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1.  Carbohydrate-Derived Amphiphilic Macromolecules: A Biophysical Structural Characterization and Analysis of Binding Behaviors to Model Membranes 
The design and synthesis of enhanced membrane-intercalating biomaterials for drug delivery or vascular membrane targeting is currently challenged by the lack of screening and prediction tools. The present work demonstrates the generation of a Quantitative Structural Activity Relationship model (QSAR) to make a priori predictions. Amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) “stealth lipids” built on aldaric and uronic acids frameworks attached to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) polymer tails were developed to form self-assembling micelles. In the present study, a defined set of novel AM structures were investigated in terms of their binding to lipid membrane bilayers using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) experiments coupled with computational coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG MD) and all-atom MD (AA MD) simulations. The CG MD simulations capture the insertion dynamics of the AM lipophilic backbones into the lipid bilayer with the PEGylated tail directed into bulk water. QCM-D measurements with Voigt viscoelastic model analysis enabled the quantitation of the mass gain and rate of interaction between the AM and the lipid bilayer surface. Thus, this study yielded insights about variations in the functional activity of AM materials with minute compositional or stereochemical differences based on membrane binding, which has translational potential for transplanting these materials in vivo. More broadly, it demonstrates an integrated computational-experimental approach, which can offer a promising strategy for the in silico design and screening of therapeutic candidate materials.
PMCID: PMC4493506  PMID: 25855953
amphiphilic macromolecule; membrane lipid bilayers; quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D); molecular dynamics simulations; quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) model
5.  Telomere anchoring at the nuclear periphery requires the budding yeast Sad1-UNC-84 domain protein Mps3 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(5):845-854.
Positioning of telomeres at the nuclear periphery can have dramatic effects on gene expression by establishment of heritable, transcriptionally repressive subdomains. However, little is known about the integral membrane proteins that mediate telomere tethering at the nuclear envelope. Here, we find a previously unrecognized function for the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sad1-UNC-84 domain protein Mps3 in regulating telomere positioning in mitotic cells. Our data demonstrate that the nucleoplasmic N-terminal acidic domain of Mps3 is not essential for viability. However, this acidic domain is necessary and sufficient for telomere tethering during S phase and the silencing of reporter constructs integrated at telomeres. We show that this is caused by the role of the Mps3 acidic domain in binding and localization of the silent information regulator protein Sir4 to the nuclear periphery. Thus, Mps3 functions as an integral membrane anchor for telomeres and is a novel nuclear receptor for the Sir4 pathway of telomere tethering and gene inactivation.
PMCID: PMC2099192  PMID: 18039933
6.  The Sad1-UNC-84 homology domain in Mps3 interacts with Mps2 to connect the spindle pole body with the nuclear envelope 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;174(5):665-675.
The spindle pole body (SPB) is the sole site of microtubule nucleation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae; yet, details of its assembly are poorly understood. Integral membrane proteins including Mps2 anchor the soluble core SPB in the nuclear envelope. Adjacent to the core SPB is a membrane-associated SPB substructure known as the half-bridge, where SPB duplication and microtubule nucleation during G1 occurs. We found that the half-bridge component Mps3 is the budding yeast member of the SUN protein family (Sad1-UNC-84 homology) and provide evidence that it interacts with the Mps2 C terminus to tether the half-bridge to the core SPB. Mutants in the Mps3 SUN domain or Mps2 C terminus have SPB duplication and karyogamy defects that are consistent with the aberrant half-bridge structures we observe cytologically. The interaction between the Mps3 SUN domain and Mps2 C terminus is the first biochemical link known to connect the half-bridge with the core SPB. Association with Mps3 also defines a novel function for Mps2 during SPB duplication.
PMCID: PMC2064310  PMID: 16923827

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