Research Projects - Other

The nature of modern science is that it is ever-changing, energetically crossing boundaries heretofore defined by traditional areas of inquiry. Research at the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics group reflects this dynamic, with studies employing theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches or addressing topics that don't fall easily into one of the above categories. Included in this broad category are studies of a four-way DNA junction, the nuclear pore complex, gas transport in hydrogenase that may provide a source of renewable fuel, and other topics.

NTF2 FG-repeat binding

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The nucleus is responsible for storing the genome of eukaryotic cells, isolating it from the cellular cytoplasm. Partitioning the genetic material is very important in protecting it from cellular processes or foreign molecules. However, the nucleus also needs to provide access for the rest of the cell to the information stored in the genome. Numerous nuclear pores in the nuclear envelope offer communication pathways between the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm. The pathways are restricted to so-called transport receptors, proteins that taxi molecules into and out of the nucleus. If a molecule wishes to enter or leave the nucleus, it associates with a transport receptor. The complex passes through the pore and then dissociates. The question is why transport receptors can pass the nuclear pores while other proteins cannot. The answer lies in the role of FG-repeat proteins lining the pores and filling much of their free volume. These proteins are disordered peptides, consisting of repeating phenylalanine-glycine (FG) residues separated by a sequence of hydrophilic linker residues. Only proteins that interact favorably with the FG-repeat regions can pass through, while other proteins are excluded. A recent report used molecular dynamics via NAMD to examine the way in which the transport factor NTF2 interacts with the FG-repeats. The study described binding spots for FG-repeat peptides on the surface of NTF2, confirming known binding spots discovered previously via experimental means, and suggesting the existence of further binding spots. The new binding spots may play a role in steering NTF2, upon import or export, along a particular path through the nuclear pore. See also a previous highlight from January 2006, "Gateway to the Nucleus", as well as our webpage on the nuclear pore complex.

All Spotlights

Papers

Mature HIV-1 capsid structure by cryo-electron microscopy and all-atom molecular dynamics. Gongpu Zhao, Juan R. Perilla, Ernest L. Yufenyuy, Xin Meng, Bo Chen, Jiying Ning, Jinwoo Ahn, Angela M. Gronenborn, Klaus Schulten, Christopher Aiken, and Peijun Zhang. Nature, 497:643-646, 2013.

A computational kinetic model of diffusion for molecular systems. Ivan Teo and Klaus Schulten. Journal of Chemical Physics, 139:121929, 2013.

Effects of cytosine hydroxymethylation on DNA strand separation. Philip M.D. Severin, Xueqing Zou, Klaus Schulten, and Hermann E. Gaub. Biophysical Journal, 104:208-215, 2013.

DNA target sequence identification mechanism for dimer-active protein complexes. Markita P. Landry, Xueqing Zou, Lei Wang, Wai Mun Huang, Klaus Schulten, and Yann R. Chemla. Nucleic Acids Research, 41:2416-2427, 2013.

A computational kinetic model of diffusion for molecular systems. Ivan Teo and Klaus Schulten. Journal of Chemical Physics, 139:121929, 2013.

Decrypting cryptochrome: Revealing the molecular identity of the photoactivation reaction. Ilia A. Solov'yov, Tatiana Domratcheva, Abdul R. M. Shahi, and Klaus Schulten. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134:18046-18052, 2012.

Further optimization of a hybrid united-atom and coarse-grained force field for folding simulations: Improved backbone hydration and interactions between charged side chains. Wei Han and Klaus Schulten. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 8:4413-4424, 2012.

Molecular basis of drug resistance in A/H1N1 virus. Ariela Vergara-Jaque, Horacio Poblete, Eric Lee, Klaus Schulten, Fernando González-Nilo, and Christophe Chipot. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 52:2650-2656, 2012.

Unique sugar-binding site mediates the distinct anti-influenza activity of pig surfactant protein D. Martin van Eijk, Michael J. Rynkiewicz, Mitchell R. White, Kevan L. Hartshorn, Xueqing Zou, Klaus Schulten, Dong Luo, Erika C. Crouch, Tanya M. Cafarella, James F. Head, Henk P. Haagsman, and Barbara A. Seaton. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287:26666-26677, 2012.

High-performance scalable molecular dynamics simulations of a polarizable force field based on classical Drude oscillators in NAMD. Wei Jiang, David Hardy, James Phillips, Alex MacKerell, Klaus Schulten, and Benoit Roux. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2:87-92, 2011.

Probing a structural model of the nuclear pore complex channel through molecular dynamics. Lingling Miao and Klaus Schulten. Biophysical Journal, 98:1658-1667, 2010.

Flow-induced b-hairpin folding of the glycoprotein Iba b-switch. Xueqing Zou, Yanxin Liu, Zhongzhou Chen, Gloria Ines Cárdenas-Jirón, and Klaus Schulten. Biophysical Journal, 99:1182-1191, 2010.

Challenges in protein folding simulations. Peter L. Freddolino, Christopher B. Harrison, Yanxin Liu, and Klaus Schulten. Nature Physics, 6:751-758, 2010.

O2-reactivity of flavoproteins: Dynamic access of dioxygen to the active site and role of a H+ relay system in D-amino acid oxidase. Jan Saam, Elena Rosini, Gianluca Molla, Klaus Schulten, Loredano Pollegioni, and Sandro Ghisla. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285:24439-24446, 2010.

Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that electrostatic funnel directs binding of Tamiflu to influenza N1 neuraminidases. Ly Le, Eric H. Lee, David J. Hardy, Thanh N. Truong, and Klaus Schulten. PLoS Computational Biology, 6:e1000939, 2010. (13 pages).

Limits for reduction of effective focal volume in multiple-beam light microscopy. Anton Arkhipov and Klaus Schulten. Optics Express, 17:2861-2870, 2009.

Transport-related structures and processes of the nuclear pore complex studied through molecular dynamics. Lingling Miao and Klaus Schulten. Structure, 17:449-459, 2009.

Double stranded DNA dissociates into single strands when dragged into a poor solvent. Shuxun Cui, Jin Yu, Ferdinand Kühner, Klaus Schulten, and Hermann E. Gaub. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 129:14710-14716, 2007.

Molecular dynamics simulations of the complete satellite tobacco mosaic virus. Peter L. Freddolino, Anton S. Arkhipov, Steven B. Larson, Alexander McPherson, and Klaus Schulten. Structure, 14:437-449, 2006.

Finding gas diffusion pathways in proteins: Application to O2 and H2 transport in CpI [FeFe]-hydrogenase and the role of packing defects. Jordi Cohen, Kwiseon Kim, Paul King, Michael Seibert, and Klaus Schulten. Structure, 13:1321-1329, 2005.

Binding dynamics of isolated nucleoporin repeat regions to importin-b. Timothy A. Isgro and Klaus Schulten. Structure, 13:1869-1879, 2005.

Conformational model of the Holliday junction transition deduced from molecular dynamics simulations. Jin Yu, Taekjip Ha, and Klaus Schulten. Nucleic Acids Research, 32:6683-6695, 2004.

Genetically engineered gold-binding polypeptides: Structure prediction and molecular dynamics. Rosemary Braun, Mehmet Sarikaya, and Klaus Schulten. Journal of Biomaterials Science, 13:747-758, 2002.