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author:("kitano, Akio")
1.  Mechanism of Deep-Sea Fish α-Actin Pressure Tolerance Investigated by Molecular Dynamics Simulations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85852.
The pressure tolerance of monomeric α-actin proteins from the deep-sea fish Coryphaenoides armatus and C. yaquinae was compared to that of non-deep-sea fish C. acrolepis, carp, and rabbit/human/chicken actins using molecular dynamics simulations at 0.1 and 60 MPa. The amino acid sequences of actins are highly conserved across a variety of species. The actins from C. armatus and C. yaquinae have the specific substitutions Q137K/V54A and Q137K/L67P, respectively, relative to C. acrolepis, and are pressure tolerant to depths of at least 6000 m. At high pressure, we observed significant changes in the salt bridge patterns in deep-sea fish actins, and these changes are expected to stabilize ATP binding and subdomain arrangement. Salt bridges between ATP and K137, formed in deep-sea fish actins, are expected to stabilize ATP binding even at high pressure. At high pressure, deep-sea fish actins also formed a greater total number of salt bridges than non-deep-sea fish actins owing to the formation of inter-helix/strand and inter-subdomain salt bridges. Free energy analysis suggests that deep-sea fish actins are stabilized to a greater degree by the conformational energy decrease associated with pressure effect.
PMCID: PMC3896411  PMID: 24465747
3.  Principal component analysis of native ensembles of biomolecular structures (PCA_NEST): insights into functional dynamics 
Bioinformatics  2009;25(5):606-614.
Motivation: To efficiently analyze the ‘native ensemble of conformations’ accessible to proteins near their folded state and to extract essential information from observed distributions of conformations, reliable mathematical methods and computational tools are needed.
Result: Examination of 24 pairs of structures determined by both NMR and X-ray reveals that the differences in the dynamics of the same protein resolved by the two techniques can be tracked to the most robust low frequency modes elucidated by principal component analysis (PCA) of NMR models. The active sites of enzymes are found to be highly constrained in these PCA modes. Furthermore, the residues predicted to be highly immobile are shown to be evolutionarily conserved, lending support to a PCA-based identification of potential functional sites. An online tool, PCA_NEST, is designed to derive the principal modes of conformational changes from structural ensembles resolved by experiments or generated by computations.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC2647834  PMID: 19147661
4.  Hydration Effect on Low-Frequency Protein Dynamics Observed in Simulated Neutron Scattering Spectra 
Biophysical Journal  2008;94(11):4435-4443.
Hydration effects on protein dynamics were investigated by comparing the frequency dependence of the calculated neutron scattering spectra between full and minimal hydration states at temperatures between 100 and 300 K. The protein boson peak is observed in the frequency range 1–4 meV at 100 K in both states. The peak frequency in the minimal hydration state shifts to lower than that in the full hydration state. Protein motions with a frequency higher than 4 meV were shown to undergo almost harmonic motion in both states at all temperatures simulated, whereas those with a frequency lower than 1 meV dominate the total fluctuations above 220 K and contribute to the origin of the glass-like transition. At 300 K, the boson peak becomes buried in the quasielastic contributions in the full hydration state but is still observed in the minimal hydration state. The boson peak is observed when protein dynamics are trapped within a local minimum of its energy surface. Protein motions, which contribute to the boson peak, are distributed throughout the whole protein. The fine structure of the dynamics structure factor is expected to be detected by the experiment if a high resolution instrument (<∼20 μeV) is developed in the near future.
PMCID: PMC2480692  PMID: 18310244
5.  Thermal Unfolding Simulations of Bacterial Flagellin: Insight into its Refolding Before Assembly 
Biophysical Journal  2008;94(10):3858-3871.
Flagellin is the subunit of the bacterial filament, the micrometer-long propeller of a bacterial flagellum. The protein is believed to undergo unfolding for transport through the channel of the filament and to refold in a chamber at the end of the channel before being assembled into the growing filament. We report a thermal unfolding simulation study of S. typhimurium flagellin in aqueous solution as an attempt to gain atomic-level insight into the refolding process. Each molecule comprises two filament-core domains {D0, D1} and two hypervariable-region domains {D2, D3}. D2 can be separated into subdomains D2a and D2b. We observed a similar unfolding order of the domains as reported in experimental thermal denaturation. D2a and D3 exhibited high thermal stability and contained persistent three-stranded β-sheets in the denatured state which could serve as folding cores to guide refolding. A recent mutagenesis study on flagellin stability seems to suggest the importance of the folding cores. Using crude size estimates, our data suggests that the chamber might be large enough for either denatured hypervariable-region domains or filament-core domains, but not whole flagellin; this implicates a two-staged refolding process.
PMCID: PMC2367190  PMID: 18263660

Results 1-5 (5)