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1.  Protein Folding: Then and Now 
Over the past three decades the protein folding field has undergone monumental changes. Originally a purely academic question, how a protein folds has now become vital in understanding diseases and our abilities to rationally manipulate cellular life by engineering protein folding pathways. We review and contrast past and recent developments in the protein folding field. Specifically, we discuss the progress in our understanding of protein folding thermodynamics and kinetics, the properties of evasive intermediates, and unfolded states. We also discuss how some abnormalities in protein folding lead to protein aggregation and human diseases.
doi:10.1016/j.abb.2007.05.014
PMCID: PMC2173875  PMID: 17585870
2.  Probing protein aggregation using simplified models and discrete molecular dynamics 
Understanding the role of biomolecular dynamics in cellular processes leading to human diseases and the ability to rationally manipulate these processes is of fundamental importance in scientific research. The last decade has witnessed significant progress in probing biophysical behavior of proteins. However, we are still limited in understanding how changes in protein dynamics and inter-protein interactions occurring in short length- and time-scales lead to aberrations in their biological function. Bridging this gap in biology probed using computer simulations marks a challenging frontier in computational biology. Here we examine hypothesis-driven simplified protein models in conjunction with discrete molecular dynamics in the study of protein aggregation, implicated in series of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. Discrete molecular dynamics simulations of simplified protein models have emerged as a powerful methodology with its ability to bridge the gap in time and length scales from protein dynamics to aggregation, and provide an indispensable tool for probing protein aggregation.
PMCID: PMC2497428  PMID: 18508545
Protein Aggregation; Protein Misfolding; Simplified Modeling; Aggregation Kinetics; Folding Thermodynamics; Discrete Molecular Dynamics; Molecular Dynamics; Computational Biology; Biophysics; MD; DMD; Misfolding; Molecular Dynamics; Review
3.  iFoldRNA: three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(17):1951-1952.
Summary: Three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding is of significant interest in the biological research community. Here, we present iFoldRNA, a novel web-based methodology for RNA structure prediction with near atomic resolution accuracy and analysis of RNA folding thermodynamics. iFoldRNA rapidly explores RNA conformations using discrete molecular dynamics simulations of input RNA sequences. Starting from simplified linear-chain conformations, RNA molecules (<50 nt) fold to native-like structures within half an hour of simulation, facilitating rapid RNA structure prediction. All-atom reconstruction of energetically stable conformations generates iFoldRNA predicted RNA structures. The predicted RNA structures are within 2–5 Å root mean squre deviations (RMSDs) from corresponding experimentally derived structures. RNA folding parameters including specific heat, contact maps, simulation trajectories, gyration radii, RMSDs from native state, fraction of native-like contacts are accessible from iFoldRNA. We expect iFoldRNA will serve as a useful resource for RNA structure prediction and folding thermodynamic analyses.
Availability: http://iFoldRNA.dokhlab.org.
Contact: dokh@med.unc.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn328
PMCID: PMC2559968  PMID: 18579566
4.  Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Cisplatin- and Oxaliplatin-d(GG) Intrastand Cross-Links Reveal Differences in their Conformational Dynamics 
Journal of molecular biology  2007;373(5):1123-1140.
Summary
Mismatch repair proteins, DNA damage-recognition proteins and translesion DNA polymerases discriminate between Pt-GG adducts containing cis-diammine ligands (formed by cisplatin (CP) and carboplatin) and trans-RR-diaminocyclohexane ligands (formed by oxaliplatin (OX)) and this discrimination is thought to be important in determining differences in the efficacy, toxicity and mutagenicity of these platinum anticancer agents. We have postulated that these proteins recognize differences in conformation and/or conformational dynamics of the DNA containing the adducts. We have previously determined the NMR solution structure of OX-DNA, CP-DNA and undamaged duplex DNA in the 5'-d(CCTCAGGCCTCC)-3' sequence context and have shown the existence of several conformational differences in the vicinity of the Pt-GG adduct. In this study we have used molecular dynamics simulations to explore differences in the conformational dynamics between OX-DNA, CP-DNA and undamaged DNA in the same sequence context. Twenty-five 10 ns unrestrained fully solvated molecular dynamics simulations were performed starting from two different DNA conformations using AMBER v8.0. All twenty-five simulations reached equilibrium within 4 ns, were independent of the starting structure and were in close agreement with previous crystal and NMR structures. Our data show that the cis-diammine (CP) ligand preferentially forms hydrogen bonds on the 5' side of the Pt-GG adduct, while the trans-RR-diaminocyclohexane (OX) ligand preferentially forms hydrogen bonds on the 3' side of the adduct. In addition, our data show that these differences in hydrogen bond formation are strongly correlated with differences in conformational dynamics, specifically the fraction of time spent in different DNA conformations in the vicinity of the adduct, for CP- and OX-DNA adducts. We postulate that differential recognition of CP- and OX-GG adducts by mismatch repair proteins, DNA damage-recognition proteins and DNA polymerases may be due, in part, to differences in the fraction of time that the adducts spend in a conformation favorable for protein binding.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2007.07.079
PMCID: PMC2129172  PMID: 17900616
Cisplatin; Oxaliplatin; Molecular Dynamics; Simulations; Conformation
5.  iFoldRNA: Three-dimensional RNA Structure Prediction and Folding 
Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)  2008;24(17):1951-1952.
Summary
Three-dimensional RNA structure prediction and folding is of significant interest in the biological research community. Here, we present iFoldRNA, a novel web-based methodology for RNA structure prediction with near atomic resolution accuracy and analysis of RNA folding thermodynamics. iFoldRNA rapidly explores RNA conformations using discrete molecular dynamics simulations of input RNA sequences. Starting from simplified linear-chain conformations, RNA molecules (<50 nucleotides) fold to native-like structures within half an hour of simulation, facilitating rapid RNA structure prediction. All-atom reconstruction of energetically stable conformations generates iFoldRNA predicted RNA structures. The predicted RNA structures are within 2–5 Angstrom root mean square deviations from corresponding experimentally derived structures. RNA folding parameters including specific heat, contact maps, simulation trajectories, gyration radii, root mean square deviations from native state, fraction of native-like contacts are accessible from iFoldRNA. We expect iFoldRNA will serve as a useful resource for RNA structure prediction and folding thermodynamic analyses.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn328
PMCID: PMC2559968  PMID: 18579566
6.  The Path of DNA in the kinetochore 
Current biology : CB  2006;16(8):R276-R278.
doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.054
PMCID: PMC2112771  PMID: 16631569
7.  Flanking Bases Influence the Nature of DNA Distortion by Platinum 1,2-Intrastrand (GG) Cross-Links 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23582.
The differences in efficacy and molecular mechanisms of platinum anti-cancer drugs cisplatin (CP) and oxaliplatin (OX) are thought to be partially due to the differences in the DNA conformations of the CP and OX adducts that form on adjacent guanines on DNA, which in turn influence the binding of damage-recognition proteins that control downstream effects of the adducts. Here we report a comprehensive comparison of the structural distortion of DNA caused by CP and OX adducts in the TGGT sequence context using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. When compared to our previous studies in other sequence contexts, these structural studies help us understand the effect of the sequence context on the conformation of Pt-GG DNA adducts. We find that both the sequence context and the type of Pt-GG DNA adduct (CP vs. OX) play an important role in the conformation and the conformational dynamics of Pt-DNA adducts, possibly explaining their influence on the ability of many damage-recognition proteins to bind to Pt-DNA adducts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023582
PMCID: PMC3154474  PMID: 21853154

Results 1-7 (7)