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Biophysics Reports

Zhou Gong, Zhu Liu, Xu Dong, Yue-He Ding, Meng-Qiu Dong, Chun Tang
Chemical cross-linking coupled with mass spectroscopy (CXMS) is a powerful technique for investigating protein structures. CXMS has been mostly used to characterize the predominant structure for a protein, whereas cross-links incompatible with a unique structure of a protein or a protein complex are often discarded. We have recently shown that the so-called over-length cross-links actually contain protein dynamics information. We have thus established a method called DynaXL, which allow us to extract the information from the over-length cross-links and to visualize protein ensemble structures...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Yang Shi, Li Wang, Jianguo Zhang, Yujia Zhai, Fei Sun
Determining the cellular localization of proteins of interest at nanometer resolution is necessary for elucidating their functions. Besides super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, conventional electron microscopy (EM) combined with immunolabeling or clonable EM tags provides a unique approach to correlate protein localization information and cellular ultrastructural information. However, there are still rare cases of such correlation in three-dimensional (3D) spaces. Here, we developed an approach by combining the focus ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and a promising clonable EM tag APEX2 (an enhanced ascorbate peroxidase 2) to determine the target protein localization within 3D cellular ultrastructural context...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Tao-Rong Xie, Chun-Feng Liu, Jian-Sheng Kang
Mitochondrion is the main intracellular site for thermogenesis and attractive energy expenditure targeting for obesity therapy. Here, we develop a method of mitochondrial thermometry based on Rhodamine B methyl ester, which equilibrates as a thermosensitive mixture of nonfluorescent and fluorescent resonance forms. Using this approach, we are able to demonstrate that the efficacy of norepinephrine-induced thermogenesis is low, and measure the maximum transient rate of temperature increase in brown adipocytes...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Xuejun C Zhang, Min Liu, Lei Han
Prokaryotic AcrB-like proteins belong to a family of transporters of the RND superfamily, and as main contributing factor to multidrug resistance pose a tremendous threat to future human health. A unique feature of AcrB transporters is the presence of two separate domains responsible for carrying substrate and generating energy. Significant progress has been made in elucidating the three-dimensional structures of the homo-trimer complexes of AcrB-like transporters, and a three-step functional rotation was identified for this class of transporters...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Xingguo Liu, Liang Yang, Qi Long, David Weaver, György Hajnóczky
Mitochondrial dynamics refers to the processes maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis, including mitochondrial fission, fusion, transport, biogenesis, and mitophagy. Mitochondrial dynamics is essential for maintaining the metabolic function of mitochondria as well as their regulatory roles in cell signaling. In this review, we summarize the recently developed imaging techniques for studying mitochondrial dynamics including: mitochondrial-targeted fluorescent proteins and dyes, live-cell imaging using photoactivation, photoswitching and cell fusion, mitochondrial transcription and replication imaging by in situ hybridization, and imaging mitochondrial dynamics by super-resolution microscopy...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Thor C Møller, David Moreno-Delgado, Jean-Philippe Pin, Julie Kniazeff
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key players in cell communication and are encoded by the largest family in our genome. As such, GPCRs represent the main targets in drug development programs. Sequence analysis revealed several classes of GPCRs: the class A rhodopsin-like receptors represent the majority, the class B includes the secretin-like and adhesion GPCRs, the class F includes the frizzled receptors, and the class C includes receptors for the main neurotransmitters, glutamate and GABA, and those for sweet and umami taste and calcium receptors...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Qiang Zhou, Niyun Zhou, Hong-Wei Wang
As single particle cryo-electron microscopy has evolved to a new era of atomic resolution, sample heterogeneity still imposes a major limit to the resolution of many macromolecular complexes, especially those with continuous conformational flexibility. Here, we describe a particle segmentation algorithm towards solving structures of molecules composed of several parts that are relatively flexible with each other. In this algorithm, the different parts of a target molecule are segmented from raw images according to their alignment information obtained from a preliminary 3D reconstruction and are subjected to single particle processing in an iterative manner...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Yu Chen, Zihao Wang, Jingrong Zhang, Lun Li, Xiaohua Wan, Fei Sun, Fa Zhang
Electron tomography (ET) plays an important role in studying in situ cell ultrastructure in three-dimensional space. Due to limited tilt angles, ET reconstruction always suffers from the "missing wedge" problem. With a validation procedure, iterative compressed-sensing optimized NUFFT reconstruction (ICON) demonstrates its power in the restoration of validated missing information for low SNR biological ET dataset. However, the huge computational demand has become a major problem for the application of ICON...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Jesús G Galaz-Montoya, Steven J Ludtke
Single particle tomography (SPT), also known as subtomogram averaging, is a powerful technique uniquely poised to address questions in structural biology that are not amenable to more traditional approaches like X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and conventional cryoEM single particle analysis. Owing to its potential for in situ structural biology at subnanometer resolution, SPT has been gaining enormous momentum in the last five years and is becoming a prominent, widely used technique. This method can be applied to unambiguously determine the structures of macromolecular complexes that exhibit compositional and conformational heterogeneity, both in vitro and in situ...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Shengliu Wang, Shuoguo Li, Gang Ji, Xiaojun Huang, Fei Sun
Correlative cryo-fluorescence and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-CLEM) system has been fast becoming a powerful technique with the advantage to allow the fluorescent labeling and direct visualization of the close-to-physiologic ultrastructure in cells at the same time, offering unique insights into the ultrastructure with specific cellular function. There have been various engineered ways to achieve cryo-CLEM including the commercial FEI iCorr system that integrates fluorescence microscope into the column of transmission electron microscope...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Robert M Glaeser, Bong-Gyoon Han
Samples prepared for single-particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) necessarily have a very high surface-to-volume ratio during the short period of time between thinning and vitrification. During this time, there is an obvious risk that macromolecules of interest may adsorb to the air-water interface with a preferred orientation, or that they may even become partially or fully unfolded at the interface. In addition, adsorption of macromolecules to an air-water interface may occur even before thinning. This paper addresses the question whether currently used methods of sample preparation might be improved if one could avoid such interfacial interactions...
2017: Biophysics Reports
Xilin Xu, Aiping Wu, Xinlei Zhang, Mingming Su, Taijiao Jiang, Zhe-Ming Yuan
High-throughput sequencing-based metagenomics has garnered considerable interest in recent years. Numerous methods and tools have been developed for the analysis of metagenomic data. However, it is still a daunting task to install a large number of tools and complete a complicated analysis, especially for researchers with minimal bioinformatics backgrounds. To address this problem, we constructed an automated software named MetaDP for 16S rRNA sequencing data analysis, including data quality control, operational taxonomic unit clustering, diversity analysis, and disease risk prediction modeling...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Fanlei Ran, Lili An, Yingjun Fan, Haiying Hang, Shihua Wang
Microgravity (MG) and space radiation are two major environmental factors of space environment. Ionizing radiation generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) which plays a key role in radiation-induced DNA damage. Interestingly, simulated microgravity (SMG) also increases ROS production in various cell types. Thus, it is important to detect whether SMG could potentiate ROS production induced by genotoxins including radiation, especially at a minimal level not sufficient to induce detectable ROS. In this study, we treated mouse embryonic stem (MES) cells with H2O2 and SMG for 24 h...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Yangyu Huang, Haotian Li, Yi Xiao
3dRPC is a computational method designed for three-dimensional RNA-protein complex structure prediction. Starting from a protein structure and a RNA structure, 3dRPC first generates presumptive complex structures by RPDOCK and then evaluates the structures by RPRANK. RPDOCK is an FFT-based docking algorithm that takes features of RNA-protein interactions into consideration, and RPRANK is a knowledge-based potential using root mean square deviation as a measure. Here we give a detailed description of the usage of 3dRPC...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Xuejun C Zhang, Wei Feng
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Biophysics Reports
Ming Liu, Jie Heng, Yuan Gao, Xianping Wang
The DHA12 family of transporters contains a number of prokaryotic and eukaryote membrane proteins. Some of these proteins share conserved sites intrinsic to substrate recognition, structural stabilization and conformational changes. For this study, we chose the MdfA transporter as a model DHA12 protein to study some general characteristics of the vesicular neurotransmitter transporters (VNTs), which all belong to the DHA12 family. Two crystal structures were produced for E. coli MdfA, one in complex with acetylcholine and the other with potential reserpine, which are substrate and inhibitor of VNTs, respectively...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Dou Yeon Youn, Alus M Xiaoli, Jeffrey E Pessin, Fajun Yang
The Mediator complex was originally discovered in yeast, but it is conserved in all eukaryotes. Its best-known function is to regulate RNA polymerase II-dependent gene transcription. Although the mechanisms by which the Mediator complex regulates transcription are often complicated by the context-dependent regulation, this transcription cofactor complex plays a pivotal role in numerous biological pathways. Biochemical, molecular, and physiological studies using cancer cell lines or model organisms have established the current paradigm of the Mediator functions...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Zheng Liu, Tom S Y Guu, Jianhao Cao, Yinyin Li, Lingpeng Cheng, Yizhi Jane Tao, Jingqiang Zhang
Virus 3D atomic structures provide insight into our understanding of viral life cycles and the development of antiviral drugs. X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM have been used to determine the atomic structure of viruses. However, limited availability of biological samples, biosafety issues due to virus infection, and sometimes inherent characteristics of viruses, pose difficulties on combining both methods in determining viral structures. These have made solving the high resolution structure of some medically important viruses very challenging...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Xuejun C Zhang, Lei Han
Transporters are involved in material transport, signaling, and energy input in all living cells. One of the fundamental questions about transporters is concerned with the precise role of their substrate in driving the transport process. This is particularly important for uniporters, which must utilize the chemical potential of substrate as the only energy source driving the transport. Thus, uniporters present an excellent model for the understanding of how the difference in substrate concentration across the membrane is used as a driving force...
2016: Biophysics Reports
Dongsheng Liu, David Cowburn
The Src Homology 2 (SH2) domain is a structurally conserved protein domain that typically binds to a phosphorylated tyrosine in a peptide motif from the target protein. The SH2 domain of C-terminal Src kinase (Csk) contains a single disulfide bond, which is unusual for most SH2 domains. Although the global motion of SH2 domain regulates Csk function, little is known about the relationship between the disulfide bond and binding of the ligand. In this study, we combined X-ray crystallography, solution NMR, and other biophysical methods to reveal the interaction network in Csk...
2016: Biophysics Reports
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