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BMC Biophysics | Page 2

Christopher H Bohrer, Elijah Roberts
BACKGROUND: Transcription in Escherichia coli generates positive supercoiling in the DNA, which is relieved by the enzymatic activity of gyrase. Recently published experimental evidence suggests that transcription initiation and elongation are inhibited by the buildup of positive supercoiling. It has therefore been proposed that intermittent binding of gyrase plays a role in transcriptional bursting. Considering that transcription is one of the most fundamental cellular processes, it is desirable to be able to account for the buildup and release of positive supercoiling in models of transcription...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Jia Bai, Zeting Zhang, Maili Liu, Conggang Li
BACKGROUND: The pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease is the deposition of cytoplasmic neuronal inclusions termed Lewy bodies. The major component of Lewy bodies is amyloid fibrils of α-synuclein. To investigate what causes α-synuclein aggregation is essential to understand its pathological roles in Parkinson's disease. Various metal ions, including iron and copper, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Divalent metal ions can regulate α-synuclein fibrillation rate, however, few studies have been performed to investigate how trivalent metal ions interact with α-synuclein and their effect on α-synuclein fibrillation...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Aarón Ayllón Benítez, José Ginés Hernández Cifre, Francisco Guillermo Díaz Baños, José García de la Torre
BACKGROUND: The possibility of validating biological macromolecules with locally disordered domains like RNA against solution properties is helpful to understand their function. In this work, we present a computational scheme for predicting global properties and mimicking the internal dynamics of RNA molecules in solution. A simple coarse-grained model with one bead per nucleotide and two types of intra-molecular interactions (elastic interactions and excluded volume interactions) is used to represent the RNA chain...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Elfriede Friedmann
BACKGROUND: We study the relevance of diffusion for the dynamics of signaling pathways. Mathematical modeling of cellular diffusion leads to a coupled system of differential equations with Robin boundary conditions which requires a substantial knowledge in mathematical theory. Using our new developed analytical and numerical techniques together with modern experiments, we analyze and quantify various types of diffusive effects in intra- and inter-cellular signaling. The complexity of these models necessitates suitable numerical methods to perform the simulations precisely and within an acceptable period of time...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Jorine M Eeftens, Jaco van der Torre, Daniel R Burnham, Cees Dekker
BACKGROUND: Single-molecule techniques have proven to be an excellent approach for quantitatively studying DNA-protein interactions at the single-molecule level. In magnetic tweezers, a force is applied to a biopolymer that is anchored between a glass surface and a magnetic bead. Whereas the relevant force regime for many biological processes is above 20pN, problems arise at these higher forces, since the molecule of interest can detach from the attachment points at the surface or the bead...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Ramiro Magno, Verônica A Grieneisen, Athanasius Fm Marée
BACKGROUND: The biophysical characteristics of cells determine their shape in isolation and when packed within tissues. Cells can form regular or irregular epithelial structures, round up and form clusters, or deform and attach to substrates. The acquired shape of cells and tissues is a consequence of (i) internal cytoskeletal processes, such as actin polymerisation and cortical myosin contraction, (ii) adhesion molecules within the cell membrane that interact with substrates and neighbouring cells, and (iii) processes that regulate cell volume...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Wenxiao Pan, Michael Daily, Nathan A Baker
BACKGROUND: The calculation of diffusion-controlled ligand binding rates is important for understanding enzyme mechanisms as well as designing enzyme inhibitors. METHODS: We demonstrate the accuracy and effectiveness of a Lagrangian particle-based method, smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH), to study diffusion in biomolecular systems by numerically solving the time-dependent Smoluchowski equation for continuum diffusion. Unlike previous studies, a reactive Robin boundary condition (BC), rather than the absolute absorbing (Dirichlet) BC, is considered on the reactive boundaries...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Phuong H Nguyen, Anna M Popova, Kálmán Hideg, Peter Z Qin
BACKGROUND: Spin labels, which are chemically stable radicals attached at specific sites of a bio-molecule, enable investigations on structure and dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids using techniques such as site-directed spin labeling and paramagnetic NMR. Among spin labels developed, the class of rigid labels have limited or no independent motions between the radical bearing moiety and the target, and afford a number of advantages in measuring distances and monitoring local dynamics within the parent bio-molecule...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Christoph Roethlein, Markus S Miettinen, Zoya Ignatova
BACKGROUND: Time-correlated Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) probes molecular distances with greater accuracy than intensity-based calculation of FRET efficiency and provides a powerful tool to study biomolecular structure and dynamics. Moreover, time-correlated photon count measurements bear additional information on the variety of donor surroundings allowing more detailed differentiation between distinct structural geometries which are typically inaccessible to general fitting solutions...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Richard P Sear, Ignacio Pagonabarraga, Andrew Flaus
The cell contains highly dynamic structures exploiting physical principles of self-organisation at the mesoscale (100 nm to 10 μm). Examples include non-membrane bound cytoplasmic bodies, cytoskeleton-based motor networks and multi-scale chromatin organisation. The challenges of mesoscale self-organisation were discussed at a CECAM workshop in July 2014. Biologists need approaches to observe highly dynamic, low affinity, low specificity associations and to perturb single structures, while biological physicists and biomathematicians need to work closely with biologists to build and validate quantitative models...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Hui Ye, Austen Curcuru
BACKGROUND: Cells exhibit distortion when exposed to a strong electric field, suggesting that the field imposes control over cellular biomechanics. Closed pure lipid bilayer membranes (vesicles) have been widely used for the experimental and theoretical studies of cellular biomechanics under this electrodeformation. An alternative method used to generate an electric field is by electromagnetic induction with a time-varying magnetic field. References reporting the magnetic control of cellular mechanics have recently emerged...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Renmin Han, Liansan Wang, Fan Xu, Yongdeng Zhang, Mingshu Zhang, Zhiyong Liu, Fei Ren, Fa Zhang
BACKGROUND: The recent developments of far-field optical microscopy (single molecule imaging techniques) have overcome the diffraction barrier of light and improve image resolution by a factor of ten compared with conventional light microscopy. These techniques utilize the stochastic switching of probe molecules to overcome the diffraction limit and determine the precise localizations of molecules, which often requires a long image acquisition time. However, long acquisition times increase the risk of sample drift...
2015: BMC Biophysics
Michael Junk, Judy Salzwedel, Thilo Sindlinger, Alexander Bürkle, Maria Moreno-Villanueva
BACKGROUND: Cells continuously undergo DNA damage from exogenous agents like irradiation or genotoxic chemicals or from endogenous radicals produced by normal cellular metabolic activities. DNA strand breaks are one of the most common genotoxic lesions and they can also arise as intermediates of DNA repair activity. Unrepaired DNA damage can lead to genomic instability, which can massively compromise the health status of organisms. Therefore it is important to measure and quantify DNA damage and its repair...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Kyu Il Lee, Wonpil Im, Richard W Pastor
BACKGROUND: The polyvalent acidic lipid phosphatidylinositol, 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) is important for many cellular functions. It has been suggested that different pools of PIP2 exist in the cytoplasmic leaflet of the plasma membrane, and that such pooling could play a role in the regulation of PIP2. The mechanism of fencing, however, is not understood. RESULTS: This study presents the results of Langevin dynamics simulations of PIP2 to elucidate some of the molecular level considerations that must be applied to models for fencing...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Johannes Schöneberg, Alexander Ullrich, Frank Noé
Particle-based reaction-diffusion algorithms facilitate the modeling of the diffusional motion of individual molecules and the reactions between them in cellular environments. A physically realistic model, depending on the system at hand and the questions asked, would require different levels of modeling detail such as particle diffusion, geometrical confinement, particle volume exclusion or particle-particle interaction potentials. Higher levels of detail usually correspond to increased number of parameters and higher computational cost...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Ali Kinkhabwala, Anton Khmelinskii, Michael Knop
BACKGROUND: Asymmetric cell division, whereby a parent cell generates two sibling cells with unequal content and thereby distinct fates, is central to cell differentiation, organism development and ageing. Unequal partitioning of the macromolecular content of the parent cell - which includes proteins, DNA, RNA, large proteinaceous assemblies and organelles - can be achieved by both passive (e.g. diffusion, localized retention sites) and active (e.g. motor-driven transport) processes operating in the presence of external polarity cues, internal asymmetries, spontaneous symmetry breaking, or stochastic effects...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Xuesi M Shao, Liyo Kao, Ira Kurtz
BACKGROUND: The ion transport stoichiometry (q) of electrogenic transporters is an important determinant of their function. q can be determined by the reversal potential (Erev) if the transporter under study is the only electrogenic transport mechanism or a specific inhibitor is available. An alternative approach is to calculate delta reversal potential (ΔErev) by altering the concentrations of the transported substrates. This approach is based on the hypothesis that the contributions of other channels and transporters on the membrane to Erev are additive...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Kristina N Woods
BACKGROUND: THz experiments have been used to characterize the picosecond time scale fluctuations taking place in the model, globular protein crambin. RESULTS: Using both hydration and temperature as an experimental parameter, we have identified collective fluctuations (<= 200 cm(-1)) in the protein. Observation of the protein dynamics in the THz spectrum from both below and above the glass transition temperature (Tg) has provided unique insight into the microscopic interactions and modes that permit the solvent to effectively couple to the protein thermal fluctuations...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Phanourios Tamamis, Chris A Kieslich, Gregory V Nikiforovich, Trent M Woodruff, Dimitrios Morikis, Georgios Archontis
BACKGROUND: The complement protein C5a acts by primarily binding and activating the G-protein coupled C5a receptor C5aR (CD88), and is implicated in many inflammatory diseases. The cyclic hexapeptide PMX53 (sequence Ace-Phe-[Orn-Pro-dCha-Trp-Arg]) is a full C5aR antagonist of nanomolar potency, and is widely used to study C5aR function in disease. RESULTS: We construct for the first time molecular models for the C5aR:PMX53 complex without the a priori use of experimental constraints, via a computational framework of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, docking, conformational clustering and free energy filtering...
2014: BMC Biophysics
Sanford H Leuba, Sean M Carney, Elizabeth M Dahlburg, Rebecca J Eells, Harshad Ghodke, Naveena Yanamala, Grant Schauer, Judith Klein-Seetharaman
BACKGROUND: A key challenge in interdisciplinary research is choosing the best approach from a large number of techniques derived from different disciplines and their interfaces. RESULTS: To address this challenge in the area of Biophysics and Structural Biology, we have designed a graduate level course to teach students insightful use of experimental biophysical approaches in relationship to addressing biological questions related to biomolecular interactions and dynamics...
2014: BMC Biophysics
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