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PMC Biophysics

Siegfried Reipert, Józefa Wesierska-Gadek, Sebastian Wienerroither
Lipids undergo self-assembly to form ordered nonlamellar, nanoperiodic arrays both in vitro and in vivo. While engineering of such membrane arrays for technical devices is envisaged, we know little about their cellular function. Do they represent building blocks of an inherent cellular nanotechnology? Prospects for answering this question could be improved if the nanophysical properties of the membrane arrays could be studied in the context of specific cellular functions. Therefore, we draw attention to exceptional complex membrane arrays found in the renal epithelial cell line PtK2 that could provide perfect conditions for both biophysical and cell functional studies...
June 28, 2010: PMC Biophysics
Günther Gerisch
This report deals with actin waves that are spontaneously generated on the planar, substrate-attached surface of Dictyostelium cells. These waves have the following characteristics. (1) They are circular structures of varying shape, capable of changing the direction of propagation. (2) The waves propagate by treadmilling with a recovery of actin incorporation after photobleaching of less than 10 seconds. (3) The waves are associated with actin-binding proteins in an ordered 3-dimensional organization: with myosin-IB at the front and close to the membrane, the Arp2/3 complex throughout the wave, and coronin at the cytoplasmic face and back of the wave...
March 18, 2010: PMC Biophysics
Jiajing Zhang, Christopher A King, Kevin Dalby, Pengyu Ren
TRPM7/ChaK1 is a recently discovered atypical protein kinase that has been suggested to selectively phosphorylate the substrate residues located in alpha-helices. However, the actual structure of kinase-substrate complex has not been determined experimentally and the recognition mechanism remains unknown. In this work we explored possible kinase-substrate binding modes and the likelihood of an alpha-helix docking interaction, within a kinase active site, using molecular modeling. Specifically kinase ChaK1 and its two peptide substrates were examined; one was an 11-residue segment from the N-terminal domain of annexin-1, a putative endogenous substrate for ChaK1, and the other was an engineered 16-mer peptide substrate determined via peptide library screening...
January 21, 2010: PMC Biophysics
Hannabeth A Franchino, Brett C Johnson, Steven K Neeley, Rajeev B Tajhya, Mai P Vu, Heather A Wilson-Ashworth, John D Bell
The various lamellar phases of dipalmitoylphosphadtidylcholine bilayers with and without cholesterol were used to assess the versatility of the fluorescent probe merocyanine 540 through simultaneous measurements of emission intensity, spectral shape, and steady-state anisotropy. Induction of the crystalline phase (Lc') by pre-incubation at 4°C produced a wavelength dependence of anisotropy which was strong at 15 and 25°C, weak at 38°C, and minimal above the main transition (>~41.5°C) or after returning the temperature from 46 to 25°C...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Carsten Beta
Multi-color fluorescence imaging experiments of wave forming Dictyostelium cells have revealed that actin waves separate two domains of the cell cortex that differ in their actin structure and phosphoinositide composition. We propose a bistable model of actin dynamics to account for these experimental observation. The model is based on the simplifying assumption that the actin cytoskeleton is composed of two distinct network types, a dendritic and a bundled network. The two structurally different states that were observed in experiments correspond to the stable fixed points in the bistable regime of this model...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Philipp M Diesinger, Dieter W Heermann
A long controversy exists about the structure of chromatin. Theoretically, this structure could be resolved by scattering experiments if one determines the scattering function - or equivalently the pair distribution function - of the nucleosomes. Unfortunately, scattering experiments with live cells are very difficult and limited to only a couple of nucleosomes.Nevertheless, new techniques like the high-resolution light microscopy supply a new approach to this problem. In this work we determine the radial pair distribution function of chromatin described by our E2A model and find that the dominant peaks which characterize the chromatin structure are very robust in several ways: They can still be identified in the case of chromatin fibers with reasonable linker histone and nucleosome defect rates as well as in the 2D case after a projection like in most high-res light microscopy experiments...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Taveechai Taveecharoenkool, Chanan Angsuthanasombat, Chalermpol Kanchanawarin
Cry4Aa toxin is one of the highly specific mosquito-larvicidal proteins produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. It is thought to form pores in the larval midgut membrane that cause membrane leakage and subsequent insect death. Therefore, Cry4Aa and other Cry toxins have been used as efficient and safe bacterial insecticides to control the disease-carrying mosquitoes such as Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex. However, we still do not clearly understand how Cry toxins kill mosquito-larvae at molecular details...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Christian Westendorf, Albert J Bae, Christoph Erlenkamper, Edouard Galland, Carl Franck, Eberhard Bodenschatz, Carsten Beta
Eukaryotic cell flattening is valuable for improving microscopic observations, ranging from bright field (BF) to total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. Fundamental processes, such as mitosis and in vivo actin polymerization, have been investigated using these techniques. Here, we review the well known agar overlayer protocol and the oil overlay method. In addition, we present more elaborate microfluidics-based techniques that provide us with a greater level of control. We demonstrate these techniques on the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each method...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Christopher Nj Marai, Shaul Mukamel, Jin Wang
We propose to use infrared coherent two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy (2DCS) to characterize the folding mechanism of the mini-protein Beta3s. In this study Beta3s was folded by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and intermediate conformational ensembles were identified. The one and two-dimensional correlation spectrum was calculated for the intermediate and native states of the mini-protein. A direct structure-spectra relationship was determined by analysis of conformational properties and specific residue contributions...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Mikhail Kudryashev, Simone Lepper, Wolfgang Baumeister, Marek Cyrklaff, Friedrich Frischknecht
Polymerization of actin into filaments can push membranes forming extensions like filopodia or lamellipodia, which are important during processes such as cell motility and phagocytosis. Similarly, small organelles or pathogens can be moved by actin polymerization. Such actin filaments can be arranged in different patterns and are usually hundreds of nanometers in length as revealed by various electron microscopy approaches. Much shorter actin filaments are involved in the motility of apicomplexan parasites...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Christoph Wotzlaw, Silke Gneuss, Rebecca Konietzny, Joachim Fandrey
BACKGROUND: Cellular oxygen sensing is fundamental to all mammalian cells to adequately respond to a shortage of oxygen by increasing the expression of genes that will ensure energy homeostasis. The transcription factor Hypoxia-Inducible-Factor-1 (HIF-1) is the key regulator of the response because it coordinates the expression of hypoxia inducible genes. The abundance and activity of HIF-1 are controlled through posttranslational modification by hydroxylases, the cellular oxygen sensors, of which the activity is oxygen dependent...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Daniel Neumann, Johanna Bückers, Lars Kastrup, Stefan W Hell, Stefan Jakobs
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC, also known as mitochondrial porin) is the major transport channel mediating the transport of metabolites, including ATP, across the mitochondrial outer membrane. Biochemical data demonstrate the binding of the cytosolic protein hexokinase-I to VDAC, facilitating the direct access of hexokinase-I to the transported ATP. In human cells, three hVDAC isoforms have been identified. However, little is known on the distribution of these isoforms within the outer membrane of mitochondria and to what extent they colocalize with hexokinase-I...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Peter Brand, Thorsten Lenser, Peter Hemmerich
The mammalian cell nucleus contains a variety of organelles or nuclear bodies which contribute to key nuclear functions. Promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) are involved in the regulation of apoptosis, antiviral responses, the DNA damage response and chromatin structure, but their precise biochemical function in these nuclear pathways is unknown. One strategy to tackle this problem is to assess the biophysical properties of the component parts of these macromolecular assemblies in living cells. In this study we determined PML NB assembly dynamics by live cell imaging, combined with mathematical modeling...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Benzhuo Lu, J Andrew McCammon
The Debye-Hückel limiting law (DHL) has often been used to estimate rate constants of diffusion-controlled reactions under different ionic strengths. Two main approximations are adopted in DHL: one is that the solution of the linearized Poisson-Boltzmann equation for a spherical cavity is used to estimate the excess electrostatic free energy of a solution; the other is that details of electrostatic interactions of the solutes are neglected. This makes DHL applicable only at low ionic strengths and dilute solutions (very low substrate/solute concentrations)...
2010: PMC Biophysics
Anna Wilkins Maniccia, Wei Yang, Julian A Johnson, Shunyi Li, Harianto Tjong, Huan-Xiang Zhou, Lev A Shaket, Jenny J Yang
Ca(2+ )binding proteins are essential for regulating the role of Ca(2+ )in cell signaling and maintaining Ca(2+ )homeostasis. Negatively charged residues such as Asp and Glu are often found in Ca(2+ )binding proteins and are known to influence Ca(2+ )binding affinity and protein stability. In this paper, we report a systematic investigation of the role of local charge number and type of coordination residues in Ca(2+ )binding and protein stability using de novo designed Ca(2+ )binding proteins. The approach of de novo design was chosen to avoid the complications of cooperative binding and Ca(2+)-induced conformational change associated with natural proteins...
December 21, 2009: PMC Biophysics
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