, such as of β-adrenergic receptors in the heart, where GRK2 and GRK5 are the major isoforms expressed. Membrane targeting is essential for GRK function in cells. Whereas GRK2 is recruited to the membrane by heterotrimeric Gβγ subunits, the mechanism of membrane binding by GRK5 is not fully understood. It has been proposed that GRK5 is constitutively associated with membranes through elements located at its N-terminus, its C-terminus, or both. The membrane orientation of GRK5 is also a matter of speculation. In this work, we combined sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy and attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) to help determine the membrane orientation of GRK5 and a C-terminally truncated mutant (GRK51-531) on membrane lipid bilayers. It was found that GRK5 and GRK51-531 adopt a similar orientation on model cell membranes in the presence of PIP2 that is similar to that predicted for GRK2 in prior studies. Mutation of the N-terminal membrane binding site of GRK5 did not eliminate membrane binding, but prevented observation of this discrete orientation. The C-terminus of GRK5 does not have substantial impact on either membrane binding or orientation in this model system. Thus, the C-terminus of GRK5 may drive membrane binding in cells via interactions with other proteins at the plasma membrane or bind in an unstructured manner to negatively charged membranes.
The improvement of bone ingrowth into prosthesis and enhancement of the combination of the range between the bone and prosthesis are important for long-term stability of artificial joints. They are the focus of research on uncemented artificial joints. Porous materials can be of potential use to solve these problems.
This research aims to observe the characteristics of the new porous Ti-25Nb alloy and its biocompatibility in vitro, and to provide basic experimental evidence for the development of new porous prostheses or bone implants for bone tissue regeneration.
The Ti-25Nb alloys with different porosities were fabricated using powder metallurgy. The alloys were then evaluated based on several characteristics, such as mechanical properties, purity, pore size, and porosity. To evaluate biocompatibility, the specimens were subjected to methylthiazol tetrazolium (MTT) colorimetric assay, cell adhesion and proliferation assay using acridine staining, scanning electron microscopy, and detection of inflammation factor interleukin-6 (IL-6).
The porous Ti-25Nb alloy with interconnected pores had a pore size of 200 µm to 500 µm, which was favorable for bone ingrowth. The compressive strength of the alloy was similar to that of cortical bone, while with the elastic modulus closer to cancellous bone. MTT assay showed that the alloy had no adverse reaction to rabbit bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, with a toxicity level of 0 to 1. Cell adhesion and proliferation experiments showed excellent cell growth on the surface and inside the pores of the alloy. According to the IL-6 levels, the alloy did not cause any obvious inflammatory response.
All porous Ti-25Nb alloys showed good biocompatibility regardless of the percentage of porosity. The basic requirement of clinical orthopedic implants was satisfied, which made the alloy a good prospect for biomedical application. The alloy with 70% porosity had the optimum mechanical properties, as well as suitable pore size and porosity, which allowed more bone ingrowth.
Self-standing biocompatible films have yet to be prepared by physical or chemical vapor deposition assisted by plasma polymerization because gaseous monomers have thus far been used to create only polymer membranes. Using a nongaseous monomer, we previously found a simple fabrication method for a free-standing thin film prepared from solution by plasma polymerization, and a nano-suit made by polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate can render multicellular organisms highly tolerant to high vacuum. Here we report thin films prepared by plasma polymerization from various monomer solutions. The films had a flat surface at the irradiated site and were similar to films produced by vapor deposition of gaseous monomers. However, they also exhibited unique characteristics, such as a pinhole-free surface, transparency, solvent stability, flexibility, and a unique out-of-plane molecular density gradient from the irradiated to the unirradiated surface of the film. Additionally, covering mosquito larvae with the films protected the shape of the organism and kept them alive under the high vacuum conditions in a field emission-scanning electron microscope. Our method will be useful for numerous applications, particularly in the biological sciences.
BCR-ABL kinase domain inhibition can be used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia. The inhibitors such as imatinib, dasatinib and nilotinib are effective drugs but are resistant to some BCR-ABL mutations. The pan-BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor ponatinib exhibits potent activity against native, T315I, and all other clinically relevant mutants, and showed better inhibition than the previously known inhibitors. We have studied the molecular dynamics simulations and calculated solvated interaction energies of native and fourteen mutant BCR-ABL kinases (M244V, G250E, Q252H, Y253F, Y253H, E255K, E255V, T315A, T315I, F317L, F317V, M351T, F359V and H396P) complexed with ponatinib. These studies revealed that the interactions between ponatinib and individual residues in BCR-ABL kinase are also affected due to the remote residue mutations. We report that some residues, Met244, Lys245, Gln252, Gly254, Leu370 and Leu298 do not undergo any conformational changes, while the fluctuations in residues from P-loop, β3-, β5- strands and αC- helix are mainly responsible for ponatinib binding to native and all mutant BCR-ABL kinases. Our work provides the molecular mechanisms of native and mutant BCR-ABL kinases inhibition by ponatinib at atomic level that has not been studied before.
The EphA4 receptor tyrosine kinase regulates a variety of physiological and pathological processes during neural development and the formation of tumor blood vessels; thus, it represents a new and promising therapeutic target. We used a combination of phage peptide display and computer modeling/docking approaches and discovered a novel cyclic nonapeptide, now designated TYY. This peptide selectively inhibits the binding of the ephrinA5 ligand with EphA4 and significantly blocks angiogenesis in a 3D matrigel culture system. Molecular docking reveals that TYY recognizes the same binding pocket on EphA4 that the natural ephrin ligand binds to and that the Tyr3 and Tyr4 side chains of TYY are both critical for the TYY/EphA4 interaction. The discovery of TYY introduces a valuable probe of EphA4 function and a new lead for EphA4-targeted therapeutic development.
Type I collagen is the most common protein among higher vertebrates. It forms the basis of fibrous connective tissues (tendon, chord, skin, bones) and ensures mechanical stability and strength of these tissues. It is known, however, that separate triple-helical collagen macromolecules are unstable at physiological temperatures. We want to understand the mechanism of collagen stability at the intermolecular level. To this end, we study the collagen fibril, an intermediate level in the collagen hierarchy between triple-helical macromolecule and tendon.
When heating a native fibril sample, its Young’s modulus decreases in temperature range 20–58°C due to partial denaturation of triple-helices, but it is approximately constant at 58–75°C, because of stabilization by inter-molecular interactions. The stabilization temperature range 58–75°C has two further important features: here the fibril absorbs water under heating and the internal friction displays a peak. We relate these experimental findings to restructuring of collagen triple-helices in fibril. A theoretical description of the experimental results is provided via a generalization of the standard Zimm-Bragg model for the helix-coil transition. It takes into account intermolecular interactions of collagen triple-helices in fibril and describes water adsorption via the Langmuir mechanism.
We uncovered an inter-molecular mechanism that stabilizes the fibril made of unstable collagen macromolecules. This mechanism can be relevant for explaining stability of collagen.
Since late March 2013, there has been another global health concern with a sudden wave of flu infections by a novel strain of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in China. To-date, there have been more than 100 infections with 23 deaths. It is more worrying as this viral strain has never been detected in humans and only been found to be of low-pathogenicity. Currently, there are 3 effective neuraminidase inhibitors for this H7N9 virus strain, i.e. oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir. These drugs have been used for treatment of the H7N9 influenza in China. However, how these inhibitors work and affect the binding cavity of the novel H7N9 neuraminidase in the presence of potential mutations has not been disclosed. In our study, we investigate steric effects and subsequently show the conformational restraints of the inhibitor-binding site of the non-mutated and mutated H7N9 neuraminidase structures to different drug compounds.
Combination of molecular docking and Molecular Dynamics simulation reveal that zanamivir forms more favorable and stable complex than oseltamivir and peramivir when binding to the active site of the H7N9 neuraminidase. And it is likely that the novel influenza A (H7N9) virus adopts a higher probability to acquire resistance to peramivir than the other two inhibitors. Conformational changes induced by the mutation R289K causes loss of number of hydrogen bonds between the inhibitors and the H7N9 viral neuraminidase in 2 out of 3 complexes. In addition, our results of binding-affinity relationships of the 3 inhibitors with the viral neuraminidase proteins of previous pandemics (H1N1, H5N1) and the current novel H7N9 reflected the extent of binding effectiveness of the 3 inhibitors to the novel H7N9 neuraminidase.
The results are novel and specific for the A/Hangzhou/1/2013(H7N9) influenza strain. Furthermore, the protocol could be useful for further drug-binding analysis and prediction of future viral mutations to which the virus evolves through adaptation and acquires resistance to the current available drugs.
Genomic structural alteration is common in pediatric cancers, and analysis of data generated by the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project reveals such tumor-related alterations in many Wnt signaling–associated genes. Most pediatric cancers are thought to arise within developing tissues that undergo substantial expansion during early organ formation, growth and maturation, and Wnt signaling plays an important role in this development. We examined three pediatric tumors—medullobastoma, early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and retinoblastoma—that show multiple genomic structural variations within Wnt signaling pathways. We mathematically modeled this pathway to investigate the effects of cancer-related structural variations on Wnt signaling. Surprisingly, we found that an outcome measure of canonical Wnt signaling was consistently similar in matched cancer cells and normal cells, even in the context of different cancers, different mutations, and different Wnt-related genes. Our results suggest that the cancer cells maintain a normal level of Wnt signaling by developing multiple mutations.
Many biological processes are carried out by proteins interacting with each other in the form of protein complexes. However, large-scale detection of protein complexes has remained constrained by experimental limitations. As such, computational detection of protein complexes by applying clustering algorithms on the abundantly available protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks is an important alternative. However, many current algorithms have overlooked the importance of selecting seeds for expansion into clusters without excluding important proteins and including many noisy ones, while ensuring a high degree of functional homogeneity amongst the proteins detected for the complexes.
We designed a novel method called Probabilistic Local Walks (PLW) which clusters regions in a PPI network with high functional similarity to find protein complex cores with high precision and efficiency in O (|V| log |V| + |E|) time. A seed selection strategy, which prioritises seeds with dense neighbourhoods, was devised. We defined a topological measure, called common neighbour similarity, to estimate the functional similarity of two proteins given the number of their common neighbours.
Our proposed PLW algorithm achieved the highest F-measure (recall and precision) when compared to 11 state-of-the-art methods on yeast protein interaction data, with an improvement of 16.7% over the next highest score. Our experiments also demonstrated that our seed selection strategy is able to increase algorithm precision when applied to three previous protein complex mining techniques.
The software, datasets and predicted complexes are available at http://wonglkd.github.io/PLW