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Sample records for biological rna molecules

  1. A chemical screen for biological small molecule-RNA conjugates reveals CoA-linked RNA.

    PubMed

    Kowtoniuk, Walter E; Shen, Yinghua; Heemstra, Jennifer M; Agarwal, Isha; Liu, David R

    2009-05-12

    Compared with the rapidly expanding set of known biological roles for RNA, the known chemical diversity of cellular RNA has remained limited primarily to canonical RNA, 3'-aminoacylated tRNAs, nucleobase-modified RNAs, and 5'-capped mRNAs in eukaryotes. We developed two methods to detect in a broad manner chemically labile cellular small molecule-RNA conjugates. The methods were validated by the detection of known tRNA and rRNA modifications. The first method analyzes small molecules cleaved from RNA by base or nucleophile treatment. Application to Escherichia coli and Streptomyces venezuelae RNA revealed an RNA-linked hydroxyfuranone or succinyl ester group, in addition to a number of other putative small molecule-RNA conjugates not previously reported. The second method analyzes nuclease-generated mononucleotides before and after treatment with base or nucleophile and also revealed a number of new putative small molecule-RNA conjugates, including 3'-dephospho-CoA and its succinyl-, acetyl-, and methylmalonyl-thioester derivatives. Subsequent experiments established that these CoA species are attached to E. coli and S. venezuelae RNA at the 5' terminus. CoA-linked RNA cannot be generated through aberrant transcriptional initiation by E. coli RNA polymerase in vitro, and CoA-linked RNA in E. coli is only found among smaller (approximately < 200 nucleotide) RNAs that have yet to be identified. These results provide examples of small molecule-RNA conjugates and suggest that the chemical diversity of cellular RNA may be greater than previously understood.

  2. MicroRNA: a small molecule with a big biological impact.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Xiaofeng; Yang, Pan-Chyr

    2012-01-01

    One of the most significant achievements in biological science in the last decade is the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi), a process within living cells that regulates gene expression at post-transcriptional levels. Historically, this process was described by other more generic names, such as co-suppression and post transcriptional gene silencing. Only after the molecular mechanism underlying these apparently unrelated processes was fully understood did it become apparent that they all described the RNAi phenomenon. In 2006, Dr. Andrew Fire and Dr. Craig C. Mello were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on RNAi interference. RNAi is an RNA-dependent gene silencing process that is controlled by the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) and is initiated by two types of small RNA molecules - microRNA (miRNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA). However, the function of microRNA appears to be far beyond RNAi alone, including direct interaction with the gene promoter and epigenetic regulation of the DNA methylation and histone modification. By regulating gene expression, miRNAs are likely to be involved in diverse biological activities, such as tumorigenesis, immune response, insulin secretion, neurotransmitter synthesis, and circadian rhythm, to name a few. MicroRNAs are 21-23 nucleotide single stranded RNA molecules found in eukaryotic cells. The first miRNA, lin-4, was characterized in C. elegans in the early 1990s [1]. In the early years, the progress on microRNA research was slow and experienced substantial growing pains. The short length and uniqueness of each microRNA rendered many conventional hybridization based methods ineffective; very small RNAs are difficult to reliably amplify or label without introducing bias. In addition, hybridization-based methods for microRNA profiling relied on probes designed to detect known microRNAs or known microRNA species previously identified by sequencing or homology search. Recent evidence of

  3. Discovery of RNA Binding Small Molecules Using Small Molecule Microarrays.

    PubMed

    Connelly, Colleen M; Abulwerdi, Fardokht A; Schneekloth, John S

    2017-01-01

    New methods to identify RNA-binding small molecules open yet unexplored opportunities for the pharmacological modulation of RNA-driven biology and disease states. One such approach is the use of small molecule microarrays (SMMs). Typically, SMMs are generated by spatially arraying and covalently linking a library of small molecules to a glass surface. Next, incubation of the arrays with a fluorescently labeled RNA reveals binding interactions that are detected upon slide imaging. The relative ease with which SMMs are manufactured enables the screening of multiple oligonucleotides in parallel against tens of thousands of small molecules, providing information about both binding and selectivity of identified RNA-small molecule interactions. This approach is useful for screening a broad variety of structurally and functionally diverse RNAs. Here, we present a general method for the preparation and use of SMMs to rapidly identify small molecules that selectively bind to an RNA of interest.

  4. Diversity in Biological Molecules

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Newbury, H. John

    2010-01-01

    One of the striking characteristics of fundamental biological processes, such as genetic inheritance, development and primary metabolism, is the limited amount of variation in the molecules involved. Natural selective pressures act strongly on these core processes and individuals carrying mutations and producing slightly sub-optimal versions of…

  5. Diversity in Biological Molecules

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Newbury, H. John

    2010-01-01

    One of the striking characteristics of fundamental biological processes, such as genetic inheritance, development and primary metabolism, is the limited amount of variation in the molecules involved. Natural selective pressures act strongly on these core processes and individuals carrying mutations and producing slightly sub-optimal versions of…

  6. Artemether Combined with shRNA Interference of Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Significantly Inhibited the Malignant Biological Behavior of Human Glioma Cells

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ping; Xue, Yi-Xue; Yao, Yi-Long; Yu, Bo; Liu, Yun-Hui

    2013-01-01

    Artemether is the derivative extracted from Chinese traditional herb and originally used for malaria. Artemether also has potential therapeutic effects against tumors. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is an important cell surface adhesion molecule associated with malignancy of gliomas. In this work, we investigated the role and mechanism of artemether combined with shRNA interference of VCAM-1 (shRNA-VCAM-1) on the migration, invasion and apoptosis of glioma cells. U87 human glioma cells were treated with artemether at various concentrations and shRNA interfering technology was employed to silence the expression of VCAM-1. Cell viability, migration, invasiveness and apoptosis were assessed with MTT, wound healing, Transwell and Annexin V-FITC/PI staining. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) was checked by Western blot assay. Results showed that artemether and shRNA-VCAM-1 not only significantly inhibited the migration, invasiveness and expression of MMP-2/9 and p-Akt, but also promoted the apoptosis of U87 cells. Combined treatment of both displayed the maximum inhibitory effects on the malignant biological behavior of glioma cells. Our work revealed the potential therapeutic effects of artemether and antiVCAM-1 in the treatments of gliomas. PMID:23593320

  7. Physiological roles of small RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Michaux, Charlotte; Verneuil, Nicolas; Hartke, Axel; Giard, Jean-Christophe

    2014-06-01

    Unlike proteins, RNA molecules have emerged lately as key players in regulation in bacteria. Most reviews hitherto focused on the experimental and/or in silico methods used to identify genes encoding small RNAs (sRNAs) or on the diverse mechanisms of these RNA regulators to modulate expression of their targets. However, less is known about their biological functions and their implications in various physiological responses. This review aims to compile what is known presently about the diverse roles of sRNA transcripts in the regulation of metabolic processes, in different growth conditions, in adaptation to stress and in microbial pathogenesis. Several recent studies revealed that sRNA molecules are implicated in carbon metabolism and transport, amino acid metabolism or metal sensing. Moreover, regulatory RNAs participate in cellular adaptation to environmental changes, e.g. through quorum sensing systems or development of biofilms, and analyses of several sRNAs under various physiological stresses and culture conditions have already been performed. In addition, recent experiments performed with Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens showed that regulatory RNAs play important roles in microbial virulence and during infection. The combined results show the diversity of regulation mechanisms and physiological processes in which sRNA molecules are key actors.

  8. Biological mechanisms, one molecule at a time.

    PubMed

    Tinoco, Ignacio; Gonzalez, Ruben L

    2011-06-15

    The last 15 years have witnessed the development of tools that allow the observation and manipulation of single molecules. The rapidly expanding application of these technologies for investigating biological systems of ever-increasing complexity is revolutionizing our ability to probe the mechanisms of biological reactions. Here, we compare the mechanistic information available from single-molecule experiments with the information typically obtained from ensemble studies and show how these two experimental approaches interface with each other. We next present a basic overview of the toolkit for observing and manipulating biology one molecule at a time. We close by presenting a case study demonstrating the impact that single-molecule approaches have had on our understanding of one of life's most fundamental biochemical reactions: the translation of a messenger RNA into its encoded protein by the ribosome.

  9. Biological mechanisms, one molecule at a time

    PubMed Central

    Tinoco, Ignacio; Gonzalez, Ruben L.

    2011-01-01

    The last 15 years have witnessed the development of tools that allow the observation and manipulation of single molecules. The rapidly expanding application of these technologies for investigating biological systems of ever-increasing complexity is revolutionizing our ability to probe the mechanisms of biological reactions. Here, we compare the mechanistic information available from single-molecule experiments with the information typically obtained from ensemble studies and show how these two experimental approaches interface with each other. We next present a basic overview of the toolkit for observing and manipulating biology one molecule at a time. We close by presenting a case study demonstrating the impact that single-molecule approaches have had on our understanding of one of life's most fundamental biochemical reactions: the translation of a messenger RNA into its encoded protein by the ribosome. PMID:21685361

  10. Small Molecule Chemical Probes of MicroRNA Function

    PubMed Central

    Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Vummidi, Balayeshwanth R.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2015-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that control protein expression. Aberrant miRNA expression has been linked to various human diseases, and thus miRNAs have been explored as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. Although it is challenging to target RNA with small molecules in general, there have been successful campaigns that have identified small molecule modulators of miRNA function by targeting various pathways. For example, small molecules that modulate transcription and target nuclease processing sites in miRNA precursors have been identified. Herein, we describe challenges in developing chemical probes that target miRNAs and highlight aspects of miRNA cellular biology elucidated by using small molecule chemical probes. We expect that this area will expand dramatically in the near future as strides are made to understand small molecule recognition of RNA from a fundamental perspective. PMID:25500006

  11. Small molecule chemical probes of microRNA function.

    PubMed

    Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Vummidi, Balayeshwanth R; Disney, Matthew D

    2015-02-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that control protein expression. Aberrant miRNA expression has been linked to various human diseases, and thus miRNAs have been explored as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. Although it is challenging to target RNA with small molecules in general, there have been successful campaigns that have identified small molecule modulators of miRNA function by targeting various pathways. For example, small molecules that modulate transcription and target nuclease processing sites in miRNA precursors have been identified. Herein, we describe challenges in developing chemical probes that target miRNAs and highlight aspects of miRNA cellular biology elucidated by using small molecule chemical probes. We expect that this area will expand dramatically in the near future as progress is made in understanding small molecule recognition of RNA.

  12. Aggregation and folding phase transitions of RNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundschuh, Ralf

    2007-03-01

    RNA is a biomolecule that is involved in nearly all aspects of cellular functions. In order to perform many of these functions, RNA molecules have to fold into specific secondary structures. This folding is driven by the tendency of the bases to form Watson-Crick base pairs. Beyond the biological importance of RNA, the relatively simple rules for structure formation of RNA make it a very interesting system from the statistical physics point of view. We will present examples of phase transitions in RNA secondary structure formation that are amenable to analytical descriptions. A special focus will be on aggregation between several RNA molecules which is important for some regulatory circuits based on RNA structure, triplet repeat diseases like Huntington's, and as a model for prion diseases. We show that depending on the relative strength of the intramolecular and the intermolecular base pairing, RNA molecules undergo a transition into an aggregated phase and quantitatively characterize this transition.

  13. Single molecule studies of RNA polymerase II transcription in vitro

    PubMed Central

    Horn, Abigail E; Goodrich, James A; Kugel, Jennifer F

    2014-01-01

    Eukaryotic mRNA transcription by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) is the first step in gene expression and a key determinant of cellular regulation. Elucidating the mechanism by which RNAP II synthesizes RNA is therefore vital to determining how genes are controlled under diverse biological conditions. Significant advances in understanding RNAP II transcription have been achieved using classical biochemical and structural techniques; however, aspects of the transcription mechanism cannot be assessed using these approaches. The application of single-molecule techniques to study RNAP II transcription has provided new insight only obtainable by studying molecules in this complex system one at a time. PMID:25764112

  14. Single molecule studies of RNA polymerase II transcription in vitro.

    PubMed

    Horn, Abigail E; Goodrich, James A; Kugel, Jennifer F

    2014-01-01

    Eukaryotic mRNA transcription by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) is the first step in gene expression and a key determinant of cellular regulation. Elucidating the mechanism by which RNAP II synthesizes RNA is therefore vital to determining how genes are controlled under diverse biological conditions. Significant advances in understanding RNAP II transcription have been achieved using classical biochemical and structural techniques; however, aspects of the transcription mechanism cannot be assessed using these approaches. The application of single-molecule techniques to study RNAP II transcription has provided new insight only obtainable by studying molecules in this complex system one at a time.

  15. Small Molecule-Mediated Cleavage of RNA in Living Cells

    PubMed Central

    Guan, Lirui

    2013-01-01

    Antisense oligonucleotides and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) control gene expression by triggering the degradation of a mRNA via recruitment of RNase H or the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), respectively.[1] These approaches are hampered, however, by the poor cellular permeability of oligonucleotides. A small molecule approach to cleave RNA targets could obviate uptake issues. Several compounds can induce RNA cleavage in vitro,[2] however, to the best of our knowledge no small molecules have been previously described to cleave RNA in living cells. Herein, we describe the development of a potentially general approach to design small molecules that specifically cleave an RNA in a living cell, affecting biological function. Specifically, a designed, modularly assembled small molecule that binds the RNA that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1)[3] was appended with a moiety that generates hydroxyl radicals upon irradiation. Cleavage of the transcript improves DM1-associated defects in cell culture, and compounds are non-toxic at an efficacious dose as determined by a MTT viability assay. This approach may allow for the site-specific cleavage and inactivation of other cellular RNAs.[4] Compounds that bind to and cleave RNA have the potential to serve as chemical genetics probes of function or lead therapeutics with spatial and temporal control. PMID:23280953

  16. First molecules, biological chirality, origin(s) of life.

    PubMed

    Caglioti, Luciano; Micskei, Károly; Pályi, Gyula

    2011-01-01

    Origin(s) of biological chirality appear(s) to be intimately connected to origin(s) of life. Prebiotic evolution toward these important turning points can be traced back to single chiral molecules. These can be small (monomeric) units as amino acids or monosaccharides or oligomers as oligo-RNA type molecules. Earlier speculations about these two kinds of entries to biological chirality are critically reviewed.

  17. Geochemical Origin of Biological Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassez, Marie-Paule

    2013-04-01

    A model for the geochemical origin of biological molecules is presented. Rocks such as peridotites and basalts, which contain ferromagnesian minerals, evolve in the presence of water. Their hydrolysis is an exothermic reaction which generates heat and a release of H2 and of minerals with modified structures. The hydrogen reacts with the CO2 embedded inside the rock or with the CO2 of the environment to form CO in an hydrothermal process. With the N2 of the environment, and with an activation source arising from cosmic radiation, ferromagnesian rocks might evolve towards the abiotic formation of biological molecules, such as peptide like macromolecules which produce amino acids after acid hydrolysis. The reactions concerned are described. The production of hydrothermal CO is discussed in geological sites containing ferromagnesian silicate minerals and the low intensity of the Earth's magnetic field during Paleoarchaean Era is also discussed. It is concluded that excitation sources arising from cosmic radiation were much more abundant during Paleoarchaean Era and that macromolecular structures of biological relevance might consequently form during Archaean Eon, as a product of the chemical evolution of the rocks and of their mineral contents. This synthesis of abiotically formed biological molecules is consecutively discussed for meteorites and other planets such as Mars. This model for the geochemical origin of biological molecules has first been proposed in 2008 in the context of reactions involving catalysers such as kaolinite [Bassez 2008a] and then presented in conferences and articles [Bassez 2008b, 2009, 2012; Bassez et al. 2009a to 2012b]. BASSEZ M.P. 2008a Synthèse prébiotique dans les conditions hydrothermales, CNRIUT'08, Lyon 29-30/05/2008, Conf. and open access article:http://liris.cnrs.fr/~cnriut08/actes/ 29 mai 11h-12h40. BASSEZ M.P. 2008b Prebiotic synthesis under hydrothermal conditions, ISSOL'08, P2-6, Firenze-Italy, 24-29/08/2008. Poster at the

  18. Frameworks for programming biological function through RNA parts and devices

    PubMed Central

    Win, Maung Nyan; Liang, Joe C.; Smolke, Christina D.

    2009-01-01

    One of the long-term goals of synthetic biology is to reliably engineer biological systems that perform human-defined functions. Currently, researchers face several scientific and technical challenges in designing and building biological systems, one of which is associated with our limited ability to access, transmit, and control molecular information through the design of functional biomolecules exhibiting novel properties. The fields of RNA biology and nucleic acid engineering, along with the tremendous interdisciplinary growth of synthetic biology, are fueling advances in the emerging field of RNA programming in living systems. Researchers are designing functional RNA molecules that exhibit increasingly complex functions and integrating these molecules into cellular circuits to program higher-level biological functions. The continued integration and growth of RNA design and synthetic biology presents exciting potential to transform how we interact with and program biology. PMID:19318211

  19. Covalent small-molecule-RNA complex formation enables cellular profiling of small-molecule-RNA interactions.

    PubMed

    Guan, Lirui; Disney, Matthew D

    2013-09-16

    Won't let you go! A strategy is described to design small molecules that react with their cellular RNA targets. This approach not only improves the activity of compounds targeting RNA in cell culture by a factor of about 2500 but also enables cell-wide profiling of its RNA targets.

  20. tRNA--the golden standard in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Barciszewska, Mirosława Z; Perrigue, Patrick M; Barciszewski, Jan

    2016-01-01

    Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) represent a major class of RNA molecules. Their primary function is to help decode a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence in order to synthesize protein and thus ensures the precise translation of genetic information that is imprinted in DNA. The discovery of tRNA in the late 1950's provided critical insight into a genetic machinery when little was known about the central dogma of molecular biology. In 1965, Robert Holley determined the first nucleotide sequence of alanine transfer RNA (tRNA(Ala)) which earned him the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Today, tRNA is one of the best described and characterized biological molecules. Here we review some of the key historical events in tRNA research which led to breakthrough discoveries and new developments in molecular biology.

  1. Exploring biology with small organic molecules.

    PubMed

    Stockwell, Brent R

    2004-12-16

    Small organic molecules have proven to be invaluable tools for investigating biological systems, but there is still much to learn from their use. To discover and to use more effectively new chemical tools to understand biology, strategies are needed that allow us to systematically explore 'biological-activity space'. Such strategies involve analysing both protein binding of, and phenotypic responses to, small organic molecules. The mapping of biological-activity space using small molecules is akin to mapping the stars--uncharted territory is explored using a system of coordinates that describes where each new feature lies.

  2. Exploring biology with small organic molecules

    PubMed Central

    Stockwell, Brent R.

    2011-01-01

    Small organic molecules have proven to be invaluable tools for investigating biological systems, but there is still much to learn from their use. To discover and to use more effectively new chemical tools to understand biology, strategies are needed that allow us to systematically explore ‘biological-activity space’. Such strategies involve analysing both protein binding of, and phenotypic responses to, small organic molecules. The mapping of biological-activity space using small molecules is akin to mapping the stars — uncharted territory is explored using a system of coordinates that describes where each new feature lies. PMID:15602550

  3. RNA tectonics (tectoRNA) for RNA nanostructure design and its application in synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Junya; Furuta, Hiroyuki; Ikawa, Yoshiya

    2013-01-01

    RNA molecules are versatile biomaterials that act not only as DNA-like genetic materials but also have diverse functions in regulation of cellular biosystems. RNA is capable of regulating gene expression by sequence-specific hybridization. This feature allows the design of RNA-based artificial gene regulators (riboregulators). RNA can also build complex two-dimensional (2D) and 3D nanostructures, which afford protein-like functions and make RNA an attractive material for nanobiotechnology. RNA tectonics is a methodology in RNA nanobiotechnology for the design and construction of RNA nanostructures/nanoobjects through controlled self-assembly of modular RNA units (tectoRNAs). RNA nanostructures designed according to the concept of RNA tectonics are also attractive as tools in synthetic biology, but in vivo RNA tectonics is still in the early stages. This review presents a summary of the achievements of RNA tectonics and its related researches in vitro, and also introduces recent developments that facilitated the use of RNA nanostructures in bacterial cells. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  4. Single molecule RNA folding studied with optical trapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieregg, Jeffrey Robert

    The RNA folding problem (predicting the equilibrium structure and folding pathway of an RNA molecule from its sequence) is one of the classic problems of biophysics. Recent discoveries of many new functions for RNA have increased its importance, and new instrumental techniques have provided new ways to characterize molecular behavior. In particular, optical trapping (optical tweezers) allows controlled mechanical force to be applied to single RNA molecules while their end-to-end extension is monitored in real time. This enables characterization of RNA folding dynamics at a level unreachable by traditional bulk methods. Furthermore, recent advances in statistical mechanics make it possible to recover equilibrium quantities such as free energy from reactions which occur away from equilibrium. This dissertation describes the application of optical trapping and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to quantitatively characterize folding of RNA secondary structures. By measuring the folding free energy of several specially designed hairpins in solutions containing various amounts of sodium and potassium, we were able to determine that RNA secondary structure thermodynamics depends not only on monovalent cation concentration but also surprisingly, on species. We also investigated the temperature dependence of hairpin folding thermodynamics and kinetics, which provided a direct measurement of enthalpy and entropy for RNA folding at physiological temperatures. We found that the folding pathway was quite sensitive to both salt and temperature, as measured by the folding success rate of a biologically important hairpin from the HIV-1 viral genome. Finally, I discuss modeling of force-induced RNA folding and unfolding, as well as a series of efforts which have dramatically improved the performance of our optical trapping instrument.

  5. Biological signaling by small inorganic molecules.

    PubMed

    Basudhar, Debashree; Ridnour, Lisa A; Cheng, Robert; Kesarwala, Aparna H; Heinecke, Julie; Wink, David A

    2016-01-01

    Small redox active molecules such as reactive nitrogen and oxygen species and hydrogen sulfide have emerged as important biological mediators that are involved in various physiological and pathophysiological processes. Advancement in understanding of cellular mechanisms that tightly regulate both generation and reactivity of these molecules is central to improved management of various disease states including cancer and cardiovascular dysfunction. Imbalance in the production of redox active molecules can lead to damage of critical cellular components such as cell membranes, proteins and DNA and thus may trigger the onset of disease. These small inorganic molecules react independently as well as in a concerted manner to mediate physiological responses. This review provides a general overview of the redox biology of these key molecules, their diverse chemistry relevant to physiological processes and their interrelated nature in cellular signaling.

  6. Analysis of RNA Folding and Ribonucleoprotein Assembly by Single-Molecule Fluorescence Spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Pljevaljčić, Goran; Robertson-Anderson, Rae; van der Schans, Edwin; Millar, David

    2013-01-01

    Summary To execute their diverse range of biological functions, RNA molecules must fold into specific tertiary structures and/or associate with one or more proteins to form ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. Single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy is a powerful tool for the study of RNA folding and RNP assembly processes, directly revealing different conformational subpopulations that are hidden in conventional ensemble measurements. Moreover, kinetic processes can be observed without the need to synchronize a population of molecules. In this chapter, we describe the fluorescence spectroscopic methods used for single-molecule measurements of freely diffusing or immobilized RNA molecules or RNA-protein complexes. We also provide practical protocols to prepare the fluorescently labeled RNA and protein molecules required for such studies. Finally, we provide two examples of how these various preparative and spectroscopic methods are employed in the study of RNA folding and RNP assembly processes. PMID:22573447

  7. Halogen bonds in biological molecules

    PubMed Central

    Auffinger, Pascal; Hays, Franklin A.; Westhof, Eric; Ho, P. Shing

    2004-01-01

    Short oxygen–halogen interactions have been known in organic chemistry since the 1950s and recently have been exploited in the design of supramolecular assemblies. The present survey of protein and nucleic acid structures reveals similar halogen bonds as potentially stabilizing inter- and intramolecular interactions that can affect ligand binding and molecular folding. A halogen bond in biomolecules can be defined as a short CX···OY interaction (CX is a carbon-bonded chlorine, bromine, or iodine, and OY is a carbonyl, hydroxyl, charged carboxylate, or phosphate group), where the X···O distance is less than or equal to the sums of the respective van der Waals radii (3.27 Å for Cl···O, 3.37Å for Br···O, and 3.50 Å for I···O) and can conform to the geometry seen in small molecules, with the CX···O angle ≈165° (consistent with a strong directional polarization of the halogen) and the X···OY angle ≈120°. Alternative geometries can be imposed by the more complex environment found in biomolecules, depending on which of the two types of donor systems are involved in the interaction: (i) the lone pair electrons of oxygen (and, to a lesser extent, nitrogen and sulfur) atoms or (ii) the delocalized π -electrons of peptide bonds or carboxylate or amide groups. Thus, the specific geometry and diversity of the interacting partners of halogen bonds offer new and versatile tools for the design of ligands as drugs and materials in nanotechnology. PMID:15557000

  8. Bringing RNA into View: RNA and Its Roles in Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Atkins, John F.; Ellington, Andrew; Friedman, B. Ellen; Gesteland, Raymond F.; Noller, Harry F.; Pasquale, Stephen M.; Storey, Richard D.; Uhlenbeck, Olke C.; Weiner, Alan M.

    This guide presents a module for college students on ribonucleic acid (RNA) and its role in biology. The module aims to integrate the latest research and its findings into college-level biology and provide an opportunity for students to understand biological processes. Four activities are presented: (1) "RNA Structure: Tapes to Shapes"; (2) "RNA…

  9. Biological significance of RNA editing in cells.

    PubMed

    Tang, Wei; Fei, Yongjun; Page, Michael

    2012-09-01

    RNA editing is one of the post-transcriptional RNA processes. RNA editing generates RNA and protein diversity in eukaryotes and results in specific amino acid substitutions, deletions, and changes in gene expression levels. Adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing represents the most important class of editing in human and affects function of many genes. The importance of balancing RNA modification levels across time and space is becoming increasingly evident. In this review, we overview the biological significance of RNA editing including RNA editing in tumorigenesis, RNA editing in neuronal tissues, RNA editing as a regulator of gene expression, and RNA editing in dsRNA-mediated gene silencing, which may increase our understanding of RNA biology.

  10. The Central Symbiosis of Molecular Biology: Molecules in Mutualism.

    PubMed

    Lanier, Kathryn A; Petrov, Anton S; Williams, Loren Dean

    2017-08-07

    As illustrated by the mitochondrion and the eukaryotic cell, little in biology makes sense except in light of mutualism. Mutualisms are persistent, intimate, and reciprocal exchanges; an organism proficient in obtaining certain benefits confers those on a partner, which reciprocates by conferring different benefits. Mutualisms (i) increase fitness, (ii) inspire robustness, (iii) are resilient and resistant to change, (iv) sponsor co-evolution, (v) foster innovation, and (vi) involve partners that are distantly related with contrasting yet complementary proficiencies. Previous to this work, mutualisms were understood to operate on levels of cells, organisms, ecosystems, and even societies and economies. Here, the concepts of mutualism are extended to molecules and are seen to apply to the relationship between RNA and protein. Polynucleotide and polypeptide are Molecules in Mutualism. RNA synthesizes protein in the ribosome and protein synthesizes RNA in polymerases. RNA and protein are codependent, and trade proficiencies. Protein has proficiency in folding into complex three-dimensional states, contributing enzymes, fibers, adhesives, pumps, pores, switches, and receptors. RNA has proficiency in direct molecular recognition, achieved by complementary base pairing interactions, which allow it to maintain, record, and transduce information. The large phylogenetic distance that characterizes partnerships in organismal mutualism has close analogy with large distance in chemical space between RNA and protein. The RNA backbone is anionic and self-repulsive and cannot form hydrophobic structural cores. The protein backbone is neutral and cohesive and commonly forms hydrophobic cores. Molecules in Mutualism extends beyond RNA and protein. A cell is a consortium of molecules in which nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides, phospholipids, and other molecules form a mutualism consortium that drives metabolism and replication. Analogies are found in systems such as

  11. Recent advances in developing small molecules targeting RNA.

    PubMed

    Guan, Lirui; Disney, Matthew D

    2012-01-20

    RNAs are underexploited targets for small molecule drugs or chemical probes of function. This may be due, in part, to a fundamental lack of understanding of the types of small molecules that bind RNA specifically and the types of RNA motifs that specifically bind small molecules. In this review, we describe recent advances in the development and design of small molecules that bind to RNA and modulate function that aim to fill this void.

  12. Predicting the sizes of large RNA molecules

    PubMed Central

    Yoffe, Aron M.; Prinsen, Peter; Gopal, Ajaykumar; Knobler, Charles M.; Gelbart, William M.; Ben-Shaul, Avinoam

    2008-01-01

    We present a theory of the dependence on sequence of the three-dimensional size of large single-stranded (ss) RNA molecules. The work is motivated by the fact that the genomes of many viruses are large ssRNA molecules—often several thousand nucleotides long—and that these RNAs are spontaneously packaged into small rigid protein shells. We argue that there has been evolutionary pressure for the genome to have overall spatial properties—including an appropriate radius of gyration, Rg—that facilitate this assembly process. For an arbitrary RNA sequence, we introduce the (thermal) average maximum ladder distance (〈MLD〉) and use it as a measure of the “extendedness” of the RNA secondary structure. The 〈MLD〉 values of viral ssRNAs that package into capsids of fixed size are shown to be consistently smaller than those for randomly permuted sequences of the same length and base composition, and also smaller than those of natural ssRNAs that are not under evolutionary pressure to have a compact native form. By mapping these secondary structures onto a linear polymer model and by using 〈MLD〉 as a measure of effective contour length, we predict the Rg values of viral ssRNAs are smaller than those of nonviral sequences. More generally, we predict the average 〈MLD〉 values of large nonviral ssRNAs scale as N0.67±0.01, where N is the number of nucleotides, and that their Rg values vary as 〈MLD〉0.5 in an ideal solvent, and hence as N0.34. An alternative analysis, which explicitly includes all branches, is introduced and shown to yield consistent results. PMID:18845685

  13. Auxin biology revealed by small molecules.

    PubMed

    Ma, Qian; Robert, Stéphanie

    2014-05-01

    The plant hormone auxin regulates virtually every aspect of plant growth and development and unraveling its molecular and cellular modes of action is fundamental for plant biology research. Chemical genomics is the use of small molecules to modify protein functions. This approach currently rises as a powerful technology for basic research. Small compounds with auxin-like activities or affecting auxin-mediated biological processes have been widely used in auxin research. They can serve as a tool complementary to genetic and genomic methods, facilitating the identification of an array of components modulating auxin metabolism, transport and signaling. The employment of high-throughput screening technologies combined with informatics-based chemical design and organic chemical synthesis has since yielded many novel small molecules with more instantaneous, precise and specific functionalities. By applying those small molecules, novel molecular targets can be isolated to further understand and dissect auxin-related pathways and networks that otherwise are too complex to be elucidated only by gene-based methods. Here, we will review examples of recently characterized molecules used in auxin research, highlight the strategies of unraveling the mechanisms of these small molecules and discuss future perspectives of small molecule applications in auxin biology. © 2013 Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society.

  14. Biology Today: Respect for RNA.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C., Ed.

    1991-01-01

    The high points of the story of RNA are presented. The functions of RNA within the cell, how these functions are carried out, and how they evolved are described. The topics of splicing, self-splicing, RNA editing, transcription and translation, and antisense RNA are discussed. (KR)

  15. Single molecule thermodynamics in biological motors.

    PubMed

    Taniguchi, Yuichi; Karagiannis, Peter; Nishiyama, Masayoshi; Ishii, Yoshiharu; Yanagida, Toshio

    2007-04-01

    Biological molecular machines use thermal activation energy to carry out various functions. The process of thermal activation has the stochastic nature of output events that can be described according to the laws of thermodynamics. Recently developed single molecule detection techniques have allowed each distinct enzymatic event of single biological machines to be characterized providing clues to the underlying thermodynamics. In this study, the thermodynamic properties in the stepping movement of a biological molecular motor have been examined. A single molecule detection technique was used to measure the stepping movements at various loads and temperatures and a range of thermodynamic parameters associated with the production of each forward and backward step including free energy, enthalpy, entropy and characteristic distance were obtained. The results show that an asymmetry in entropy is a primary factor that controls the direction in which the motor will step. The investigation on single molecule thermodynamics has the potential to reveal dynamic properties underlying the mechanisms of how biological molecular machines work.

  16. Linking RNA biology to lncRNAs

    PubMed Central

    Goff, Loyal A.; Rinn, John L.

    2015-01-01

    The regulatory potential of RNA has never ceased to amaze: from RNA catalysis, to RNA-mediated splicing, to RNA-based silencing of an entire chromosome during dosage compensation. More recently, thousands of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) transcripts have been identified, the majority with unknown function. Thus, it is tempting to think that these lncRNAs represent a cadre of new factors that function through ribonucleic mechanisms. Some evidence points to several lncRNAs with tantalizing physiological contributions and thought-provoking molecular modalities. However, dissecting the RNA biology of lncRNAs has been difficult, and distinguishing the independent contributions of functional RNAs from underlying DNA elements, or the local act of transcription, is challenging. Here, we aim to survey the existing literature and highlight future approaches that will be needed to link the RNA-based biology and mechanisms of lncRNAs in vitro and in vivo. PMID:26430155

  17. Computational analysis and predictive modeling of small molecule modulators of microRNA.

    PubMed

    Jamal, Salma; Periwal, Vinita; Scaria, Vinod

    2012-08-13

    MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small endogenously transcribed regulatory RNA which modulates gene expression at a post transcriptional level. These small RNAs have now been shown to be critical regulators in a number of biological processes in the cell including pathophysiology of diseases like cancers. The increasingly evident roles of microRNA in disease processes have also motivated attempts to target them therapeutically. Recently there has been immense interest in understanding small molecule mediated regulation of RNA, including microRNA. We have used publicly available datasets of high throughput screens on small molecules with potential to inhibit microRNA. We employed computational methods based on chemical descriptors and machine learning to create predictive computational models for biological activity of small molecules. We further used a substructure based approach to understand common substructures potentially contributing to the activity. We generated computational models based on Naïve Bayes and Random Forest towards mining small RNA binding molecules from large molecular datasets. We complement this with substructure based approach to identify and understand potentially enriched substructures in the active dataset. We use this approach to identify miRNA binding potential of a set of approved drugs, suggesting a probable novel mechanism of off-target activity of these drugs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and most comprehensive computational analysis towards understanding RNA binding activities of small molecules and predictive modeling of these activities.

  18. Proteomics: from single molecules to biological pathways.

    PubMed

    Langley, Sarah R; Dwyer, Joseph; Drozdov, Ignat; Yin, Xiaoke; Mayr, Manuel

    2013-03-15

    The conventional reductionist approach to cardiovascular research investigates individual candidate factors or linear signalling pathways but ignores more complex interactions in biological systems. The advent of molecular profiling technologies that focus on a global characterization of whole complements allows an exploration of the interconnectivity of pathways during pathophysiologically relevant processes, but has brought about the issue of statistical analysis and data integration. Proteins identified by differential expression as well as those in protein-protein interaction networks identified through experiments and through computational modelling techniques can be used as an initial starting point for functional analyses. In combination with other '-omics' technologies, such as transcriptomics and metabolomics, proteomics explores different aspects of disease, and the different pillars of observations facilitate the data integration in disease-specific networks. Ultimately, a systems biology approach may advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease processes at a 'biological pathway' instead of a 'single molecule' level and accelerate progress towards disease-modifying interventions.

  19. Energy landscape exploration of the folding processes of biological molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Engel, Megan Clare

    For decades, scientists from every discipline have struggled to understand the mechanism of biological self-assembly, which allows proteins and nucleic acids to fold reliably into functional three-dimensional structures. Such an understanding may hold the key to eliminating diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and to effective protein engineering. The current best framework for describing biological folding processes is that of statistical mechanical energy landscape theory, and one of the most promising experimental techniques for exploring molecular energy landscapes is single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS), in which molecules are mechanically denatured. Theoretical advances have enabled the extraction of complete energy landscape profiles from SMFS data. Here, SMFS experiments performed using laser optical tweezers are analyzed to yield the first ever full landscape profile for an RNA pseudoknot. Further, a promising novel landscape reconstruction technique is validated for the first time using experimental data from a DNA hairpin.

  20. Reversible Unfolding of Single RNA Molecules by Mechanical Force

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liphardt, Jan; Onoa, Bibiana; Smith, Steven B.; Tinoco, Ignacio; Bustamante, Carlos

    2001-04-01

    Here we use mechanical force to induce the unfolding and refolding of single RNA molecules: a simple RNA hairpin, a molecule containing a three-helix junction, and the P5abc domain of the Tetrahymena thermophila ribozyme. All three molecules (P5abc only in the absence of Mg2+) can be mechanically unfolded at equilibrium, and when kept at constant force within a critical force range, are bi-stable and hop between folded and unfolded states. We determine the force-dependent equilibrium constants for folding/unfolding these single RNA molecules and the positions of their transition states along the reaction coordinate.

  1. Electron Correlation Effects in Biological Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cox, D. L.; Endres, R.; Kulkarni, R. V.; Labute, M.; Singh, R. R. P.

    2002-07-01

    Allosteric (conformation changing) proteins with transition metal atoms are at the heart of much important biological function (e.g., myoglobin hemoglobin used for storing and transporting oxygen in the bloodstream). In the case of myoglobin and hemoglobin, oxygen ligation to the iron center induces a spin crossover (high to low) coupled to a structural change; apart from the role of Hunds' exchange in the spin crossover, electron interaction effects have been ignored. We argue that the spin crossover/structure change observed in the similarly structured but far simpler cobalt valence tautomer molecules1 necessitates an inclusion of underscreened Kondo like correlations for a complete description of the energetics of the transition and dynamics, e.g., for x-ray absorption data. We carry this study out with Varma-Yafet-Gunnarsson-Schonhammer wave functions, which, in chemistry language, are basis set restricted configuration interaction in character. We briefly review the applicability of such wave functions to the description of the putative Kondo molecules cerocene (Ce[(CH)5]2) and ytterbocene bipyridine (Yb[(CH)5]2(bipy)) and to the problem of electron transfer in biological molecules and organic conductors, where anomalous long range tunneling may occur.

  2. Electron Correlation Effects in Biological Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cox, D. L.; Endres, R.; Kulkarni, R. V.; Labute, M.; Singh, R. R. P.

    Allosteric (conformation changing) proteins with transition metal atoms are at the heart of much important biological function (e.g., myoglobin hemoglobin used for storing and transporting oxygen in the bloodstream). In the case of myoglobin and hemoglobin, oxygen ligation to the iron center induces a spin crossover (high to low) coupled to a structural change; apart from the role of Hunds' exchange in the spin crossover, electron interaction effects have been ignored. We argue that the spin crossover/structure change observed in the similarly structured but far simpler cobalt valence tautomer molecules1 necessitates an inclusion of underscreened Kondo like correlations for a complete description of the energetics of the transition and dynamics, e.g., for x-ray absorption data. We carry this study out with Varma-Yafet-Gunnarsson-Schonhammer wave functions, which, in chemistry language, are basis set restricted configuration interaction in character. We briefly review the applicability of such wave functions to the description of the putative Kondo molecules cerocene (Ce[(CH)5]2) and ytterbocene bipyridine (Yb[(CH)5]2(bipy)) and to the problem of electron transfer in biological molecules and organic conductors, where anomalous long range tunneling may occur. Research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Research.

  3. From molecules to dynamic biological communities.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Daniel; Vázquez-Baeza, Yoshiki; Walters, William A; Caporaso, J Gregory; Knight, Rob

    2013-03-01

    Microbial ecology is flourishing, and in the process, is making contributions to how the ecology and biology of large organisms is understood. Ongoing advances in sequencing technology and computational methods have enabled the collection and analysis of vast amounts of molecular data from diverse biological communities. While early studies focused on cataloguing microbial biodiversity in environments ranging from simple marine ecosystems to complex soil ecologies, more recent research is concerned with community functions and their dynamics over time. Models and concepts from traditional ecology have been used to generate new insight into microbial communities, and novel system-level models developed to explain and predict microbial interactions. The process of moving from molecular inventories to functional understanding is complex and challenging, and never more so than when many thousands of dynamic interactions are the phenomena of interest. We outline the process of how epistemic transitions are made from producing catalogues of molecules to achieving functional and predictive insight, and show how those insights not only revolutionize what is known about biological systems but also about how to do biology itself. Examples will be drawn primarily from analyses of different human microbiota, which are the microbial consortia found in and on areas of the human body, and their associated microbiomes (the genes of those communities). Molecular knowledge of these microbiomes is transforming microbiological knowledge, as well as broader aspects of human biology, health and disease.

  4. Viral RNA-directed RNA polymerases use diverse mechanisms to promote recombination between RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Chetverin, Alexander B; Kopein, Damir S; Chetverina, Helena V; Demidenko, Alexander A; Ugarov, Victor I

    2005-03-11

    An earlier developed purified cell-free system was used to explore the potential of two RNA-directed RNA polymerases (RdRps), Qbeta phage replicase and the poliovirus 3Dpol protein, to promote RNA recombination through a primer extension mechanism. The substrates of recombination were fragments of complementary strands of a Qbeta phage-derived RNA, such that if aligned at complementary 3'-termini and extended using one another as a template, they would produce replicable molecules detectable as RNA colonies grown in a Qbeta replicase-containing agarose. The results show that while 3Dpol efficiently extends the aligned fragments to produce the expected homologous recombinant sequences, only nonhomologous recombinants are generated by Qbeta replicase at a much lower yield and through a mechanism not involving the extension of RNA primers. It follows that the mechanisms of RNA recombination by poliovirus and Qbeta RdRps are quite different. The data favor an RNA transesterification reaction catalyzed by a conformation acquired by Qbeta replicase during RNA synthesis and provide a likely explanation for the very low frequency of homologous recombination in Qbeta phage.

  5. Multivalent Molecules as Modulators of RNA Granule Size and Composition.

    PubMed

    Falkenberg, Cibele Vieira; Carson, John H; Blinov, Michael L

    2017-02-24

    RNA granules are ensembles of specific RNA and protein molecules that mediate localized translation in eukaryotic cells. The mechanisms for formation and selectivity of RNA granules are unknown. Here we present a model for assembly of one type of RNA granule based on experimentally measured binding interactions among three core multivalent molecular components necessary for such assembly: specific RNA molecules that contain a cis-acting sequence called the A2 response element (A2RE), hnRNP A2 proteins that bind specifically (with high affinity) to A2RE sequences or nonspecifically (with lower affinity) to other RNA sequences, and heptavalent protein cytoskeleton-associated protein 5 (CKAP5, an alternative name for TOG protein) that binds both hnRNP A2 molecules and RNA. Non-A2RE RNA molecules (RNA without the A2RE sequence) that may be recruited to the granules through nonspecific interactions are also considered in the model. Modeling multivalent molecular interactions in granules is challenging because of combinatorial complexity in the number of potential molecular complexes among these core components and dynamic changes in granule composition and structure in response to changes in local intracellular environment. We use a hybrid modeling approach (deterministic-stochastic-statistical) that is appropriate when the overall compositions of multimolecular ensembles are of greater importance than the specific interactions among individual molecular components. Modeling studies titrating the concentrations of various granule components and varying effective site pair affinities and RNA valency demonstrate that interactions between multivalent components (TOG and RNA) are modulated by a bivalent adaptor molecule (hnRNP A2). Formation and disruption of granules, as well as RNA selectivity in granule composition are regulated by distinct concentration regimes of A2. Our results suggest that granule assembly is tightly controlled by multivalent molecular interactions

  6. Chemical and structural diversity of siRNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Nawrot, Barbara; Sipa, Katarzyna

    2006-01-01

    Short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are 21-23 nt long double-stranded oligoribonucleotides which in mammalian cells exhibit a potency for sequence-specific gene silencing via an RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. It has been already proven that exogenous, chemically synthesized siRNA molecules are effective inhibitors of gene expression and are widely applied for analysis of protein function and proteomics-based target identification. Moreover, since their discovery siRNA molecules have been implemented as potential candidates for therapeutic applications. Variously modified siRNA molecules containing sugar modifications (2'-OMe, -F, -O-allyl, -amino, orthoesters and LNA analogues), internucleotide phospodiester bond modifications (phosphorothioates, boranophosphates), base modifications (s(2)U) as well as 3'-terminal cholesterol-conjugated constructs were investigated as potential candidates for effective inhibition of gene expression. This chapter reviews an impact of chemical and structural modifications of siRNA molecules on their serum and thermal stability, cellular and in vivo activity, cellular uptake, biodistribution and cytotoxicity. Functional analysis of chemically modified siRNA molecules allows for better understanding of the mechanism of the RNA interference process as well as demonstrates immense efforts in optimizing in vivo potency of siRNA molecules for RNAi-based drug design.

  7. Characterizing 3D RNA structure by single molecule FRET.

    PubMed

    Stephenson, James D; Kenyon, Julia C; Symmons, Martyn F; Lever, Andrew M L

    2016-07-01

    The importance of elucidating the three dimensional structures of RNA molecules is becoming increasingly clear. However, traditional protein structural techniques such as NMR and X-ray crystallography have several important drawbacks when probing long RNA molecules. Single molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) has emerged as a useful alternative as it allows native sequences to be probed in physiological conditions and allows multiple conformations to be probed simultaneously. This review serves to describe the method of generating a three dimensional RNA structure from smFRET data from the biochemical probing of the secondary structure to the computational refinement of the final model.

  8. Did the Pre-RNA World Rest Upon DNA Molecules?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lazcano, Antonio; Dworkin, Jason P.; Miller, Stanley L.

    2004-01-01

    The isolation of a DNA sequence that catalyzes the ligation of oligodeoxynucleotides via the formation of 3' - 5' phosphodiester linkage significance in selection experiments has been reported. Ball recently used this to discuss the possibility that natural DNA molecules may have formed in the primitive Earth leading to the origin of life. As noted by Ferris and Usher, if metabolic pathways evolved backwards, it could be argued that the biosynthesis of 2-deoxyribose from ribose suggests that RNA came from DNA. As summarized elsewhere, there are several properties of deoxyribose which could be interpreted to support the possibility that DNA-like molecules arose prior to the RNA world. For example, 2-deoxyribose is slightly more soluble than ribose (which may have been an advantage in a drying pool scenario), may have been more reactive under possible prebiotic conditions (it forms a nucleoside approx. 150 times faster than ribose with the alternative base urazole at 25 C), while it decomposes in solution (approximately 2.6 times more slowly than ribose at 100 C). Other advantages of DNA over RNA are that it has one fewer chiral center, has a greater stability at the 8.2 pH value of the current oceans, and does not has the 2'5' and 3'5' ambiguity in polymerizations. Yet, there is strong molecular biological and biochemical evidence that RNA was featured in the biology well before the last common ancestor. The presence of sugar acids, including both ribo- and deoxysugar acids, in the 4.6 Ga old Murchison meteorite suggest that both may have been available in the primitive Earth, derived from the accretion of extraterrestrial sources and/or from endogenous processes involving formaldehyde and its derivatives. However, the abiotic synthesis of deoxyribose, ribose, and other sugars from glyceraldehyde and acetaldehyde under alkaline conditions is inefficient and unespecific. Although sugars are labile compounds, the role of cyanamide or borate minerals in the

  9. Nanomanipulation of single RNA molecules by optical tweezers.

    PubMed

    Stephenson, William; Wan, Gorby; Tenenbaum, Scott A; Li, Pan T X

    2014-08-20

    A large portion of the human genome is transcribed but not translated. In this post genomic era, regulatory functions of RNA have been shown to be increasingly important. As RNA function often depends on its ability to adopt alternative structures, it is difficult to predict RNA three-dimensional structures directly from sequence. Single-molecule approaches show potentials to solve the problem of RNA structural polymorphism by monitoring molecular structures one molecule at a time. This work presents a method to precisely manipulate the folding and structure of single RNA molecules using optical tweezers. First, methods to synthesize molecules suitable for single-molecule mechanical work are described. Next, various calibration procedures to ensure the proper operations of the optical tweezers are discussed. Next, various experiments are explained. To demonstrate the utility of the technique, results of mechanically unfolding RNA hairpins and a single RNA kissing complex are used as evidence. In these examples, the nanomanipulation technique was used to study folding of each structural domain, including secondary and tertiary, independently. Lastly, the limitations and future applications of the method are discussed.

  10. Inhibitory RNA molecules in immunotherapy for cancer.

    PubMed

    Mao, Chih-Ping; Wu, T-C

    2010-01-01

    Over the past few decades, our expanding knowledge of the mammalian immune system - how it is developed, activated, and regulated - has fostered hope that it may be harnessed in the future to successfully treat human cancer. The immune system activated by cancer vaccines may have the unique ability to selectively eradicate tumor cells at multiple sites in the body without inflicting damage on normal tissue. However, progress in the development of cancer vaccines that effectively capitalize on this ability has been limited and slow. The immune system is restrained by complex, negative feedback mechanisms that evolved to protect the host against autoimmunity and may also prevent antitumor immunity. In addition, tumor cells exploit a plethora of strategies to evade detection and elimination by the immune system. For these reasons, the field of cancer immunotherapy has suffered considerable setbacks in the past and faces great challenges at the present time. Some of these challenges may be overcome through the use of RNA interference, a process by which gene expression can be efficiently and specifically "knocked down" in cells. This chapter focuses on the current status and future prospects in the application of small interfering RNA and microRNA, two main forms of RNA interference, to treat cancer by curtailing mechanisms that attenuate the host immune response.

  11. Discovering New Biology through Sequencing of RNA.

    PubMed

    Weber, Andreas P M

    2015-11-01

    Sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) was invented approximately 1 decade ago and has since revolutionized biological research. This update provides a brief historic perspective on the development of RNA-Seq and then focuses on the application of RNA-Seq in qualitative and quantitative analyses of transcriptomes. Particular emphasis is given to aspects of data analysis. Since the wet-lab and data analysis aspects of RNA-Seq are still rapidly evolving and novel applications are continuously reported, a printed review will be rapidly outdated and can only serve to provide some examples and general guidelines for planning and conducting RNA-Seq studies. Hence, selected references to frequently update online resources are given. © 2015 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.

  12. Computational Biology in microRNA.

    PubMed

    Li, Yue; Zhang, Zhaolei

    2015-01-01

    MicroRNA (miRNA) is a class of small endogenous noncoding RNA species, which regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by forming imperfect base-pair at the 3' untranslated regions of the messenger RNAs. Since the 1993 discovery of the first miRNA let-7 in worms, a vast number of studies have been dedicated to functionally characterizing miRNAs with a special emphasis on their roles in cancer. A single miRNA can potentially target ∼ 400 distinct genes, and there are over a 1000 distinct endogenous miRNAs in the human genome. Thus, miRNAs are likely involved in virtually all biological processes and pathways including carcinogenesis. However, functionally characterizing miRNAs hinges on the accurate identification of their mRNA targets, which has been a challenging problem due to imperfect base-pairing and condition-specific miRNA regulatory dynamics. In this review, we will survey the current state-of-the-art computational methods to predict miRNA targets, which are divided into three main categories: (1) sequence-based methods that primarily utilizes the canonical seed-match model, evolutionary conservation, and binding energy; (2) expression-based target prediction methods using the increasingly available miRNA and mRNA expression data measured for the same sample; and (3) network-based method that aims identify miRNA regulatory modules, which reflect their synergism in conferring a global impact to the biological system of interest. We hope that the review will serve as a good reference to the new comers to the ever-growing miRNA research field as well as veterans, who would appreciate the detailed review on the technicalities, strength, and limitations of each representative computational method. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  13. Visualization of Single Molecules of RNA Polymerase Sliding along DNA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kabata, Hiroyuki; Kurosawa, Osamu; Arai, Ichiro; Washizu, Masao; Margarson, Stefanie A.; Glass, Robert E.; Shimamoto, Nobuo

    1993-12-01

    Transcription requires that RNA polymerase binds to promoters buried in nonspecific sites on DNA. The search for promoters may be facilitated if the polymerase slides along the molecule of DNA. Single molecules of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase were visualized, and their movements on immobilized bacteriophage λ and T7 DNAs were examined. Deviating from drifts by bulk flow, about 40 percent of the enzyme molecules moved along the extended DNA. The results provide direct evidence for sliding as a mechanism for relocation of the enzyme on DNA.

  14. Defining RNA-Small Molecule Affinity Landscapes Enables Design of a Small Molecule Inhibitor of an Oncogenic Noncoding RNA.

    PubMed

    Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Luo, Yiling; Tran, Tuan; Haniff, Hafeez S; Nakai, Yoshio; Fallahi, Mohammad; Martinez, Gustavo J; Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Disney, Matthew D

    2017-03-22

    RNA drug targets are pervasive in cells, but methods to design small molecules that target them are sparse. Herein, we report a general approach to score the affinity and selectivity of RNA motif-small molecule interactions identified via selection. Named High Throughput Structure-Activity Relationships Through Sequencing (HiT-StARTS), HiT-StARTS is statistical in nature and compares input nucleic acid sequences to selected library members that bind a ligand via high throughput sequencing. The approach allowed facile definition of the fitness landscape of hundreds of thousands of RNA motif-small molecule binding partners. These results were mined against folded RNAs in the human transcriptome and identified an avid interaction between a small molecule and the Dicer nuclease-processing site in the oncogenic microRNA (miR)-18a hairpin precursor, which is a member of the miR-17-92 cluster. Application of the small molecule, Targapremir-18a, to prostate cancer cells inhibited production of miR-18a from the cluster, de-repressed serine/threonine protein kinase 4 protein (STK4), and triggered apoptosis. Profiling the cellular targets of Targapremir-18a via Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull Down (Chem-CLIP), a covalent small molecule-RNA cellular profiling approach, and other studies showed specific binding of the compound to the miR-18a precursor, revealing broadly applicable factors that govern small molecule drugging of noncoding RNAs.

  15. Enzymatic production of single-molecule FISH and RNA capture probes.

    PubMed

    Gaspar, Imre; Wippich, Frank; Ephrussi, Anne

    2017-10-01

    Arrays of singly labeled short oligonucleotides that hybridize to a specific target revolutionized RNA biology, enabling quantitative, single-molecule microscopy analysis and high-efficiency RNA/RNP capture. Here, we describe a simple and efficient method that allows flexible functionalization of inexpensive DNA oligonucleotides by different fluorescent dyes or biotin using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase and custom-made functional group conjugated dideoxy-UTP. We show that (i) all steps of the oligonucleotide labeling-including conjugation, enzymatic synthesis, and product purification-can be performed in a standard biology laboratory, (ii) the process yields >90%, often >95% labeled product with minimal carryover of impurities, and (iii) the oligonucleotides can be labeled with different dyes or biotin, allowing single-molecule FISH, RNA affinity purification, and Northern blot analysis to be performed. © 2017 Gaspar et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.

  16. Single molecule measurements and biological motors.

    PubMed

    Knight, Alex E; Mashanov, Gregory; Molloy, Justin E

    2005-12-01

    Recent technological advances in lasers and optical detectors have enabled a variety of new, single molecule technologies to be developed. Using intense and highly collimated laser light sources in addition to super-sensitive cameras, the fluorescence of single fluorophores can now be imaged in aqueous solution. Also, laser optical tweezers have enabled the piconewton forces produced by pair of interacting biomolecules to be measured directly. However, for a researcher new to the field to begin to use such techniques in their own research might seem a daunting prospect. Most of the equipment that is in use is custom-built. However, most of the equipment is essence fairly simple and the aim of this article is to provide an entry point to the field for a newcomer. It focuses mainly on those practical aspects which are not particularly well covered in the literature, and aims to provide an overview of the field as a whole with references and web links to more detailed sources elsewhere. Indeed, the opportunity to publish an article such as this on the Internet affords many new opportunities (and more space!) for presenting scientific ideas and information. For example, we have illustrated the nature of optical trap data with an interactive Java simulation; provided links to relevant web sites and technical documents, and included a large number of colour figures and plots. Our group's research focuses on molecular motors, and the bias of this article reflects this. It turns out that molecular motors have been a paradigm (or prototype) for single molecule research and the field has seen a rapid development in the techniques. It is hoped that the methods described here will be broadly applicable to other biological systems.

  17. Turbo FISH: A Method for Rapid Single Molecule RNA FISH

    PubMed Central

    Shaffer, Sydney M.; Wu, Min-Tzu; Levesque, Marshall J.; Raj, Arjun

    2013-01-01

    Advances in RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (RNA FISH) have allowed practitioners to detect individual RNA molecules in single cells via fluorescence microscopy, enabling highly accurate and sensitive quantification of gene expression. However, current methods typically employ hybridization times on the order of 2–16 hours, limiting its potential in applications like rapid diagnostics. We present here a set of conditions for RNA FISH (dubbed Turbo RNA FISH) that allow us to make accurate measurements with no more than 5 minutes of hybridization time and 3 minutes of washing, and show that hybridization times can go as low as 30 seconds while still producing quantifiable images. We further show that rapid hybridization is compatible with our recently developed iceFISH and SNP FISH variants of RNA FISH that enable chromosome and single base discrimination, respectively. Our method is simple and cost effective, and has the potential to dramatically increase the throughput and realm of applicability of RNA FISH. PMID:24066168

  18. Mean-field theory of planar absorption of RNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Toan; Bruinsma, Robijn; Gelbart, William

    2006-03-01

    Interaction between the viral RNA and the protective protein capsid plays a very important role in the cell infection and self-assembly process of a virus. To better understand this interaction, we study a similar problem of absorption of RNA on an attractive wall. It is known that the secondary structure of a folded RNA molecules without pseudo-knots has the same topology as that of a branched polymer. We use a mean-field theory for branched polymers to analytically calculate the RNA concentration profile. The results are compared to known exact scaling calculations and computer simulations.

  19. Structural biology of bacterial RNA polymerase.

    PubMed

    Murakami, Katsuhiko S

    2015-05-11

    Since its discovery and characterization in the early 1960s (Hurwitz, J. The discovery of RNA polymerase. J. Biol. Chem. 2005, 280, 42477-42485), an enormous amount of biochemical, biophysical and genetic data has been collected on bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). In the late 1990s, structural information pertaining to bacterial RNAP has emerged that provided unprecedented insights into the function and mechanism of RNA transcription. In this review, I list all structures related to bacterial RNAP (as determined by X-ray crystallography and NMR methods available from the Protein Data Bank), describe their contributions to bacterial transcription research and discuss the role that small molecules play in inhibiting bacterial RNA transcription.

  20. Structural Biology of Bacterial RNA Polymerase

    PubMed Central

    Murakami, Katsuhiko S.

    2015-01-01

    Since its discovery and characterization in the early 1960s (Hurwitz, J. The discovery of RNA polymerase. J. Biol. Chem. 2005, 280, 42477–42485), an enormous amount of biochemical, biophysical and genetic data has been collected on bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). In the late 1990s, structural information pertaining to bacterial RNAP has emerged that provided unprecedented insights into the function and mechanism of RNA transcription. In this review, I list all structures related to bacterial RNAP (as determined by X-ray crystallography and NMR methods available from the Protein Data Bank), describe their contributions to bacterial transcription research and discuss the role that small molecules play in inhibiting bacterial RNA transcription. PMID:25970587

  1. Fast dynamics in molecules of biological interest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faurskov Nielsen, O.; Jacobsen, K. L.; Westh, P.; Radovic, T.; Due Larsen, B.; Christensen, D. H.

    2001-10-01

    Isotopic substitution is used in cw-Raman studies of fast dynamics in molecules of biological interest. Simple liquid amides are considered as model systems for hydrogen bonding in peptides and proteins. Collectivity of amide I modes is studied by resonance energy transfer (RET) and coalescence of bands in mixtures of isotopomers (CBMI). A 1:1 mixture of HC 16OND 2 and HC 18OND 2 shows only one amide I band with a peak maximum between those observed for each of the pure isotopomers. Dilution studies of this mixture in D 2O show that the collective effects disappear in diluted solutions, where two bands are observed, one from each isotopomer. This is confirmed by dilution experiments performed on HC 16OND 2 in D 2O. Raman spectroscopy is a fast experimental technique reflecting the fast molecular dynamics on a picosecond and faster time scale. Future aspects of the collectivity of vibrational modes in peptides and proteins are mentioned. In this context a vibrational coupling between the amide I modes and the bending mode of water may be important. A comparison between low-frequency Raman and thermodynamic studies of water/lysozyme mixtures seems promising in terms of the difference between protein bound water and the formation of water clusters.

  2. Design of a small molecule against an oncogenic noncoding RNA

    PubMed Central

    Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Cameron, Michael D.; Haga, Christopher L.; Rosenberg, Laura H.; Lafitte, Marie; Duckett, Derek R.; Phinney, Donald G.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2016-01-01

    The design of precision, preclinical therapeutics from sequence is difficult, but advances in this area, particularly those focused on rational design, could quickly transform the sequence of disease-causing gene products into lead modalities. Herein, we describe the use of Inforna, a computational approach that enables the rational design of small molecules targeting RNA to quickly provide a potent modulator of oncogenic microRNA-96 (miR-96). We mined the secondary structure of primary microRNA-96 (pri-miR-96) hairpin precursor against a database of RNA motif–small molecule interactions, which identified modules that bound RNA motifs nearby and in the Drosha processing site. Precise linking of these modules together provided Targaprimir-96 (3), which selectively modulates miR-96 production in cancer cells and triggers apoptosis. Importantly, the compound is ineffective on healthy breast cells, and exogenous overexpression of pri-miR-96 reduced compound potency in breast cancer cells. Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull-Down (Chem-CLIP), a small-molecule RNA target validation approach, shows that 3 directly engages pri-miR-96 in breast cancer cells. In vivo, 3 has a favorable pharmacokinetic profile and decreases tumor burden in a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer. Thus, rational design can quickly produce precision, in vivo bioactive lead small molecules against hard-to-treat cancers by targeting oncogenic noncoding RNAs, advancing a disease-to-gene-to-drug paradigm. PMID:27170187

  3. Design of a small molecule against an oncogenic noncoding RNA.

    PubMed

    Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Cameron, Michael D; Haga, Christopher L; Rosenberg, Laura H; Lafitte, Marie; Duckett, Derek R; Phinney, Donald G; Disney, Matthew D

    2016-05-24

    The design of precision, preclinical therapeutics from sequence is difficult, but advances in this area, particularly those focused on rational design, could quickly transform the sequence of disease-causing gene products into lead modalities. Herein, we describe the use of Inforna, a computational approach that enables the rational design of small molecules targeting RNA to quickly provide a potent modulator of oncogenic microRNA-96 (miR-96). We mined the secondary structure of primary microRNA-96 (pri-miR-96) hairpin precursor against a database of RNA motif-small molecule interactions, which identified modules that bound RNA motifs nearby and in the Drosha processing site. Precise linking of these modules together provided Targaprimir-96 (3), which selectively modulates miR-96 production in cancer cells and triggers apoptosis. Importantly, the compound is ineffective on healthy breast cells, and exogenous overexpression of pri-miR-96 reduced compound potency in breast cancer cells. Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull-Down (Chem-CLIP), a small-molecule RNA target validation approach, shows that 3 directly engages pri-miR-96 in breast cancer cells. In vivo, 3 has a favorable pharmacokinetic profile and decreases tumor burden in a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer. Thus, rational design can quickly produce precision, in vivo bioactive lead small molecules against hard-to-treat cancers by targeting oncogenic noncoding RNAs, advancing a disease-to-gene-to-drug paradigm.

  4. RNA and RNP as Building Blocks for Nanotechnology and Synthetic Biology.

    PubMed

    Ohno, Hirohisa; Saito, Hirohide

    2016-01-01

    Recent technologies that aimed to elucidate cellular function have revealed essential roles for RNA molecules in living systems. Our knowledge concerning functional and structural information of naturally occurring RNA and RNA-protein (RNP) complexes is increasing rapidly. RNA and RNP interaction motifs are structural units that function as building blocks to constitute variety of complex structures. RNA-central synthetic biology and nanotechnology are constructive approaches that employ the accumulated information and build synthetic RNA (RNP)-based circuits and nanostructures. Here, we describe how to design and construct synthetic RNA (RNP)-based devices and structures at the nanometer-scale for biological and future therapeutic applications. RNA/RNP nanostructures can also be utilized as the molecular scaffold to control the localization or interactions of target molecule(s). Moreover, RNA motifs recognized by RNA-binding proteins can be applied to make protein-responsive translational "switches" that can turn gene expression "on" or "off" depending on the intracellular environment. This "synthetic RNA and RNP world" will expand tools for nanotechnology and synthetic biology. In addition, these reconstructive approaches would lead to a greater understanding of building principle in naturally occurring RNA/RNP molecules and systems.

  5. Evolution and Protein Packaging of Small Molecule RNA Aptamers

    PubMed Central

    Lau, Jolene L.; Baksh, Michael M.; Fiedler, Jason D.; Brown, Steven D.; Kussrow, Amanda; Bornhop, Darryl J.; Ordoukhanian, Phillip

    2011-01-01

    A high-affinity RNA aptamer (Kd = 50 nM) was efficiently identified by SELEX against a heteroaryl dihydropyrimidine structure, chosen as a representative drug-like molecule with no cross reactivity with mammalian or bacterial cells. This aptamer, its weaker-binding variants, and a known aptamer against theophylline were each embedded in a longer RNA sequence that was encapsidated inside a virus-like particle by a convenient expression technique. These nucleoprotein particles were shown by backscattering interferometry to bind to the small-molecule ligands with affinities similar to those of the free (non-encapsidated) aptamers. The system therefore comprises a general approach to the production and sequestration of functional RNA molecules, characterized by a convenient label-free analytical technique. PMID:21899290

  6. Metabolic influences on RNA biology and translation.

    PubMed

    Lee, Chien-Der; Tu, Benjamin P

    2017-04-01

    Protein translation is one of the most energetically demanding processes for a cell to undertake. Changes in the nutrient environment may result in conditions that cannot support the rates of translation required for cell proliferation. As such, a cell must monitor its metabolic state to determine which mRNAs to translate into protein. How the various RNA species that participate in translation might relay information about metabolic state to regulate this process is not well understood. In this review, we discuss emerging examples of the influence of metabolism on aspects of RNA biology. We discuss how metabolic state impacts the localization and fate of different RNA species, as well as how nutrient cues can impact post-transcriptional modifications of RNA to regulate their functions in the control of translation.

  7. Single Molecule Electrical Sequencing of DNA and RNA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taniguchi, Masateru

    2013-03-01

    Gating nanopore devices are composed of nanopores with embedded nanoelectrodes, and they are expected to be one of the core devices used to realize label-free, low-cost DNA sequencing, subsequently leading to 1000-genome sequencing technologies. The operating principle of these nanodevices is based on identifying single base molecules of single DNA passing through a nanopore using a tunneling current between nanoelectrodes. We successfully identified single base molecules of DNA and RNA using tunneling currents. To make gating nanopore devices fit for practical use, core technologies should be integrated on one device chip. One core technology is the identification of single DNA and RNA composed of many base molecules using tunneling currents. We have succeeded in the single-molecule electrical sequencing of DNA and RNA formed by 3 and 7 base molecules, respectively, using a hybrid method of identifying single base molecules via a tunnelling current and random sequencing. A method that controls the speed of a single DNA passing through a nanopore is one core technology that determines the speed and accuracy of sequencing. We successfully developed a method that controls the translocation speed of a single DNA by three orders of magnitude using a voltage between nanoelectrodes.

  8. Characterising the Canine Oral Microbiome by Direct Sequencing of Reverse-Transcribed rRNA Molecules.

    PubMed

    McDonald, James E; Larsen, Niels; Pennington, Andrea; Connolly, John; Wallis, Corrin; Rooks, David J; Hall, Neil; McCarthy, Alan J; Allison, Heather E

    2016-01-01

    PCR amplification and sequencing of phylogenetic markers, primarily Small Sub-Unit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) genes, has been the paradigm for defining the taxonomic composition of microbiomes. However, 'universal' SSU rRNA gene PCR primer sets are likely to miss much of the diversity therein. We sequenced a library comprising purified and reverse-transcribed SSU rRNA (RT-SSU rRNA) molecules from the canine oral microbiome and compared it to a general bacterial 16S rRNA gene PCR amplicon library generated from the same biological sample. In addition, we have developed BIONmeta, a novel, open-source, computer package for the processing and taxonomic classification of the randomly fragmented RT-SSU rRNA reads produced. Direct RT-SSU rRNA sequencing revealed that 16S rRNA molecules belonging to the bacterial phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Spirochaetes, were most abundant in the canine oral microbiome (92.5% of total bacterial SSU rRNA). The direct rRNA sequencing approach detected greater taxonomic diversity (1 additional phylum, 2 classes, 1 order, 10 families and 61 genera) when compared with general bacterial 16S rRNA amplicons from the same sample, simultaneously provided SSU rRNA gene inventories of Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya, and detected significant numbers of sequences not recognised by 'universal' primer sets. Proteobacteria and Spirochaetes were found to be under-represented by PCR-based analysis of the microbiome, and this was due to primer mismatches and taxon-specific variations in amplification efficiency, validated by qPCR analysis of 16S rRNA amplicons from a mock community. This demonstrated the veracity of direct RT-SSU rRNA sequencing for molecular microbial ecology.

  9. Characterising the Canine Oral Microbiome by Direct Sequencing of Reverse-Transcribed rRNA Molecules

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, James E.; Larsen, Niels; Pennington, Andrea; Connolly, John; Wallis, Corrin; Rooks, David J.; Hall, Neil; McCarthy, Alan J.; Allison, Heather E.

    2016-01-01

    PCR amplification and sequencing of phylogenetic markers, primarily Small Sub-Unit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) genes, has been the paradigm for defining the taxonomic composition of microbiomes. However, ‘universal’ SSU rRNA gene PCR primer sets are likely to miss much of the diversity therein. We sequenced a library comprising purified and reverse-transcribed SSU rRNA (RT-SSU rRNA) molecules from the canine oral microbiome and compared it to a general bacterial 16S rRNA gene PCR amplicon library generated from the same biological sample. In addition, we have developed BIONmeta, a novel, open-source, computer package for the processing and taxonomic classification of the randomly fragmented RT-SSU rRNA reads produced. Direct RT-SSU rRNA sequencing revealed that 16S rRNA molecules belonging to the bacterial phyla Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Spirochaetes, were most abundant in the canine oral microbiome (92.5% of total bacterial SSU rRNA). The direct rRNA sequencing approach detected greater taxonomic diversity (1 additional phylum, 2 classes, 1 order, 10 families and 61 genera) when compared with general bacterial 16S rRNA amplicons from the same sample, simultaneously provided SSU rRNA gene inventories of Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya, and detected significant numbers of sequences not recognised by ‘universal’ primer sets. Proteobacteria and Spirochaetes were found to be under-represented by PCR-based analysis of the microbiome, and this was due to primer mismatches and taxon-specific variations in amplification efficiency, validated by qPCR analysis of 16S rRNA amplicons from a mock community. This demonstrated the veracity of direct RT-SSU rRNA sequencing for molecular microbial ecology. PMID:27276347

  10. Precise small-molecule recognition of a toxic CUG RNA repeat expansion.

    PubMed

    Rzuczek, Suzanne G; Colgan, Lesley A; Nakai, Yoshio; Cameron, Michael D; Furling, Denis; Yasuda, Ryohei; Disney, Matthew D

    2017-02-01

    Excluding the ribosome and riboswitches, developing small molecules that selectively target RNA is a longstanding problem in chemical biology. A typical cellular RNA is difficult to target because it has little tertiary, but abundant secondary structure. We designed allele-selective compounds that target such an RNA, the toxic noncoding repeat expansion (r(CUG)(exp)) that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). We developed several strategies to generate allele-selective small molecules, including non-covalent binding, covalent binding, cleavage and on-site probe synthesis. Covalent binding and cleavage enabled target profiling in cells derived from individuals with DM1, showing precise recognition of r(CUG)(exp). In the on-site probe synthesis approach, small molecules bound adjacent sites in r(CUG)(exp) and reacted to afford picomolar inhibitors via a proximity-based click reaction only in DM1-affected cells. We expanded this approach to image r(CUG)(exp) in its natural context.

  11. Computer Modelling of Biological Molecules: Free Resources on the Internet.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Millar, Neil

    1996-01-01

    Describes a three-dimensional computer modeling system for biological molecules which is suitable for sixth-form teaching. Consists of the modeling program "RasMol" together with structure files of proteins, DNA, and small biological molecules. Describes how the whole system can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.…

  12. Computer Modelling of Biological Molecules: Free Resources on the Internet.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Millar, Neil

    1996-01-01

    Describes a three-dimensional computer modeling system for biological molecules which is suitable for sixth-form teaching. Consists of the modeling program "RasMol" together with structure files of proteins, DNA, and small biological molecules. Describes how the whole system can be downloaded from various sites on the Internet.…

  13. Single-Molecule Live-Cell Visualization of Pre-mRNA Splicing.

    PubMed

    Martin, Robert M; Rino, José; de Jesus, Ana C; Carmo-Fonseca, Maria

    2016-01-01

    Microscopy protocols that allow live-cell imaging of molecules and subcellular components tagged with fluorescent conjugates are indispensable in modern biological research. A breakthrough was recently introduced by the development of genetically encoded fluorescent tags that combined with fluorescence-based microscopic approaches of increasingly higher spatial and temporal resolution made it possible to detect single protein and nucleic acid molecules inside living cells. Here, we describe an approach to visualize single nascent pre-mRNA molecules and to measure in real time the dynamics of intron synthesis and excision.

  14. [Subviral molecules of RNA associated with plant ss(+)RNA viruses].

    PubMed

    Pelczyk, Marta; Obrepalska-Steplowska, Aleksandra; Pospieszny, Henryk

    2006-01-01

    Plant ss(+)RNA viruses besides their genome RNAs often are associated with additional subviral RNA molecules which occur naturally or are generated de novo during infection. There are such molecules like: satellite, defective, defective interfering and chimeric RNAs. Subviral RNAs can not replicate and encapsidate by oneself. Helper viruses supply the protein complexes that are necessary to these processes. The subviral molecules are characterized by small size. Recombination, deletion and accumulation of mutation are the main ways of arising subviral elements, although the origin of satRNAs is unknown. The unique feature of subviral RNAs is their ability to modify of infection progress caused by helper virus. They can attenuate or enhance the intensity of disease symptoms. The overall influence on disease development depends on three-component complex consisting of: plant host-virus' strain--subviral RNA. This article is a synthetic review of information concerning subviral RNA molecules of plant viruses, their structure, functions and origin.

  15. Studying a Drug-like, RNA-Focused Small Molecule Library Identifies Compounds That Inhibit RNA Toxicity in Myotonic Dystrophy

    PubMed Central

    Rzuczek, Suzanne G.; Southern, Mark R.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2016-01-01

    There are many RNA targets in the transcriptome to which small molecule chemical probes and lead therapeutics are desired. However, identifying compounds that bind and modulate RNA function in cellulo is difficult. Although rational design approaches have been developed, they are still in their infancies and leave many RNAs “undruggable”. In an effort to develop a small molecule library that is biased for binding RNA, we computationally identified “drug-like” compounds from screening collections that have favorable properties for binding RNA and for suitability as lead drugs. As proof-of-concept, this collection was screened for binding to and modulating the cellular dysfunction of the expanded repeating RNA (r(CUG)exp) that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1. Hit compounds bind the target in cellulo, as determined by the target identification approach Competitive Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull-down (C-ChemCLIP), and selectively improve several disease-associated defects. The best compounds identified from our 320-member library are more potent in cellulo than compounds identified by high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns against this RNA. Furthermore, the compound collection has a higher hit rate (9% compared to 0.01–3%), and the bioactive compounds identified are not charged; thus, RNA can be “drugged” with compounds that have favorable pharmacological properties. Finally, this RNA-focused small molecule library may serve as a useful starting point to identify lead “drug-like” chemical probes that affect the biological (dys)function of other RNA targets by direct target engagement. PMID:26414664

  16. Studying a Drug-like, RNA-Focused Small Molecule Library Identifies Compounds That Inhibit RNA Toxicity in Myotonic Dystrophy.

    PubMed

    Rzuczek, Suzanne G; Southern, Mark R; Disney, Matthew D

    2015-12-18

    There are many RNA targets in the transcriptome to which small molecule chemical probes and lead therapeutics are desired. However, identifying compounds that bind and modulate RNA function in cellulo is difficult. Although rational design approaches have been developed, they are still in their infancies and leave many RNAs "undruggable". In an effort to develop a small molecule library that is biased for binding RNA, we computationally identified "drug-like" compounds from screening collections that have favorable properties for binding RNA and for suitability as lead drugs. As proof-of-concept, this collection was screened for binding to and modulating the cellular dysfunction of the expanded repeating RNA (r(CUG)(exp)) that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1. Hit compounds bind the target in cellulo, as determined by the target identification approach Competitive Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull-down (C-ChemCLIP), and selectively improve several disease-associated defects. The best compounds identified from our 320-member library are more potent in cellulo than compounds identified by high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns against this RNA. Furthermore, the compound collection has a higher hit rate (9% compared to 0.01-3%), and the bioactive compounds identified are not charged; thus, RNA can be "drugged" with compounds that have favorable pharmacological properties. Finally, this RNA-focused small molecule library may serve as a useful starting point to identify lead "drug-like" chemical probes that affect the biological (dys)function of other RNA targets by direct target engagement.

  17. Advancing Biological Understanding and Therapeutics Discovery with Small Molecule Probes

    PubMed Central

    Schreiber, Stuart L.; Kotz, Joanne D.; Li, Min; Aubé, Jeffrey; Austin, Christopher P.; Reed, John C.; Rosen, Hugh; White, E. Lucile; Sklar, Larry A.; Lindsley, Craig W.; Alexander, Benjamin R.; Bittker, Joshua A.; Clemons, Paul A.; de Souza, Andrea; Foley, Michael A.; Palmer, Michelle; Shamji, Alykhan F.; Wawer, Mathias J.; McManus, Owen; Wu, Meng; Zou, Beiyan; Yu, Haibo; Golden, Jennifer E.; Schoenen, Frank J.; Simeonov, Anton; Jadhav, Ajit; Jackson, Michael R.; Pinkerton, Anthony B.; Chung, Thomas D.Y.; Griffin, Patrick R.; Cravatt, Benjamin F.; Hodder, Peter S.; Roush, William R.; Roberts, Edward; Chung, Dong-Hoon; Jonsson, Colleen B.; Noah, James W.; Severson, William E.; Ananthan, Subramaniam; Edwards, Bruce; Oprea, Tudor I.; Conn, P. Jeffrey; Hopkins, Corey R.; Wood, Michael R.; Stauffer, Shaun R.; Emmitte, Kyle A.

    2015-01-01

    Small-molecule probes can illuminate biological processes and aid in the assessment of emerging therapeutic targets by perturbing biological systems in a manner distinct from other experimental approaches. Despite the tremendous promise of chemical tools for investigating biology and disease, small-molecule probes were unavailable for most targets and pathways as recently as a decade ago. In 2005, the U.S. National Institutes of Health launched the decade-long Molecular Libraries Program with the intent of innovating in and broadening access to small-molecule science. This Perspective describes how novel small-molecule probes identified through the program are enabling the exploration of biological pathways and therapeutic hypotheses not otherwise testable. These experiences illustrate how small-molecule probes can help bridge the chasm between biological research and the development of medicines, but also highlight the need to innovate the science of therapeutic discovery. PMID:26046436

  18. Translocation of Small Interfering RNA and Cholesterol Molecules in Biomembranes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalia, Rajiv

    2013-03-01

    This presentation will focus on all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies of (1) structural and mechanical barriers to translocation of small interfering RNA (siRNA) across a phospholipid bilayer, and (2) flip-flop dynamics of cholesterol (CHOL) molecules across a phospholipid bilayer. In the first case, we find that the siRNA induces a liquid-to-gel phase transformation. In the gel phase we find large compressive lateral stresses in the hydrocarbon chains of lipid molecules, which present a considerable barrier to siRNA passage across the bilayer. In the second case, we study spontaneous CHOL inter-leaflet transport (flip-flop), the effect of this process on mechanical stresses across the bilayer, and the role of CHOL in inducing molecular order in bilayer leaflets. The simulation was run for 15 microseconds and we found 24 CHOL flip-flop events over that duration. On average, a CHOL molecule migrates across the lipid bilayer in about 73 ns after a flip-flop event is triggered. We have calculated diffusion maps and determined free energy surfaces and flip-flop mechanisms for CHOL molecules. Work supported by NSF-OCI-0749360 and NSF-IOS-125317.

  19. Quantitative Analysis of Single-Molecule RNA-Protein Interaction

    PubMed Central

    Fuhrmann, Alexander; Schoening, Jan C.; Anselmetti, Dario; Staiger, Dorothee; Ros, Robert

    2009-01-01

    Abstract RNA-binding proteins impact gene expression at the posttranscriptional level by interacting with cognate cis elements within the transcripts. Here, we apply dynamic single-molecule force spectroscopy to study the interaction of the Arabidopsis glycine-rich RNA-binding protein AtGRP8 with its RNA target. A dwell-time-dependent analysis of the single-molecule data in combination with competition assays and site-directed mutagenesis of both the RNA target and the RNA-binding domain of the protein allowed us to distinguish and quantify two different binding modes. For dwell times <0.21 s an unspecific complex with a lifetime of 0.56 s is observed, whereas dwell times >0.33 s result in a specific interaction with a lifetime of 208 s. The corresponding reaction lengths are 0.28 nm for the unspecific and 0.55 nm for the specific AtGRP8-RNA interactions, indicating formation of a tighter complex with increasing dwell time. These two binding modes cannot be dissected in ensemble experiments. Quantitative titration in RNA bandshift experiments yields an ensemble-averaged equilibrium constant of dissociation of KD = 2 × 10−7 M. Assuming comparable on-rates for the specific and nonspecific binding modes allows us to estimate their free energies as ΔG0 = −42 kJ/mol and ΔG0 = −28 kJ/mol for the specific and nonspecific binding modes, respectively. Thus, we show that single-molecule force spectroscopy with a refined statistical analysis is a potent tool for the analysis of protein-RNA interactions without the drawback of ensemble averaging. This makes it possible to discriminate between different binding modes or sites and to analyze them quantitatively. We propose that this method could be applied to complex interactions of biomolecules in general, and be of particular interest for the investigation of multivalent binding reactions. PMID:19527663

  20. Single-molecule experiments in biological physics: methods and applications.

    PubMed

    Ritort, F

    2006-08-16

    I review single-molecule experiments (SMEs) in biological physics. Recent technological developments have provided the tools to design and build scientific instruments of high enough sensitivity and precision to manipulate and visualize individual molecules and measure microscopic forces. Using SMEs it is possible to manipulate molecules one at a time and measure distributions describing molecular properties, characterize the kinetics of biomolecular reactions and detect molecular intermediates. SMEs provide additional information about thermodynamics and kinetics of biomolecular processes. This complements information obtained in traditional bulk assays. In SMEs it is also possible to measure small energies and detect large Brownian deviations in biomolecular reactions, thereby offering new methods and systems to scrutinize the basic foundations of statistical mechanics. This review is written at a very introductory level, emphasizing the importance of SMEs to scientists interested in knowing the common playground of ideas and the interdisciplinary topics accessible by these techniques. The review discusses SMEs from an experimental perspective, first exposing the most common experimental methodologies and later presenting various molecular systems where such techniques have been applied. I briefly discuss experimental techniques such as atomic-force microscopy (AFM), laser optical tweezers (LOTs), magnetic tweezers (MTs), biomembrane force probes (BFPs) and single-molecule fluorescence (SMF). I then present several applications of SME to the study of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA and DNA condensation) and proteins (protein-protein interactions, protein folding and molecular motors). Finally, I discuss applications of SMEs to the study of the nonequilibrium thermodynamics of small systems and the experimental verification of fluctuation theorems. I conclude with a discussion of open questions and future perspectives.

  1. RNA damage in biological conflicts and the diversity of responding RNA repair systems

    PubMed Central

    Burroughs, A. Maxwell; Aravind, L.

    2016-01-01

    RNA is targeted in biological conflicts by enzymatic toxins or effectors. A vast diversity of systems which repair or ‘heal’ this damage has only recently become apparent. Here, we summarize the known effectors, their modes of action, and RNA targets before surveying the diverse systems which counter this damage from a comparative genomics viewpoint. RNA-repair systems show a modular organization with extensive shuffling and displacement of the constituent domains; however, a general ‘syntax’ is strongly maintained whereby systems typically contain: a RNA ligase (either ATP-grasp or RtcB superfamilies), nucleotidyltransferases, enzymes modifying RNA-termini for ligation (phosphatases and kinases) or protection (methylases), and scaffold or cofactor proteins. We highlight poorly-understood or previously-uncharacterized repair systems and components, e.g. potential scaffolding cofactors (Rot/TROVE and SPFH/Band-7 modules) with their respective cognate non-coding RNAs (YRNAs and a novel tRNA-like molecule) and a novel nucleotidyltransferase associating with diverse ligases. These systems have been extensively disseminated by lateral transfer between distant prokaryotic and microbial eukaryotic lineages consistent with intense inter-organismal conflict. Components have also often been ‘institutionalized’ for non-conflict roles, e.g. in RNA-splicing and in RNAi systems (e.g. in kinetoplastids) which combine a distinct family of RNA-acting prim-pol domains with DICER-like proteins. PMID:27536007

  2. Single-molecule observations of RNA-RNA kissing interactions in a DNA nanostructure.

    PubMed

    Takeuchi, Yosuke; Endo, Masayuki; Suzuki, Yuki; Hidaka, Kumi; Durand, Guillaume; Dausse, Eric; Toulmé, Jean-Jacques; Sugiyama, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    RNA molecules uniquely form a complex through specific hairpin loops, called a kissing complex. The kissing complex is widely investigated and used for the construction of RNA nanostructures. Molecular switches have also been created by combining a kissing loop and a ligand-binding aptamer to control the interactions of RNA molecules. In this study, we incorporated two kinds of RNA molecules into a DNA origami structure and used atomic force microscopy to observe their ligand-responsive interactions at the single-molecule level. We used a designed RNA aptamer called GTPswitch, which has a guanosine triphosphate (GTP) responsive domain and can bind to the target RNA hairpin named Aptakiss in the presence of GTP. We observed shape changes of the DNA/RNA strands in the DNA origami, which are induced by the GTPswitch, into two different shapes in the absence and presence of GTP, respectively. We also found that the switching function in the nanospace could be improved by using a cover strand over the kissing loop of the GTPswitch or by deleting one base from this kissing loop. These newly designed ligand-responsive aptamers can be used for the controlled assembly of the various DNA and RNA nanostructures.

  3. Bioinformatics of cardiovascular miRNA biology.

    PubMed

    Kunz, Meik; Xiao, Ke; Liang, Chunguang; Viereck, Janika; Pachel, Christina; Frantz, Stefan; Thum, Thomas; Dandekar, Thomas

    2015-12-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small ~22 nucleotide non-coding RNAs and are highly conserved among species. Moreover, miRNAs regulate gene expression of a large number of genes associated with important biological functions and signaling pathways. Recently, several miRNAs have been found to be associated with cardiovascular diseases. Thus, investigating the complex regulatory effect of miRNAs may lead to a better understanding of their functional role in the heart. To achieve this, bioinformatics approaches have to be coupled with validation and screening experiments to understand the complex interactions of miRNAs with the genome. This will boost the subsequent development of diagnostic markers and our understanding of the physiological and therapeutic role of miRNAs in cardiac remodeling. In this review, we focus on and explain different bioinformatics strategies and algorithms for the identification and analysis of miRNAs and their regulatory elements to better understand cardiac miRNA biology. Starting with the biogenesis of miRNAs, we present approaches such as LocARNA and miRBase for combining sequence and structure analysis including phylogenetic comparisons as well as detailed analysis of RNA folding patterns, functional target prediction, signaling pathway as well as functional analysis. We also show how far bioinformatics helps to tackle the unprecedented level of complexity and systemic effects by miRNA, underlining the strong therapeutic potential of miRNA and miRNA target structures in cardiovascular disease. In addition, we discuss drawbacks and limitations of bioinformatics algorithms and the necessity of experimental approaches for miRNA target identification. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Non-coding RNAs'.

  4. Ribosome-dependent conversion of polyA-containing heterogenous nuclear RNA into smaller RNA molecules.

    PubMed Central

    Grozdanovic, J; Hradec, J

    1975-01-01

    The polyA-containing heterogenous nuclear RNA fraction separated from total rat liver nRNA by gel filtration on Sepharose 4B followed by affinity chromatography on polyU-Sepharose and containing predominantly the 45S components becomes enzymatically bound to homologous 80S ribosomes and polyribosomes at 0 degree C. If 80S ribosomes or polyribosomes with bound poly-a-containing HnRNA are subjected to a further incubation at 37 degree C, the original 45S RNA is gradually converted into smaller RNA species of 10- 35S which remain bound to the particle. This ribosome-dependent cleavage of larger HnRNA species into smaller RNA molecules may represent the ultimate step of mRNA maturation. PMID:1144064

  5. tRNA Biology in Mitochondria

    PubMed Central

    Salinas-Giegé, Thalia; Giegé, Richard; Giegé, Philippe

    2015-01-01

    Mitochondria are the powerhouses of eukaryotic cells. They are considered as semi-autonomous because they have retained genomes inherited from their prokaryotic ancestor and host fully functional gene expression machineries. These organelles have attracted considerable attention because they combine bacterial-like traits with novel features that evolved in the host cell. Among them, mitochondria use many specific pathways to obtain complete and functional sets of tRNAs as required for translation. In some instances, tRNA genes have been partially or entirely transferred to the nucleus and mitochondria require precise import systems to attain their pool of tRNAs. Still, tRNA genes have also often been maintained in mitochondria. Their genetic arrangement is more diverse than previously envisaged. The expression and maturation of mitochondrial tRNAs often use specific enzymes that evolved during eukaryote history. For instance many mitochondria use a eukaryote-specific RNase P enzyme devoid of RNA. The structure itself of mitochondrial encoded tRNAs is also very diverse, as e.g., in Metazoan, where tRNAs often show non canonical or truncated structures. As a result, the translational machinery in mitochondria evolved adapted strategies to accommodate the peculiarities of these tRNAs, in particular simplified identity rules for their aminoacylation. Here, we review the specific features of tRNA biology in mitochondria from model species representing the major eukaryotic groups, with an emphasis on recent research on tRNA import, maturation and aminoacylation. PMID:25734984

  6. Microfluidics for biological measurements with single-molecule resolution.

    PubMed

    Streets, Aaron M; Huang, Yanyi

    2014-02-01

    Single-molecule approaches in biology have been critical in studies ranging from the examination of physical properties of biological macromolecules to the extraction of genetic information from DNA. The variation intrinsic to many biological processes necessitates measurements with single-molecule resolution in order to accurately recapitulate population distributions. Microfluidic technology has proven to be useful in the facilitation and even enhancement of single-molecule studies because of the precise liquid handling, small volume manipulation, and high throughput capabilities of microfluidic devices. In this review we survey the microfluidic "toolbox" available to the single-molecule specialist and summarize some recent biological applications of single-molecule detection on chip. Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  7. A small molecule enhances RNA interference and promotes microRNA processing

    PubMed Central

    Shan, Ge; Li, Yujing; Zhang, Junliang; Li, Wendi; Szulwach, Keith E; Duan, Ranhui; Faghihi, Mohammad A; Khalil, Ahmad M; Lu, Lianghua; Paroo, Zain; Chan, Anthony W S; Shi, Zhangjie; Liu, Qinghua; Wahlestedt, Claes; He, Chuan; Jin, Peng

    2010-01-01

    Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) are sequence-specific post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Although major components of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway have been identified, regulatory mechanisms for this pathway remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that the RNAi pathway can be modulated intracellularly by small molecules. We have developed a cell-based assay to monitor the activity of the RNAi pathway and find that the small-molecule enoxacin (Penetrex) enhances siRNA-mediated mRNA degradation and promotes the biogenesis of endogenous miRNAs. We show that this RNAi-enhancing activity depends on the trans-activation-responsive region RNA-binding protein. Our results provide a proof-of-principle demonstration that small molecules can be used to modulate the activity of the RNAi pathway. RNAi enhancers may be useful in the development of research tools and therapeutics. PMID:18641635

  8. Engineering modular ‘ON’ RNA switches using biological components

    PubMed Central

    Ceres, Pablo; Trausch, Jeremiah J.; Batey, Robert T.

    2013-01-01

    Riboswitches are cis-acting regulatory elements broadly distributed in bacterial mRNAs that control a wide range of critical metabolic activities. Expression is governed by two distinct domains within the mRNA leader: a sensory ‘aptamer domain’ and a regulatory ‘expression platform’. Riboswitches have also received considerable attention as important tools in synthetic biology because of their conceptually simple structure and the ability to obtain aptamers that bind almost any conceivable small molecule using in vitro selection (referred to as SELEX). In the design of artificial riboswitches, a significant hurdle has been to couple the two domains enabling their efficient communication. We previously demonstrated that biological transcriptional ‘OFF’ expression platforms are easily coupled to diverse aptamers, both biological and SELEX-derived, using simple design rules. Here, we present two modular transcriptional ‘ON’ riboswitch expression platforms that are also capable of hosting foreign aptamers. We demonstrate that these biological parts can be used to facilely generate artificial chimeric riboswitches capable of robustly regulating transcription both in vitro and in vivo. We expect that these modular expression platforms will be of great utility for various synthetic biological applications that use RNA-based biosensors. PMID:23999097

  9. Competing endogenous RNA networks: tying the essential knots for cancer biology and therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Sanchez-Mejias, Avencia; Tay, Yvonne

    2015-03-28

    A recently discovered dimension of post-transcriptional gene regulation involves co-regulatory crosstalk between RNA transcripts, which compete for common pools of microRNA (miRNA) molecules. These competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs), or natural miRNA sponges, have an active role in regulating miRNA availability within the cell and form intertwined regulatory networks. Recent reports have implicated diverse RNA species including protein-coding messenger RNAs and non-coding RNAs as ceRNAs in human development and diseases including human cancer. In this review, we discuss the most recent discoveries that implicate natural miRNA decoys in human cancer biology, as well as exciting advances in the study of ceRNA networks and dynamics. The structure and topology of intricate genome-scale ceRNA networks can be predicted computationally, and their dynamic response to fluctuations in ceRNA and miRNA levels can be studied via mathematical modeling. Additionally, the development of new methods to quantitatively determine absolute expression levels of miRNA and ceRNA molecules have expanded the capacity to accurately study the efficiency of ceRNA crosstalk in diverse biological models. These major milestones are of critical importance to identify key components of ceRNA regulatory networks that could aid the development of new approaches to cancer diagnostics and oligonucleotide-based therapeutics.

  10. Single-Molecule Imaging of RNA Splicing in Live Cells.

    PubMed

    Rino, José; Martin, Robert M; Carvalho, Célia; de Jesus, Ana C; Carmo-Fonseca, Maria

    2015-01-01

    Expression of genetic information in eukaryotes involves a series of interconnected processes that ultimately determine the quality and amount of proteins in the cell. Many individual steps in gene expression are kinetically coupled, but tools are lacking to determine how temporal relationships between chemical reactions contribute to the output of the final gene product. Here, we describe a strategy that permits direct measurements of intron dynamics in single pre-mRNA molecules in live cells. This approach reveals that splicing can occur much faster than previously proposed and opens new avenues for studying how kinetic mechanisms impact on RNA biogenesis.

  11. The emerging molecular biology toolbox for the study of long noncoding RNA biology.

    PubMed

    Fok, Ezio T; Scholefield, Janine; Fanucchi, Stephanie; Mhlanga, Musa M

    2017-10-01

    Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been implicated in many biological processes. However, due to the unique nature of lncRNAs and the consequential difficulties associated with their characterization, there is a growing disparity between the rate at which lncRNAs are being discovered and the assignment of biological function to these transcripts. Here we present a molecular biology toolbox equipped to help dissect aspects of lncRNA biology and reveal functionality. We outline an approach that begins with a broad survey of genome-wide, high-throughput datasets to identify potential lncRNA candidates and then narrow the focus on specific methods that are well suited to interrogate the transcripts of interest more closely. This involves the use of imaging-based strategies to validate these candidates and observe the behaviors of these transcripts at single molecule resolution in individual cells. We also describe the use of gene editing tools and interactome capture techniques to interrogate functionality and infer mechanism, respectively. With the emergence of lncRNAs as important molecules in healthy and diseased cellular function, it remains crucial to deepen our understanding of their biology.

  12. Mathematical models in biology: from molecules to life.

    PubMed

    Kaznessis, Yiannis N

    2011-01-01

    A vexing question in the biological sciences is the following: can biological phenotypes be explained with mathematical models of molecules that interact according to physical laws? At the crux of the matter lies the doubt that humans can develop physically faithful mathematical representations of living organisms. We discuss advantages that synthetic biological systems confer that may help us describe life's distinctiveness with tractable mathematics that are grounded on universal laws of thermodynamics and molecular biology. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  13. Mathematical models in biology: from molecules to life

    PubMed Central

    Kaznessis, Yiannis N.

    2011-01-01

    A vexing question in the biological sciences is the following: can biological phenotypes be explained with mathematical models of molecules that interact according to physical laws? At the crux of the matter lies the doubt that humans can develop physically faithful mathematical representations of living organisms. We discuss advantages that synthetic biological systems confer that may help us describe life’s distinctiveness with tractable mathematics that are grounded on universal laws of thermodynamics and molecular biology. PMID:21472998

  14. Computer display and manipulation of biological molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coeckelenbergh, Y.; Macelroy, R. D.; Hart, J.; Rein, R.

    1978-01-01

    This paper describes a computer model that was designed to investigate the conformation of molecules, macromolecules and subsequent complexes. Utilizing an advanced 3-D dynamic computer display system, the model is sufficiently versatile to accommodate a large variety of molecular input and to generate data for multiple purposes such as visual representation of conformational changes, and calculation of conformation and interaction energy. Molecules can be built on the basis of several levels of information. These include the specification of atomic coordinates and connectivities and the grouping of building blocks and duplicated substructures using symmetry rules found in crystals and polymers such as proteins and nucleic acids. Called AIMS (Ames Interactive Molecular modeling System), the model is now being used to study pre-biotic molecular evolution toward life.

  15. Computer display and manipulation of biological molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coeckelenbergh, Y.; Macelroy, R. D.; Hart, J.; Rein, R.

    1978-01-01

    This paper describes a computer model that was designed to investigate the conformation of molecules, macromolecules and subsequent complexes. Utilizing an advanced 3-D dynamic computer display system, the model is sufficiently versatile to accommodate a large variety of molecular input and to generate data for multiple purposes such as visual representation of conformational changes, and calculation of conformation and interaction energy. Molecules can be built on the basis of several levels of information. These include the specification of atomic coordinates and connectivities and the grouping of building blocks and duplicated substructures using symmetry rules found in crystals and polymers such as proteins and nucleic acids. Called AIMS (Ames Interactive Molecular modeling System), the model is now being used to study pre-biotic molecular evolution toward life.

  16. Tracking single mRNA molecules in live cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, Hyungseok C.; Lee, Byung Hun; Lim, Kiseong; Son, Jae Seok; Song, Minho S.; Park, Hye Yoon

    2016-06-01

    mRNAs inside cells interact with numerous RNA-binding proteins, microRNAs, and ribosomes that together compose a highly heterogeneous population of messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) particles. Perhaps one of the best ways to investigate the complex regulation of mRNA is to observe individual molecules. Single molecule imaging allows the collection of quantitative and statistical data on subpopulations and transient states that are otherwise obscured by ensemble averaging. In addition, single particle tracking reveals the sequence of events that occur in the formation and remodeling of mRNPs in real time. Here, we review the current state-of-the-art techniques in tagging, delivery, and imaging to track single mRNAs in live cells. We also discuss how these techniques are applied to extract dynamic information on the transcription, transport, localization, and translation of mRNAs. These studies demonstrate how single molecule tracking is transforming the understanding of mRNA regulation in live cells.

  17. Examining small molecule: HIV RNA interactions using arrayed imaging reflectometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaimayo, Wanaruk; Miller, Benjamin L.

    2014-03-01

    Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been the subject of intense research for more than three decades as it causes an uncurable disease: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, AIDS. In the pursuit of a medical treatment, RNAtargeted small molecules are emerging as promising targets. In order to understand the binding kinetics of small molecules and HIV RNA, association (ka) and dissociation (kd) kinetic constants must be obtained, ideally for a large number of sequences to assess selectivity. We have developed Aqueous Array Imaged Reflectometry (Aq-AIR) to address this challenge. Using a simple light interference phenomenon, Aq-AIR provides real-time high-throughput multiplex capabilities to detect binding of targets to surface-immobilized probes in a label-free microarray format. The second generation of Aq-AIR consisting of high-sensitivity CCD camera and 12-μL flow cell was fabricated. The system performance was assessed by real-time detection of MBNL1-(CUG)10 and neomycin B - HIV RNA bindings. The results establish this second-generation Aq-AIR to be able to examine small molecules binding to RNA sequences specific to HIV.

  18. Unfolding single RNA molecules: bridging the gap between equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamics.

    PubMed

    Bustamante, Carlos

    2005-11-01

    During the last 15 years, scientists have developed methods that permit the direct mechanical manipulation of individual molecules. Using this approach, they have begun to investigate the effect of force and torque in chemical and biochemical reactions. These studies span from the study of the mechanical properties of macromolecules, to the characterization of molecular motors, to the mechanical unfolding of individual proteins and RNA. Here I present a review of some of our most recent results using mechanical force to unfold individual molecules of RNA. These studies make it possible to follow in real time the trajectory of each molecule as it unfolds and characterize the various intermediates of the reaction. Moreover, if the process takes place reversibly it is possible to extract both kinetic and thermodynamic information from these experiments at the same time that we characterize the forces that maintain the three-dimensional structure of the molecule in solution. These studies bring us closer to the biological unfolding processes in the cell as they simulate in vitro, the mechanical unfolding of RNAs carried out in the cell by helicases. If the unfolding process occurs irreversibly, I show here that single-molecule experiments can still provide equilibrium, thermodynamic information from non-equilibrium data by using recently discovered fluctuation theorems. Such theorems represent a bridge between equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. In fact, first derived in 1997, the first experimental demonstration of the validity of fluctuation theorems was obtained by unfolding mechanically a single molecule of RNA. It is perhaps a sign of the times that important physical results are these days used to extract information about biological systems and that biological systems are being used to test and confirm fundamental new laws in physics.

  19. Single-Molecule Electrical Random Resequencing of DNA and RNA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohshiro, Takahito; Matsubara, Kazuki; Tsutsui, Makusu; Furuhashi, Masayuki; Taniguchi, Masateru; Kawai, Tomoji

    2012-07-01

    Two paradigm shifts in DNA sequencing technologies--from bulk to single molecules and from optical to electrical detection--are expected to realize label-free, low-cost DNA sequencing that does not require PCR amplification. It will lead to development of high-throughput third-generation sequencing technologies for personalized medicine. Although nanopore devices have been proposed as third-generation DNA-sequencing devices, a significant milestone in these technologies has been attained by demonstrating a novel technique for resequencing DNA using electrical signals. Here we report single-molecule electrical resequencing of DNA and RNA using a hybrid method of identifying single-base molecules via tunneling currents and random sequencing. Our method reads sequences of nine types of DNA oligomers. The complete sequence of 5'-UGAGGUA-3' from the let-7 microRNA family was also identified by creating a composite of overlapping fragment sequences, which was randomly determined using tunneling current conducted by single-base molecules as they passed between a pair of nanoelectrodes.

  20. A Single-Molecule Study of RNA Catalysis and Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhuang, Xiaowei; Bartley, Laura E.; Babcock, Hazen P.; Russell, Rick; Ha, Taekjip; Herschlag, Daniel; Chu, Steven

    2000-06-01

    Using fluorescence microscopy, we studied the catalysis by and folding of individual Tetrahymena thermophila ribozyme molecules . The dye-labeled and surface-immobilized ribozymes used were shown to be functionally indistinguishable from the unmodified free ribozyme in solution. A reversible local folding step in which a duplex docks and undocks from the ribozyme core was observed directly in single-molecule time trajectories, allowing the determination of the rate constants and characterization of the transition state. A rarely populated docked state, not measurable by ensemble methods, was observed. In the overall folding process, intermediate folding states and multiple folding pathways were observed. In addition to observing previously established folding pathways, a pathway with an observed folding rate constant of 1 per second was discovered. These results establish single-molecule fluorescence as a powerful tool for examining RNA folding.

  1. RNA footprint mapping of RNA polymerase II molecules stalled in the intergenic region of polyomavirus DNA.

    PubMed Central

    Brabant, F; Acheson, N H

    1995-01-01

    RNA polymerase II molecules that transcribe the late strand of the 5.3-kb circular polyomavirus genome stall just upstream of the DNA replication origin, in a region containing multiple binding sites for polyomavirus large T antigen. Stalling of RNA polymerases depends on the presence of functional large T antigen and on the integrity of large T antigen binding site A. To gain insight into the interaction between DNA-bound large T antigen and RNA polymerase II, we mapped the position of stalled RNA polymerases by analyzing nascent RNA chains associated with these polymerases. Elongation of RNA in vitro, followed by hybridization with a nested set of DNA fragments extending progressively farther into the stalling region, allowed localization of the 3' end of the nascent RNA to a position 5 to 10 nucleotides upstream of binding site A. Ribonuclease treatment of nascent RNAs on viral transcription complexes, followed by in vitro elongation and hybridization, allowed localization of the distal end of stalled RNA polymerases to a position 40 nucleotides upstream of binding site A. This RNA footprint shows that elongating RNA polymerases stall at a site very close to the position of DNA-bound large T antigen and that they protect approximately 30 nucleotides of nascent RNA against ribonuclease digestion. PMID:7769704

  2. A transcribing RNA polymerase molecule survives DNA replication without aborting its growing RNA chain.

    PubMed

    Liu, B; Wong, M L; Alberts, B

    1994-10-25

    We have demonstrated elsewhere that a precisely placed, stalled Escherichia coli RNA polymerase ternary transcription complex (polymerase-RNA-DNA) stays on the DNA template after passage of a DNA replication fork. Moreover, the bypassed complex remains competent to resume elongation of its bound RNA chain. But the simplicity of our experimental system left several important questions unresolved: in particular, might the observation be relevant only to the particular ternary complex that we studied, and can the finding be generalized to a transcribing instead of a stalled RNA polymerase? To address these issues, we have created three additional ternary transcription complexes and examined their fates after passage of a replication fork. In addition, we have examined the fate of moving RNA polymerase molecules during DNA replication. The results suggest that our previous finding applies to all transcription intermediates of the E. coli RNA polymerase.

  3. Using Amino-Labeled Nucleotide Probes for Simultaneous Single Molecule RNA-DNA FISH

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Jun; Shao, Fangwei; Zhang, Li-Feng

    2014-01-01

    Using amino-labeled oligonucleotide probes, we established a simple, robust and low-noise method for simultaneous detection of RNA and DNA by fluorescence in situ hybridization, a highly useful tool to study the large pool of long non-coding RNAs being identified in the current research. With probes either chemically or biologically synthesized, we demonstrate that the method can be applied to study a wide range of RNA and DNA targets at the single-cell and single-molecule level in cellular contexts. PMID:25226542

  4. MicroRNA Key to Angiogenesis Regulation: miRNA Biology and Therapy.

    PubMed

    Tiwari, Ankit; Mukherjee, Bratati; Dixit, Manjusha

    2017-06-30

    Angiogenesis is involved in maintaining normal physiological processes like embryonic development, wound healing, inflammation and reproduction. Pathogenesis of various diseases like diabetic retinopathy, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer are associated with imbalanced angiogenesis. Angiogenic stimulators and inhibitors act together for keeping angiogenic switch in balance. Recently miRNAs have been found to regulate various stages of angiogenesis. miRNAs are 21-23 nucleotides long, single stranded, noncoding RNA molecules generated endogenously. miRNA's ability to target multiple genes within a signaling pathway makes them promising target for the development of second generation anti-angiogenesis drugs. This review was conceived with the notion of availability of specific and comprehensive knowledge about AngiomiRs at one place. This will facilitate the research in basic understanding and in the development of new drugs. In this review, we have summarized the biology and therapeutic potential of the miRNAs, which are involved in controlling angiogenesis process. In miRNA biology, we have provided the updated summary of miRNAs in the regulation of endothelial cells, showed role of miRNAs in the signaling pathways of angiogenesis and, discussed the gaps in complete knowledge of mechanism. We have also provided exclusive insights regarding therapeutic potential of these miRNAs, in angiogenesis related disorders. Additionally, we have discussed the challenges in miRNA based drug delivery and updated the current efforts in the development of miRNA delivery methods. Though much research is needed to discover the complete miRNA network regulating angiogenesis but once it is done, targeting miRNA may be considered as a potential candidate for therapeutic invention against angiogenesis related disorders. Copyright© Bentham Science Publishers; For any queries, please email at epub@benthamscience.org.

  5. Finding Order in Randomness: Single-Molecule Studies Reveal Stochastic RNA Processing | Center for Cancer Research

    Cancer.gov

    Producing a functional eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA) requires the coordinated activity of several large protein complexes to initiate transcription, elongate nascent transcripts, splice together exons, and cleave and polyadenylate the 3’ end. Kinetic competition between these various processes has been proposed to regulate mRNA maturation, but this model could lead to multiple, randomly determined, or stochastic, pathways or outcomes. Regulatory checkpoints have been suggested as a means of ensuring quality control. However, current methods have been unable to tease apart the contributions of these processes at a single gene or on a time scale that could provide mechanistic insight. To begin to investigate the kinetic relationship between transcription and splicing, Daniel Larson, Ph.D., of CCR’s Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, and his colleagues employed a single-molecule RNA imaging approach to monitor production and processing of a human β-globin reporter gene in living cells.

  6. Cardiac-targeted delivery of regulatory RNA molecules and genes for the treatment of heart failure

    PubMed Central

    Poller, Wolfgang; Hajjar, Roger; Schultheiss, Heinz-Peter; Fechner, Henry

    2010-01-01

    Ribonucleic acid (RNA) in its many facets of structure and function is becoming more fully understood, and, therefore, it is possible to design and use RNAs as valuable tools in molecular biology and medicine. Understanding of the role of RNAs within the cell has changed dramatically during the past few years. Therapeutic strategies based on non-coding regulatory RNAs include RNA interference (RNAi) for the silencing of specific genes, and microRNA (miRNA) modulations to alter complex gene expression patterns. Recent progress has allowed the targeting of therapeutic RNAi to the heart for the treatment of heart failure, and we discuss current strategies in this field. Owing to the peculiar biochemical properties of small RNA molecules, the actual therapeutic translation of findings in vitro or in cell cultures is more demanding than with small molecule drugs or proteins. The critical requirement for animal studies after pre-testing of RNAi tools in vitro likewise applies for miRNA modulations, which also have complex consequences for the recipient that are dependent on stability and distribution of the RNA tools. Problems in the field that are not yet fully solved are the prediction of targets and specificity of the RNA tools as well as their tissue-specific and regulatable expression. We discuss analogies and differences between regulatory RNA therapy and classical gene therapy, since recent breakthroughs in vector technology are of importance for both. Recent years have witnessed parallel progress in the fields of gene-based and regulatory RNA-based therapies that are likely to significantly expand the cardiovascular therapeutic repertoire within the next decade. PMID:20176815

  7. Photoactive molecules for applications in molecular imaging and cell biology.

    PubMed

    Shao, Qing; Xing, Bengang

    2010-08-01

    Photoactive technology has proven successful for non-invasive regulation of biological activities and processes in living cells. With the light-directed generation of biomaterials or signals, mechanisms in cell biology can be investigated at the molecular level with spatial and temporal resolution. In this tutorial review, we aim to introduce the important applications of photoactive molecules for elucidating cell biology on aspects of protein engineering, fluorescence labelling, gene regulation and cell physiological functions.

  8. NCI RNA Biology 2017 symposium recap | Center for Cancer Research

    Cancer.gov

    The recent discovery of new classes of RNAs and the demonstration that alterations in RNA metabolism underlie numerous human cancers have resulted in enormous interest among CCR investigators in RNA biology. In order to share the latest research in this exciting field, the CCR Initiative in RNA Biology held its second international symposium April 23-24, 2017, in Natcher Auditorium. Learn more...

  9. Perspective: Mechanochemistry of biological and synthetic molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Makarov, Dmitrii E.

    2016-01-01

    Coupling of mechanical forces and chemical transformations is central to the biophysics of molecular machines, polymer chemistry, fracture mechanics, tribology, and other disciplines. As a consequence, the same physical principles and theoretical models should be applicable in all of those fields; in fact, similar models have been invoked (and often repeatedly reinvented) to describe, for example, cell adhesion, dry and wet friction, propagation of cracks, and action of molecular motors. This perspective offers a unified view of these phenomena, described in terms of chemical kinetics with rates of elementary steps that are force dependent. The central question is then to describe how the rate of a chemical transformation (and its other measurable properties such as the transition path) depends on the applied force. I will describe physical models used to answer this question and compare them with experimental measurements, which employ single-molecule force spectroscopy and which become increasingly common. Multidimensionality of the underlying molecular energy landscapes and the ensuing frequent misalignment between chemical and mechanical coordinates result in a number of distinct scenarios, each showing a nontrivial force dependence of the reaction rate. I will discuss these scenarios, their commonness (or its lack), and the prospects for their experimental validation. Finally, I will discuss open issues in the field.

  10. Perspective: Mechanochemistry of biological and synthetic molecules.

    PubMed

    Makarov, Dmitrii E

    2016-01-21

    Coupling of mechanical forces and chemical transformations is central to the biophysics of molecular machines, polymer chemistry, fracture mechanics, tribology, and other disciplines. As a consequence, the same physical principles and theoretical models should be applicable in all of those fields; in fact, similar models have been invoked (and often repeatedly reinvented) to describe, for example, cell adhesion, dry and wet friction, propagation of cracks, and action of molecular motors. This perspective offers a unified view of these phenomena, described in terms of chemical kinetics with rates of elementary steps that are force dependent. The central question is then to describe how the rate of a chemical transformation (and its other measurable properties such as the transition path) depends on the applied force. I will describe physical models used to answer this question and compare them with experimental measurements, which employ single-molecule force spectroscopy and which become increasingly common. Multidimensionality of the underlying molecular energy landscapes and the ensuing frequent misalignment between chemical and mechanical coordinates result in a number of distinct scenarios, each showing a nontrivial force dependence of the reaction rate. I will discuss these scenarios, their commonness (or its lack), and the prospects for their experimental validation. Finally, I will discuss open issues in the field.

  11. Perspective: Mechanochemistry of biological and synthetic molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Makarov, Dmitrii E.

    2016-01-21

    Coupling of mechanical forces and chemical transformations is central to the biophysics of molecular machines, polymer chemistry, fracture mechanics, tribology, and other disciplines. As a consequence, the same physical principles and theoretical models should be applicable in all of those fields; in fact, similar models have been invoked (and often repeatedly reinvented) to describe, for example, cell adhesion, dry and wet friction, propagation of cracks, and action of molecular motors. This perspective offers a unified view of these phenomena, described in terms of chemical kinetics with rates of elementary steps that are force dependent. The central question is then to describe how the rate of a chemical transformation (and its other measurable properties such as the transition path) depends on the applied force. I will describe physical models used to answer this question and compare them with experimental measurements, which employ single-molecule force spectroscopy and which become increasingly common. Multidimensionality of the underlying molecular energy landscapes and the ensuing frequent misalignment between chemical and mechanical coordinates result in a number of distinct scenarios, each showing a nontrivial force dependence of the reaction rate. I will discuss these scenarios, their commonness (or its lack), and the prospects for their experimental validation. Finally, I will discuss open issues in the field.

  12. Single-Molecule Spectroscopic Investigations of RNA Structural Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fiore, Julie L.; Nesbitt, David J.

    2007-03-01

    To function properly, catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) fold into specific three-dimensional shapes stabilized by multiple tertiary interactions. However, only limited information is available on the contributions of individual tertiary contacts to RNA conformational dynamics. The Tetrahymena ribozymes's P4--P6 domain forms a hinged, ``candy-cane'' structure with parallel helices clamped by two motifs, the GAAA tetraloop-tetraloop receptor and adenosine (A)-rich bulge--P4 helix interactions. Previously, we characterized RNA folding due to a tetraloop-receptor interaction. In this study, we employ time-resolved single-molecule FRET methods to probe A-rich bulge induced structural dynamics. Specifically, fluorescently labeled RNA constructs excited by a pulsed 532 nm laser are detected in the confocal region of an inverted microscope, with each photon sorted by arrival time, color and polarization. We resolve the kinetic dependence of A-rich bulge-P4 helix docking/undocking on cationic environment (e.g. Na^+ and Mg^2+ concentration.) At saturating [Mg^2+], the docked structure appears only weakly stabilized, while only 50% of the molecules exhibit efficient folding.

  13. SINGLE MOLECULE APPROACHES TO BIOLOGY, 2010 GORDON RESEARCH CONFERENCE, JUNE 27-JULY 2, 2010, ITALY

    SciTech Connect

    Professor William Moerner

    2010-07-09

    The 2010 Gordon Conference on Single-Molecule Approaches to Biology focuses on cutting-edge research in single-molecule science. Tremendous technical developments have made it possible to detect, identify, track, and manipulate single biomolecules in an ambient environment or even in a live cell. Single-molecule approaches have changed the way many biological problems are addressed, and new knowledge derived from these approaches continues to emerge. The ability of single-molecule approaches to avoid ensemble averaging and to capture transient intermediates and heterogeneous behavior renders them particularly powerful in elucidating mechanisms of biomolecular machines: what they do, how they work individually, how they work together, and finally, how they work inside live cells. The burgeoning use of single-molecule methods to elucidate biological problems is a highly multidisciplinary pursuit, involving both force- and fluorescence-based methods, the most up-to-date advances in microscopy, innovative biological and chemical approaches, and nanotechnology tools. This conference seeks to bring together top experts in molecular and cell biology with innovators in the measurement and manipulation of single molecules, and will provide opportunities for junior scientists and graduate students to present their work in poster format and to exchange ideas with leaders in the field. A number of excellent poster presenters will be selected for short oral talks. Topics as diverse as single-molecule sequencing, DNA/RNA/protein interactions, folding machines, cellular biophysics, synthetic biology and bioengineering, force spectroscopy, new method developments, superresolution imaging in cells, and novel probes for single-molecule imaging will be on the program. Additionally, the collegial atmosphere of this Conference, with programmed discussion sessions as well as opportunities for informal gatherings in the afternoons and evenings in the beauty of the Il Ciocco site in

  14. Importance and key events of prokaryotic RNA decay: the ultimate fate of an RNA molecule.

    PubMed

    Silva, Inês Jesus; Saramago, Margarida; Dressaire, Clémentine; Domingues, Susana; Viegas, Sandra Cristina; Arraiano, Cecília Maria

    2011-01-01

    RNAs are important effectors in the process of gene expression. In bacteria, constant adaptation to environmental demands is accompanied by a continual adjustment of transcripts' levels. The cellular concentration of a given RNA is the result of the balance between its synthesis and degradation. RNA degradation is a complex process encompassing multiple pathways. Ribonucleases (RNases) are the enzymes that directly process and degrade the transcripts, regulating their amounts. They are also important in quality control of RNAs by detecting and destroying defective molecules. The rate at which RNA decay occurs depends on the availability of ribonucleases and their specificities according to the sequence and/or the structural elements of the RNA molecule. Ribosome loading and the 5'-phosphorylation status can also modulate the stability of transcripts. The wide diversity of RNases present in different microorganisms is another factor that conditions the pathways and mechanisms of RNA degradation. RNases are themselves carefully regulated by distinct mechanisms. Several other factors modulate RNA degradation, namely polyadenylation, which plays a multifunctional role in RNA metabolism. Additionally, small non-coding RNAs are crucial regulators of gene expression, and can directly modulate the stability of their mRNA targets. In many cases this regulation is dependent on Hfq, an RNA binding protein which can act in concert with polyadenylation enzymes and is often necessary for the activity of sRNAs. All of the above-mentioned aspects are discussed in the present review, which also highlights the principal differences between the RNA degradation pathways for the two main Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial models.

  15. High-resolution waveguide THz spectroscopy of biological molecules.

    PubMed

    Laman, N; Harsha, S Sree; Grischkowsky, D; Melinger, Joseph S

    2008-02-01

    Low-frequency vibrational modes of biological molecules consist of intramolecular modes, which are dependent on the molecule as a whole, as well as intermolecular modes, which arise from hydrogen-bonding interactions and van der Waals forces. Vibrational modes thus contain important information about conformation dynamics of biological molecules, and can also be used for identification purposes. However, conventional Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) often result in broad, overlapping features that are difficult to distinguish. The technique of waveguide THz-TDS has been recently developed, resulting in sharper features. For this technique, an ordered polycrystalline film of the molecule is formed on a metal sample plate. This plate is incorporated into a metal parallel-plate waveguide and probed via waveguide THz-TDS. The planar order of the film reduces the inhomogeneous broadening, and cooling of the samples to 77K reduces the homogenous broadening. This combination results in the line-narrowing of THz vibrational modes, in some cases to an unprecedented degree. Here, this technique has been demonstrated with seven small biological molecules, thymine, deoxycytidine, adenosine, D-glucose, tryptophan, glycine, and L-alanine. The successful demonstration of this technique shows the possibilities and promise for future studies of internal vibrational modes of large biological molecules.

  16. Selective small-molecule inhibition of an RNA structural element

    SciTech Connect

    Howe, John A.; Wang, Hao; Fischmann, Thierry O.; Balibar, Carl J.; Xiao, Li; Galgoci, Andrew M.; Malinverni, Juliana C.; Mayhood, Todd; Villafania, Artjohn; Nahvi, Ali; Murgolo, Nicholas; Barbieri, Christopher M.; Mann, Paul A.; Carr, Donna; Xia, Ellen; Zuck, Paul; Riley, Dan; Painter, Ronald E.; Walker, Scott S.; Sherborne, Brad; de Jesus, Reynalda; Pan, Weidong; Plotkin, Michael A.; Wu, Jin; Rindgen, Diane; Cummings, John; Garlisi, Charles G.; Zhang, Rumin; Sheth, Payal R.; Gill, Charles J.; Tang, Haifeng; Roemer, Terry

    2015-09-30

    Riboswitches are non-coding RNA structures located in messenger RNAs that bind endogenous ligands, such as a specific metabolite or ion, to regulate gene expression. As such, riboswitches serve as a novel, yet largely unexploited, class of emerging drug targets. Demonstrating this potential, however, has proven difficult and is restricted to structurally similar antimetabolites and semi-synthetic analogues of their cognate ligand, thus greatly restricting the chemical space and selectivity sought for such inhibitors. Here we report the discovery and characterization of ribocil, a highly selective chemical modulator of bacterial riboflavin riboswitches, which was identified in a phenotypic screen and acts as a structurally distinct synthetic mimic of the natural ligand, flavin mononucleotide, to repress riboswitch-mediated ribB gene expression and inhibit bacterial cell growth. Our findings indicate that non-coding RNA structural elements may be more broadly targeted by synthetic small molecules than previously expected.

  17. Single-Molecule mRNA Detection in Live Yeast

    PubMed Central

    Lenstra, Tineke L.

    2016-01-01

    Visualization of single RNA molecules in living cells has enabled the study of synthesis, movement, and localization of mRNAs and has provided insight into gene regulation with sub-second temporal resolution and nanometer spatial resolution. Following transcription in single cells indicates that gene activity is heterogeneous between cells and also exhibits random variability over time even within single cells. Studies of mRNAs in yeast can take advantage of the powerful genetics available in this model organism and allow mechanistic questions to be addressed. In this chapter, we describe an approach for visualizing mRNA and transcription in live yeast cells. The method is based on binding of fluorescently labeled MS2 and PP7 coat proteins to stem loops sequences that are introduced into the gene of interest. We give detailed protocols for the construction of the necessary yeast strains, for image acquisition, and for validation. PMID:27110320

  18. RNA graph partitioning for the discovery of RNA modularity: a novel application of graph partition algorithm to biology.

    PubMed

    Kim, Namhee; Zheng, Zhe; Elmetwaly, Shereef; Schlick, Tamar

    2014-01-01

    Graph representations have been widely used to analyze and design various economic, social, military, political, and biological networks. In systems biology, networks of cells and organs are useful for understanding disease and medical treatments and, in structural biology, structures of molecules can be described, including RNA structures. In our RNA-As-Graphs (RAG) framework, we represent RNA structures as tree graphs by translating unpaired regions into vertices and helices into edges. Here we explore the modularity of RNA structures by applying graph partitioning known in graph theory to divide an RNA graph into subgraphs. To our knowledge, this is the first application of graph partitioning to biology, and the results suggest a systematic approach for modular design in general. The graph partitioning algorithms utilize mathematical properties of the Laplacian eigenvector (µ2) corresponding to the second eigenvalues (λ2) associated with the topology matrix defining the graph: λ2 describes the overall topology, and the sum of µ2's components is zero. The three types of algorithms, termed median, sign, and gap cuts, divide a graph by determining nodes of cut by median, zero, and largest gap of µ2's components, respectively. We apply these algorithms to 45 graphs corresponding to all solved RNA structures up through 11 vertices (∼ 220 nucleotides). While we observe that the median cut divides a graph into two similar-sized subgraphs, the sign and gap cuts partition a graph into two topologically-distinct subgraphs. We find that the gap cut produces the best biologically-relevant partitioning for RNA because it divides RNAs at less stable connections while maintaining junctions intact. The iterative gap cuts suggest basic modules and assembly protocols to design large RNA structures. Our graph substructuring thus suggests a systematic approach to explore the modularity of biological networks. In our applications to RNA structures, subgraphs also suggest

  19. RNA Graph Partitioning for the Discovery of RNA Modularity: A Novel Application of Graph Partition Algorithm to Biology

    PubMed Central

    Elmetwaly, Shereef; Schlick, Tamar

    2014-01-01

    Graph representations have been widely used to analyze and design various economic, social, military, political, and biological networks. In systems biology, networks of cells and organs are useful for understanding disease and medical treatments and, in structural biology, structures of molecules can be described, including RNA structures. In our RNA-As-Graphs (RAG) framework, we represent RNA structures as tree graphs by translating unpaired regions into vertices and helices into edges. Here we explore the modularity of RNA structures by applying graph partitioning known in graph theory to divide an RNA graph into subgraphs. To our knowledge, this is the first application of graph partitioning to biology, and the results suggest a systematic approach for modular design in general. The graph partitioning algorithms utilize mathematical properties of the Laplacian eigenvector (µ2) corresponding to the second eigenvalues (λ2) associated with the topology matrix defining the graph: λ2 describes the overall topology, and the sum of µ2′s components is zero. The three types of algorithms, termed median, sign, and gap cuts, divide a graph by determining nodes of cut by median, zero, and largest gap of µ2′s components, respectively. We apply these algorithms to 45 graphs corresponding to all solved RNA structures up through 11 vertices (∼220 nucleotides). While we observe that the median cut divides a graph into two similar-sized subgraphs, the sign and gap cuts partition a graph into two topologically-distinct subgraphs. We find that the gap cut produces the best biologically-relevant partitioning for RNA because it divides RNAs at less stable connections while maintaining junctions intact. The iterative gap cuts suggest basic modules and assembly protocols to design large RNA structures. Our graph substructuring thus suggests a systematic approach to explore the modularity of biological networks. In our applications to RNA structures, subgraphs also suggest

  20. Phenotypic effect of mutations in evolving populations of RNA molecules

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The secondary structure of folded RNA sequences is a good model to map phenotype onto genotype, as represented by the RNA sequence. Computational studies of the evolution of ensembles of RNA molecules towards target secondary structures yield valuable clues to the mechanisms behind adaptation of complex populations. The relationship between the space of sequences and structures, the organization of RNA ensembles at mutation-selection equilibrium, the time of adaptation as a function of the population parameters, the presence of collective effects in quasispecies, or the optimal mutation rates to promote adaptation all are issues that can be explored within this framework. Results We investigate the effect of microscopic mutations on the phenotype of RNA molecules during their in silico evolution and adaptation. We calculate the distribution of the effects of mutations on fitness, the relative fractions of beneficial and deleterious mutations and the corresponding selection coefficients for populations evolving under different mutation rates. Three different situations are explored: the mutation-selection equilibrium (optimized population) in three different fitness landscapes, the dynamics during adaptation towards a goal structure (adapting population), and the behavior under periodic population bottlenecks (perturbed population). Conclusions The ratio between the number of beneficial and deleterious mutations experienced by a population of RNA sequences increases with the value of the mutation rate μ at which evolution proceeds. In contrast, the selective value of mutations remains almost constant, independent of μ, indicating that adaptation occurs through an increase in the amount of beneficial mutations, with little variations in the average effect they have on fitness. Statistical analyses of the distribution of fitness effects reveal that small effects, either beneficial or deleterious, are well described by a Pareto distribution. These results

  1. Chemical biology of antigen presentation by MHC molecules.

    PubMed

    van Kasteren, Sander I; Overkleeft, Hermen; Ovaa, Huib; Neefjes, Jacques

    2014-02-01

    MHC class I and MHC class II molecules present peptides to the immune system to drive proper T cell responses. Pharmacological modulation of T-cell responses can offer treatment options for a range of immune-related diseases. Pharmacological downregulation of MHC molecules may find application in treatment of auto-immunity and transplantation rejection while pharmacological activation of antigen presentation would support immune responses to infection and cancer. Since the cell biology of MHC class I and MHC class II antigen presentation is understood in great detail, many potential targets for manipulation have been defined over the years. Here, we discuss how antigen presentation by MHC molecules can be modulated by pharmacological agents and how chemistry can further support the study of antigen presentation in general. The chemical biology of antigen presentation by MHC molecules shows surprising options for immune modulation and the development of future therapies. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. A Crystal Structure of a Functional RNA Molecule Containing an Artificial Nucleobase Pair.

    PubMed

    Hernandez, Armando R; Shao, Yaming; Hoshika, Shuichi; Yang, Zunyi; Shelke, Sandip A; Herrou, Julien; Kim, Hyo-Joong; Kim, Myong-Jung; Piccirilli, Joseph A; Benner, Steven A

    2015-08-17

    As one of its goals, synthetic biology seeks to increase the number of building blocks in nucleic acids. While efforts towards this goal are well advanced for DNA, they have hardly begun for RNA. Herein, we present a crystal structure for an RNA riboswitch where a stem C:G pair has been replaced by a pair between two components of an artificially expanded genetic-information system (AEGIS), Z and P, (6-amino-5-nitro-2(1H)-pyridone and 2-amino-imidazo[1,2-a]-1,3,5-triazin-4-(8H)-one). The structure shows that the Z:P pair does not greatly change the conformation of the RNA molecule nor the details of its interaction with a hypoxanthine ligand. This was confirmed in solution by in-line probing, which also measured a 3.7 nM affinity of the riboswitch for guanine. These data show that the Z:P pair mimics the natural Watson-Crick geometry in RNA in the first example of a crystal structure of an RNA molecule that contains an orthogonal added nucleobase pair.

  3. Mapping the kinetic barriers of a Large RNA molecule's folding landscape.

    PubMed

    Schlatterer, Jörg C; Martin, Joshua S; Laederach, Alain; Brenowitz, Michael

    2014-01-01

    The folding of linear polymers into discrete three-dimensional structures is often required for biological function. The formation of long-lived intermediates is a hallmark of the folding of large RNA molecules due to the ruggedness of their energy landscapes. The precise thermodynamic nature of the barriers (whether enthalpic or entropic) that leads to intermediate formation is still poorly characterized in large structured RNA molecules. A classic approach to analyzing kinetic barriers are temperature dependent studies analyzed with Eyring's transition state theory. We applied Eyring's theory to time-resolved hydroxyl radical (•OH) footprinting kinetics progress curves collected at eight temperature from 21.5 °C to 51 °C to characterize the thermodynamic nature of folding intermediate formation for the Mg(2+)-mediated folding of the Tetrahymena thermophila group I ribozyme. A common kinetic model configuration describes this RNA folding reaction over the entire temperature range studied consisting of primary (fast) transitions to misfolded intermediates followed by much slower secondary transitions, consistent with previous studies. Eyring analysis reveals that the primary transitions are moderate in magnitude and primarily enthalpic in nature. In contrast, the secondary transitions are daunting in magnitude and entropic in nature. The entropic character of the secondary transitions is consistent with structural rearrangement of the intermediate species to the final folded form. This segregation of kinetic control reveals distinctly different molecular mechanisms during the two stages of RNA folding and documents the importance of entropic barriers to defining rugged RNA folding landscapes.

  4. Mapping the Kinetic Barriers of a Large RNA Molecule's Folding Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Schlatterer, Jörg C.; Martin, Joshua S.; Laederach, Alain; Brenowitz, Michael

    2014-01-01

    The folding of linear polymers into discrete three-dimensional structures is often required for biological function. The formation of long-lived intermediates is a hallmark of the folding of large RNA molecules due to the ruggedness of their energy landscapes. The precise thermodynamic nature of the barriers (whether enthalpic or entropic) that leads to intermediate formation is still poorly characterized in large structured RNA molecules. A classic approach to analyzing kinetic barriers are temperature dependent studies analyzed with Eyring's transition state theory. We applied Eyring's theory to time-resolved hydroxyl radical (•OH) footprinting kinetics progress curves collected at eight temperature from 21.5°C to 51°C to characterize the thermodynamic nature of folding intermediate formation for the Mg2+-mediated folding of the Tetrahymena thermophila group I ribozyme. A common kinetic model configuration describes this RNA folding reaction over the entire temperature range studied consisting of primary (fast) transitions to misfolded intermediates followed by much slower secondary transitions, consistent with previous studies. Eyring analysis reveals that the primary transitions are moderate in magnitude and primarily enthalpic in nature. In contrast, the secondary transitions are daunting in magnitude and entropic in nature. The entropic character of the secondary transitions is consistent with structural rearrangement of the intermediate species to the final folded form. This segregation of kinetic control reveals distinctly different molecular mechanisms during the two stages of RNA folding and documents the importance of entropic barriers to defining rugged RNA folding landscapes. PMID:24586236

  5. Small RNA zippers lock miRNA molecules and block miRNA function in mammalian cells

    PubMed Central

    Meng, Lingyu; Liu, Cuicui; Lü, Jinhui; Zhao, Qian; Deng, Shengqiong; Wang, Guangxue; Qiao, Jing; Zhang, Chuyi; Zhen, Lixiao; Lu, Ying; Li, Wenshu; Zhang, Yuzhen; Pestell, Richard G.; Fan, Huiming; Chen, Yi-Han; Liu, Zhongmin; Yu, Zuoren

    2017-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) loss-of-function phenotypes are mainly induced by chemically modified antisense oligonucleotides. Here we develop an alternative inhibitor for miRNAs, termed ‘small RNA zipper'. It is designed to connect miRNA molecules end to end, forming a DNA–RNA duplex through a complementary interaction with high affinity, high specificity and high stability. Two miRNAs, miR-221 and miR-17, are tested in human breast cancer cell lines, demonstrating the 70∼90% knockdown of miRNA levels by 30–50 nM small RNA zippers. The miR-221 zipper shows capability in rescuing the expression of target genes of miR-221 and reversing the oncogenic function of miR-221 in breast cancer cells. In addition, we demonstrate that the miR-221 zipper attenuates doxorubicin resistance with higher efficiency than anti-miR-221 in human breast cancer cells. Taken together, small RNA zippers are a miRNA inhibitor, which can be used to induce miRNA loss-of-function phenotypes and validate miRNA target genes. PMID:28045030

  6. Designing Efficient Double RNA trans-Splicing Molecules for Targeted RNA Repair

    PubMed Central

    Hüttner, Clemens; Murauer, Eva M.; Hainzl, Stefan; Kocher, Thomas; Neumayer, Anna; Reichelt, Julia; Bauer, Johann W.; Koller, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    RNA trans-splicing is a promising tool for mRNA modification in a diversity of genetic disorders. In particular, the substitution of internal exons of a gene by combining 3′ and 5′ RNA trans-splicing seems to be an elegant way to modify especially large pre-mRNAs. Here we discuss a robust method for designing double RNA trans-splicing molecules (dRTM). We demonstrate how the technique can be implemented in an endogenous setting, using COL7A1, the gene encoding type VII collagen, as a target. An RTM screening system was developed with the aim of testing the replacement of two internal COL7A1 exons, harbouring a homozygous mutation, with the wild-type version. The most efficient RTMs from a pool of randomly generated variants were selected via our fluorescence-based screening system and adapted for use in an in vitro disease model system. Transduction of type VII collagen-deficient keratinocytes with the selected dRTM led to accurate replacement of two internal COL7A1 exons resulting in a restored wild-type RNA sequence. This is the first study demonstrating specific exon replacement by double RNA trans-splicing within an endogenous transcript in cultured cells, corroborating the utility of this technology for mRNA repair in a variety of genetic disorders. PMID:27669223

  7. Designing Efficient Double RNA trans-Splicing Molecules for Targeted RNA Repair.

    PubMed

    Hüttner, Clemens; Murauer, Eva M; Hainzl, Stefan; Kocher, Thomas; Neumayer, Anna; Reichelt, Julia; Bauer, Johann W; Koller, Ulrich

    2016-09-22

    RNA trans-splicing is a promising tool for mRNA modification in a diversity of genetic disorders. In particular, the substitution of internal exons of a gene by combining 3' and 5' RNA trans-splicing seems to be an elegant way to modify especially large pre-mRNAs. Here we discuss a robust method for designing double RNA trans-splicing molecules (dRTM). We demonstrate how the technique can be implemented in an endogenous setting, using COL7A1, the gene encoding type VII collagen, as a target. An RTM screening system was developed with the aim of testing the replacement of two internal COL7A1 exons, harbouring a homozygous mutation, with the wild-type version. The most efficient RTMs from a pool of randomly generated variants were selected via our fluorescence-based screening system and adapted for use in an in vitro disease model system. Transduction of type VII collagen-deficient keratinocytes with the selected dRTM led to accurate replacement of two internal COL7A1 exons resulting in a restored wild-type RNA sequence. This is the first study demonstrating specific exon replacement by double RNA trans-splicing within an endogenous transcript in cultured cells, corroborating the utility of this technology for mRNA repair in a variety of genetic disorders.

  8. Synthetic biology devices and circuits for RNA-based 'smart vaccines': a propositional review.

    PubMed

    Andries, Oliwia; Kitada, Tasuku; Bodner, Katie; Sanders, Niek N; Weiss, Ron

    2015-02-01

    Nucleic acid vaccines have been gaining attention as an alternative to the standard attenuated pathogen or protein based vaccine. However, an unrealized advantage of using such DNA or RNA based vaccination modalities is the ability to program within these nucleic acids regulatory devices that would provide an immunologist with the power to control the production of antigens and adjuvants in a desirable manner by administering small molecule drugs as chemical triggers. Advances in synthetic biology have resulted in the creation of highly predictable and modular genetic parts and devices that can be composed into synthetic gene circuits with complex behaviors. With the recent advent of modified RNA gene delivery methods and developments in the RNA replicon platform, we foresee a future in which mammalian synthetic biologists will create genetic circuits encoded exclusively on RNA. Here, we review the current repertoire of devices used in RNA synthetic biology and propose how programmable 'smart vaccines' will revolutionize the field of RNA vaccination.

  9. MicroRNA function in mast cell biology: protocols to characterize and modulate microRNA expression.

    PubMed

    Maltby, Steven; Plank, Maximilian; Ptaschinski, Catherine; Mattes, Joerg; Foster, Paul S

    2015-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that can modulate mRNA levels through RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC)-mediated degradation. Recognition of target mRNAs occurs through imperfect base pairing between an miRNA and its target, meaning that each miRNA can target a number of different mRNAs to modulate gene expression. miRNAs have been proposed as novel therapeutic targets and many studies are aimed at characterizing miRNA expression patterns and functions within a range of cell types. To date, limited research has focused on the function of miRNAs specifically in mast cells; however, this is an emerging field. In this chapter, we will briefly overview miRNA synthesis and function and the current understanding of miRNAs in hematopoietic development and immune function, emphasizing studies related to mast cell biology. The chapter will conclude with fundamental techniques used in miRNA studies, including RNA isolation, real-time PCR and microarray approaches for quantification of miRNA expression levels, and antagomir design to interfere with miRNA function.

  10. A New Three-Dimensional Educational Model Kit for Building DNA and RNA Molecules: Development and Evaluation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beltramini, Leila Maria; Araujo, Ana Paula Ulian; de Oliveira, Tales Henrique Goncalves; dos Santos Abel, Luciano Douglas; da Silva, Aparecido Rodrigues; dos Santos, Neusa Fernandes

    2006-01-01

    International specialized literature focused on research in biology education is sadly scarce, especially regarding biochemical and molecular aspects. In this light, researchers from this Centre for Structural Molecular Biotechnology developed and evaluated a three-dimensional educational model named "Building Life Molecules DNA and RNA." The…

  11. A New Three-Dimensional Educational Model Kit for Building DNA and RNA Molecules: Development and Evaluation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beltramini, Leila Maria; Araujo, Ana Paula Ulian; de Oliveira, Tales Henrique Goncalves; dos Santos Abel, Luciano Douglas; da Silva, Aparecido Rodrigues; dos Santos, Neusa Fernandes

    2006-01-01

    International specialized literature focused on research in biology education is sadly scarce, especially regarding biochemical and molecular aspects. In this light, researchers from this Centre for Structural Molecular Biotechnology developed and evaluated a three-dimensional educational model named "Building Life Molecules DNA and RNA." The…

  12. Caenorhabditis elegans chemical biology: lessons from small molecules

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    How can we complement Caenorhabditis elegans genomics and proteomics with a comprehensive structural and functional annotation of its metabolome? Several lines of evidence indicate that small molecules of largely undetermined structure play important roles in C. elegans biology, including key pathw...

  13. On the biological activity of drug molecules: Busulfan and nabumetone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novak, Igor; Kovač, Branka

    2010-10-01

    The electronic structures of drug molecules busulfan (BSU) and nabumetone (NAB) have been investigated by HeI and HeII UV photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), quantum chemical calculations and virtual docking studies. Their biological activities are discussed in the framework of their electronic and molecular structures, reactivity and drug-enzyme binding.

  14. Photodissociation mass spectrometry: New tools for characterization of biological molecules

    PubMed Central

    Brodbelt, Jennifer S.

    2014-01-01

    Photodissociation mass spectrometry combines the ability to activate and fragment ions using photons with the sensitive detection of the resulting product ions by mass spectrometry. The resulting combination affords a versatile tool for characterization of biological molecules. The scope and breadth of photodissociation mass spectrometry have increased substantially over the past decade as new research groups have entered the field and developed a number of innovative applications that illustrate the ability of photodissociation to produce rich fragmentation patterns, to cleave bonds selectively, and to target specific molecules based on incorporation of chromophores. This review focuses on many of the key developments in photodissociation mass spectrometry over the past decade with a particular emphasis on its applications to biological molecules. PMID:24481009

  15. Engineering RNA-binding proteins for biology.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yu; Varani, Gabriele

    2013-08-01

    RNA-binding proteins play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression. Many have modular structures and combine relatively few common domains in various arrangements to recognize RNA sequences and/or structures. Recent progress in engineering the specificity of the PUF class RNA-binding proteins has shown that RNA-binding domains may be combined with various effector or functional domains to regulate the metabolism of targeted RNAs. Designer RNA-binding proteins with tailored sequence specificity will provide valuable tools for biochemical research as well as potential therapeutic applications. In this review, we discuss the suitability of various RNA-binding domains for engineering RNA-binding specificity, based on the structural basis for their recognition. We also compare various protein engineering and design methods applied to RNA-binding proteins, and discuss future applications of these proteins.

  16. Development of novel cardiovascular therapeutics from small regulatory RNA molecules--an outline of key requirements.

    PubMed

    Poller, W; Fechner, H

    2010-01-01

    Understanding of the roles of RNAs within the cell has changed and expanded dramatically during the past few years. Based on fundamentally new insights it is now increasingly possible to employ RNAs as highly valuable tools in molecular biology and medicine. At present, the most important therapeutic strategies are based on non-coding regulatory RNAs inducing RNA interference (RNAi) to silence single genes, and on modulation of cellular microRNAs (miRNAs) to alter complex gene expression patterns in diseased organs. Only recently it became possible to target therapeutic RNAi to specific organs via organotropic viral vector systems and we discuss the most recent strategies in this field, e.g. heart failure treatment by cardiac-targeted RNAi. Due to the peculiar biochemical properties of small RNA molecules, true therapeutic translation of results in vitro is more demanding than with small molecule drugs or proteins. Specifically, there is a critical requirement for extensive studies in animal models of human disease after pre-testing of the RNAi tools in vitro. This requirement likewise applies for miRNA modulations which have complex consequences in the recipient dependent on biochemical stability and distribution of the therapeutic RNA. Problems not yet fully solved are the prediction of targets and specificity of the RNA tools. However, major progress has been made to achieve their tissue-specific and regulatable expression, and breakthroughs in vector technologies from the gene therapy field have fundamentally improved safety and efficacy of RNA-based therapeutic approaches, too. In summary, insight into the molecular mechanisms of action of regulatory RNAs in combination with new delivery tools for RNA therapeutics will significantly expand our cardiovascular therapeutic repertoire beyond classical pharmacology.

  17. Three-dimensional Nanowire Structures for Ultra-Fast Separation of DNA, Protein and RNA Molecules

    PubMed Central

    Rahong, Sakon; Yasui, Takao; Yanagida, Takeshi; Nagashima, Kazuki; Kanai, Masaki; Meng, Gang; He, Yong; Zhuge, Fuwei; Kaji, Noritada; Kawai, Tomoji; Baba, Yoshinobu

    2015-01-01

    Separation and analysis of biomolecules represent crucial processes for biological and biomedical engineering development; however, separation resolution and speed for biomolecules analysis still require improvements. To achieve separation and analysis of biomolecules in a short time, the use of highly-ordered nanostructures fabricated by top-down or bottom-up approaches have been proposed. Here, we reported on the use of three-dimensional (3D) nanowire structures embedded in microchannels fabricated by a bottom-up approach for ultrafast separation of small biomolecules, such as DNA, protein, and RNA molecules. The 3D nanowire structures could analyze a mixture of DNA molecules (50–1000 bp) within 50 s, a mixture of protein molecules (20–340 kDa) within 5 s, and a mixture of RNA molecules (100–1000 bases) within 25 s. And, we could observe the electrophoretic mobility difference of biomolecules as a function of molecular size in the 3D nanowire structures. Since the present methodology allows users to control the pore size of sieving materials by varying the number of cycles for nanowire growth, the 3D nanowire structures have a good potential for use as alternatives for other sieving materials. PMID:26073192

  18. Bottom-up design of small molecules that stimulate exon 10 skipping in mutant MAPT pre-mRNA.

    PubMed

    Luo, Yiling; Disney, Matthew D

    2014-09-22

    One challenge in chemical biology is to develop small molecules that control cellular protein content. The amount and identity of proteins are influenced by the RNAs that encode them; thus, protein content in a cell could be affected by targeting mRNA. However, RNA has been traditionally difficult to target with small molecules. In this report, we describe controlling the protein products of the mutated microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) mature mRNA with a small molecule. MAPT mutations in exon 10 are associated with inherited frontotemporal dementia and Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), an incurable disease that is directly caused by increased inclusion of exon 10 in MAPT mRNA. Recent studies have shown that mutations within a hairpin at the MAPT exon 10-intron junction decrease the thermodynamic stability of the RNA, increasing binding to U1 snRNP and thus exon 10 inclusion. Therefore, we designed small molecules that bind and stabilize a mutant MAPT by using Inforna, a computational approach based on information about RNA-small-molecule interactions. The optimal compound selectively bound the mutant MAPT hairpin and thermodynamically stabilized its folding, facilitating exon 10 exclusion.

  19. The emerging role of triple helices in RNA biology.

    PubMed

    Conrad, Nicholas K

    2014-01-01

    The ability of RNA to form sophisticated secondary and tertiary structures enables it to perform a wide variety of cellular functions. One tertiary structure, the RNA triple helix, was first observed in vitro over 50 years ago, but biological activities for triple helices are only beginning to be appreciated. The recent determination of several RNA structures has implicated triple helices in distinct biological functions. For example, the SAM-II riboswitch forms a triple helix that creates a highly specific binding pocket for S-adenosylmethionine. In addition, a triple helix in the conserved pseudoknot domain of the telomerase-associated RNA TER is essential for telomerase activity. A viral RNA cis-acting RNA element called the ENE contributes to the nuclear stability of a viral noncoding RNA by forming a triple helix with the poly(A) tail. Finally, a cellular noncoding RNA, MALAT1, includes a triple helix at its 3'-end that contributes to RNA stability, but surprisingly also supports translation. These examples highlight the diverse roles that RNA triple helices play in biology. Moreover, the dissection of triple helix mechanisms has the potential to uncover fundamental pathways in cell biology.

  20. The emerging role of triple helices in RNA biology

    PubMed Central

    Conrad, Nicholas K.

    2016-01-01

    The ability of RNA to form sophisticated secondary and tertiary structures enables it to perform a wide variety of cellular functions. One tertiary structure, the RNA triple helix, was first observed in vitro over 50 years ago, but biological activities for triple helices are only beginning to be appreciated. The recent determination of several RNA structures has implicated triple helices in distinct biological functions. For example, the SAM-II riboswitch forms a triple helix that creates a highly specific binding pocket for S-adenosylmethionine. In addition, a triple helix in the conserved pseudoknot domain of the telomerase-associated RNA TER is essential for telomerase activity. A viral RNA cis-acting RNA element called the ENE contributes to the nuclear stability of a viral noncoding RNA by forming a triple helix with the poly(A) tail. Finally, a cellular noncoding RNA, MALAT1, includes a triple helix at its 3′-end that contributes to RNA stability, but surprisingly also supports translation. These examples highlight the diverse roles that RNA triple helices play in biology. Moreover, the dissection of triple helix mechanisms has the potential to uncover fundamental pathways in cell biology. PMID:24115594

  1. A-to-I RNA Editing: Current Knowledge Sources and Computational Approaches with Special Emphasis on Non-Coding RNA Molecules

    PubMed Central

    Nigita, Giovanni; Veneziano, Dario; Ferro, Alfredo

    2015-01-01

    RNA editing is a dynamic mechanism for gene regulation attained through the alteration of the sequence of primary RNA transcripts. A-to-I (adenosine-to-inosine) RNA editing, which is catalyzed by members of the adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) family of enzymes, is the most common post-transcriptional modification in humans. The ADARs bind double-stranded regions and deaminate adenosine (A) into inosine (I), which in turn is interpreted by the translation and splicing machineries as guanosine (G). In recent years, this modification has been discovered to occur not only in coding RNAs but also in non-coding RNAs (ncRNA), such as microRNAs, small interfering RNAs, transfer RNAs, and long non-coding RNAs. This may have several consequences, such as the creation or disruption of microRNA/mRNA binding sites, and thus affect the biogenesis, stability, and target recognition properties of ncRNAs. The malfunction of the editing machinery is not surprisingly associated with various human diseases, such as neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and carcinogenic diseases. Despite the enormous efforts made so far, the real biological function of this phenomenon, as well as the features of the ADAR substrate, in particular in non-coding RNAs, has still not been fully understood. In this work, we focus on the current knowledge of RNA editing on ncRNA molecules and provide a few examples of computational approaches to elucidate its biological function. PMID:25859542

  2. Recurrent RNA motifs as scaffolds for genetically encodable small-molecule biosensors.

    PubMed

    Porter, Ely B; Polaski, Jacob T; Morck, Makenna M; Batey, Robert T

    2017-03-01

    Allosteric RNA devices are increasingly being viewed as important tools capable of monitoring enzyme evolution, optimizing engineered metabolic pathways, facilitating gene discovery and regulators of nucleic acid-based therapeutics. A key bottleneck in the development of these platforms is the availability of small-molecule-binding RNA aptamers that robustly function in the cellular environment. Although aptamers can be raised against nearly any desired target through in vitro selection, many cannot easily be integrated into devices or do not reliably function in a cellular context. Here, we describe a new approach using secondary- and tertiary-structural scaffolds derived from biologically active riboswitches and small ribozymes. When applied to the neurotransmitter precursors 5-hydroxytryptophan and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, this approach yielded easily identifiable and characterizable aptamers predisposed for coupling to readout domains to allow engineering of nucleic acid-sensory devices that function in vitro and in the cellular context.

  3. Pulse requirements for electron diffraction imaging of single biological molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Hau-Riege, S; London, R; Chapman, H

    2004-10-20

    The pulse requirements for electron diffraction imaging of single biological molecules are calculated. We find that the electron fluence and pulse length requirements imposed by the damage limit and by the need to classify the diffraction patterns according to their angular orientation cannot be achieved with today's electron beam technology. A simple analytical model shows that the pulse requirements cannot be achieved due to beam broadening due to spacecharge effects.

  4. Electron scattering from molecules and molecular aggregates of biological relevance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gorfinkiel, Jimena D.; Ptasinska, Sylwia

    2017-09-01

    In this Topical Review we survey the current state of the art in the study of low energy electron collisions with biologically relevant molecules and molecular clusters. We briefly describe the methods and techniques used in the investigation of these processes and summarise the results obtained so far for DNA constituents and their model compounds, amino acids, peptides and other biomolecules. The applications of the data obtained is briefly described as well as future required developments.

  5. Method for imaging informational biological molecules on a semiconductor substrate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Coles, L. Stephen (Inventor)

    1994-01-01

    Imaging biological molecules such as DNA at rates several times faster than conventional imaging techniques is carried out using a patterned silicon wafer having nano-machined grooves which hold individual molecular strands and periodically spaced unique bar codes permitting repeatably locating all images. The strands are coaxed into the grooves preferably using gravity and pulsed electric fields which induce electric charge attraction to the molecular strands in the bottom surfaces of the grooves. Differential imaging removes substrate artifacts.

  6. NMR studies of electrostatic potential distribution around biologically important molecules.

    PubMed Central

    Likhtenshtein, G I; Adin, I; Novoselsky, A; Shames, A; Vaisbuch, I; Glaser, R

    1999-01-01

    A new experimental approach has been developed to study the distribution of local electrostatic potential around specific protons in biologically important molecules. The approach is the development of a method denoted as "spin label/spin probe," which was proposed by one of us (. Mol. Biol. 6:498-507). The proposed method is based upon the quantitative measurement of the contribution of differently charged nitroxide probes to the spin lattice relaxation rate (1/T1) of protons in the molecule of interest, followed by calculation of local electrostatic potential using the classical Debye equation. In parallel, the theoretical calculation of potential distribution with the use of the MacSpartan Plus 1.0 program has been performed. Application of the method to solutions of simple organic molecules (aliphatic and aromatic alcohols, aliphatic carboxylates (propionate anion), and protonated ethyl amine and imidazole) allowed us to estimate the effective potential around the molecules under investigation. These were found to be in good agreement with theoretically expected values. This technique was then applied to zwitterionic amino acids bearing neutral and charged side chains (glycine, lysine, histidine, and aspartic acid). The reliability of the general approach is proved by the data presented in this paper. Application of this new methodology can afford insight into the biochemical significance of electrostatic effects in biological systems. PMID:10388770

  7. Small Molecule Inhibition of microRNA-210 Reprograms an Oncogenic Hypoxic Circuit.

    PubMed

    Costales, Matthew G; Haga, Christopher L; Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Phinney, Donald G; Disney, Matthew D

    2017-03-08

    A hypoxic state is critical to the metastatic and invasive characteristics of cancer. Numerous pathways play critical roles in cancer maintenance, many of which include noncoding RNAs such as microRNA (miR)-210 that regulates hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs). Herein, we describe the identification of a small molecule named Targapremir-210 that binds to the Dicer site of the miR-210 hairpin precursor. This interaction inhibits production of the mature miRNA, derepresses glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1-like enzyme (GPD1L), a hypoxia-associated protein negatively regulated by miR-210, decreases HIF-1α, and triggers apoptosis of triple negative breast cancer cells only under hypoxic conditions. Further, Targapremir-210 inhibits tumorigenesis in a mouse xenograft model of hypoxic triple negative breast cancer. Many factors govern molecular recognition of biological targets by small molecules. For protein, chemoproteomics and activity-based protein profiling are invaluable tools to study small molecule target engagement and selectivity in cells. Such approaches are lacking for RNA, leaving a void in the understanding of its druggability. We applied Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull Down (Chem-CLIP) to study the cellular selectivity and the on- and off-targets of Targapremir-210. Targapremir-210 selectively recognizes the miR-210 precursor and can differentially recognize RNAs in cells that have the same target motif but have different expression levels, revealing this important feature for selectively drugging RNAs for the first time. These studies show that small molecules can be rapidly designed to selectively target RNAs and affect cellular responses to environmental conditions, resulting in favorable benefits against cancer. Further, they help define rules for identifying druggable targets in the transcriptome.

  8. RNA Interference: Biology, Mechanism, and Applications

    PubMed Central

    Agrawal, Neema; Dasaradhi, P. V. N.; Mohmmed, Asif; Malhotra, Pawan; Bhatnagar, Raj K.; Mukherjee, Sunil K.

    2003-01-01

    Double-stranded RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) is a simple and rapid method of silencing gene expression in a range of organisms. The silencing of a gene is a consequence of degradation of RNA into short RNAs that activate ribonucleases to target homologous mRNA. The resulting phenotypes either are identical to those of genetic null mutants or resemble an allelic series of mutants. Specific gene silencing has been shown to be related to two ancient processes, cosuppression in plants and quelling in fungi, and has also been associated with regulatory processes such as transposon silencing, antiviral defense mechanisms, gene regulation, and chromosomal modification. Extensive genetic and biochemical analysis revealed a two-step mechanism of RNAi-induced gene silencing. The first step involves degradation of dsRNA into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), 21 to 25 nucleotides long, by an RNase III-like activity. In the second step, the siRNAs join an RNase complex, RISC (RNA-induced silencing complex), which acts on the cognate mRNA and degrades it. Several key components such as Dicer, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, helicases, and dsRNA endonucleases have been identified in different organisms for their roles in RNAi. Some of these components also control the development of many organisms by processing many noncoding RNAs, called micro-RNAs. The biogenesis and function of micro-RNAs resemble RNAi activities to a large extent. Recent studies indicate that in the context of RNAi, the genome also undergoes alterations in the form of DNA methylation, heterochromatin formation, and programmed DNA elimination. As a result of these changes, the silencing effect of gene functions is exercised as tightly as possible. Because of its exquisite specificity and efficiency, RNAi is being considered as an important tool not only for functional genomics, but also for gene-specific therapeutic activities that target the mRNAs of disease-related genes. PMID:14665679

  9. Complex molecules in galactic dust cores: Biologically interesting molecules and dust chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shen-Yuan

    2000-06-01

    The astronomical study of molecules has been an essential research field since the development of radio astronomy. Presently nearly 120 molecules have been identified in interstellar and circumstellar environments. The complexity of molecular species, and particularly organic molecules, that can be synthesized in the interstellar medium (ISM) leads to one interesting and important subfield in interstellar molecular studies, namely, the search and study for molecules of possible biological interest. Observationally, complex and most saturated molecules are observed exclusively toward compact hot, dense regions, often called ``hot cores'', in molecular clouds. To account for the observed amount of saturated organic molecules, interstellar dust particles play an important role. It has often been suggested that solid state reactions on grain surfaces provide an efficient way to synthesis saturated organic molecules. The objective of this study is to obtain observational data on biologically interesting molecules and to study important complex interstellar molecules. Since hot molecular cores are inherently compact, interferometric observations are therefore an ideal approach to study these sources. All our observations were all made with the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland-Association (BIMA) Array. We conducted the first survey of formic acid (HCOOH) with an interferometric array, and identified at least three sources. HCOOH is found with column densities above 1015 cm-2 in these sources. The correlation between HCOOH and HCOOCH3 emission implies a surface chemistry origin of HCOOH. Details of the results are given in Chapter 2. Meanwhile, we continued to search for molecules of biological interest, namely urea, acetic acid, and glycine. In Chapter 3, the results of column density limits set by our observations are discussed. We have also investigated properties of individual hot molecular cores. It is very important to obtain the physical and chemical properties of these

  10. The use of calorimetry in the biophysical characterization of small molecule alkaloids binding to RNA structures.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Gopinatha Suresh; Basu, Anirban

    2016-05-01

    RNA has now emerged as a potential target for therapeutic intervention. RNA targeted drug design requires detailed thermodynamic characterization that provides new insights into the interactions and this together with structural data, may be used in rational drug design. The use of calorimetry to characterize small molecule-RNA interactions has emerged as a reliable and sensitive tool after the recent advancements in biocalorimetry. This review summarizes the recent advancements in thermodynamic characterization of small molecules, particularly some natural alkaloids binding to various RNA structures. Thermodynamic characterization provides information that can supplement structural data leading to more effective drug development protocols. This review provides a concise report on the use of isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) techniques in characterizing small molecules, mostly alkaloids-RNA interactions with particular reference to binding of tRNA, single stranded RNA, double stranded RNA, poly(A), triplex RNA. It is now apparent that a combination of structural and thermodynamic data is essential for rational design of specific RNA targeted drugs. Recent advancements in biocalorimetry instrumentation have led to detailed understanding of the thermodynamics of small molecules binding to various RNA structures paving the path for the development of many new natural and synthetic molecules as specific binders to various RNA structures. RNA targeted drug design, that remained unexplored, will immensely benefit from the calorimetric studies leading to the development of effective drugs for many diseases. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Methods to enable the design of bioactive small molecules targeting RNA

    PubMed Central

    Disney, Matthew D.; Yildirim, Ilyas; Childs-Disney, Jessica L.

    2014-01-01

    RNA is an immensely important target for small molecule therapeutics or chemical probes of function. However, methods that identify, annotate, and optimize RNA-small molecule interactions that could enable the design of compounds that modulate RNA function are in their infancies. This review describes recent approaches that have been developed to understand and optimize RNA motif-small molecule interactions, including Structure-Activity Relationships Through Sequencing (StARTS), quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR), chemical similarity searching, structure-based design and docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Case studies described include the design of small molecules targeting RNA expansions, the bacterial A-site, viral RNAs, and telomerase RNA. These approaches can be combined to afford a synergistic method to exploit the myriad of RNA targets in the transcriptome. PMID:24357181

  12. Methods to enable the design of bioactive small molecules targeting RNA.

    PubMed

    Disney, Matthew D; Yildirim, Ilyas; Childs-Disney, Jessica L

    2014-02-21

    RNA is an immensely important target for small molecule therapeutics or chemical probes of function. However, methods that identify, annotate, and optimize RNA-small molecule interactions that could enable the design of compounds that modulate RNA function are in their infancies. This review describes recent approaches that have been developed to understand and optimize RNA motif-small molecule interactions, including structure-activity relationships through sequencing (StARTS), quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR), chemical similarity searching, structure-based design and docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Case studies described include the design of small molecules targeting RNA expansions, the bacterial A-site, viral RNAs, and telomerase RNA. These approaches can be combined to afford a synergistic method to exploit the myriad of RNA targets in the transcriptome.

  13. Defining RNA–Small Molecule Affinity Landscapes Enables Design of a Small Molecule Inhibitor of an Oncogenic Noncoding RNA

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    RNA drug targets are pervasive in cells, but methods to design small molecules that target them are sparse. Herein, we report a general approach to score the affinity and selectivity of RNA motif–small molecule interactions identified via selection. Named High Throughput Structure–Activity Relationships Through Sequencing (HiT-StARTS), HiT-StARTS is statistical in nature and compares input nucleic acid sequences to selected library members that bind a ligand via high throughput sequencing. The approach allowed facile definition of the fitness landscape of hundreds of thousands of RNA motif–small molecule binding partners. These results were mined against folded RNAs in the human transcriptome and identified an avid interaction between a small molecule and the Dicer nuclease-processing site in the oncogenic microRNA (miR)-18a hairpin precursor, which is a member of the miR-17-92 cluster. Application of the small molecule, Targapremir-18a, to prostate cancer cells inhibited production of miR-18a from the cluster, de-repressed serine/threonine protein kinase 4 protein (STK4), and triggered apoptosis. Profiling the cellular targets of Targapremir-18a via Chemical Cross-Linking and Isolation by Pull Down (Chem-CLIP), a covalent small molecule–RNA cellular profiling approach, and other studies showed specific binding of the compound to the miR-18a precursor, revealing broadly applicable factors that govern small molecule drugging of noncoding RNAs. PMID:28386598

  14. Reversible RNA adenosine methylation in biological regulation

    PubMed Central

    Jia, Guifang; Fu, Ye; He, Chuan

    2012-01-01

    N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a ubiquitous modification in messenger RNA (mRNA) and other RNAs across most eukaryotes. For many years, however, the exact functions of m6A were not clearly understood. The discovery that the fat mass and obesity associated protein (FTO) is an m6A demethylase indicates that this modification is reversible and dynamically regulated, suggesting it has regulatory roles. In addition, it has been shown that m6A affects cell fate decisions in yeast and plant development. Recent affinity-based m6A profiling in mouse and human cells further showed that this modification is a widespread mark in coding and non-coding RNA transcripts and is likely dynamically regulated throughout developmental processes. Therefore, reversible RNA methylation, analogous to reversible DNA and histone modifications, may affect gene expression and cell fate decisions by modulating multiple RNA-related cellular pathways, which potentially provides rapid responses to various cellular and environmental signals, including energy and nutrient availability in mammals. PMID:23218460

  15. mRNA capping: biological functions and applications

    PubMed Central

    Ramanathan, Anand; Robb, G. Brett; Chan, Siu-Hong

    2016-01-01

    The 5′ m7G cap is an evolutionarily conserved modification of eukaryotic mRNA. Decades of research have established that the m7G cap serves as a unique molecular module that recruits cellular proteins and mediates cap-related biological functions such as pre-mRNA processing, nuclear export and cap-dependent protein synthesis. Only recently has the role of the cap 2′O methylation as an identifier of self RNA in the innate immune system against foreign RNA has become clear. The discovery of the cytoplasmic capping machinery suggests a novel level of control network. These new findings underscore the importance of a proper cap structure in the synthesis of functional messenger RNA. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge of the biological roles of mRNA caps in eukaryotic cells. We will also discuss different means that viruses and their host cells use to cap their RNA and the application of these capping machineries to synthesize functional mRNA. Novel applications of RNA capping enzymes in the discovery of new RNA species and sequencing the microbiome transcriptome will also be discussed. We will end with a summary of novel findings in RNA capping and the questions these findings pose. PMID:27317694

  16. Target identification for biologically active small molecules using chemical biology approaches.

    PubMed

    Lee, Heesu; Lee, Jae Wook

    2016-09-01

    The identification and validation of the targets of biologically active molecules is an important step in the field of chemical biology. While recent advances in proteomic and genomic technology have accelerated this identification process, the discovery of small molecule targets remains the most challenging step. A general method for the identification of these small molecule targets has not yet been established. To overcome the difficulty in target identification, new technology derived from the fields of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics has been developed. To date, pull-down methods using small molecules immobilized on a solid support followed by mass spectrometry have been the most successful approach. Here, we discuss current procedures for target identification. We also review the most recent target identification approaches and present several examples that illustrate advanced target identification technology.

  17. Evidence of disorder in biological molecules from single molecule pulling experiments.

    PubMed

    Hyeon, Changbong; Hinczewski, Michael; Thirumalai, D

    2014-04-04

    Heterogeneity in biological molecules, resulting in molecule-to-molecule variations in their dynamics and function, is an emerging theme. To elucidate the consequences of heterogeneous behavior at the single molecule level, we propose an exactly solvable model in which the unfolding rate due to mechanical force depends parametrically on an auxiliary variable representing an entropy barrier arising from fluctuations in internal dynamics. When the rate of fluctuations--a measure of dynamical disorder--is comparable to or smaller than the rate of force-induced unbinding, we show that there are two experimentally observable consequences: nonexponential survival probability at constant force, and a heavy-tailed rupture force distribution at constant loading rate. By fitting our analytical expressions to data from single molecule pulling experiments on proteins and DNA, we quantify the extent of disorder. We show that only by analyzing data over a wide range of forces and loading rates can the role of disorder due to internal dynamics be quantitatively assessed.

  18. Coevolution in RNA molecules driven by selective constraints: evidence from 5S rRNA.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Nan; Mao, Yuanhui; Shi, Youyi; Tao, Shiheng

    2012-01-01

    Understanding intra-molecular coevolution helps to elucidate various structural and functional constraints acting on molecules and might have practical applications in predicting molecular structure and interactions. In this study, we used 5S rRNA as a template to investigate how selective constraints have shaped the RNA evolution. We have observed the nonrandom occurrence of paired differences along the phylogenetic trees, the high rate of compensatory evolution, and the high TIR scores (the ratio of the numbers of terminal to intermediate states), all of which indicate that significant positive selection has driven the evolution of 5S rRNA. We found three mechanisms of compensatory evolution: Watson-Crick interaction (the primary one), complex interactions between multiple sites within a stem, and interplay of stems and loops. Coevolutionary interactions between sites were observed to be highly dependent on the structural and functional environment in which they occurred. Coevolution occurred mostly in those sites closest to loops or bulges within structurally or functionally important helices, which may be under weaker selective constraints than other stem positions. Breaking these pairs would directly increase the size of the adjoining loop or bulge, causing a partial or total structural rearrangement. In conclusion, our results indicate that sequence coevolution is a direct result of maintaining optimal structural and functional integrity.

  19. Tracking electrons in biological macromolecules: from ensemble to single molecule.

    PubMed

    Tabares, Leandro C; Gupta, Ankur; Aartsma, Thijs J; Canters, Gerard W

    2014-08-06

    Nature utilizes oxido-reductases to cater to the energy demands of most biochemical processes in respiratory species. Oxido-reductases are capable of meeting this challenge by utilizing redox active sites, often containing transition metal ions, which facilitate movement and relocation of electrons/protons to create a potential gradient that is used to energize redox reactions. There has been a consistent struggle by researchers to estimate the electron transfer rate constants in physiologically relevant processes. This review provides a brief background on the measurements of electron transfer rates in biological molecules, in particular Cu-containing enzymes, and highlights the recent advances in monitoring these electron transfer events at the single molecule level or better to say, at the individual event level.

  20. A simple backscattering microscope for fast tracking of biological molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sowa, Yoshiyuki; Steel, Bradley C.; Berry, Richard M.

    2010-11-01

    Recent developments in techniques for observing single molecules under light microscopes have helped reveal the mechanisms by which molecular machines work. A wide range of markers can be used to detect molecules, from single fluorophores to micron sized markers, depending on the research interest. Here, we present a new and simple objective-type backscattering microscope to track gold nanoparticles with nanometer and microsecond resolution. The total noise of our system in a 55 kHz bandwidth is ˜0.6 nm per axis, sufficient to measure molecular movement. We found our backscattering microscopy to be useful not only for in vitro but also for in vivo experiments because of lower background scattering from cells than in conventional dark-field microscopy. We demonstrate the application of this technique to measuring the motion of a biological rotary molecular motor, the bacterial flagellar motor, in live Escherichia coli cells.

  1. Discovery and biological characterization of geranylated RNA in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Dumelin, Christoph E; Chen, Yiyun; Leconte, Aaron M; Chen, Y Grace; Liu, David R

    2012-11-01

    A general MS-based screen for unusually hydrophobic cellular small molecule-RNA conjugates revealed geranylated RNA in Escherichia coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella enterica var. Typhimurium. The geranyl group is conjugated to the sulfur atom in two 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thiouridine nucleotides. These geranylated nucleotides occur in the first anticodon position of tRNA(Glu)(UUC), tRNA(Lys)(UUU) and tRNA(Gln)(UUG) at a frequency of up to 6.7% (~400 geranylated nucleotides per cell). RNA geranylation can be increased or abolished by mutation or deletion of the selU (ybbB) gene in E. coli, and purified SelU protein in the presence of geranyl pyrophosphate and tRNA can produce geranylated tRNA. The presence or absence of the geranyl group in tRNA(Glu)(UUC), tRNA(Lys)(UUU) and tRNA(Gln)(UUG) affects codon bias and frameshifting during translation. These RNAs represent the first reported examples of oligoisoprenylated cellular nucleic acids.

  2. Native purification and labeling of RNA for single molecule fluorescence studies

    PubMed Central

    Rinaldi, Arlie J.; Suddala, Krishna C.; Walter, Nils G.

    2012-01-01

    The recent discovery that non-coding RNAs are considerably more abundant and serve a much wider range of critical cellular functions than recognized over previous decades of research into molecular biology has sparked a renewed interest in the study of structure-function relationships of RNA. To perform their functions in the cell, RNAs must dominantly adopt their native conformations, avoiding deep, non-productive kinetic traps that may exist along a frustrated (rugged) folding free energy landscape. Intracellularly, RNAs are synthesized by RNA polymerase and fold co-transcriptionally starting from the 5’ end, sometimes with the aid of protein chaperones. By contrast, in the laboratory RNAs are commonly generated by in vitro transcription or chemical synthesis, followed by purification in a manner that includes the use of high concentrations of urea, heat and UV light (for detection), resulting in the denaturation and subsequent refolding of the entire RNA. Recent studies into the nature of heterogeneous RNA populations resulting from this process have underscored the need for non-denaturing (native) purification methods that maintain the co-transcriptional fold of an RNA. Here, we present protocols for the native purification of an RNA after its in vitro transcription and for fluorophore and biotin labeling methods designed to preserve its native conformation for use in single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) inquiries into its structure and function. Finally, we present methods for taking smFRET data and for analyzing them, as well as a description of plausible overall preparation schemes for the plethora of non-coding RNAs. PMID:25352138

  3. Single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Sasmal, Dibyendu K; Pulido, Laura E; Kasal, Shan; Huang, Jun

    2016-12-08

    Single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) is a powerful technique for studying the conformation dynamics and interactions of individual biomolecules. In this review, we describe the concept and principle of smFRET, illustrate general instrumentation and microscopy settings for experiments, and discuss the methods and algorithms for data analysis. Subsequently, we review applications of smFRET in protein conformational changes, ion channel open-close properties, receptor-ligand interactions, nucleic acid structure regulation, vesicle fusion, and force induced conformational dynamics. Finally, we discuss the main limitations of smFRET in molecular biology.

  4. Using cheminformatics for the identification of biological functions of small molecules in metabolic pathway.

    PubMed

    Niu, Bing; Lu, Wencong

    2013-01-01

    Small molecules are involved in metabolic pathways responsible for many biological activities. Therefore it is essential to study them to uncover the unknown biological function of highly complex living systems. It is a crucial step in modern drug discovery to correctly and effectively discover small molecules' biological function since small molecules are related to many protein functions and biological processes. This paper presents the application of cheminformatics approaches in predicting small molecule's (ligand's) biological function in metabolic pathway. Many examples of success in identification and prediction in the area of small molecule metabolic pathway mapping and small molecule-protein interaction prediction have been discussed.

  5. Characterization of Biological Molecules with Time-Domain Terahertz Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bechel, Meagan; Deibel, Jason; Hussian, Saber; Smith, Stanley; Ganti, Sayta; Moulton, Michael

    2010-10-01

    Terahertz (THz) spectroscopy is distinctly appealing for characterization of biological molecules because many biological compounds have vibrational modes within the THz range. These vibrational modes often lead to a unique spectrum for each substance, allowing easy differentiation. The aim of this study is to utilize time-domain terahertz spectroscopy to calculate the frequency-dependent absorption coefficient and refractive index for several amino acids and proteins, including bovine and human serum albumin, glycine, and L- and D-histidine. The histidine study seeks to investigate the optical isomer differention capabilities of THz spectroscopy. It is also hoped that the characterization of proteins will lead to further studies examining the conformational changes related to disease detection.

  6. Imaging biological molecules with single molecule sensitivity using near-field scanning optical microscopy

    SciTech Connect

    Ambrose, W.P.; Affleck, R.L.; Goodwin, P.M.; Keller, R.A.; Martin, J.C.; Petty, J.T.; Schecker, J.A.; Wu, Ming

    1995-12-01

    We have developed a near-field scanning optical microscope with the sensitivity to detect single fluorescent molecules. Our microscope is based on scanning a sample under a tapered and metal coated fiber optic probe and has an illumination-aperture diameter as small as 100 nm. The microscope simultaneously acquires a shear force image with a height noise of {approximately} 1 nm. We have used this system to demonstrate the detection of single molecules of Rhodamine-6G on silica. In this paper, we explore the use of NSOM for investigations of biological molecules. We have prepared and imaged double-stranded DNA intercalated with thiazole orange homodimer (TOTO); single chromosomes stained with propidium iodide; and {beta}-phycoerythrin proteins on dry, borosilicate-glass surfaces. At very dilute coverages, isolated fluorescent spots are observed for the un-intercalated TOTO dye and for {beta}-phycoerythrin. These fluorescent spots exhibit-emission intensity fluctuations and abrupt bleaching transitions, similar to the intensity behavior observed previously for single Rhodamine 6G molecules on silica.

  7. Determination of RNA orientation during translocation through a biological nanopore.

    PubMed

    Butler, Tom Z; Gundlach, Jens H; Troll, Mark A

    2006-01-01

    We investigate single-molecule electrophoretic translocation of A(50), C(50), A(25)C(50), and C(50)A(25) RNA molecules through the alpha-hemolysin transmembrane protein pore. We observe pronounced bilevel current blockages during translocation of A(25)C(50) and C(50)A(25) molecules. The two current levels observed during these bilevel blockages are very similar to the characteristic current levels observed during A(50) and C(50) translocation. From the temporal ordering of the two levels within the bilevel current blockages, we infer whether individual A(25)C(50) and C(50)A(25) molecules pass through the pore in a 3'-->5' or 5'-->3' orientation. Correlation between the level of current obstruction and the inferred A(25)C(50) or C(50)A(25) orientation indicates that 3'-->5' translocation of a poly C segment causes a significantly deeper current obstruction than 5'-->3' translocation. Our analysis also suggests that the 3' ends of C(50) and A(25)C(50) RNA molecules are more likely to initiate translocation than the 5' ends. Orientation dependent differences in a smaller current blockage that immediately precedes many translocation events suggest that this blockage also contains information about RNA orientation during translocation. These findings emphasize that the directionality of polynucleotide molecules is an important factor in translocation and demonstrate how structure within ionic current signals can give new insights into the translocation process.

  8. Small molecule screening at Helmholtz Zentrum München - from biology to molecules.

    PubMed

    Schorpp, Kenji; Hadian, Kamyar

    2014-03-01

    Within the last few years the Helmholtz Zentrum München has established several initiatives enabling the translation of basic research results into discovery of novel small molecules that affect pathomechanisms of chronic and complex diseases. Here, one of the main operations is the Assay Development and Screening Platform (ADSP) that has state-of-the-art equipment for compound screening and provides knowledge in a variety of biochemical or cell-based phenotypic assays. In particular, ADSP has a strong focus on complex assays such as high-content screening in stem cells that are likely to provide an innovative approach complementary to biochemical assays for the discovery of novel small molecules modulating key biological processes.

  9. Synergistic self-assembly of RNA and DNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ko, Seung Hyeon; Su, Min; Zhang, Chuan; Ribbe, Alexander E.; Jiang, Wen; Mao, Chengde

    2010-12-01

    DNA has recently been used as a programmable 'smart' building block for the assembly of a wide range of nanostructures. It remains difficult, however, to construct DNA assemblies that are also functional. Incorporating RNA is a promising strategy to circumvent this issue as RNA is structurally related to DNA but exhibits rich chemical, structural and functional diversities. However, only a few examples of rationally designed RNA structures have been reported. Herein, we describe a simple, general strategy for the de novo design of nanostructures in which the self-assembly of RNA strands is programmed by DNA strands. To demonstrate the versatility of this approach, we have designed and constructed three different RNA-DNA hybrid branched nanomotifs (tiles), which readily assemble into one-dimensional nanofibres, extended two-dimensional arrays and a discrete three-dimensional object. The current strategy could enable the integration of the precise programmability of DNA with the rich functionality of RNA.

  10. The 7th Japan-Korea chemical biology symposium: chemical biology of natural bioactive molecules.

    PubMed

    Pandey, Ramesh Prasad; Kwon, Ho Jeong; Ahn, Jong Seog; Osada, Hiroyuki; Sohng, Jae Kyung

    2014-05-16

    Natural bioactive molecules possess supreme chemical diversity and drug-like properties and are an important source for drug lead compounds. At the seventh Japan-Korea Chemical Biology Symposium at Jeju Island, Korea, chemical biologists from Korea and Japan highlighted the remarkable features of natural products and their significance.

  11. Interferometric observations of large biologically interesting interstellar and cometary molecules

    PubMed Central

    Snyder, Lewis E.

    2006-01-01

    Interferometric observations of high-mass regions in interstellar molecular clouds have revealed hot molecular cores that have substantial column densities of large, partly hydrogen-saturated molecules. Many of these molecules are of interest to biology and thus are labeled “biomolecules.” Because the clouds containing these molecules provide the material for star formation, they may provide insight into presolar nebular chemistry, and the biomolecules may provide information about the potential of the associated interstellar chemistry for seeding newly formed planets with prebiotic organic chemistry. In this overview, events are outlined that led to the current interferometric array observations. Clues that connect this interstellar hot core chemistry to the solar system can be found in the cometary detection of methyl formate and the interferometric maps of cometary methanol. Major obstacles to understanding hot core chemistry remain because chemical models are not well developed and interferometric observations have not been very sensitive. Differentiation in the molecular isomers glycolaldehdye, methyl formate, and acetic acid has been observed, but not explained. The extended source structure for certain sugars, aldehydes, and alcohols may require nonthermal formation mechanisms such as shock heating of grains. Major advances in understanding the formation chemistry of hot core species can come from observations with the next generation of sensitive, high-resolution arrays. PMID:16894168

  12. Interferometric observations of large biologically interesting interstellar and cometary molecules.

    PubMed

    Snyder, Lewis E

    2006-08-15

    Interferometric observations of high-mass regions in interstellar molecular clouds have revealed hot molecular cores that have substantial column densities of large, partly hydrogen-saturated molecules. Many of these molecules are of interest to biology and thus are labeled "biomolecules." Because the clouds containing these molecules provide the material for star formation, they may provide insight into presolar nebular chemistry, and the biomolecules may provide information about the potential of the associated interstellar chemistry for seeding newly formed planets with prebiotic organic chemistry. In this overview, events are outlined that led to the current interferometric array observations. Clues that connect this interstellar hot core chemistry to the solar system can be found in the cometary detection of methyl formate and the interferometric maps of cometary methanol. Major obstacles to understanding hot core chemistry remain because chemical models are not well developed and interferometric observations have not been very sensitive. Differentiation in the molecular isomers glycolaldehdye, methyl formate, and acetic acid has been observed, but not explained. The extended source structure for certain sugars, aldehydes, and alcohols may require nonthermal formation mechanisms such as shock heating of grains. Major advances in understanding the formation chemistry of hot core species can come from observations with the next generation of sensitive, high-resolution arrays.

  13. Discovering New Biology through Sequencing of RNA1

    PubMed Central

    Weber, Andreas P.M.

    2015-01-01

    Sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) was invented approximately 1 decade ago and has since revolutionized biological research. This update provides a brief historic perspective on the development of RNA-Seq and then focuses on the application of RNA-Seq in qualitative and quantitative analyses of transcriptomes. Particular emphasis is given to aspects of data analysis. Since the wet-lab and data analysis aspects of RNA-Seq are still rapidly evolving and novel applications are continuously reported, a printed review will be rapidly outdated and can only serve to provide some examples and general guidelines for planning and conducting RNA-Seq studies. Hence, selected references to frequently update online resources are given. PMID:26353759

  14. Delivery of RNA-based molecules to human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells for modulation of gene expression.

    PubMed

    Diener, Yvonne; Bosio, Andreas; Bissels, Ute

    2016-11-01

    Gene modulation of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) harbors great potential for therapeutic application of these cells and presents a versatile tool in basic research to enhance our understanding of HSPC biology. However, stable genetic modification might be adverse, particularly in clinical settings. Here, we review a broad range of approaches to transient, nonviral modulation of protein expression with a focus on RNA-based methods. We compare different delivery methods and describe the usefulness of RNA molecules for overexpression as well as downregulation of proteins in HSPCs.

  15. Transcription by single molecules of RNA polymerase observed by light microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schafer, Dorothy A.; Gelles, Jeff; Sheetz, Michael P.; Landick, Robert

    1991-08-01

    THE kinetics of transcription by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase relate directly to the regulation of transcription and to the properties of processive enzymes in general1, but analysis of RNA polymerase movement along the DNA template has so far been limited to the study of populations of enzyme molecules. The ability to view nanometre-sized particles with the light microscope2,3 suggested a method of monitoring transcription by individual RNA polymerase molecules. We describe here the behaviour of 40-nm-diameter particles of colloidal gold attached to the ends of DNA molecules being transcribed by RNA polymerase immobilized on a glass surface. The tethered gold particles are released from the surface at times after addition of nucleoside triphosphates that are consistent with the kinetics of transcription by RNA polymerase in solution. Analysis of the brownian motion of the gold particles enabled us to measure the movement along the template DNA of individual polymerase molecules.

  16. Visualization of conformational variability in the domains of long single-stranded RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Gilmore, Jamie L; Yoshida, Aiko; Hejna, James A; Takeyasu, Kunio

    2017-08-21

    We demonstrate an application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) for the structural analysis of long single-stranded RNA (>1 kb), focusing on 28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA). Generally, optimization of the conditions required to obtain three-dimensional (3D) structures of long RNA molecules is a challenging or nearly impossible process. In this study, we overcome these limitations by developing a method using AFM imaging combined with automated, MATLAB-based image analysis algorithms for extracting information about the domain organization of single RNA molecules. We examined the 5 kb human 28S rRNA since it is the largest RNA molecule for which a 3D structure is available. As a proof of concept, we determined a domain structure that is in accordance with previously described secondary structural models. Importantly, we identified four additional small (200-300 nt), previously unreported domains present in these molecules. Moreover, the single-molecule nature of our method enabled us to report on the relative conformational variability of each domain structure identified, and inter-domain associations within subsets of molecules leading to molecular compaction, which may shed light on the process of how these molecules fold into the final tertiary structure. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  17. C/D box sRNA-guided 2'-O-methylation patterns of archaeal rRNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Dennis, Patrick P; Tripp, Vanessa; Lui, Lauren; Lowe, Todd; Randau, Lennart

    2015-08-22

    In archaea and eukaryotes, ribonucleoprotein complexes containing small C/D box s(no)RNAs use base pair complementarity to target specific sites within ribosomal RNA for 2'-O-ribose methylation. These modifications aid in the folding and stabilization of nascent rRNA molecules and their assembly into ribosomal particles. The genomes of hyperthermophilic archaea encode large numbers of C/D box sRNA genes, suggesting an increased necessity for rRNA stabilization at extreme growth temperatures. We have identified the complete sets of C/D box sRNAs from seven archaea using RNA-Seq methodology. In total, 489 C/D box sRNAs were identified, each containing two guide regions. A combination of computational and manual analyses predicts 719 guide interactions with 16S and 23S rRNA molecules. This first pan-archaeal description of guide sequences identifies (i) modified rRNA nucleotides that are frequently conserved between species and (ii) regions within rRNA that are hotspots for 2'-O-methylation. Gene duplication, rearrangement, mutational drift and convergent evolution of sRNA genes and guide sequences were observed. In addition, several C/D box sRNAs were identified that use their two guides to target locations distant in the rRNA sequence but close in the secondary and tertiary structure. We propose that they act as RNA chaperones and facilitate complex folding events between distant sequences. This pan-archaeal analysis of C/D box sRNA guide regions identified conserved patterns of rRNA 2'-O-methylation in archaea. The interaction between the sRNP complexes and the nascent rRNA facilitates proper folding and the methyl modifications stabilize higher order rRNA structure within the assembled ribosome.

  18. Photochemically induced gene silencing using small interfering RNA molecules in combination with lipid carriers.

    PubMed

    Bøe, S; Longva, A S; Hovig, E

    2007-01-01

    Novel strategies for efficient delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules with a potential for targeting are required for development of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics. Here, we present a strategy that is based on delivery of siRNA molecules through the endocytic pathway, in order to develop a method for site-specific gene silencing. To achieve this, we combined the use of cationic lipids and photochemical internalization (PCI). Using the human S100A4 gene as a model system, we obtained potent gene silencing in four tested human cancer cell lines following PCI induction when using the cationic lipid jetSI-ENDO. Gene silencing was shown at both the RNA and protein levels, with no observed PCI toxicity when using the jetSI reagent and an optimized PCI protocol. This novel induction method opens for in vivo site-specific delivery of siRNA molecules toward a sequence of interest.

  19. Ribonuclease T1 generates circular RNA molecules from viroid-specific RNA transcripts by cleavage and intramolecular ligation.

    PubMed Central

    Tsagris, M; Tabler, M; Sänger, H L

    1991-01-01

    A 406 nucleotide long potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd)-specific linear RNA transcript was synthesized in vitro and subjected to limited digestion with ribonuclease (RNase) T1. Under certain conditions this guanosine-specific endoribonuclease proved to be capable of processing the longer-than-unit-length, precursor-like viroid RNA transcript by cleaving out a linear 358 nucleotide long product and ligating that to a circular RNA molecule. The new finding that RNase T1 acts as an RNA processing enzyme and, in particular, as an RNA 'circulase' can be explained by the unique structural preconditions inherent in the viroid-specific substrate and by the well characterized two-step cleavage mechanism of the enzyme. These in vitro potentials of RNase T1 suggest that also in vivo procaryotic and eucaryotic RNases with a similar reaction mechanism might not only be involved in RNA degradation and trimming, but also in processing, ligation and recombination of RNA. Images PMID:1709278

  20. Novel nuclear magnetic resonance techniques for studying biological molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Laws, David Douglas

    2000-06-01

    Over the fifty-five year history of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), considerable progress has been made in the development of techniques for studying the structure, function, and dynamics of biological molecules. The majority of this research has involved the development of multi-dimensional NMR experiments for studying molecules in solution, although in recent years a number of groups have begun to explore NMR methods for studying biological systems in the solid-state. Despite this new effort, a need still exists for the development of techniques that improve sensitivity, maximize information, and take advantage of all the NMR interactions available in biological molecules. In this dissertation, a variety of novel NMR techniques for studying biomolecules are discussed. A method for determining backbone (Φ/Ψ) dihedral angles by comparing experimentally determined 13Ca, chemical-shift anisotropies with theoretical calculations is presented, along with a brief description of the theory behind chemical-shift computation in proteins and peptides. The utility of the Spin-Polarization Induced Nuclear Overhauser Effect (SPINOE) to selectively enhance NMR signals in solution is examined in a variety of systems, as are methods for extracting structural information from cross-relaxation rates that can be measured in SPINOE experiments. Techniques for the production of supercritical and liquid laser-polarized xenon are discussed, as well as the prospects for using optically pumped xenon as a polarizing solvent. In addition, a detailed study of the structure of PrP 89-143 is presented. PrP 89-143 is a 54 residue fragment of the prion proteins which, upon mutation and aggregation, can induce prion diseases in transgenic mice. Whereas the structure of the wild-type PrP 89-143 is a generally unstructured mixture of α-helical and β-sheet conformers in the solid state, the aggregates formed from the PrP 89-143 mutants appear to be mostly β-sheet.

  1. Investigation of biological factors influencing the placental mRNA profile in maternal plasma.

    PubMed

    Tsui, Nancy B Y; Wong, Cesar S C; Chow, Katherine C K; Lo, Elena S F; Cheng, Yvonne K Y

    2014-03-01

    Circulating placental-derived RNA is useful for noninvasive prenatal investigation. However, in addition to placental gene expression, there are limited investigations on other biological parameters that may affect the circulating placental RNA profile. In this study, we explored two of these potential parameters. We first demonstrated the existence of such biological parameters by comparing the relative levels of a panel of placental-derived transcripts between the placentas and maternal plasma by digital PCRs. We then compared the post-delivery clearance of the transcripts by serial plasma samples collected from pregnant women after delivery. We also studied the placental in vivo localization of the transcripts by in situ hybridization. There was an imperfect correlation of the transcript levels between the placentas and maternal plasma, with placenta-specific 4 (PLAC4) mRNA showing the largest discrepancy. Although PLAC4 mRNA showed a similar clearance half-life with other transcripts, we observed a preferential localization of PLAC4 mRNA around the villous surface. We speculated that this phenomenon might play a role in favoring the release of PLAC4 mRNA molecules into maternal plasma. We revealed that in addition to expression levels in the placenta, other biological factors might interplay to determine the maternal plasma profile of placental-derived RNAs. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  2. RNA interference: from biology to drugs and therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Appasani, Krishnarao

    2004-07-01

    RNA interference (RNAi) is a newly discovered and popular technology platform among researchers not only in the fields of RNA biology and molecular cell biology. It has created excitement in clinical sciences such as oncology, neurology, endocrinology, infectious diseases and drug discovery. There is an urgent need to educate and connect academic and industry researchers for the purpose of knowledge transfer. Thus, GeneExpression Systems of Waltham organized its Second International Conference in Waltham City (May 2-4, 2004, MA, USA) on the theme of 'RNA interference: From Biology to Drugs & Therapeutics.' About 200 participants and 32 speakers attended this two and half-day event which was arranged in six scientific and three technology sessions and ended with a panel discussion. This report covers a few representative talks from academia, biotech and the drug industry.

  3. Myricetin: A Dietary Molecule with Diverse Biological Activities.

    PubMed

    Semwal, Deepak Kumar; Semwal, Ruchi Badoni; Combrinck, Sandra; Viljoen, Alvaro

    2016-02-16

    Myricetin is a common plant-derived flavonoid and is well recognised for its nutraceuticals value. It is one of the key ingredients of various foods and beverages. The compound exhibits a wide range of activities that include strong anti-oxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities. It displays several activities that are related to the central nervous system and numerous studies have suggested that the compound may be beneficial to protect against diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The use of myricetin as a preserving agent to extend the shelf life of foods containing oils and fats is attributed to the compound's ability to protect lipids against oxidation. A detailed search of existing literature revealed that there is currently no comprehensive review available on this important molecule. Hence, the present work includes the history, synthesis, pharmaceutical applications and toxicity studies of myricetin. This report also highlights structure-activity relationships and mechanisms of action for various biological activities.

  4. Molecular Mechanisms and Biological Functions of siRNA.

    PubMed

    Dana, Hassan; Chalbatani, Ghanbar Mahmoodi; Mahmoodzadeh, Habibollah; Karimloo, Rezvan; Rezaiean, Omid; Moradzadeh, Amirreza; Mehmandoost, Narges; Moazzen, Fateme; Mazraeh, Ali; Marmari, Vahid; Ebrahimi, Mohammad; Rashno, Mohammad Menati; Abadi, Saeid Jan; Gharagouzlo, Elahe

    2017-06-01

    One of the most important advances in biology has been the discovery that siRNA (small interfering RNA) is able to regulate the expression of genes, by a phenomenon known as RNAi (RNA interference). The discovery of RNAi, first in plants and Caenorhabditis elegans and later in mammalian cells, led to the emergence of a transformative view in biomedical research. siRNA has gained attention as a potential therapeutic reagent due to its ability to inhibit specific genes in many genetic diseases. siRNAs can be used as tools to study single gene function both in vivo and in-vitro and are an attractive new class of therapeutics, especially against undruggable targets for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The siRNA delivery systems are categorized as non-viral and viral delivery systems. The non-viral delivery system includes polymers; Lipids; peptides etc. are the widely studied delivery systems for siRNA. Effective pharmacological use of siRNA requires 'carriers' that can deliver the siRNA to its intended site of action. The carriers assemble the siRNA into supramolecular complexes that display functional properties during the delivery process.

  5. Recruitment of RNA molecules by connexin RNA-binding motifs: Implication in RNA and DNA transport through microvesicles and exosomes.

    PubMed

    Varela-Eirin, Marta; Varela-Vazquez, Adrian; Rodríguez-Candela Mateos, Marina; Vila-Sanjurjo, Anton; Fonseca, Eduardo; Mascareñas, José L; Eugenio Vázquez, M; Mayan, Maria D

    2017-04-01

    Connexins (Cxs) are integral membrane proteins that form high-conductance plasma membrane channels, allowing communication from cell to cell (via gap junctions) and from cells to the extracellular environment (via hemichannels). Initially described for their role in joining excitable cells (nerve and muscle), gap junctions (GJs) are found between virtually all cells in solid tissues and are essential for functional coordination by enabling the direct transfer of small signalling molecules, metabolites, ions, and electrical signals from cell to cell. Several studies have revealed diverse channel-independent functions of Cxs, which include the control of cell growth and tumourigenicity. Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most widespread Cx in the human body. The myriad roles of Cx43 and its implication in the development of disorders such as cancer, inflammation, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer's disease have given rise to many novel questions. Several RNA- and DNA-binding motifs were predicted in the Cx43 and Cx26 sequences using different computational methods. This review provides insights into new, ground-breaking functions of Cxs, highlighting important areas for future work such as transfer of genetic information through extracellular vesicles. We discuss the implication of potential RNA- and DNA-binding domains in the Cx43 and Cx26 sequences in the cellular communication and control of signalling pathways.

  6. Synthetic RNA-cleaving molecules mimicking ribonuclease A active center. Design and cleavage of tRNA transcripts.

    PubMed Central

    Podyminogin, M A; Vlassov, V V; Giegé, R

    1993-01-01

    RNA cleaving molecules were synthesized by conjugating imidazole residues imitating the essential imidazoles in the active center of pancreatic ribonuclease to an intercalating compound, derivative of phenazine capable of binding to the double stranded regions of polynucleotides. Action of the molecules on tRNA was investigated. It was found, that some of the compounds bearing two imidazole residues cleave tRNA under physiological conditions. The cleavage reaction shows a bell-shaped pH dependence with a maximum at pH 7.0 indicating participation of protonated and non-protonated imidazole residues in the process. Under the conditions stabilizing the tRNA structure, a tRNAAsp transcript was cleaved preferentially at the junctions of the stem and loop regions of the cloverleaf tRNA fold, at the five positions C56, C43, C20.1, U13, and U8, with a marked preference for C56. This cleavage pattern is consistent with a hydrolysis mechanism involving non-covalent binding of the compounds to the double-stranded regions of tRNA followed by an attack of the imidazole residues at the juxtaposed flexible single-stranded regions of the molecule. The compounds provide new probes for the investigation of RNA structure in solution and potential reactive groups for antisense oligonucleotide derivatives. Images PMID:7507235

  7. Don't kill the messenger: Long-distance trafficking of mRNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Spiegelman, Ziv; Golan, Guy; Wolf, Shmuel

    2013-12-01

    The phloem sap contains numerous macromolecules such as proteins and RNAs, in addition to photoassimilates, amino acids and other small molecules. The transcription profile of messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules in the sieve tubes is unique and does not reflect the transcript profile in the neighboring companion cells. This discovery suggests tight regulation on cell-to-cell movement of mRNA molecules from the companion cells into the sieve tube. Heterografting experiments and RNA-detection methods have provided unequivocal evidence for the trafficking of several specific mRNA molecules between distant organs. Detection of various plant transcripts in their respective plant parasites further confirms this long-distance movement. The finding that several of these trafficked transcripts are involved in the control of developmental processes as well as responses to growth substances or environmental cues has led to a new paradigm that mRNA molecules act as non-cell-autonomous signaling agents operating in the vascular system. Trafficking of these molecules creates a communication network between distant organs that is required for coordinated development of the whole plant under adverse conditions. The generality of this concept, however, is still under debate, because the raison d'être for long-distance movement of mRNA is not clear. In this review we discuss the identity and potential function of phloem-sap mRNA molecules, the factors facilitating RNA transport, and the rationale for their action as long-distance signaling agents in the control of developmental processes.

  8. Alteration of RNA Splicing by Small-Molecule Inhibitors of the Interaction between NHP2L1 and U4.

    PubMed

    Diouf, Barthelemy; Lin, Wenwei; Goktug, Asli; Grace, Christy R R; Waddell, Michael Brett; Bao, Ju; Shao, Youming; Heath, Richard J; Zheng, Jie J; Shelat, Anang A; Relling, Mary V; Chen, Taosheng; Evans, William E

    2017-10-01

    Splicing is an important eukaryotic mechanism for expanding the transcriptome and proteome, influencing a number of biological processes. Understanding its regulation and identifying small molecules that modulate this process remain a challenge. We developed an assay based on time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) to detect the interaction between the protein NHP2L1 and U4 RNA, which are two key components of the spliceosome. We used this assay to identify small molecules that interfere with this interaction in a high-throughput screening (HTS) campaign. Topotecan and other camptothecin derivatives were among the top hits. We confirmed that topotecan disrupts the interaction between NHP2L1 and U4 by binding to U4 and inhibits RNA splicing. Our data reveal new functions of known drugs that could facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies to modify splicing and alter gene function.

  9. Chromatography and mass spectrometry of prebiological and biological molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Navale, Vivek

    The detection and identification of prebiological and biological molecules are of importance for understanding chemical and biological processes occurring within the solar system. Molecular mass measurements, peptide mapping, and disulfide bond analysis of enzymes and recombinant proteins are important in the development of therapeutic drugs for human diseases. Separation of hydrocarbons (C1 to C6) and nitriles was achieved by 14%-cyanopropylphenyl-86%- dimethylpolysiloxane (CPPS-DMPS) stationary phase in a narrow bore metal capillary column. The calculation of modeling numbers enabled the differentiation of the C4 hydrocarbon isomers of 1-butene (cis and trans). The modeled retention time values for benzene, toluene, xylene, acetonitrile, propane, and propene nitriles were in good agreement with the measurements. The separation of C2 hydrocarbons (ethane and ethene) from predominantly N2 matrix was demonstrated for the first time on wall coated narrow bore low temperature glassy carbon column. Identification and accurate mass measurements of pepsin, an enzymatic protein with less number of basic amino acid residues were successfully demonstrated by matrix- assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). The molecular mass of pepsin was found to be 34,787 Da. Several decomposition products of pepsin, in m/z range of 3,500 to 4,700 were identified. Trypsin, an important endopeptidase enzyme had a mass of 46829.7 Da. Lower mass components with m/z 8047.5, 7776.6, 5722, 5446.2 and 5185 Da were also observed in trypsin spectrum. Both chemokine and growth factor recombinant proteins were mass analyzed as 8848.1 ± 3.5 and 16178.52 ± 4.1 Da, respectively. The accuracy of the measurements was in the range of 0.01 to 0.02%. Reduction and alkylation experiments on the chemokine showed the presence of six cysteines and three disulfide bonds. The two cysteines of the growth factor contained the free sulfhydryl groups and the accurate average mass of the

  10. Small molecule modulators of pre-mRNA splicing in cancer therapy

    PubMed Central

    Salton, Maayan; Misteli, Tom

    2015-01-01

    Pre-mRNA splicing is a fundamental process in mammalian gene expression and alternative RNA splicing plays a considerable role in generating protein diversity. RNA splicing events are key to the pathology of numerous diseases, including cancers. Some tumors are molecularly addicted to specific RNA splicing isoforms making interference with pre-mRNA processing a viable therapeutic strategy. Several RNA splicing modulators have been recently characterized showing promise in pre-clinical studies. While the targets of most splicing modulators are constitutive RNA processing components, with undesirable side effects, selectivity for individual splicing events has been observed. Given the high prevalence of splicing defects in cancer, small molecule modulators of RNA processing represent a novel therapeutic strategy in cancer treatment. Here, we review their reported effects, potential mechanisms, and limitations. PMID:26700537

  11. Single-molecule tracking of mRNA exiting from RNA polymerase II.

    PubMed

    Andrecka, Joanna; Lewis, Robert; Brückner, Florian; Lehmann, Elisabeth; Cramer, Patrick; Michaelis, Jens

    2008-01-08

    Single-pair fluorescence resonance energy transfer was used to track RNA exiting from RNA polymerase II (Pol II) in elongation complexes. Measuring the distance between the RNA 5' end and three known locations within the elongation complex allows us determine its position by means of triangulation. RNA leaves the polymerase active center cleft via the previously proposed exit tunnel and then disengages from the enzyme surface. When the RNA reaches lengths of 26 and 29 nt, its 5' end associates with Pol II at the base of the dock domain. Because the initiation factor TFIIB binds to the dock domain and exit tunnel, exiting RNA may prevent TFIIB reassociation during elongation. RNA further extends toward the linker connecting to the polymerase C-terminal repeat domain (CTD), which binds the 5'-capping enzyme and other RNA processing factors.

  12. Different combinations of atomic interactions predict protein‐small molecule and protein‐DNA/RNA affinities with similar accuracy

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Raquel

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Interactions between proteins and other molecules play essential roles in all biological processes. Although it is widely held that a protein's ligand specificity is determined primarily by its three‐dimensional structure, the general principles by which structure determines ligand binding remain poorly understood. Here we use statistical analyses of a large number of protein−ligand complexes with associated binding‐affinity measurements to quantitatively characterize how combinations of atomic interactions contribute to ligand affinity. We find that there are significant differences in how atomic interactions determine ligand affinity for proteins that bind small chemical ligands, those that bind DNA/RNA and those that interact with other proteins. Although protein‐small molecule and protein‐DNA/RNA binding affinities can be accurately predicted from structural data, models predicting one type of interaction perform poorly on the others. Additionally, the particular combinations of atomic interactions required to predict binding affinity differed between small‐molecule and DNA/RNA data sets, consistent with the conclusion that the structural bases determining ligand affinity differ among interaction types. In contrast to what we observed for small‐molecule and DNA/RNA interactions, no statistical models were capable of predicting protein−protein affinity with >60% correlation. We demonstrate the potential usefulness of protein‐DNA/RNA binding prediction as a possible tool for high‐throughput virtual screening to guide laboratory investigations, suggesting that quantitative characterization of diverse molecular interactions may have practical applications as well as fundamentally advancing our understanding of how molecular structure translates into function. Proteins 2015; 83:2100–2114. © 2015 The Authors. Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26370248

  13. Target Biological Structures: The Cell, Organelles, DNA and RNA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Holst, Marcelis; Grant, Maxine P.; Aldrich-Wright, Janice

    Living organisms are self replicating molecular factories of staggering complexity [1]. As a result, we are often overwhelmed when trying to identify potential targets for therapeutics. Water, inorganic ions and a large array of relatively small organic molecules (e.g., sugars, vitamins and fatty acids) account for approximately 80% of living matter, with water being the most abundant. Macromolecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) constitute the rest. The majority of potential therapeutic targets are found within the cell. Small molecules which are vital for cellular function are imported into the cell by a variety of mechanisms but unlike smaller molecules, macromolecules are assembled within the cell itself. Drugs are usually designed to target cellular macromolecules, as they perform very specific roles in the metabolic processes.

  14. Photochemical patterning of biological molecules inside a glass capillary.

    PubMed

    Balakirev, Maxim Y; Porte, Stéphanie; Vernaz-Gris, Maud; Berger, Michel; Arié, Jean-Philippe; Fouqué, Brigitte; Chatelain, François

    2005-09-01

    A simple way for photochemical patterning of biological molecules onto the inner wall of fused-silica capillary is described. The method is based on a modification of the inner capillary surface with photoactive benzophenone (BP) derivative. The UV irradiation at 365 nm of the capillary filled with a sample solution results in cross-linking of the solutes to the BP moiety via a stable covalent bond. As a proof of concept, oligonucleotides and proteins were arrayed inside the capillary using an inverted microscope as an irradiation device. We demonstrated that the capillary arrays produced in this way are functional and could be used in different bioassays including DNA hybridization, protein interaction studies, and immunoassays. Having a sensitivity comparable to the fluorophore-based assays in a planar format, the capillary array possesses several advantages including submicroliter sample volume and a short assay time. The capillary format should therefore be considered as a possible alternative to a planar format in a number of low-density array applications such as mutation detection and diagnostic immunoassays.

  15. Myricetin: A Dietary Molecule with Diverse Biological Activities

    PubMed Central

    Semwal, Deepak Kumar; Semwal, Ruchi Badoni; Combrinck, Sandra; Viljoen, Alvaro

    2016-01-01

    Myricetin is a common plant-derived flavonoid and is well recognised for its nutraceuticals value. It is one of the key ingredients of various foods and beverages. The compound exhibits a wide range of activities that include strong anti-oxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities. It displays several activities that are related to the central nervous system and numerous studies have suggested that the compound may be beneficial to protect against diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The use of myricetin as a preserving agent to extend the shelf life of foods containing oils and fats is attributed to the compound’s ability to protect lipids against oxidation. A detailed search of existing literature revealed that there is currently no comprehensive review available on this important molecule. Hence, the present work includes the history, synthesis, pharmaceutical applications and toxicity studies of myricetin. This report also highlights structure-activity relationships and mechanisms of action for various biological activities. PMID:26891321

  16. Voltammetric detection of biological molecules using chopped carbon fiber.

    PubMed

    Sugawara, Kazuharu; Yugami, Asako; Kojima, Akira

    2010-01-01

    Voltammetric detection of biological molecules was carried out using chopped carbon fibers produced from carbon fiber reinforced plastics that are biocompatible and inexpensive. Because chopped carbon fibers normally are covered with a sizing agent, they are difficult to use as an electrode. However, when the surface of a chopped carbon fiber was treated with ethanol and hydrochloric acid, it became conductive. To evaluate the functioning of chopped carbon fibers, voltammetric measurements of [Fe(CN)(6)](3-) were carried out. Redoxes of FAD, ascorbic acid and NADH as biomolecules were recorded using cyclic voltammetry. The sizing agents used to bundle the fibers were epoxy, polyamide and polyurethane resins. The peak currents were the greatest when using the chopped carbon fibers that were created with epoxy resins. When the electrode response of the chopped carbon fibers was compared with that of a glassy carbon electrode, the peak currents and the reversibility of the electrode reaction were sufficient. Therefore, the chopped carbon fibers will be useful as disposable electrodes for the sensing of biomolecules.

  17. Progress in Small Molecule and Biologic Therapeutics Targeting Ghrelin Signaling.

    PubMed

    McGovern, Kayleigh R; Darling, Joseph E; Hougland, James L

    2016-01-01

    Ghrelin is a circulating peptide hormone involved in regulation of a wide array of physiological processes. As an endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR1a), ghrelin is responsible for signaling involved in energy homeostasis, including appetite stimulation, glucose metabolism, insulin signaling, and adiposity. Ghrelin has also been implicated in modulation of several neurological processes. Dysregulation of ghrelin signaling is implicated in diseases related to these pathways, including obesity, type II diabetes, and regulation of appetite and body weight in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. Multiple steps in the ghrelin signaling pathway are available for targeting in the development of therapeutics for these diseases. Agonists and antagonists of GHS-R1a have been widely studied and have shown varying levels of effectiveness within ghrelin-related physiological pathways. Agents targeting ghrelin directly, either through depletion of ghrelin levels in circulation or inhibitors of ghrelin O-acyltransferase whose action is required for ghrelin to become biologically active, are receiving increasing attention as potential therapeutic options. We discuss the approaches utilized to target ghrelin signaling and highlight the current challenges toward developing small-molecule agents as potential therapeutics for ghrelin-related diseases.

  18. Integrated structural biology to unravel molecular mechanisms of protein-RNA recognition.

    PubMed

    Schlundt, Andreas; Tants, Jan-Niklas; Sattler, Michael

    2017-03-16

    Recent advances in RNA sequencing technologies have greatly expanded our knowledge of the RNA landscape in cells, often with spatiotemporal resolution. These techniques identified many new (often non-coding) RNA molecules. Large-scale studies have also discovered novel RNA binding proteins (RBPs), which exhibit single or multiple RNA binding domains (RBDs) for recognition of specific sequence or structured motifs in RNA. Starting from these large-scale approaches it is crucial to unravel the molecular principles of protein-RNA recognition in ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs) to understand the underlying mechanisms of gene regulation. Structural biology and biophysical studies at highest possible resolution are key to elucidate molecular mechanisms of RNA recognition by RBPs and how conformational dynamics, weak interactions and cooperative binding contribute to the formation of specific, context-dependent RNPs. While large compact RNPs can be well studied by X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM, analysis of dynamics and weak interaction necessitates the use of solution methods to capture these properties. Here, we illustrate methods to study the structure and conformational dynamics of protein-RNA complexes in solution starting from the identification of interaction partners in a given RNP. Biophysical and biochemical techniques support the characterization of a protein-RNA complex and identify regions relevant in structural analysis. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a powerful tool to gain information on folding, stability and dynamics of RNAs and characterize RNPs in solution. It provides crucial information that is complementary to the static pictures derived from other techniques. NMR can be readily combined with other solution techniques, such as small angle X-ray and/or neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), which provide information about overall shapes, internal domain

  19. Identifying miRNA regulatory mechanisms in preeclampsia by systems biology approaches.

    PubMed

    Biró, Orsolya; Nagy, Bálint; Rigó, János

    2017-02-01

    Preeclampsia (PE) is the major cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, affecting 3-8% of all pregnancies around the globe. miRNAs are small, noncoding RNA molecules, which negatively regulate gene expression. Abnormally expressed miRNAs contribute to pregnancy complications such as PE. The aim of our study was to find possible regulatory mechanisms by system biology approaches, which are connected to the pathogenesis of PE. We integrated publicly available miRNA and gene expression profiles and created a network from the significant miRNA-mRNA pairs with the help of MAGIA and Cytoscape softwares. Two subnetworks were expanded by adding protein-protein interactions. Differentially expressed miRNAs were identified for the evaluation of their regulatory effect. We analyzed the miRNAs and their targets using different bioinformatics tools and through literature research. Altogether, 52,603 miRNA-mRNA interactions were generated by the MAGIA web tool. The top 250 interactions were visualized and pairs with q < 0.0001 were analyzed, which included 85 nodes and 80 edges signalizing the connections between 52 regulated genes and 33 miRNAs. A total of 11 of the regulated genes are PE related and 9 of them were targeted by multiple miRNAs. A total of 8 miRNAs were associated with PE before, and 13 miRNAs regulated more than 1 mRNA. Hsa-mir-210 was the highest degree node in the network and its role in PE is well established. We identified several miRNA-mRNA regulatory mechanisms which may contribute to the pathogenesis of PE. Further investigations are needed to validate these miRNA-mRNA interactions and to enlighten the possibilities of developing potential therapeutic targets.

  20. Single-molecule biophysics: at the interface of biology, physics and chemistry.

    PubMed

    Deniz, Ashok A; Mukhopadhyay, Samrat; Lemke, Edward A

    2008-01-06

    Single-molecule methods have matured into powerful and popular tools to probe the complex behaviour of biological molecules, due to their unique abilities to probe molecular structure, dynamics and function, unhindered by the averaging inherent in ensemble experiments. This review presents an overview of the burgeoning field of single-molecule biophysics, discussing key highlights and selected examples from its genesis to our projections for its future. Following brief introductions to a few popular single-molecule fluorescence and manipulation methods, we discuss novel insights gained from single-molecule studies in key biological areas ranging from biological folding to experiments performed in vivo.

  1. Systems biology of myasthenia gravis, integration of aberrant lncRNA and mRNA expression changes.

    PubMed

    Luo, ZhaoHui; Li, Ye; Liu, XiaoFang; Luo, MengChuan; Xu, LiQun; Luo, YueBei; Xiao, Bo; Yang, Huan

    2015-03-18

    A novel class of transcripts, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), has recently emerged as a key player in several biological processes, and important roles for these molecules have been reported in a number of complex human diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders, and various cancers. However, the aberrant lncRNAs implicated in myasthenia gravis (MG) remain unknown. The aim of the present study was to explore the abnormal expression of lncRNAs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and examine mRNA regulatory relationship networks among MG patients with or without thymoma. Microarray assays were performed, and the outstanding differences between lncRNAs or mRNA expression were verified through RT-PCR. The lncRNAs functions were annotated for the target genes using Gene Ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) biological pathway. The potential regulatory relationships between the lncRNAs and target genes were analyzed using the 'cis' and 'trans' model. Outstanding lncRNAs were organized to generate a TF-lncRNA-gene network using Cytoscape software. The lncRNA and mRNA expression profile analysis revealed subsets of differentially expressed genes in MG patients with or without thymoma. A total of 12 outstanding dysregulated expression lncRNAs, such as lncRNA oebiotech_11933, were verified through real-time PCR. Several GO terms including the cellular response to interferon-γ, platelet degranulation, chemokine receptor binding and cytokine interactions were very important in MG pathogenesis. The chromosome locations of some lncRNAs and associated co-expression genes were demonstrated using 'cis' analysis. The results of the 'trans' analysis revealed that some TFs (i.e., CTCF, TAF1and MYC) regulate lncRNA and gene expression. The outstanding lncRNAs in each group were implicated in the regulation of the TF-lncRNA-target gene network. The results of the present study provide a perspective on lncRNA expression in MG

  2. Single-molecule tools for enzymology, structural biology, systems biology and nanotechnology: an update.

    PubMed

    Widom, Julia R; Dhakal, Soma; Heinicke, Laurie A; Walter, Nils G

    2014-11-01

    Toxicology is the highly interdisciplinary field studying the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. It requires sensitive tools to detect such effects. After their initial implementation during the 1990s, single-molecule fluorescence detection tools were quickly recognized for their potential to contribute greatly to many different areas of scientific inquiry. In the intervening time, technical advances in the field have generated ever-improving spatial and temporal resolution and have enabled the application of single-molecule fluorescence to increasingly complex systems, such as live cells. In this review, we give an overview of the optical components necessary to implement the most common versions of single-molecule fluorescence detection. We then discuss current applications to enzymology and structural studies, systems biology, and nanotechnology, presenting the technical considerations that are unique to each area of study, along with noteworthy recent results. We also highlight future directions that have the potential to revolutionize these areas of study by further exploiting the capabilities of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.

  3. Single molecule tools for enzymology, structural biology, systems biology and nanotechnology: an update

    PubMed Central

    Widom, Julia R.; Dhakal, Soma; Heinicke, Laurie A.; Walter, Nils G.

    2015-01-01

    Toxicology is the highly interdisciplinary field studying the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. It requires sensitive tools to detect such effects. After their initial implementation during the 1990s, single-molecule fluorescence detection tools were quickly recognized for their potential to contribute greatly to many different areas of scientific inquiry. In the intervening time, technical advances in the field have generated ever-improving spatial and temporal resolution, and have enabled the application of single-molecule fluorescence to increasingly complex systems, such as live cells. In this review, we give an overview of the optical components necessary to implement the most common versions of single-molecule fluorescence detection. We then discuss current applications to enzymology and structural studies, systems biology, and nanotechnology, presenting the technical considerations that are unique to each area of study, along with noteworthy recent results. We also highlight future directions that have the potential to revolutionize these areas of study by further exploiting the capabilities of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. PMID:25212907

  4. Bioconjugation of Small Molecules to RNA Impedes Its Recognition by Toll-Like Receptor 7

    PubMed Central

    Hellmuth, Isabell; Freund, Isabel; Schlöder, Janine; Seidu-Larry, Salifu; Thüring, Kathrin; Slama, Kaouthar; Langhanki, Jens; Kaloyanova, Stefka; Eigenbrod, Tatjana; Krumb, Matthias; Röhm, Sandra; Peneva, Kalina; Opatz, Till; Jonuleit, Helmut; Dalpke, Alexander H.; Helm, Mark

    2017-01-01

    A fundamental mechanism of the innate immune system is the recognition, via extra- and intracellular pattern-recognition receptors, of pathogen-associated molecular patterns. A prominent example is represented by foreign nucleic acids, triggering the activation of several signaling pathways. Among these, the endosomal toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) is known to be activated by single-stranded RNA (ssRNA), which can be specifically influenced through elements of sequence structure and posttranscriptional modifications. Furthermore, small molecules TLR7 agonists (smTLRa) are applied as boosting adjuvants in vaccination processes. In this context, covalent conjugations between adjuvant and vaccines have been reported to exhibit synergistic effects. Here, we describe a concept to chemically combine three therapeutic functions in one RNA bioconjugate. This consists in the simultaneous TLR7 stimulation by ssRNA and smTLRa as well as the therapeutic function of the RNA itself, e.g., as a vaccinating or knockdown agent. We have hence synthesized bioconjugates of mRNA and siRNA containing covalently attached smTLRa and tested their function in TLR7 stimulation. Strikingly, the bioconjugates displayed decreased rather than synergistically increased stimulation. The decrease was distinct from the antagonistic action of an siRNA bearing a Gm motive, as observed by direct comparison of the effects in the presence of otherwise stimulatory RNA. In summary, these investigations showed that TRL7 activation can be impeded by bioconjugation of small molecules to RNA. PMID:28392787

  5. MORPHEUS' MOLECULE1 is required to prevent aberrant RNA transcriptional read-through in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Yue; Zhang, Jun; Lin, Huixin; Guo, Guangqin; Guo, Yan

    2010-11-01

    Several pathways function to remove aberrant mRNA in eukaryotic cells; however, the exact mechanisms underlying the restriction of aberrant mRNA transcription are poorly understood. In this study, we found that MORPHEUS' MOLECULE1 (MOM1) is a key component of this regulatory machinery. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mom1-44 mutation was identified by luciferase imaging in transgenic plants harboring a cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter-LUCIFERASE transgene lacking the 3'-untranslated region. In the mom1-44 mutant, transcriptional read-though occurred in genes with an aberrant RNA structure. Analysis of an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase2 mom1 double mutant revealed that the RNA-directed DNA methylation pathway is not involved in this regulatory process. Moreover, the prevention of aberrant mRNA transcriptional read-through by MOM1 is gene locus and transgene copy number independent.

  6. MicroRNA Biomarkers of Toxicity in Biological Matrices ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Biomarker measurements that reliably correlate with tissue injury and can be measured from sampling accessible biofluids offer enormous benefits in terms of cost, time, and convenience when assessing environmental and drug-induced toxicity in model systems or human cohorts. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged in recent years as a promising new type of biomarker for monitoring toxicity. Recent enthusiasm for miRNA biomarker research has been fueled by discoveries that certain miRNA species are cell-type specific and released during injury, thus raising the possibility of using biofluid-based miRNAs as a “liquid biopsy” that may be obtained by sampling extracellular fluids. As biomarkers, miRNAs demonstrate improved stability as compared to many protein markers and sequences are largely conserved across species, simplifying analytical techniques. Recent efforts have sought to identify miRNAs that are released into accessible biofluids following xenobiotic exposure, using compounds that target specific organs. While still early in the discovery phase, miRNA biomarkers will have an increasingly important role in the assessment of adverse effects of both environmental chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs. Here, we review the current findings of biofluid-based miRNAs, as well as highlight technical challenges in assessing toxicologic pathology using these biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA species that selectively bind mRNA molecules and alter thei

  7. Discovery and biological characterization of geranylated RNA in bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Dumelin, Christoph E.; Chen, Yiyun; Leconte, Aaron M.; Chen, Y. Grace; Liu, David R.

    2012-01-01

    A general mass spectrometry-based screen for unusually hydrophobic cellular small-molecule RNA conjugates revealed geranylated RNA in E. coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella thyphimurium. The geranyl group is conjugated to the sulfur atom in two 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thiouridine nucleotides. These geranylated nucleotides occur in the first anticodon position of tRNAGluUUC, tRNALysUUU, tRNAGlnUUG at a frequency of up to 6.7% (~400 geranylated nucleotides per cell). RNA geranylation levels can be increased or abolished by mutation or deletion of the selU (ybbB) gene in E. coli, and purified SelU protein in the presence of geranyl pyrophosphate and tRNA can produce geranylated tRNA. The presence or absence of the geranyl group in tRNAGluUUC, tRNALysUUU, and tRNAGlnUUG affects codon bias and frameshifting during translation. These RNAs represent the first reported examples of oligoisoprenylated cellular nucleic acids. PMID:22983156

  8. MicroRNA Biomarkers of Toxicity in Biological Matrices ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Biomarker measurements that reliably correlate with tissue injury and can be measured from sampling accessible biofluids offer enormous benefits in terms of cost, time, and convenience when assessing environmental and drug-induced toxicity in model systems or human cohorts. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged in recent years as a promising new type of biomarker for monitoring toxicity. Recent enthusiasm for miRNA biomarker research has been fueled by discoveries that certain miRNA species are cell-type specific and released during injury, thus raising the possibility of using biofluid-based miRNAs as a “liquid biopsy” that may be obtained by sampling extracellular fluids. As biomarkers, miRNAs demonstrate improved stability as compared to many protein markers and sequences are largely conserved across species, simplifying analytical techniques. Recent efforts have sought to identify miRNAs that are released into accessible biofluids following xenobiotic exposure, using compounds that target specific organs. While still early in the discovery phase, miRNA biomarkers will have an increasingly important role in the assessment of adverse effects of both environmental chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs. Here, we review the current findings of biofluid-based miRNAs, as well as highlight technical challenges in assessing toxicologic pathology using these biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNA species that selectively bind mRNA molecules and alter thei

  9. On Finding All Suboptimal Foldings of an RNA Molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuker, Michael

    1989-04-01

    An algorithm and a computer program have been prepared for determining RNA secondary structures within any prescribed increment of the computed global minimum free energy. The mathematical problem of determining how well defined a minimum energy folding is can now be solved. All predicted base pairs that can participate in suboptimal structures may be displayed and analyzed graphically. Representative suboptimal foldings are generated by selecting these base pairs one at a time and computing the best foldings that contain them. A distance criterion that ensures that no two structures are ``too close'' is used to avoid multiple generation of similar structures. Thermodynamic parameters, including free-energy increments for single-base stacking at the ends of helices and for terminal mismatched pairs in interior and hairpin loops, are incorporated into the underlying folding model of the above algorithm.

  10. Sustainable production of biologically active molecules of marine based origin.

    PubMed

    Murray, Patrick M; Moane, Siobhan; Collins, Catherine; Beletskaya, Tanya; Thomas, Olivier P; Duarte, Alysson W F; Nobre, Fernando S; Owoyemi, Ifeloju O; Pagnocca, Fernando C; Sette, L D; McHugh, Edward; Causse, Eric; Pérez-López, Paula; Feijoo, Gumersindo; Moreira, Ma T; Rubiolo, Juan; Leirós, Marta; Botana, Luis M; Pinteus, Susete; Alves, Celso; Horta, André; Pedrosa, Rui; Jeffryes, Clayton; Agathos, Spiros N; Allewaert, Celine; Verween, Annick; Vyverman, Wim; Laptev, Ivan; Sineoky, Sergei; Bisio, Angela; Manconi, Renata; Ledda, Fabio; Marchi, Mario; Pronzato, Roberto; Walsh, Daniel J

    2013-09-25

    The marine environment offers both economic and scientific potential which are relatively untapped from a biotechnological point of view. These environments whilst harsh are ironically fragile and dependent on a harmonious life form balance. Exploitation of natural resources by exhaustive wild harvesting has obvious negative environmental consequences. From a European industry perspective marine organisms are a largely underutilised resource. This is not due to lack of interest but due to a lack of choice the industry faces for cost competitive, sustainable and environmentally conscientious product alternatives. Knowledge of the biotechnological potential of marine organisms together with the development of sustainable systems for their cultivation, processing and utilisation are essential. In 2010, the European Commission recognised this need and funded a collaborative RTD/SME project under the Framework 7-Knowledge Based Bio-Economy (KBBE) Theme 2 Programme 'Sustainable culture of marine microorganisms, algae and/or invertebrates for high value added products'. The scope of that project entitled 'Sustainable Production of Biologically Active Molecules of Marine Based Origin' (BAMMBO) is outlined. Although the Union is a global leader in many technologies, it faces increasing competition from traditional rivals and emerging economies alike and must therefore improve its innovation performance. For this reason innovation is placed at the heart of a European Horizon 2020 Strategy wherein the challenge is to connect economic performance to eco performance. This article provides a synopsis of the research activities of the BAMMBO project as they fit within the wider scope of sustainable environmentally conscientious marine resource exploitation for high-value biomolecules. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Development of pharmacophore models for small molecules targeting RNA: Application to the RNA repeat expansion in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

    PubMed

    Angelbello, Alicia J; González, Àlex L; Rzuczek, Suzanne G; Disney, Matthew D

    2016-12-01

    RNA is an important drug target, but current approaches to identify bioactive small molecules have been engineered primarily for protein targets. Moreover, the identification of small molecules that bind a specific RNA target with sufficient potency remains a challenge. Computer-aided drug design (CADD) and, in particular, ligand-based drug design provide a myriad of tools to identify rapidly new chemical entities for modulating a target based on previous knowledge of active compounds without relying on a ligand complex. Herein we describe pharmacophore virtual screening based on previously reported active molecules that target the toxic RNA that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). DM1-associated defects are caused by sequestration of muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1), an alternative splicing regulator, by expanded CUG repeats (r(CUG)(exp)). Several small molecules have been found to disrupt the MBNL1-r(CUG)(exp) complex, ameliorating DM1 defects. Our pharmacophore model identified a number of potential lead compounds from which we selected 11 compounds to evaluate. Of the 11 compounds, several improved DM1 defects both in vitro and in cells.

  12. Temperature-controlled microintaglio printing for high-resolution micropatterning of RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Ryo; Biyani, Manish; Ueno, Shingo; Kumal, Subhashini Raj; Kuramochi, Hiromi; Ichiki, Takanori

    2015-05-15

    We have developed an advanced microintaglio printing method for fabricating fine and high-density micropatterns and applied it to the microarraying of RNA molecules. The microintaglio printing of RNA reported here is based on the hybridization of RNA with immobilized complementary DNA probes. The hybridization was controlled by switching the RNA conformation via the temperature, and an RNA microarray with a diameter of 1.5 µm and a density of 40,000 spots/mm(2) with high contrast was successfully fabricated. Specifically, no size effects were observed in the uniformity of patterned signals over a range of microarray feature sizes spanning one order of magnitude. Additionally, we have developed a microintaglio printing method for transcribed RNA microarrays on demand using DNA-immobilized magnetic beads. The beads were arrayed on wells fabricated on a printing mold and the wells were filled with in vitro transcription reagent and sealed with a DNA-immobilized glass substrate. Subsequently, RNA was in situ synthesized using the bead-immobilized DNA as a template and printed onto the substrate via hybridization. Since the microintaglio printing of RNA using DNA-immobilized beads enables the fabrication of a microarray of spots composed of multiple RNA sequences, it will be possible to screen or analyze RNA functions using an RNA microarray fabricated by temperature-controlled microintaglio printing (TC-µIP). Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. The predictive power of synthetic nucleic acid technologies in RNA biology.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Saikat; Mehtab, Shabana; Krishnan, Yamuna

    2014-06-17

    CONSPECTUS: The impact of nucleic acid nanotechnology in terms of transforming motifs from biology in synthetic and translational ways is widely appreciated. But it is also emerging that the thinking and vision behind nucleic acids as construction material has broader implications, not just in nanotechnology or even synthetic biology, but can feed back into our understanding of biology itself. Physicists have treated nucleic acids as polymers and connected physical principles to biology by abstracting out the molecular interactions. In contrast, biologists delineate molecular players and pathways related to nucleic acids and how they may be networked. But in vitro nucleic acid nanotechnology has provided a valuable framework for nucleic acids by connecting its biomolecular interactions with its materials properties and thereby superarchitecture ultramanipulation that on multiple occasions has pre-empted the elucidation of how living cells themselves are exploiting these same structural concepts. This Account seeks to showcase the larger implications of certain architectural principles that have arisen from the field of structural DNA/RNA nanotechnology in biology. Here we draw connections between these principles and particular molecular phenomena within living systems that have fed in to our understanding of how the cell uses nucleic acids as construction material to achieve different functions. We illustrate this by considering a few exciting and emerging examples in biology in the context of both switchable systems and scaffolding type systems. Due to the scope of this Account, we will focus our discussion on examples of the RNA scaffold as summarized. In the context of switchable RNA architectures, the synthetic demonstration of small molecules blocking RNA translation preceded the discovery of riboswitches. In another example, it was after the description of aptazymes that the first allosteric ribozyme, glmS, was discovered. In the context of RNA architectures

  14. Shining the spotlight on functional molecular complexes: The new science of single-molecule cell biology.

    PubMed

    Leake, Mark C

    2010-09-01

    Single-molecule research is emerging as one of the fastest growing fields within the biosciences. Historically, most of the techniques employed have operated largely in the world of the test tube in which the components of the biological system under investigation have been extracted and purified from cells to reduce them to just the key ingredients under study, and this research has involved novel, pioneering methods of biophysics to obtain single-molecule measurements. What has emerged recently is the technical ability to now perform key single-molecule experiments whilst retaining the native biological context-namely to do single-molecule experiments on functional living cells. This presents essentially a new science of "single-molecule cell biology", which combines classical cell biology approaches with modern single-molecule biophysics. Here, key recent studies which have pushed back the boundaries of this field are discussed.

  15. Comparison of small molecules and oligonucleotides that target a toxic, non-coding RNA.

    PubMed

    Costales, Matthew G; Rzuczek, Suzanne G; Disney, Matthew D

    2016-06-01

    Potential RNA targets for chemical probes and therapeutic modalities are pervasive in the transcriptome. Oligonucleotide-based therapeutics are commonly used to target RNA sequence. Small molecules are emerging as a modality to target RNA structures selectively, but their development is still in its infancy. In this work, we compare the activity of oligonucleotides and several classes of small molecules that target the non-coding r(CCUG) repeat expansion (r(CCUG)(exp)) that causes myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2), an incurable disease that is the second-most common cause of adult onset muscular dystrophy. Small molecule types investigated include monomers, dimers, and multivalent compounds synthesized on-site by using RNA-templated click chemistry. Oligonucleotides investigated include phosphorothioates that cleave their target and vivo-morpholinos that modulate target RNA activity via binding. We show that compounds assembled on-site that recognize structure have the highest potencies amongst small molecules and are similar in potency to a vivo-morpholino modified oligonucleotide that targets sequence. These studies are likely to impact the design of therapeutic modalities targeting other repeats expansions that cause fragile X syndrome and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for example.

  16. Use of mRNA expression signatures to discover small molecule inhibitors of skeletal muscle atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Adams, Christopher M.; Ebert, Scott M.; Dyle, Michael C.

    2017-01-01

    Purpose of review Here, we discuss a recently developed experimental strategy for discovering small molecules with potential to prevent and treat skeletal muscle atrophy. Recent findings Muscle atrophy involves and requires widespread changes in skeletal muscle gene expression, which generate complex but measurable patterns of positive and negative changes in skeletal muscle mRNA levels (a.k.a. mRNA expression signatures of muscle atrophy). Many bioactive small molecules generate their own characteristic mRNA expression signatures, and by identifying small molecules whose signatures approximate mirror images of muscle atrophy signatures, one may identify small molecules with potential to prevent and/or reverse muscle atrophy. Unlike a conventional drug discovery approach, this strategy does not rely on a predefined molecular target but rather exploits the complexity of muscle atrophy to identify small molecules that counter the entire spectrum of pathological changes in atrophic muscle. We discuss how this strategy has been used to identify two natural compounds, ursolic acid and tomatidine, that reduce muscle atrophy and improve skeletal muscle function. Summary Discovery strategies based on mRNA expression signatures can elucidate new approaches for preserving and restoring muscle mass and function. PMID:25807353

  17. The separation between the 5′-3′ ends in long RNA molecules is short and nearly constant

    PubMed Central

    Leija-Martínez, Nehemías; Casas-Flores, Sergio; Cadena-Nava, Rubén D.; Roca, Joan A.; Mendez-Cabañas, José A.; Gomez, Eduardo; Ruiz-Garcia, Jaime

    2014-01-01

    RNA molecules play different roles in coding, decoding and gene expression regulation. Such roles are often associated to the RNA secondary or tertiary structures. The folding dynamics lead to multiple secondary structures of long RNA molecules, since an RNA molecule might fold into multiple distinct native states. Despite an ensemble of different structures, it has been theoretically proposed that the separation between the 5′ and 3′ ends of long single-stranded RNA molecules (ssRNA) remains constant, independent of their base content and length. Here, we present the first experimental measurements of the end-to-end separation in long ssRNA molecules. To determine this separation, we use single molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer of fluorescently end-labeled ssRNA molecules ranging from 500 to 5500 nucleotides in length, obtained from two viruses and a fungus. We found that the end-to-end separation is indeed short, within 5–9 nm. It is remarkable that the separation of the ends of all RNA molecules studied remains small and similar, despite the origin, length and differences in their secondary structure. This implies that the ssRNA molecules are ‘effectively circularized’ something that might be a general feature of RNAs, and could result in fine-tuning for translation and gene expression regulation. PMID:25428360

  18. The separation between the 5'-3' ends in long RNA molecules is short and nearly constant.

    PubMed

    Leija-Martínez, Nehemías; Casas-Flores, Sergio; Cadena-Nava, Rubén D; Roca, Joan A; Mendez-Cabañas, José A; Gomez, Eduardo; Ruiz-Garcia, Jaime

    2014-12-16

    RNA molecules play different roles in coding, decoding and gene expression regulation. Such roles are often associated to the RNA secondary or tertiary structures. The folding dynamics lead to multiple secondary structures of long RNA molecules, since an RNA molecule might fold into multiple distinct native states. Despite an ensemble of different structures, it has been theoretically proposed that the separation between the 5' and 3' ends of long single-stranded RNA molecules (ssRNA) remains constant, independent of their base content and length. Here, we present the first experimental measurements of the end-to-end separation in long ssRNA molecules. To determine this separation, we use single molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer of fluorescently end-labeled ssRNA molecules ranging from 500 to 5500 nucleotides in length, obtained from two viruses and a fungus. We found that the end-to-end separation is indeed short, within 5-9 nm. It is remarkable that the separation of the ends of all RNA molecules studied remains small and similar, despite the origin, length and differences in their secondary structure. This implies that the ssRNA molecules are 'effectively circularized' something that might be a general feature of RNAs, and could result in fine-tuning for translation and gene expression regulation. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  19. Single molecule experimentation in biological physics: exploring the living component of soft condensed matter one molecule at a time.

    PubMed

    Harriman, O L J; Leake, M C

    2011-12-21

    The soft matter of biological systems consists of mesoscopic length scale building blocks, composed of a variety of different types of biological molecules. Most single biological molecules are so small that 1 billion would fit on the full-stop at the end of this sentence, but collectively they carry out the vital activities in living cells whose length scale is at least three orders of magnitude greater. Typically, the number of molecules involved in any given cellular process at any one time is relatively small, and so real physiological events may often be dominated by stochastics and fluctuation behaviour at levels comparable to thermal noise, and are generally heterogeneous in nature. This challenging combination of heterogeneity and stochasticity is best investigated experimentally at the level of single molecules, as opposed to more conventional bulk ensemble-average techniques. In recent years, the use of such molecular experimental approaches has become significantly more widespread in research laboratories around the world. In this review we discuss recent experimental approaches in biological physics which can be applied to investigate the living component of soft condensed matter to a precision of a single molecule. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK & the USA

  20. Roadmap to cellular reprogramming--manipulating transcriptional networks with DNA, RNA, proteins and small molecules.

    PubMed

    Wörsdörfer, P; Thier, M; Kadari, A; Edenhofer, F

    2013-06-01

    Recent reports demonstrate that the plasticity of mammalian somatic cells is much higher than previously assumed and that ectopic expression of transcription factors may have the potential to induce the conversion of any cell type into another. Fibroblast cells can be converted into embryonic stem cell-like cells, neural cells, cardiomyocytes, macrophage-like cells as well as blood progenitors. Additionally, the conversion of astrocytes into neurons or neural stem cells into monocytes has been demonstrated. Nowadays, in the era of systems biology, continuously growing holistic data sets are providing increasing insights into core transcriptional networks and cellular signaling pathways. This knowledge enables cell biologists to understand how cellular fate is determined and how it could be manipulated. As a consequence for biomedical applications, it might be soon possible to convert patient specific somatic cells directly into desired transplantable other cell types. The clinical value, however, of such reprogrammed cells is currently limited due to the invasiveness of methods applied to induce reprogramming factor activity. This review will focus on experimental strategies to ectopically induce cell fate modulators. We will emphasize those strategies that enable efficient and robust overexpression of transcription factors by minimal genetic alterations of the host genome. Furthermore, we will discuss procedures devoid of any genomic manipulation, such as the direct delivery of mRNA, proteins, or the use of small molecules. By this, we aim to give a comprehensive overview on state of the art techniques that harbor the potential to generate safe reprogrammed cells for clinical applications.

  1. Design of a bioactive small molecule that targets the myotonic dystrophy type 1 RNA via an RNA motif-ligand database and chemical similarity searching.

    PubMed

    Parkesh, Raman; Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Nakamori, Masayuki; Kumar, Amit; Wang, Eric; Wang, Thomas; Hoskins, Jason; Tran, Tuan; Housman, David; Thornton, Charles A; Disney, Matthew D

    2012-03-14

    Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a triplet repeating disorder caused by expanded CTG repeats in the 3'-untranslated region of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) gene. The transcribed repeats fold into an RNA hairpin with multiple copies of a 5'CUG/3'GUC motif that binds the RNA splicing regulator muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1). Sequestration of MBNL1 by expanded r(CUG) repeats causes splicing defects in a subset of pre-mRNAs including the insulin receptor, the muscle-specific chloride ion channel, sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase 1, and cardiac troponin T. Based on these observations, the development of small-molecule ligands that target specifically expanded DM1 repeats could be of use as therapeutics. In the present study, chemical similarity searching was employed to improve the efficacy of pentamidine and Hoechst 33258 ligands that have been shown previously to target the DM1 triplet repeat. A series of in vitro inhibitors of the RNA-protein complex were identified with low micromolar IC(50)'s, which are >20-fold more potent than the query compounds. Importantly, a bis-benzimidazole identified from the Hoechst query improves DM1-associated pre-mRNA splicing defects in cell and mouse models of DM1 (when dosed with 1 mM and 100 mg/kg, respectively). Since Hoechst 33258 was identified as a DM1 binder through analysis of an RNA motif-ligand database, these studies suggest that lead ligands targeting RNA with improved biological activity can be identified by using a synergistic approach that combines analysis of known RNA-ligand interactions with chemical similarity searching.

  2. Vibrational self-consistent field calculations for spectroscopy of biological molecules: new algorithmic developments and applications.

    PubMed

    Roy, Tapta Kanchan; Gerber, R Benny

    2013-06-28

    This review describes the vibrational self-consistent field (VSCF) method and its other variants for computing anharmonic vibrational spectroscopy of biological molecules. The superiority and limitations of this algorithm are discussed with examples. The spectroscopic accuracy of the VSCF method is compared with experimental results and other available state-of-the-art algorithms for various biologically important systems. For large biological molecules with many vibrational modes, the scaling of computational effort is investigated. The accuracy of the vibrational spectra of biological molecules using the VSCF approach for different electronic structure methods is also assessed. Finally, a few open problems and challenges in this field are discussed.

  3. Single Fluorescent Molecules as Nano-Illuminators for Biological Structure and Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moerner, W. E.

    2011-03-01

    Since the first optical detection and spectroscopy of a single molecule in a solid (Phys. Rev. Lett. {62}, 2535 (1989)), much has been learned about the ability of single molecules to probe local nanoenvironments and individual behavior in biological and nonbiological materials in the absence of ensemble averaging that can obscure heterogeneity. Because each single fluorophore acts a light source roughly 1 nm in size, microscopic imaging of individual fluorophores leads naturally to superlocalization, or determination of the position of the molecule with precision beyond the optical diffraction limit, simply by digitization of the point-spread function from the single emitter. For example, the shape of single filaments in a living cell can be extracted simply by allowing a single molecule to move through the filament (PNAS {103}, 10929 (2006)). The addition of photoinduced control of single-molecule emission allows imaging beyond the diffraction limit (super-resolution) and a new array of acronyms (PALM, STORM, F-PALM etc.) and advances have appeared. We have used the native blinking and switching of a common yellow-emitting variant of green fluorescent protein (EYFP) reported more than a decade ago (Nature {388}, 355 (1997)) to achieve sub-40 nm super-resolution imaging of several protein structures in the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus: the quasi-helix of the actin-like protein MreB (Nat. Meth. {5}, 947 (2008)), the cellular distribution of the DNA binding protein HU (submitted), and the recently discovered division spindle composed of ParA filaments (Nat. Cell Biol. {12}, 791 (2010)). Even with these advances, better emitters would provide more photons and improved resolution, and a new photoactivatable small-molecule emitter has recently been synthesized and targeted to specific structures in living cells to provide super-resolution images (JACS {132}, 15099 (2010)). Finally, a new optical method for extracting three-dimensional position information based on

  4. TOPICAL REVIEW: Single-molecule experiments in biological physics: methods and applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ritort, F.

    2006-08-01

    I review single-molecule experiments (SMEs) in biological physics. Recent technological developments have provided the tools to design and build scientific instruments of high enough sensitivity and precision to manipulate and visualize individual molecules and measure microscopic forces. Using SMEs it is possible to manipulate molecules one at a time and measure distributions describing molecular properties, characterize the kinetics of biomolecular reactions and detect molecular intermediates. SMEs provide additional information about thermodynamics and kinetics of biomolecular processes. This complements information obtained in traditional bulk assays. In SMEs it is also possible to measure small energies and detect large Brownian deviations in biomolecular reactions, thereby offering new methods and systems to scrutinize the basic foundations of statistical mechanics. This review is written at a very introductory level, emphasizing the importance of SMEs to scientists interested in knowing the common playground of ideas and the interdisciplinary topics accessible by these techniques. The review discusses SMEs from an experimental perspective, first exposing the most common experimental methodologies and later presenting various molecular systems where such techniques have been applied. I briefly discuss experimental techniques such as atomic-force microscopy (AFM), laser optical tweezers (LOTs), magnetic tweezers (MTs), biomembrane force probes (BFPs) and single-molecule fluorescence (SMF). I then present several applications of SME to the study of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA and DNA condensation) and proteins (protein-protein interactions, protein folding and molecular motors). Finally, I discuss applications of SMEs to the study of the nonequilibrium thermodynamics of small systems and the experimental verification of fluctuation theorems. I conclude with a discussion of open questions and future perspectives.

  5. Biological role of long non-coding RNA in head and neck cancers.

    PubMed

    Kolenda, Tomasz; Guglas, Kacper; Ryś, Marcel; Bogaczyńska, Marta; Teresiak, Anna; Bliźniak, Renata; Łasińska, Izabela; Mackiewicz, Jacek; Lamperska, Katarzyna M

    2017-01-01

    Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are one of the worst prognosis cancers with high mortality of patients. The treatment strategy is primarily based on surgery and radiotherapy but chemotherapy is also used. Every year the knowledge concerning HNSCC biology is updated with new elements such as the recent discovered molecules - long non-coding RNAs. Long non-coding RNAs are involved in regulatory processes in the cells. It has been revealed that the expression levels of lncRNAs are disturbed in tumor cells what results in the acquisition of their specific phenotype. lncRNAs influence cell growth, cell cycle, cell phenotype, migration and invasion ability as well as apoptosis. Development of the lncRNA panel characteristic for HNSCC and validation of specific lncRNA functions are yet to be elucidated. In this work, we collected available data concerning lncRNAs in HNSCC and characterized their biological role. We believe that the tumor examination, in the context of lncRNA expression, may lead to understanding complex biology of the cancer and improve therapeutic methods in the future.

  6. Identification of antisense nucleic acid hybridization sites in mRNA molecules with self-quenching fluorescent reporter molecules.

    PubMed

    Gifford, Lida K; Opalinska, Joanna B; Jordan, David; Pattanayak, Vikram; Greenham, Paul; Kalota, Anna; Robbins, Michelle; Vernovsky, Kathy; Rodriguez, Lesbeth C; Do, Bao T; Lu, Ponzy; Gewirtz, Alan M

    2005-02-17

    We describe a physical mRNA mapping strategy employing fluorescent self-quenching reporter molecules (SQRMs) that facilitates the identification of mRNA sequence accessible for hybridization with antisense nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo, real time. SQRMs are 20-30 base oligodeoxynucleotides with 5-6 bp complementary ends to which a 5' fluorophore and 3' quenching group are attached. Alone, the SQRM complementary ends form a stem that holds the fluorophore and quencher in contact. When the SQRM forms base pairs with its target, the structure separates the fluorophore from the quencher. This event can be reported by fluorescence emission when the fluorophore is excited. The stem-loop of the SQRM suggests that SQRM be made to target natural stem-loop structures formed during mRNA synthesis. The general utility of this method is demonstrated by SQRM identification of targetable sequence within c-myb and bcl-6 mRNA. Corresponding antisense oligonucleotides reduce these gene products in cells.

  7. Identification of antisense nucleic acid hybridization sites in mRNA molecules with self-quenching fluorescent reporter molecules

    PubMed Central

    Gifford, Lida K.; Opalinska, Joanna B.; Jordan, David; Pattanayak, Vikram; Greenham, Paul; Kalota, Anna; Robbins, Michelle; Vernovsky, Kathy; Rodriguez, Lesbeth C.; Do, Bao T.; Lu, Ponzy; Gewirtz, Alan M.

    2005-01-01

    We describe a physical mRNA mapping strategy employing fluorescent self-quenching reporter molecules (SQRMs) that facilitates the identification of mRNA sequence accessible for hybridization with antisense nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo, real time. SQRMs are 20–30 base oligodeoxynucleotides with 5–6 bp complementary ends to which a 5′ fluorophore and 3′ quenching group are attached. Alone, the SQRM complementary ends form a stem that holds the fluorophore and quencher in contact. When the SQRM forms base pairs with its target, the structure separates the fluorophore from the quencher. This event can be reported by fluorescence emission when the fluorophore is excited. The stem–loop of the SQRM suggests that SQRM be made to target natural stem–loop structures formed during mRNA synthesis. The general utility of this method is demonstrated by SQRM identification of targetable sequence within c-myb and bcl-6 mRNA. Corresponding antisense oligonucleotides reduce these gene products in cells. PMID:15718294

  8. Single-molecule mRNA decay measurements reveal promoter regulated mRNA stability in yeast

    PubMed Central

    Trcek, Tatjana; Larson, Daniel R.; Moldón, Alberto; Query, Charles C.; Singer, Robert H.

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY Messenger RNA decay measurements are typically performed on a population of cells. However, this approach cannot reveal sufficient complexity to provide information on mechanisms that may regulate mRNA degradation, possibly on short time scales. To address this deficiency, we measured cell cycle regulated decay in single yeast cells using single-molecule FISH. We found that two genes responsible for mitotic progression, SWI5 and CLB2 exhibit a mitosis-dependent mRNA stability switch. Their transcripts are stable until mitosis when a precipitous decay eliminates the mRNA complement, preventing carry-over into the next cycle. Remarkably, the specificity and timing of decay is entirely regulated by their promoter, independent of specific cis mRNA sequences. The mitotic exit network protein, Dbf2p binds to SWI5 and CLB2 mRNAs co-transcriptionally and regulates their decay. This work reveals the promoter-dependent control of mRNA stability, a novel regulatory mechanism that could be employed by a variety of mRNAs and organisms. PMID:22196726

  9. The aims of systems biology: between molecules and organisms.

    PubMed

    Noble, D

    2011-05-01

    The systems approach to biology has a long history. Its recent rapid resurgence at the turn of the century reflects the problems encountered in interpreting the sequencing of the genome and the failure of that immense achievement to provide rapid and direct solutions to major multi-factorial diseases. This paper argues that systems biology is necessarily multilevel and that there is no privileged level of causality in biological systems. It is an approach rather than a separate discipline. Functionality arises from biological networks that interact with the genome, the environment and the phenotype. This view of biology is very different from the gene-centred views of neo-Darwinism and molecular biology. In neuroscience, the systems approach leads naturally to 2 important conclusions: first, that the idea of 'programs' in the brain is confusing, and second, that the self is better interpreted as a process than as an object. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

  10. Identification of Small Molecule Modulators of MicroRNA by Library Screening.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Zhangang; Chen, Yangchao

    2017-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors and are dysregulated in cancer. miRNAs therefore represent promising therapeutic targets for cancer. Small molecules that could modulate the expression of miRNAs would thus have potential as anticancer agents. Library screening of small molecules targeting miRNAs is a useful technology platform for anticancer drug development. Here, we describe a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell-based luciferase reporter system which could be used to screen for small molecule modulators of tumor suppressor microRNA-34a.

  11. Three-dimensional model of a selective theophylline-binding RNA molecule

    SciTech Connect

    Tung, Chang-Shung; Oprea, T.I.; Hummer, G.; Garcia, A.E.

    1995-07-01

    We propose a three-dimensional (3D) model for an RNA molecule that selectively binds theophylline but not caffeine. This RNA, which was found using SELEX [Jenison, R.D., et al., Science (1994) 263:1425] is 10,000 times more specific for theophylline (Kd=320 nM) than for caffeine (Kd=3.5 mM), although the two ligands are identical except for a methyl group substituted at N7 (present only in caffeine). The binding affinity for ten xanthine-based ligands was used to derive a Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA) model (R{sup 2} = 0.93 for 3 components, with cross-validated R{sup 2} of 0.73), using the SYBYL and GOLPE programs. A pharmacophoric map was generated to locate steric and electrostatic interactions between theophylline and the RNA binding site. This information was used to identify putative functional groups of the binding pocket and to generate distance constraints. Based on a model for the secondary structure (Jenison et al., idem), the 3D structure of this RNA was then generated using the following method: each helical region of the RNA molecule was treated as a rigid body; single-stranded loops with specific end-to-end distances were generated. The structures of RNA-xanthine complexes were studied using a modified Monte Carlo algorithm. The detailed structure of an RNA-ligand complex model, as well as possible explanations for the theophylline selectivity will be discussed.

  12. Conformational dynamics of single pre-mRNA molecules during in vitro splicing.

    PubMed

    Abelson, John; Blanco, Mario; Ditzler, Mark A; Fuller, Franklin; Aravamudhan, Pavithra; Wood, Mona; Villa, Tommaso; Ryan, Daniel E; Pleiss, Jeffrey A; Maeder, Corina; Guthrie, Christine; Walter, Nils G

    2010-04-01

    The spliceosome is a complex small nuclear RNA (snRNA)-protein machine that removes introns from pre-mRNAs via two successive phosphoryl transfer reactions. The chemical steps are isoenergetic, yet splicing requires at least eight RNA-dependent ATPases responsible for substantial conformational rearrangements. To comprehensively monitor pre-mRNA conformational dynamics, we developed a strategy for single-molecule FRET (smFRET) that uses a small, efficiently spliced yeast pre-mRNA, Ubc4, in which donor and acceptor fluorophores are placed in the exons adjacent to the 5' and 3' splice sites. During splicing in vitro, we observed a multitude of generally reversible time- and ATP-dependent conformational transitions of individual pre-mRNAs. The conformational dynamics of branchpoint and 3'-splice site mutants differ from one another and from wild type. Because all transitions are reversible, spliceosome assembly appears to be occurring close to thermal equilibrium.

  13. Exosomes for targeted siRNA delivery across biological barriers.

    PubMed

    El Andaloussi, Samir; Lakhal, Samira; Mäger, Imre; Wood, Matthew J A

    2013-03-01

    Using oligonucleotide-based drugs to modulate gene expression has opened a new avenue for drug discovery. In particular small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are being rapidly recognized as promising therapeutic tools, but their poor bioavailability limits the full realization of their clinical potential. In recent years, cumulating evidence has emerged for the role of membrane vesicles, secreted by most cells and found in all body fluids, as key mediators of information transmission between cells. Importantly, a sub-group of these termed exosomes, have recently been shown to contain various RNA species and to mediate their horizontal transfer to neighbouring- or distant recipient cells. Here, we provide a brief overview on membrane vesicles and their role in exchange of genetic information. We also describe how these natural carriers of genetic material can be harnessed to overcome the obstacle of poor delivery and allow efficient systemic delivery of exogenous siRNA across biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier.

  14. Structure and Stability of Individual DNA or RNA Hairpin Molecules Captured in an Ion Channel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akeson, Mark

    2002-03-01

    Nanoscale pores can be used to analyze individual DNA or RNA molecules. For example, a prototype device based on the alpha-hemolysin protein permits serial examination of hundreds to thousands of molecules per minute. It is routinely used to identify individual polynucleotide homopolymers, and to read segments within single DNA or RNA block copolymers as they thread through a narrow, trans-membrane pore formed by the protein (1.5 nm limiting aperture). In recent reports, we have shown that this device can also be used to examine structural details of individual DNA or RNA hairpins at single base-pair precision. This is achieved by capturing each hairpin in a vestibule of the channel leading to the trans-membrane pore. Under a 120 mV applied voltage, ionic current through the channel is gated by the RNA or DNA hairpin as it is perched in the vestibule, resulting in a dynamic current pattern that is exquisitely sensitive to sequence identity. In this presentation, I will explain the ion channel device and then describe structural details of the hairpin molecules that can be resolved by the instrument. These include: i) Watson-Crick base-pair identity at the hairpin stem terminus; ii) duplex fraying caused by single base pair mismatches internal to the hairpin stem; and iii) A form (RNA) versus B form (DNA) helix conformation. I will then discuss alternative mechanisms that can account for the discrete gating patterns that underlie the analysis.

  15. Single-molecule conformational dynamics of a biologically functional hydroxocobalamin riboswitch.

    PubMed

    Holmstrom, Erik D; Polaski, Jacob T; Batey, Robert T; Nesbitt, David J

    2014-12-03

    Riboswitches represent a family of highly structured regulatory elements found primarily in the leader sequences of bacterial mRNAs. They function as molecular switches capable of altering gene expression; commonly, this occurs via a conformational change in a regulatory element of a riboswitch that results from ligand binding in the aptamer domain. Numerous studies have investigated the ligand binding process, but little is known about the structural changes in the regulatory element. A mechanistic description of both processes is essential for deeply understanding how riboswitches modulate gene expression. This task is greatly facilitated by studying all aspects of riboswitch structure/dynamics/function in the same model system. To this end, single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) techniques have been used to directly observe the conformational dynamics of a hydroxocobalamin (HyCbl) binding riboswitch (env8HyCbl) with a known crystallographic structure.1 The single-molecule RNA construct studied in this work is unique in that it contains all of the structural elements both necessary and sufficient for regulation of gene expression in a biological context. The results of this investigation reveal that the undocking rate constant associated with the disruption of a long-range kissing-loop (KL) interaction is substantially decreased when the ligand is bound to the RNA, resulting in a preferential stabilization of the docked conformation. Notably, the formation of this tertiary KL interaction directly sequesters the Shine-Dalgarno sequence (i.e., the ribosome binding site) via base-pairing, thus preventing translation initiation. These results reveal that the conformational dynamics of this regulatory switch are quantitatively described by a four-state kinetic model, whereby ligand binding promotes formation of the KL interaction. The results of complementary cell-based gene expression experiments conducted in Escherichia coli are highly

  16. Pragmatic turn in biology: From biological molecules to genetic content operators

    PubMed Central

    Witzany, Guenther

    2014-01-01

    Erwin Schrödinger‘s question “What is life?” received the answer for decades of “physics + chemistry”. The concepts of Alain Turing and John von Neumann introduced a third term: “information”. This led to the understanding of nucleic acid sequences as a natural code. Manfred Eigen adapted the concept of Hammings “sequence space”. Similar to Hilbert space, in which every ontological entity could be defined by an unequivocal point in a mathematical axiomatic system, in the abstract ”sequence space” concept each point represents a unique syntactic structure and the value of their separation represents their dissimilarity. In this concept molecular features of the genetic code evolve by means of self-organisation of matter. Biological selection determines the fittest types among varieties of replication errors of quasi-species. The quasi-species concept dominated evolution theory for many decades. In contrast to this, recent empirical data on the evolution of DNA and its forerunners, the RNA-world and viruses indicate cooperative agent-based interactions. Group behaviour of quasi-species consortia constitute de novo and arrange available genetic content for adaptational purposes within real-life contexts that determine epigenetic markings. This review focuses on some fundamental changes in biology, discarding its traditional status as a subdiscipline of physics and chemistry. PMID:25225596

  17. Pragmatic turn in biology: From biological molecules to genetic content operators.

    PubMed

    Witzany, Guenther

    2014-08-26

    Erwin Schrödinger's question "What is life?" received the answer for decades of "physics + chemistry". The concepts of Alain Turing and John von Neumann introduced a third term: "information". This led to the understanding of nucleic acid sequences as a natural code. Manfred Eigen adapted the concept of Hammings "sequence space". Similar to Hilbert space, in which every ontological entity could be defined by an unequivocal point in a mathematical axiomatic system, in the abstract "sequence space" concept each point represents a unique syntactic structure and the value of their separation represents their dissimilarity. In this concept molecular features of the genetic code evolve by means of self-organisation of matter. Biological selection determines the fittest types among varieties of replication errors of quasi-species. The quasi-species concept dominated evolution theory for many decades. In contrast to this, recent empirical data on the evolution of DNA and its forerunners, the RNA-world and viruses indicate cooperative agent-based interactions. Group behaviour of quasi-species consortia constitute de novo and arrange available genetic content for adaptational purposes within real-life contexts that determine epigenetic markings. This review focuses on some fundamental changes in biology, discarding its traditional status as a subdiscipline of physics and chemistry.

  18. Approaches to Validate and Manipulate RNA Targets with Small Molecules in Cells

    PubMed Central

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2016-01-01

    RNA has become an increasingly important target for therapeutic interventions and for chemical probes that dissect and manipulate its cellular function. Emerging targets include human RNAs that have been shown to directly cause cancer, metabolic disorders, and genetic disease. In this review, we describe various routes to obtain bioactive compounds that target RNA, with a particular emphasis on the development of small molecules. We use these cases to describe approaches that are being developed for target validation, which include target-directed cleavage, classic pull-down experiments, and covalent cross-linking. Thus, tools are available to design small molecules to target RNA and to identify the cellular RNAs that are their targets. PMID:26514201

  19. Approaches to Validate and Manipulate RNA Targets with Small Molecules in Cells.

    PubMed

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Disney, Matthew D

    2016-01-01

    RNA has become an increasingly important target for therapeutic interventions and for chemical probes that dissect and manipulate its cellular function. Emerging targets include human RNAs that have been shown to directly cause cancer, metabolic disorders, and genetic disease. In this review, we describe various routes to obtain bioactive compounds that target RNA, with a particular emphasis on the development of small molecules. We use these cases to describe approaches that are being developed for target validation, which include target-directed cleavage, classic pull-down experiments, and covalent cross-linking. Thus, tools are available to design small molecules to target RNA and to identify the cellular RNAs that are their targets.

  20. Single-Molecule Imaging of an in Vitro-Evolved RNA Aptamer Reveals Homogeneous Ligand Binding Kinetics

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Many studies of RNA folding and catalysis have revealed conformational heterogeneity, metastable folding intermediates, and long-lived states with distinct catalytic activities. We have developed a single-molecule imaging approach for investigating the functional heterogeneity of in vitro-evolved RNA aptamers. Monitoring the association of fluorescently labeled ligands with individual RNA aptamer molecules has allowed us to record binding events over the course of multiple days, thus providing sufficient statistics to quantitatively define the kinetic properties at the single-molecule level. The ligand binding kinetics of the highly optimized RNA aptamer studied here displays a remarkable degree of uniformity and lack of memory. Such homogeneous behavior is quite different from the heterogeneity seen in previous single-molecule studies of naturally derived RNA and protein enzymes. The single-molecule methods we describe may be of use in analyzing the distribution of functional molecules in heterogeneous evolving populations or even in unselected samples of random sequences. PMID:19572753

  1. Targeting RNA polymerase I with an oral small molecule CX-5461 inhibits ribosomal RNA synthesis and solid tumor growth.

    PubMed

    Drygin, Denis; Lin, Amy; Bliesath, Josh; Ho, Caroline B; O'Brien, Sean E; Proffitt, Chris; Omori, Mayuko; Haddach, Mustapha; Schwaebe, Michael K; Siddiqui-Jain, Adam; Streiner, Nicole; Quin, Jaclyn E; Sanij, Elaine; Bywater, Megan J; Hannan, Ross D; Ryckman, David; Anderes, Kenna; Rice, William G

    2011-02-15

    Deregulated ribosomal RNA synthesis is associated with uncontrolled cancer cell proliferation. RNA polymerase (Pol) I, the multiprotein complex that synthesizes rRNA, is activated widely in cancer. Thus, selective inhibitors of Pol I may offer a general therapeutic strategy to block cancer cell proliferation. Coupling medicinal chemistry efforts to tandem cell- and molecular-based screening led to the design of CX-5461, a potent small-molecule inhibitor of rRNA synthesis in cancer cells. CX-5461 selectively inhibits Pol I-driven transcription relative to Pol II-driven transcription, DNA replication, and protein translation. Molecular studies demonstrate that CX-5461 inhibits the initiation stage of rRNA synthesis and induces both senescence and autophagy, but not apoptosis, through a p53-independent process in solid tumor cell lines. CX-5461 is orally bioavailable and demonstrates in vivo antitumor activity against human solid tumors in murine xenograft models. Our findings position CX-5461 for investigational clinical trials as a potent, selective, and orally administered agent for cancer treatment. ©2010 AACR.

  2. Rationally Designed Small Molecules Targeting the RNA That Causes Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 Are Potently Bioactive

    PubMed Central

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L.; Hoskins, Jason; Rzuczek, Suzanne G.; Thornton, Charles A.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2012-01-01

    RNA is an important drug target, but it is difficult to design or discover small molecules that modulate RNA function. In the present study, we report that rationally designed, modularly assembled small molecules that bind the RNA that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) are potently bioactive in cell culture models. DM1 is caused when an expansion of r(CUG) repeats, or r(CUG)exp, is present in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) mRNA. r(CUG)exp folds into a hairpin with regularly repeating 5′CUG/3′GUC motifs and sequester muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1). A variety of defects are associated with DM1 including: (i) formation of nuclear foci, (ii) decreased translation of DMPK mRNA due to its nuclear retention, and (iii) pre-mRNA splicing defects due to inactivation of MBNL1, which controls the alternative splicing of various pre-mRNAs. Previously, modularly assembled ligands targeting r(CUG)exp were designed using information in an RNA motif-ligand database. These studies showed that a bis-benzimidazole (H) binds the 5′CUG/3′GUC motif in r(CUG)exp. Therefore, we designed multivalent ligands to bind multiple copies of this motif simultaneously in r(CUG)exp. Herein, we report that the designed compounds improve DM1-associated defects including improvement of translational and pre-mRNA splicing defects and the disruption of nuclear foci. These studies may establish a foundation to exploit other RNA targets in genomic sequence. PMID:22332923

  3. Rationally designed small molecules targeting the RNA that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 are potently bioactive.

    PubMed

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Hoskins, Jason; Rzuczek, Suzanne G; Thornton, Charles A; Disney, Matthew D

    2012-05-18

    RNA is an important drug target, but it is difficult to design or discover small molecules that modulate RNA function. In the present study, we report that rationally designed, modularly assembled small molecules that bind the RNA that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) are potently bioactive in cell culture models. DM1 is caused when an expansion of r(CUG) repeats, or r(CUG)(exp), is present in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) mRNA. r(CUG)(exp) folds into a hairpin with regularly repeating 5'CUG/3'GUC motifs and sequesters muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1). A variety of defects are associated with DM1, including (i) formation of nuclear foci, (ii) decreased translation of DMPK mRNA due to its nuclear retention, and (iii) pre-mRNA splicing defects due to inactivation of MBNL1, which controls the alternative splicing of various pre-mRNAs. Previously, modularly assembled ligands targeting r(CUG)(exp) were designed using information in an RNA motif-ligand database. These studies showed that a bis-benzimidazole (H) binds the 5'CUG/3'GUC motif in r(CUG)(exp.) Therefore, we designed multivalent ligands to bind simultaneously multiple copies of this motif in r(CUG)(exp). Herein, we report that the designed compounds improve DM1-associated defects including improvement of translational and pre-mRNA splicing defects and the disruption of nuclear foci. These studies may establish a foundation to exploit other RNA targets in genomic sequence.

  4. Simplified stochastic models with time delay for studying the degradation process of mRNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Tian, Tianhai

    2014-01-01

    Message RNA (mRNA) is the template for protein synthesis. It carries information from DNA in the nucleus to the ribosome sites of protein synthesis in the cell. The turnover process of mRNA is a chemical event with multiple small step reactions and the degradation of mRNA molecules is an important step in gene expression. A number of mathematical models have been proposed to study the dynamics of mRNA turnover, ranging from a one-step first order reaction model to the linear multi-component models. Although the linear multi-component models provide detailed dynamics of mRNA degradation, the simple first-order reaction model has been widely used in mathematical modelling of genetic regulatory networks. To illustrate the difference between these models, we first considered a stochastic model based on the multi-component model. Then a simpler stochastic model was proposed to approximate the linear multi-component model. We also discussed the delayed one-step reaction models with different types of time delay, including the constant delay, exponentially distributed delay and Erlang distributed delay. The comparison study suggested that the one-step reaction models failed to realise the dynamics of mRNA turnover accurately. Therefore, more sophisticated one-step reaction models are needed to study the dynamics of mRNA degradation.

  5. Silencing stromal interaction molecule 1 by RNA interference inhibits the proliferation and migration of endothelial progenitor cells

    SciTech Connect

    Kuang, Chun-yan; Yu, Yang; Guo, Rui-wei; Qian, De-hui; Wang, Kui; Den, Meng-yang; Shi, Yan-kun; Huang, Lan

    2010-07-23

    Research highlights: {yields} STIM1 and TRPC1 are expressed in EPCs. {yields} Knockdown of STIM1 inhibits the proliferation, migration and SOCE of EPCs. {yields} TRPC1-SOC cooperates with STIM1 to mediate the SOCE of EPCs. -- Abstract: Knockdown of stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) significantly suppresses neointima hyperplasia after vascular injury. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are the major source of cells that respond to endothelium repair and contribute to re-endothelialization by reducing neointima formation after vascular injury. We hypothesized that the effect of STIM1 on neointima hyperplasia inhibition is mediated through its effect on the biological properties of EPCs. In this study, we investigated the effects of STIM1 on the proliferation and migration of EPCs and examined the effect of STIM1 knockdown using cultured rat bone marrow-derived EPCs. STIM1 was expressed in EPCs, and knockdown of STIM1 by adenoviral delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) significantly suppressed the proliferation and migration of EPCs. Furthermore, STIM1 knockdown decreased store-operated channel entry 48 h after transfection. Replenishment with recombinant human STIM1 reversed the effects of STIM1 knockdown. Our data suggest that the store-operated transient receptor potential canonical 1 channel is involved in regulating the biological properties of EPCs through STIM1. STIM1 is a potent regulator of cell proliferation and migration in rat EPCs and may play an important role in the biological properties of EPCs.

  6. A new three-dimensional educational model kit for building DNA and RNA molecules: Development and evaluation*.

    PubMed

    Beltramini, Leila Maria; Araújo, Ana Paula Ulian; de Oliveira, Tales Henrique Gonçalves; Dos Santos Abel, Luciano Douglas; da Silva, Aparecido Rodrigues; Dos Santos, Neusa Fernandes

    2006-05-01

    International specialized literature focused on research in biology education is sadly scarce, especially regarding biochemical and molecular aspects. In this light, researchers from this Centre for Structural Molecular Biotechnology developed and evaluated a three-dimensional educational model named "Building Life Molecules DNA and RNA." The development of the model and its evaluation as a potential tool in the teaching-learning process were based on a pilot study involving 226 learners and teachers. Questionnaires were elaborated, containing simple and objective questions, similar to those used in research on science teaching, to orient the evaluation process. Our results show that the model has high educational potential, aiding participants in their conceptual understanding of these molecular structures and their functions, DNA semiconservative replication, and RNA transcription. In addition, it was observed that this model leads students to critical associations of these concepts with actual scientific themes of molecular biology and biotechnology, such as cloning, transgenic organisms, and the genome. Copyright © 2006 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  7. Proteoglycans and more – from molecules to biology

    PubMed Central

    Heinegård, Dick

    2009-01-01

    In this article the organization and functional details of the extracellular matrix, with particular focus on cartilage, are described. All tissues contain a set of molecules that are arranged to contribute structural elements. Examples are fibril-forming collagens forming major fibrillar networks in most tissues. The assembly process is regulated by a number of proteins (thrombospondins, LRR-proteins, matrilins and other collagens) that can bind to the collagen molecule and in many cases remain bound to the formed fibre providing additional stability and enhancing networking to other structural networks. One such network is formed by collagen VI molecules assembled to beaded filaments in the matrix catalysed by interactions with small proteoglycans of the LRR-family, which remain bound to the filament providing for interactions via a linker of a matrilin to other matrix constituents like collagen fibres and the large proteoglycans, e.g. aggrecan in cartilage. Aggrecan is contributing an extreme anionic charge density to the extracellular matrix, which by osmotic effects leads to water retention and strive to swelling, resisted by the tensile properties of the collagen fibres. Aggrecan is bound via one end to hyaluronan, including such molecules retained at the cell surface, to form very large molecular entities that interact with other constituents of the matrix, e.g. fibulins that can form their own network. Other important interactions are those with cell surface receptors such as integrins, heparan sulphfate proteoglycans, hyaluronan receptors and others. Many of the molecules with an ability to interact with these receptors can also bind to molecules in the matrix and provide a bridge from the matrix to the cell and induce various responses. In pathology, there is an imbalance in matrix turnover with often excessive proteolytic breakdown. This results in the formation of protein fragments, where cleavage provides information on the active enzyme. Those

  8. Semiconductor Quantum Rods as Single Molecule FluorescentBiological Labels

    SciTech Connect

    Fu, Aihua; Gu, Weiwei; Boussert, Benjamine; Koski, Kristie; Gerion, Daniele; Manna, Liberato; Le Gros, Mark; Larabell, Carolyn; Alivisatos, A. Paul

    2006-05-29

    In recent years, semiconductor quantum dots have beenapplied with great advantage in a wide range of biological imagingapplications. The continuing developments in the synthesis of nanoscalematerials and specifically in the area of colloidal semiconductornanocrystals have created an opportunity to generate a next generation ofbiological labels with complementary or in some cases enhanced propertiescompared to colloidal quantum dots. In this paper, we report thedevelopment of rod shaped semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum rods) asnew fluorescent biological labels. We have engineered biocompatiblequantum rods by surface silanization and have applied them fornon-specific cell tracking as well as specific cellular targeting. Theproperties of quantum rods as demonstrated here are enhanced sensitivityand greater resistance for degradation as compared to quantum dots.Quantum rods have many potential applications as biological labels insituations where their properties offer advantages over quantumdots.

  9. Biological Molecules for the Regeneration of the Pulp-Dentin Complex.

    PubMed

    Kim, Sahng G

    2017-01-01

    Regenerative endodontic treatment has yielded excellent clinical outcomes, but only several animal studies have shown the robust regeneration of the pulp-dentin complex. The biological molecules, if properly delivered, can enkindle regeneration of dental pulp and dentin rather than repair with tissues of periodontal origin. This review details the biological significance of regenerating the pulp-dentin complex, the effects of biological cues in pulp regeneration, and the delivery strategies of biological molecules to enhance the outcomes of regenerative endodontic therapy. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Experimental and computational characterization of biological liquid crystals: a review of single-molecule bioassays.

    PubMed

    Eom, Kilho; Yang, Jaemoon; Park, Jinsung; Yoon, Gwonchan; Soo Sohn, Young; Park, Shinsuk; Yoon, Dae Sung; Na, Sungsoo; Kwon, Taeyun

    2009-09-10

    Quantitative understanding of the mechanical behavior of biological liquid crystals such as proteins is essential for gaining insight into their biological functions, since some proteins perform notable mechanical functions. Recently, single-molecule experiments have allowed not only the quantitative characterization of the mechanical behavior of proteins such as protein unfolding mechanics, but also the exploration of the free energy landscape for protein folding. In this work, we have reviewed the current state-of-art in single-molecule bioassays that enable quantitative studies on protein unfolding mechanics and/or various molecular interactions. Specifically, single-molecule pulling experiments based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) have been overviewed. In addition, the computational simulations on single-molecule pulling experiments have been reviewed. We have also reviewed the AFM cantilever-based bioassay that provides insight into various molecular interactions. Our review highlights the AFM-based single-molecule bioassay for quantitative characterization of biological liquid crystals such as proteins.

  11. Creation of RNA molecules that recognize the oxidative lesion 7,8-dihydro-8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) in DNA

    PubMed Central

    Rink, Stacia M.; Shen, Jiang-Cheng; Loeb, Lawrence A.

    1998-01-01

    We used in vitro evolution to obtain RNA molecules that specifically recognize and bind with high affinity to the oxidative lesion 7,8-dihydro-8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) in DNA. A pool of ≈1015 RNA molecules containing a random insert of 45 nucleotides in length was subject to 10 successive rounds of chromatographic enrichment using an 8-oxodG affinity matrix, reverse transcription, PCR amplification, and RNA synthesis. Selected RNA molecules bind to 8-oxodG located at the 3′ terminus (Kd ≤ 270 nM) or in the center (Kd ≤ 2.8 μM) of a 19-nt strand of DNA, with no detectable affinity for the corresponding dG-containing DNA sequences. These 8-oxodG-binding RNAs will be used to monitor levels of 8-oxodG in DNA from biological sources and should provide a unique method for evaluating oxygen-mediated DNA damage. This approach should be applicable for the creation of RNA molecules that can bind to and identify the different modifications of DNA produced by a variety of environmental agents. PMID:9751715

  12. Prediction of RNA secondary structures: from theory to models and real molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuster, Peter

    2006-05-01

    RNA secondary structures are derived from RNA sequences, which are strings built form the natural four letter nucleotide alphabet, {AUGC}. These coarse-grained structures, in turn, are tantamount to constrained strings over a three letter alphabet. Hence, the secondary structures are discrete objects and the number of sequences always exceeds the number of structures. The sequences built from two letter alphabets form perfect structures when the nucleotides can form a base pair, as is the case with {GC} or {AU}, but the relation between the sequences and structures differs strongly from the four letter alphabet. A comprehensive theory of RNA structure is presented, which is based on the concepts of sequence space and shape space, being a space of structures. It sets the stage for modelling processes in ensembles of RNA molecules like evolutionary optimization or kinetic folding as dynamical phenomena guided by mappings between the two spaces. The number of minimum free energy (mfe) structures is always smaller than the number of sequences, even for two letter alphabets. Folding of RNA molecules into mfe energy structures constitutes a non-invertible mapping from sequence space onto shape space. The preimage of a structure in sequence space is defined as its neutral network. Similarly the set of suboptimal structures is the preimage of a sequence in shape space. This set represents the conformation space of a given sequence. The evolutionary optimization of structures in populations is a process taking place in sequence space, whereas kinetic folding occurs in molecular ensembles that optimize free energy in conformation space. Efficient folding algorithms based on dynamic programming are available for the prediction of secondary structures for given sequences. The inverse problem, the computation of sequences for predefined structures, is an important tool for the design of RNA molecules with tailored properties. Simultaneous folding or cofolding of two or more RNA

  13. Single-molecule RNA detection at depth by hybridization chain reaction and tissue hydrogel embedding and clearing.

    PubMed

    Shah, Sheel; Lubeck, Eric; Schwarzkopf, Maayan; He, Ting-Fang; Greenbaum, Alon; Sohn, Chang Ho; Lignell, Antti; Choi, Harry M T; Gradinaru, Viviana; Pierce, Niles A; Cai, Long

    2016-08-01

    Accurate and robust detection of mRNA molecules in thick tissue samples can reveal gene expression patterns in single cells within their native environment. Preserving spatial relationships while accessing the transcriptome of selected cells is a crucial feature for advancing many biological areas - from developmental biology to neuroscience. However, because of the high autofluorescence background of many tissue samples, it is difficult to detect single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH) signals robustly in opaque thick samples. Here, we draw on principles from the emerging discipline of dynamic nucleic acid nanotechnology to develop a robust method for multi-color, multi-RNA imaging in deep tissues using single-molecule hybridization chain reaction (smHCR). Using this approach, single transcripts can be imaged using epifluorescence, confocal or selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) depending on the imaging depth required. We show that smHCR has high sensitivity in detecting mRNAs in cell culture and whole-mount zebrafish embryos, and that combined with SPIM and PACT (passive CLARITY technique) tissue hydrogel embedding and clearing, smHCR can detect single mRNAs deep within thick (0.5 mm) brain slices. By simultaneously achieving ∼20-fold signal amplification and diffraction-limited spatial resolution, smHCR offers a robust and versatile approach for detecting single mRNAs in situ, including in thick tissues where high background undermines the performance of unamplified smFISH. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  14. Effect of Inducible Co-Stimulatory Molecule siRNA in Cerebral Infarction Rat Models

    PubMed Central

    Luo, Yingquan; Yang, Yu; Zhang, Hui; Zhang, Ting; Wang, Yina; Tan, Shengyu; Xu, Yan; Li, Dan; Ye, Ling; Chen, Ping

    2015-01-01

    Background T cell-induced inflammatory response and related cytokine secretion at the injury site may participate in the pathogenesis of cerebral infarction. Recent studies established inducible co-stimulatory molecule (ICOS) as a novel T cell-related factor for its activation and functions. We thus investigate the role of ICOS in cerebral infarction. Material/Methods The siRNA of ICOS was first used to suppress the gene expression in cultured lymphocytes. An in vivo study was then performed by intravenous application of ICOS siRNA in cerebral infarction rats. Survival rates, neurological scores, serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1, and IL-17 levels were observed. Results The expression of ICOS in cultured lymphocytes was significantly suppressed by siRNA. In the in vivo study, the application of siRNA effectively lowered mortality rates of rats, in addition to the improvement of neurological behaviors and amelioration of cerebral tissue damage. Serum levels of TNF-α, IL-1 and IL-17 were all significantly suppressed after siRNA injection. Conclusions ICOS siRNA can protect brain tissues from ischemia injuries after cerebral infarction, improve limb movement and coordination, lower the mortality rate of rats, and inhibit T cell-induced cytokines. These results collectively suggest the potential treatment efficacy of ICOS siRNA against cerebral infarction. PMID:26436531

  15. Quantitative Image Analysis of Single-Molecule mRNA Dynamics in Living Cells.

    PubMed

    Rino, José; de Jesus, Ana C; Carmo-Fonseca, Maria

    2017-01-01

    Single mRNA molecules can be imaged in living cells by a method that consists in genetically inserting binding sites for a bacteriophage protein in the gene of interest. The resulting reporter transgene is then integrated in the genome of cells that express the phage protein fused to a fluorescent tag. Upon transcription, binding of the fluorescent protein to its target sequence makes the RNA visible. With this approach it is possible to track, in real time, the life cycle of a precursor mRNA at the site of transcription in the nucleus and transport of mature mRNA to the cytoplasm. In order to measure the fluorescence associated with individual RNA molecules over time, we developed a semi-automated quantitative image analysis tool termed STaQTool. We describe in detail the implementation and application of the STaQTool software package, which is a generic tool able to process large 4D datasets allowing quantitative studies of different steps in gene expression.

  16. Single-molecule kinetics of the eukaryotic initiation factor 4AI upon RNA unwinding.

    PubMed

    Sun, Yingjie; Atas, Evrim; Lindqvist, Lisa M; Sonenberg, Nahum; Pelletier, Jerry; Meller, Amit

    2014-07-08

    The eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4AI (eIF4AI) is the prototypical DEAD-box RNA helicase. It has a "dumbbell" structure consisting of two domains connected by a flexible linker. Previous studies demonstrated that eIF4AI, in conjunction with eIF4H, bind to loop structures and repetitively unwind RNA hairpins. Here, we probe the conformational dynamics of eIF4AI in real time using single-molecule FRET. We demonstrate that eIF4AI/eIF4H complex can repetitively unwind RNA hairpins by transitioning between an eIF4AI "open" and a "closed" conformation using the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis. Our experiments directly track the conformational changes in the catalytic cycle of eIF4AI and eIF4H, and this correlates precisely with the kinetics of RNA unwinding. Furthermore, we show that the small-molecule eIF4A inhibitor hippuristanol locks eIF4AI in the closed conformation, thus efficiently inhibiting RNA unwinding. These results indicate that the large conformational changes undertaken by eIF4A during the helicase catalytic cycle are rate limiting.

  17. Do we know whether potential G-quadruplexes actually form in long functional RNA molecules?

    PubMed Central

    Weldon, Carika; Eperon, Ian C.; Dominguez, Cyril

    2016-01-01

    The roles of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) G-quadruplex structures in gene expression and telomere maintenance have been well characterized. Recent results suggest that such structures could also play pivotal roles in ribonucleic acid (RNA) biology, such as splicing or translation regulation. However, it has been difficult to show that RNA G-quadruplexes (G4s) exist in specific long RNA sequences, such as precursor messenger RNA, in a functional or cellular context. Most current methods for identifying G4s involve the use of short, purified RNA sequences in vitro, in the absence of competition with secondary structures or protein binding. Therefore, novel methods need to be developed to allow the characterization of G4s in long functional RNAs and in a cellular context. This need has in part been met by our recent development of a method based on a comparison of RNA and 7-deaza-RNA that provides a test for identifying RNA G4s in such conditions. PMID:27913687

  18. Investigation of RNA Polymerase I Transcription under Force-Free Condition by Single Molecule Technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ucuncuoglu, Suleyman; Schneider, David A.; Dunlap, David; Finzi, Laura

    2014-03-01

    RNA Polymerase I (Pol I) conducts more than 60% of all the transcriptional activity in cells and also is responsible for synthesizing the RNA structure of the ribosome in eukaryotic cells. It is evident in many studies that Pol I transcription is affected by tumor suppressors and oncogenes which makes Pol I as a target for the anticancer therapeutics. The mechanistic pathways and kinetics of the Pol I transcription needs to be understood more precisely. Even though previous bulk studies measured the kinetics of the Pol I transcription, the results may hinder the intermediate states such as processivity and pausing during elongation. Here we used the single molecule approach to show that Pol I pauses more than Pol II during elongation step by using a novel single molecule instrument, multiplexed tethered particle motion microscopy (TPM). Our in-house developed TPM equipment is able to concurrently observe hundreds of single molecules. TPM technique has a major advantage to observe pausing under force-free condition unlike other single molecule techniques such as magnetic tweezers and optical tweezers. We also report that the processivity of Pol I is very low where only one out of fifteen transcription event reached the run-off site. We anticipate that our single molecule assays paved the way for observing more sophisticated aspects of Pol I transcription and it's relation with initiation and transcriptional factors.

  19. Acquisition of a Circular Dichroism Spectrometer to Study Biological Molecules at Interfaces

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-02-10

    02-2016 15-Jul-2014 14-Jan-2016 Final Report: Acquisition of a Circular Dichroism Spectrometer to Study Biological Molecules at Interfaces The views...Circular Dichroism Spectrometer to Study Biological Molecules at Interfaces Report Title We have made substantial progress in the design, implementation, and...1 Grant Information Award Number W911NF-14-1-0413 Title of Research Acquisition of a Circular Dichroism (CD) Spectrometer to Study

  20. Detection of biological molecules using chemical amplification and optical sensors

    SciTech Connect

    Antwerp, W.P. van; Mastrototaro, J.J.

    2000-01-04

    Methods are provided for the determination of the concentration of biological levels of polyhydroxylated compounds, particularly glucose. The methods utilize an amplification system that is an analyte transducer immobilized in a polymeric matrix, where the system is implantable and biocompatible. Upon interrogation by an optical system, the amplification system produces a signal capable of detection external to the skin of the patient. Quantitation of the analyte of interest is achieved by measurement of the emitted signal.

  1. Detection of biological molecules using chemical amplification and optical sensors

    DOEpatents

    Van Antwerp, William Peter; Mastrototaro, John Joseph

    2004-10-12

    Methods are provided for the determination of the concentration of biological levels of polyhydroxylated compounds, particularly glucose. The methods utilize an amplification system that is an analyte transducer immobilized in a polymeric matrix, where the system is implantable and biocompatible. Upon interrogation by an optical system, the amplification system produces a signal capable of detection external to the skin of the patient. Quantitation of the analyte of interest is achieved by measurement of the emitted signal.

  2. Detection of biological molecules using chemical amplification and optical sensors

    DOEpatents

    Van Antwerp, William Peter; Mastrototaro, John Joseph

    2000-01-01

    Methods are provided for the determination of the concentration of biological levels of polyhydroxylated compounds, particularly glucose. The methods utilize an amplification system that is an analyte transducer immobilized in a polymeric matrix, where the system is implantable and biocompatible. Upon interrogation by an optical system, the amplification system produces a signal capable of detection external to the skin of the patient. Quantitation of the analyte of interest is achieved by measurement of the emitted signal.

  3. Chemokines as effector and target molecules in vascular biology.

    PubMed

    Sozzani, Silvano; Del Prete, Annalisa; Bonecchi, Raffaella; Locati, Massimo

    2015-08-01

    Chemokines are key mediators of inflammation. In pathological tissues, the main roles of chemokines are to regulate leucocyte accumulation through the activation of oriented cell migration and the activation of limited programs of gene transcription. Through these activities, chemokines exert many crucial functions, including the regulation of angiogenesis. The 'chemokine system' is tightly regulated at several levels, such as the post-transcriptional processing of ligands, the regulation of the expression and function of the receptors and through the expression of molecules known as 'atypical chemokine receptors', proteins that function as chemokine scavenging and presenting molecules. Several experimental evidence obtained in vitro, in animal models and in human studies, has defined a crucial role of chemokines in cardiovascular diseases. An intense area of research is currently exploring the possibility to develop new effective therapeutic strategies through the identification of chemokine receptor antagonists. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2015. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Insights into adhesion biology using single-molecule localization microscopy.

    PubMed

    Tabarin, Thibault; Pageon, Sophie V; Bach, Cuc T T; Lu, Yong; O'Neill, Geraldine M; Gooding, J Justin; Gaus, Katharina

    2014-03-17

    Focal adhesions are complex multi-protein structures that mediate cell adhesion and cell migration in multicellular organisms. Most of the protein components involved in focal adhesion formation have been identified, but a major challenge remains: determination of the spatial and temporal dynamics of adhesion proteins in order to understand the molecular mechanisms of adhesion assembly, maturation, signal regulation, and disassembly. Progress in this field has been hampered by the limited resolution of fluorescence microscopy. Recent advances have led to the development of super-resolution techniques including single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM). Here, we discuss how the application of these techniques has revealed important new insights into focal adhesion structure and dynamics, including the first description of the three-dimensional nano-architecture of focal adhesions and of the dynamic exchange of integrins in focal adhesions. Hence, SMLM has contributed to the refinement of existing models of adhesions as well as the establishment of novel models, thereby opening new research directions. With current improvements in SMLM instrumentation and analysis, it has become possible to study cellular adhesions at the single-molecule level. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  5. Challenges of general safety evaluations of biologics compared to small molecule pharmaceuticals in animal models.

    PubMed

    Dixit, Rakesh; Iciek, Laurie A; McKeever, Kathleen; Ryan, Patricia Clare

    2010-01-01

    The prediction of human toxicity by employing animal models for nonclinical safety evaluation of pharmaceuticals poses numerous challenges. Each type, biologics, vaccines and small molecules, has unique features, which may impact the ability to effectively assess safety. The importance of taking a case-by-case approach is highlighted in this review of the challenges encountered in general safety evaluations for biologics and vaccines compared to small molecules. The reader will gain insights in specific issues related to building a successful predictive nonclinical safety program for biologics. While there is fair concordance for small molecules, animal models used for the safety evaluation of biologics may have limitations with regard to human relevance. For small molecules, this is commonly because of differences in metabolism profiles or off-target effects. For biologics, which are highly targeted molecules, it may be because of differences in physiological processes or biologic pathways that limit pharmacologic relevance. For vaccines or immunomodulatory biologics, it may be related to the complexities of modeling the human immune system in a nonhuman species. While international guidances are available to govern the nonclinical safety assessment process for human pharmaceuticals (such as ICH M3), in many instances a case-by-case approach is employed for novel agents.

  6. Real-time control of the energy landscape by force directs the folding of RNA molecules

    PubMed Central

    Li, Pan T. X.; Bustamante, Carlos; Tinoco, Ignacio

    2007-01-01

    The rugged folding-energy landscapes of RNAs often display many competing minima. How do RNAs discriminate among competing conformations in their search for the native state? By using optical tweezers, we show that the folding-energy landscape can be manipulated to control the fate of an RNA: individual RNA molecules can be induced into either native or misfolding pathways by modulating the relaxation rate of applied force and even be redirected during the folding process to switch from misfolding to native folding pathways. Controlling folding pathways at the single-molecule level provides a way to survey the manifold of folding trajectories and intermediates, a capability that previously was available only to theoretical studies. PMID:17438300

  7. Insight into lncRNA biology using hybridization capture analyses

    PubMed Central

    Simon, Matthew D.

    2015-01-01

    Despite mounting evidence of the importance of large non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in biological regulation, we still know little about how these lncRNAs function. One approach to understand the function of lncRNAs is to biochemically purify endogenous lncRNAs from fixed cells using complementary oligonucleotides. These hybridization capture approaches can reveal the genomic localization of lncRNAs, as well as the proteins and RNAs with which they interact. To help researchers understand how these tools can uncover lncRNA function, this review discusses the considerations and influences of different parameters, (e.g., crosslinking reagents, oliognucleotide chemistry and hybridization conditions) and controls to avoid artifacts. By examining the application of these tools, this review will highlight the progress and pitfalls of studying lncRNAs using hybridization capture approaches. PMID:26381323

  8. Molecular-crowding effects on single-molecule RNA folding/unfolding thermodynamics and kinetics.

    PubMed

    Dupuis, Nicholas F; Holmstrom, Erik D; Nesbitt, David J

    2014-06-10

    The effects of "molecular crowding" on elementary biochemical processes due to high solute concentrations are poorly understood and yet clearly essential to the folding of nucleic acids and proteins into correct, native structures. The present work presents, to our knowledge, first results on the single-molecule kinetics of solute molecular crowding, specifically focusing on GAAA tetraloop-receptor folding to isolate a single RNA tertiary interaction using time-correlated single-photon counting and confocal single-molecule FRET microscopy. The impact of crowding by high-molecular-weight polyethylene glycol on the RNA folding thermodynamics is dramatic, with up to ΔΔG° ∼ -2.5 kcal/mol changes in free energy and thus >60-fold increase in the folding equilibrium constant (Keq) for excluded volume fractions of 15%. Most importantly, time-correlated single-molecule methods permit crowding effects on the kinetics of RNA folding/unfolding to be explored for the first time (to our knowledge), which reveal that this large jump in Keq is dominated by a 35-fold increase in tetraloop-receptor folding rate, with only a modest decrease in the corresponding unfolding rate. This is further explored with temperature-dependent single-molecule RNA folding measurements, which identify that crowding effects are dominated by entropic rather than enthalpic contributions to the overall free energy change. Finally, a simple "hard-sphere" treatment of the solute excluded volume is invoked to model the observed kinetic trends, and which predict ΔΔG° ∼ -5 kcal/mol free-energy stabilization at excluded volume fractions of 30%.

  9. Insight into lncRNA biology using hybridization capture analyses.

    PubMed

    Simon, Matthew D

    2016-01-01

    Despite mounting evidence of the importance of large non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in biological regulation, we still know little about how these lncRNAs function. One approach to understand the function of lncRNAs is to biochemically purify endogenous lncRNAs from fixed cells using complementary oligonucleotides. These hybridization capture approaches can reveal the genomic localization of lncRNAs, as well as the proteins and RNAs with which they interact. To help researchers understand how these tools can uncover lncRNA function, this review discusses the considerations and influences of different parameters, (e.g., crosslinking reagents, oligonucleotide chemistry and hybridization conditions) and controls to avoid artifacts. By examining the application of these tools, this review will highlight the progress and pitfalls of studying lncRNAs using hybridization capture approaches.This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Clues to long noncoding RNA taxonomy1, edited by Dr. Tetsuro Hirose and Dr. Shinichi Nakagawa. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. MicroRNA Deregulation in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Biology

    PubMed Central

    Fuziwara, Cesar Seigi; Kimura, Edna Teruko

    2014-01-01

    Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is among the most lethal types of cancers, characterized as a fast-growing and highly invasive thyroid tumor that is unresponsive to surgery and radioiodine, blunting therapeutic efficacy. Classically, genetic alterations in tumor suppressor TP53 are frequent, and cumulative alterations in different signaling pathways, such as MAPK and PI3K, are detected in ATC. Recently, deregulation in microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small endogenous RNAs that regulate protein expression, has been implicated in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. Deregulation of miRNA expression is detected in thyroid cancer. Upregulation of miRNAs, such as miR-146b, miR-221, and miR-222, is observed in ATC and also in differentiated thyroid cancer (papillary and follicular), indicating that these miRNAs' overexpression is essential in maintaining tumorigenesis. However, specific miRNAs are downregulated in ATC, such as those of the miR-200 and miR-30 families, which are important negative regulators of cell migration, invasion, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), processes that are overactivated in ATC. Therefore, molecular interference to restore the expression of tumor suppressor miRNAs, or to blunt overexpressed oncogenic miRNAs, is a promising therapeutic approach to ameliorate the treatment of ATC. In this review, we will explore the importance of miRNA deregulation for ATC cell biology. PMID:25202329

  11. Spatial Simulations in Systems Biology: From Molecules to Cells

    PubMed Central

    Klann, Michael; Koeppl, Heinz

    2012-01-01

    Cells are highly organized objects containing millions of molecules. Each biomolecule has a specific shape in order to interact with others in the complex machinery. Spatial dynamics emerge in this system on length and time scales which can not yet be modeled with full atomic detail. This review gives an overview of methods which can be used to simulate the complete cell at least with molecular detail, especially Brownian dynamics simulations. Such simulations require correct implementation of the diffusion-controlled reaction scheme occurring on this level. Implementations and applications of spatial simulations are presented, and finally it is discussed how the atomic level can be included for instance in multi-scale simulation methods. PMID:22837728

  12. Spatial simulations in systems biology: from molecules to cells.

    PubMed

    Klann, Michael; Koeppl, Heinz

    2012-01-01

    Cells are highly organized objects containing millions of molecules. Each biomolecule has a specific shape in order to interact with others in the complex machinery. Spatial dynamics emerge in this system on length and time scales which can not yet be modeled with full atomic detail. This review gives an overview of methods which can be used to simulate the complete cell at least with molecular detail, especially Brownian dynamics simulations. Such simulations require correct implementation of the diffusion-controlled reaction scheme occurring on this level. Implementations and applications of spatial simulations are presented, and finally it is discussed how the atomic level can be included for instance in multi-scale simulation methods.

  13. Detection of biological molecules using chemical amplification and optical sensors

    DOEpatents

    Van Antwerp, William Peter; Mastrototaro, John Joseph

    2001-01-01

    Methods are provided for the determination of the concentration of biological levels of polyhydroxylated compounds, particularly glucose. The methods utilize an amplification system that is an analyte transducer immobilized in a polymeric matrix, where the system is implantable and biocompatible. Upon interrogation by an optical system, the amplification system produces a signal capable of detection external to the skin of the patient. Quantitation of the analyte of interest is achieved by measurement of the emitted signal. Specifically, the analyte transducer immobilized in a polymeric matrix can be a boronic acid moiety.

  14. Elucidation of the Mechanism of Gene Silencing using Small Interferin RNA: DNA Hybrid Molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Dugan, L

    2006-02-08

    The recent discovery that short hybrid RNA:DNA molecules (siHybrids) induce long-term silencing of gene expression in mammalian cells conflicts with the currently hypothesized mechanisms explaining the action of small, interfering RNA (siRNA). As a first step to elucidating the mechanism for this effect, we set out to quantify the delivery of siHybrids and determine their cellular localization in mammalian cells. We then tracked the segregation of the siHybrids into daughter cells after cell division. Markers for siHybrid delivery were shown to enter cells with and without the use of a transfection agent. Furthermore, delivery without transfection agent only occurred after a delay of 2-4 hours, suggesting a degradation process occurring in the cell culture media. Therefore, we studied the effects of nucleases and backbone modifications on the stability of siHybrids under cell culture conditions.

  15. Identification of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Pre-mRNA Splicing*

    PubMed Central

    Pawellek, Andrea; McElroy, Stuart; Samatov, Timur; Mitchell, Lee; Woodland, Andrew; Ryder, Ursula; Gray, David; Lührmann, Reinhard; Lamond, Angus I.

    2014-01-01

    Eukaryotic pre-mRNA splicing is an essential step in gene expression for all genes that contain introns. In contrast to transcription and translation, few well characterized chemical inhibitors are available with which to dissect the splicing process, particularly in cells. Therefore, the identification of specific small molecules that either inhibit or modify pre-mRNA splicing would be valuable for research and potentially also for therapeutic applications. We have screened a highly curated library of 71,504 drug-like small molecules using a high throughput in vitro splicing assay. This identified 10 new compounds that both inhibit pre-mRNA splicing in vitro and modify splicing of endogenous pre-mRNA in cells. One of these splicing modulators, DDD00107587 (termed “madrasin,” i.e. 2-((7methoxy-4-methylquinazolin-2-yl)amino)-5,6-dimethylpyrimidin-4(3H)-one RNAsplicing inhibitor), was studied in more detail. Madrasin interferes with the early stages of spliceosome assembly and stalls spliceosome assembly at the A complex. Madrasin is cytotoxic at higher concentrations, although at lower concentrations it induces cell cycle arrest, promotes a specific reorganization of subnuclear protein localization, and modulates splicing of multiple pre-mRNAs in both HeLa and HEK293 cells. PMID:25281741

  16. Direct observation of mobility state transitions in RNA trajectories by sensitive single molecule feedback tracking

    PubMed Central

    Spille, Jan-Hendrik; Kaminski, Tim P.; Scherer, Katharina; Rinne, Jennifer S.; Heckel, Alexander; Kubitscheck, Ulrich

    2015-01-01

    Observation and tracking of fluorescently labeled molecules and particles in living cells reveals detailed information about intracellular processes on the molecular level. Whereas light microscopic particle observation is usually limited to two-dimensional projections of short trajectory segments, we report here image-based real-time three-dimensional single particle tracking in an active feedback loop with single molecule sensitivity. We tracked particles carrying only 1–3 fluorophores deep inside living tissue with high spatio-temporal resolution. Using this approach, we succeeded to acquire trajectories containing several hundred localizations. We present statistical methods to find significant deviations from random Brownian motion in such trajectories. The analysis allowed us to directly observe transitions in the mobility of ribosomal (r)RNA and Balbiani ring (BR) messenger (m)RNA particles in living Chironomus tentans salivary gland cell nuclei. We found that BR mRNA particles displayed phases of reduced mobility, while rRNA particles showed distinct binding events in and near nucleoli. PMID:25414330

  17. Inhibition of Non-ATG Translational Events in Cells via Covalent Small Molecules Targeting RNA

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Wang-Yong; Wilson, Henry D.; Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep

    2016-01-01

    One major class of disease-causing RNAs is expanded repeating transcripts. These RNAs cause diseases via multiple mechanisms, including: (i) gain-of-function, in which repeating RNAs bind and sequester proteins involved in RNA biogenesis and (ii) repeat associated non-ATG (RAN) translation, in which repeating transcripts are translated into toxic proteins without use of a canonical, AUG, start codon. Herein, we develop and study chemical probes that bind and react with an expanded r(CGG) repeat (r(CGG)exp) present in a 5′ untranslated region that causes fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Reactive compounds bind to r(CGG)exp in cellulo as shown with Chem-CLIP-Map, an approach to map small molecule binding sites within RNAs in cells. Compounds also potently improve FXTAS-associated pre-mRNA splicing and RAN translational defects, while not affecting translation of the downstream open reading frame. In contrast, oligonucleotides affect both RAN and canonical translation when they bind to r(CGG)exp, which is mechanistically traced to a decrease in polysome loading. Thus, designer small molecules that react with RNA targets can be used to profile the RNAs to which they bind in cells, including identification of binding sites, and can modulate several aspects of RNA-mediated disease pathology in a manner that may be more beneficial than oligonucleotides. PMID:25825793

  18. Inhibition of Non-ATG Translational Events in Cells via Covalent Small Molecules Targeting RNA.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wang-Yong; Wilson, Henry D; Velagapudi, Sai Pradeep; Disney, Matthew D

    2015-04-29

    One major class of disease-causing RNAs is expanded repeating transcripts. These RNAs cause diseases via multiple mechanisms, including: (i) gain-of-function, in which repeating RNAs bind and sequester proteins involved in RNA biogenesis and (ii) repeat associated non-ATG (RAN) translation, in which repeating transcripts are translated into toxic proteins without use of a canonical, AUG, start codon. Herein, we develop and study chemical probes that bind and react with an expanded r(CGG) repeat (r(CGG)(exp)) present in a 5' untranslated region that causes fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Reactive compounds bind to r(CGG)(exp) in cellulo as shown with Chem-CLIP-Map, an approach to map small molecule binding sites within RNAs in cells. Compounds also potently improve FXTAS-associated pre-mRNA splicing and RAN translational defects, while not affecting translation of the downstream open reading frame. In contrast, oligonucleotides affect both RAN and canonical translation when they bind to r(CGG)(exp), which is mechanistically traced to a decrease in polysome loading. Thus, designer small molecules that react with RNA targets can be used to profile the RNAs to which they bind in cells, including identification of binding sites, and can modulate several aspects of RNA-mediated disease pathology in a manner that may be more beneficial than oligonucleotides.

  19. Single molecule fluorescence microscopy for ultra-sensitive RNA expression profiling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hesse, Jan; Jacak, Jaroslaw; Regl, Gerhard; Eichberger, Thomas; Aberger, Fritz; Schlapak, Robert; Howorka, Stefan; Muresan, Leila; Frischauf, Anna-Maria; Schütz, Gerhard J.

    2007-02-01

    We developed a microarray analysis platform for ultra-sensitive RNA expression profiling of minute samples. It utilizes a novel scanning system for single molecule fluorescence detection on cm2 size samples in combination with specialized biochips, optimized for low autofluorescence and weak unspecific adsorption. 20 μg total RNA was extracted from 10 6 cells of a human keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT) and reversely transcribed in the presence of Alexa647-aha-dUTP. 1% of the resulting labeled cDNA was used for complex hybridization to a custom-made oligonucleotide microarray representing a set of 125 different genes. For low abundant genes, individual cDNA molecules hybridized to the microarray spots could be resolved. Single cDNA molecules hybridized to the chip surface appeared as diffraction limited features in the fluorescence images. The à trous wavelet method was utilized for localization and counting of the separated cDNA signals. Subsequently, the degree of labeling of the localized cDNA molecules was determined by brightness analysis for the different genes. Variations by factors up to 6 were found, which in conventional microarray analysis would result in a misrepresentation of the relative abundance of mRNAs.

  20. Electrochemically etched nanoporous silicon membrane for separation of biological molecules in mixture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burham, Norhafizah; Azlan Hamzah, Azrul; Yunas, Jumril; Yeop Majlis, Burhanuddin

    2017-07-01

    This paper presents a technique for separating biological molecules in mixture using nanoporous silicon membrane. Nanopores were formed using electrochemical etching process (ECE) by etching a prefabricated silicon membrane in hydrofluoric acid (HF) and ethanol, and then directly bonding it with PDMS to form a complete filtration system for separating biological molecules. Tygon S3™ tubings were used as fluid interconnection between PDMS molds and silicon membrane during testing. Electrochemical etching parameters were manipulated to control pore structure and size. In this work, nanopores with sizes of less than 50 nm, embedded on top of columnar structures have been fabricated using high current densities and variable HF concentrations. Zinc oxide was diluted with deionized (DI) water and mixed with biological molecules and non-biological particles, namely protein standard, serum albumin and sodium chloride. Zinc oxide particles were trapped on the nanoporous silicon surface, while biological molecules of sizes up to 12 nm penetrated the nanoporous silicon membrane. The filtered particles were inspected using a Zetasizer Nano SP for particle size measurement and count. The Zetasizer Nano SP results revealed that more than 95% of the biological molecules in the mixture were filtered out by the nanoporous silicon membrane. The nanoporous silicon membrane fabricated in this work is integratable into bio-MEMS and Lab-on-Chip components to separate two or more types of biomolecules at once. The membrane is especially useful for the development of artificial kidney.

  1. Modal reduction of mathematical models of biological molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Li Aiqin . E-mail: aiqin.li@duke.edu; Dowell, Earl H. . E-mail: dowell@ee.duke.edu

    2006-01-01

    This paper reports a detailed study of modal reduction based on either linear normal mode (LNM) analysis or proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) for modeling a single {alpha}-D-glucopyranose monomer as well as a chain of monomers attached to a moving atomic force microscope (AFM) under harmonic excitations. Also a modal reduction method combining POD and component modal synthesis is developed. The accuracy and efficiency of these methods are reported. The focus of this study is to determine to what extent these methods can reduce the time and cost of molecular modeling and simultaneously provide the required accuracy. It has been demonstrated that a linear reduced order model is valid for small amplitude excitation and low frequency excitation. It is found that a nonlinear reduced order model based on POD modes provides a good approximation even for large excitation while the nonlinear reduced order model using linear eigenmodes as the basis vectors is less effective for modeling molecules with a strong nonlinearity. The reduced order model based on component modal synthesis using POD modes for each component also gives a good approximation. With the reduction in the dimension of the system using these methods the computational time and cost can be reduced significantly.

  2. Cellular and System Biology of Memory: Timing, Molecules, and Beyond.

    PubMed

    Korte, Martin; Schmitz, Dietmar

    2016-04-01

    The storage of information in the mammalian nervous systems is dependent on a delicate balance between change and stability of neuronal networks. The induction and maintenance of processes that lead to changes in synaptic strength to a multistep process which can lead to long-lasting changes, which starts and ends with a highly choreographed and perfectly timed dance of molecules in different cell types of the central nervous system. This is accompanied by synchronization of specific networks, resulting in the generation of characteristic "macroscopic" rhythmic electrical fields, whose characteristic frequencies correspond to certain activity and information-processing states of the brain. Molecular events and macroscopic fields influence each other reciprocally. We review here cellular processes of synaptic plasticity, particularly functional and structural changes, and focus on timing events that are important for the initial memory acquisition, as well as mechanisms of short- and long-term memory storage. Then, we cover the importance of epigenetic events on the long-time range. Furthermore, we consider how brain rhythms at the network level participate in processes of information storage and by what means they participating in it. Finally, we examine memory consolidation at the system level during processes of sleep.

  3. Uncovering the basis for nonideal behavior of biological molecules.

    PubMed

    Rösgen, Jörg; Pettitt, Bernard Montgomery; Bolen, David Wayne

    2004-11-16

    The molecular origin of the nonideal behavior for concentrated binary solutions of biochemical compounds is examined. The difference between activities expressed in the molar and molal conventions can be large. Considering the range from dilute to concentrated, we show that molar activity coefficients can be represented by simple but rigorous equations involving between one and three parameters only. We derive a universal relationship interconverting the scales of molarity and molality without requiring the density of the solution. The equations are developed from first principles using a statistical thermodynamic theory of molar activity coefficients. It is shown how to express activity coefficients in different concentration scales, and the advantages and disadvantages of using certain scales are discussed and compared with the experimental data. Several classes of biochemically relevant compounds, many of which are naturally occurring osmolytes, are discussed: six saccharides (glucose, xylose, maltose, mannose, raffinose, and sucrose), four polyols (glycerol, mannitol, erythritol, and sorbitol), five amino acids (glycine, alanine, sarcosine, glycine betaine, and proline), and urea. Of the 16 solutes, 10 could be described in terms of a single parameter that is due to pure first-order effects (packing, hydration, or space limitation). The remaining six exhibit significant second-order effects (solute-solute interactions) and require two additional parameters, one typically identified with the volume occupied per solute molecule in the pure solute (crystal or liquid) and the other with a self-association constant. The activity coefficients of the osmolytes roughly display the rank order found with respect to their ability to stabilize proteins. These findings are discussed in terms of the physical principles that give rise to the activity coefficients.

  4. Discovery of the first small-molecule CsrA-RNA interaction inhibitors using biophysical screening technologies.

    PubMed

    Maurer, Christine K; Fruth, Martina; Empting, Martin; Avrutina, Olga; Hoßmann, Jörn; Nadmid, Suvd; Gorges, Jan; Herrmann, Jennifer; Kazmaier, Uli; Dersch, Petra; Müller, Rolf; Hartmann, Rolf W

    2016-06-01

    CsrA is a global post-transcriptional regulator protein affecting mRNA translation and/or stability. Widespread among bacteria, it is essential for their full virulence and thus represents a promising anti-infective drug target. Therefore, we aimed at the discovery of CsrA-RNA interaction inhibitors. Results & methodology: We followed two strategies: a screening of small molecules (A) and an RNA ligand-based approach (B). Using surface plasmon resonance-based binding and fluorescence polarization-based competition assays, (A) yielded seven small-molecule inhibitors, among them MM14 (IC50 of 4 µM). (B) resulted in RNA-based inhibitor GGARNA (IC50 of 113 µM). The first small-molecule inhibitors of the CsrA-RNA interaction were discovered exhibiting micromolar affinities. These hits represent tools to investigate the effects of CsrA-RNA interaction inhibition on bacterial virulence.

  5. Surface functionalization of bioactive glasses with natural molecules of biological significance, Part I: Gallic acid as model molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Xin; Ferraris, Sara; Prenesti, Enrico; Verné, Enrica

    2013-12-01

    Gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid, GA) and its derivatives are a group of biomolecules (polyphenols) obtained from plants. They have effects which are potentially beneficial to heath, for example they are antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and antibacterial, as recently investigated in many fields such as medicine, food and plant sciences. The main drawbacks of these molecules are both low stability and bioavailability. In this research work the opportunity to graft GA to bioactive glasses is investigated, in order to deliver the undamaged biological molecule into the body, using the biomaterial surfaces as a localized carrier. GA was considered for functionalization since it is a good model molecule for polyphenols and presents several interesting biological activities, like antibacterial, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. Two different silica based bioactive glasses (SCNA and CEL2), with different reactivity, were employed as substrates. UV photometry combined with the Folin&Ciocalteu reagent was adopted to test the concentration of GA in uptake solution after functionalization. This test verified how much GA consumption occurred with surface modification and it was also used on solid samples to test the presence of GA on functionalized glasses. XPS and SEM-EDS techniques were employed to characterize the modification of material surface properties and functional group composition before and after functionalization.

  6. Abiotic synthesis of RNA in water: a common goal of prebiotic chemistry and bottom-up synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Cafferty, Brian J; Hud, Nicholas V

    2014-10-01

    For more than half a century chemists have searched for a plausible prebiotic synthesis of RNA. The initial advances of the 1960s and 1970s were followed by decades of measured progress and a growing pessimism about overcoming remaining challenges. Fortunately, the past few years have provided a number of important advances, including new abiotic routes for the synthesis of nucleobases, nucleosides, and nucleotides. Recent discoveries also provide additional support for the hypothesis that RNA is the product of evolution, being preceded by ancestral genetic polymers, or pre-RNAs, that are synthesized more easily than RNA. In some cases, parallel searches for plausible prebiotic routes to RNA and pre-RNAs have provided more than one experimentally verified synthesis of RNA substructures and possible predecessors. Just as the synthesis of a contemporary biological molecule cannot be understood without knowledge of cellular metabolism, it is likely that an integrated approach that takes into account both plausible prebiotic reactions and plausible prebiotic environments will ultimately provide the most satisfactory and unifying chemical scenarios for the origin of nucleic acids. In this context, recent advances towards the abiotic synthesis of RNA and candidates for pre-RNAs are beginning to suggest that some molecules (e.g., urea) were multi-faceted contributors to the origin of nucleic acids, and the origin of life. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Molecular analysis of different classes of RNA molecules from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded autoptic tissues: a pilot study.

    PubMed

    Muciaccia, Barbara; Vico, Carmen; Aromatario, Mariarosaria; Fazi, Francesco; Cecchi, Rossana

    2015-01-01

    For a long time, it has been thought that fresh and frozen tissues are the only possible source of biological material useful to extract nucleic acids suitable for downstream molecular analysis. Recently, for forensic purpose such as personal identification, also fixed tissues have been used to recover DNA molecules, whereas RNA extracted from such material is still considered too degraded for gene expression studies. In the present pilot study, we evaluated the possibility to use forensic formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, collected at autopsy at different postmortem intervals (PMI) from four individuals, to perform advanced molecular analyses. In particular, we performed qualitative and quantitative analyses of total RNAs extracted from different FFPE tissues and put expression profiles in relation with the organ type and the duration of PMI. Different classes of RNA molecular targets were studied by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. We report molecular evidence that small RNAs are the only RNA molecules still detectable in all the FFPE autoptic tissues. In particular, microRNAs (miRNAs) represent a consistent, stable, and well-preserved molecular target detectable even from tissue sources displaying signs of ongoing putrefaction at autopsy. In this pilot study, we show that miRNAs could represent a highly sensitive and potentially useful forensic marker. Amplification of specific miRNAs using paraffin-embedded blocks could facilitate retrospective molecular analysis using specific forensic-archived tissues chosen as most suitable according to PMI, and this approach would address molecular evidence in forensic cases in which fresh or frozen material is no longer available.

  8. Analysis of Small Molecule Ligands Targeting the HIV-1 Matrix Protein-RNA Binding Site*

    PubMed Central

    Alfadhli, Ayna; McNett, Henry; Eccles, Jacob; Tsagli, Seyram; Noviello, Colleen; Sloan, Rachel; López, Claudia S.; Peyton, David H.; Barklis, Eric

    2013-01-01

    The matrix domain (MA) of the HIV-1 precursor Gag (PrGag) protein directs PrGag proteins to assembly sites at the plasma membrane by virtue of its affinity to the phospholipid, phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2). MA also binds to RNA at a site that overlaps its PI(4,5)P2 site, suggesting that RNA binding may protect MA from associating with inappropriate cellular membranes prior to PrGag delivery to the PM. Based on this, we have developed an assay in which small molecule competitors to MA-RNA binding can be characterized, with the assumption that such compounds might interfere with essential MA functions and help elucidate additional features of MA binding. Following this approach, we have identified four compounds, including three thiadiazolanes, that compete with RNA for MA binding. We also have identified MA residues involved in thiadiazolane binding and found that they overlap the MA PI(4,5)P2 and RNA sites. Cell culture studies demonstrated that thiadiazolanes inhibit HIV-1 replication but are associated with significant levels of toxicity. Nevertheless, these observations provide new insights into MA binding and pave the way for the development of antivirals that target the HIV-1 matrix domain. PMID:23135280

  9. Inhibition of pathologic immunoglobulin free light chain production by small interfering RNA molecules

    PubMed Central

    Phipps, Jonathan E.; Kestler, Daniel P.; Foster, James S.; Kennel, Stephen J.; Donnell, Robert; Weiss, Deborah T.; Solomon, Alan; Wall, Jonathan S.

    2010-01-01

    Objectives Morbidity and mortality occurring in patients with multiple myeloma, AL amyloidosis, and light chain deposition disease can result from the pathologic deposition of monoclonal Ig light chains (LCs) in kidneys and other organs. To reduce synthesis of such components, therapy for these disorders typically has involved anti-plasma cell agents; however, this approach is not always effective and can have adverse consequences. We have investigated another means to achieve this objective; namely, RNA interference (RNAi). Materials and Methods SP2/O mouse myeloma cells were stably transfected with a construct encoding a λ6 LC (Wil) under control of the CMV promoter, while λ2-producing myeloma cell line RPMI 8226 was purchased from the ATCC. Both were treated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) directed specifically to the V, J, or C portions of the molecules and then analyzed by ELISA, flow cytometry and real time PCR. Results Transfected cells were found to constitutively express detectable quantities of mRNA and protein Wil and, after exposure to siRNAs, an ~40% reduction in mRNA and LC production was evidenced at 48 hours. An even greater effect was seen with the 8226 cells. Conclusion Our results have shown that RNAi can markedly reduce LC synthesis and provide the basis for testing the therapeutic potential of this strategy using in vivo experimental models of multiple myeloma. PMID:20637260

  10. Nuclear export of single native mRNA molecules observed by light sheet fluorescence microscopy.

    PubMed

    Siebrasse, Jan Peter; Kaminski, Tim; Kubitscheck, Ulrich

    2012-06-12

    Nuclear export of mRNA is a key transport process in eukaryotic cells. To investigate it, we labeled native mRNP particles in living Chironomus tentans salivary gland cells with fluorescent hrp36, the hnRNP A1 homolog, and the nuclear envelope by fluorescent NTF2. Using light sheet microscopy, we traced single native mRNA particles across the nuclear envelope. The particles were observed to often probe nuclear pore complexes (NPC) at their nuclear face, and in only 25% of the cases yielded actual export. The complete export process took between 65 ms up to several seconds. A rate-limiting step was observed, which could be assigned to the nuclear basket of the pore and might correspond to a repositioning and unfolding of mRNPs before the actual translocation. Analysis of single fluorescent Dbp5 molecules, the RNA helicase essential for mRNA export, revealed that Dbp5 most often approached the cytoplasmic face of the NPC, and exhibited a binding duration of approximately 55 ms. Our results have allowed a refinement of the current models for mRNA export.

  11. Periodic-shRNA molecules are capable of gene silencing, cytotoxicity and innate immune activation in cancer cells

    PubMed Central

    Shopsowitz, Kevin E.; Wu, Connie; Liu, Gina; Dreaden, Erik C.; Hammond, Paula T.

    2016-01-01

    Large dsRNA molecules can cause potent cytotoxic and immunostimulatory effects through the activation of pattern recognition receptors; however, synthetic versions of these molecules are mostly limited to simple sequences like poly-I:C and poly-A:U. Here we show that large RNA molecules generated by rolling circle transcription fold into periodic-shRNA (p-shRNA) structures and cause potent cytotoxicity and gene silencing when delivered to cancer cells. We determined structural requirements for the dumbbell templates used to synthesize p-shRNA, and showed that these molecules likely adopt a co-transcriptionally folded structure. The cytotoxicity of p-shRNA was robustly observed across four different cancer cell lines using two different delivery systems. Despite having a considerably different folded structure than conventional dsRNA, the cytotoxicity of p-shRNA was either equal to or substantially greater than that of poly-I:C depending on the delivery vehicle. Furthermore, p-shRNA caused greater NF-κB activation in SKOV3 cells compared to poly-I:C, indicating that it is a powerful activator of innate immunity. The tuneable sequence and combined gene silencing, immunostimulatory and cytotoxic capacity of p-shRNA make it an attractive platform for cancer immunotherapy. PMID:26704983

  12. Surface and biological activity of sophorolipid molecules produced by Wickerhamiella domercqiae var. sophorolipid CGMCC 1576.

    PubMed

    Ma, Xiaojing; Li, Hui; Song, Xin

    2012-06-15

    This work investigated the surface and biological activity of lactonic and acidic sophorolipid (SL) molecules differing in the acetylation degree of sophorose, carbon chain length and unsaturation degree of the fatty acid moiety. Six different SL molecules were prepared from crude SLs produced by Wickerhamiella domercqiae var. sophorolipid CGMCC 1576. The structures of the selected SL molecules were elucidated by MS and GC/MS. The surface properties of SLs including critical micelle concentration (CMC), minimum surface tension (Min. S.T.) and emulsification capacity to hydrocarbon and vegetable oils were studied, and the results demonstrated that SL molecules with different structures exhibited quite different surface properties. Cytotoxicities of different SL molecules to Chang liver cells determined by the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethythiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) method showed the effect of chemical structure of the SLs on their biological activities. Biodegradability of these SL molecules was tested using the river-water die-away method. The differences of surface and biological activity in different SL molecules will be of benefit for the applications of these SLs in specific fields such as the detergent, petroleum, pharmaceutical and environment industries. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Connecting synthetic chemistry decisions to cell and genome biology using small-molecule phenotypic profiling

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Bridget K.; Clemons, Paul A.

    2009-01-01

    Discovering small-molecule modulators for thousands of gene products requires multiple stages of biological testing, specificity evaluation, and chemical optimization. Many cellular profiling methods, including cellular sensitivity, gene-expression, and cellular imaging, have emerged as methods to assess the functional consequences of biological perturbations. Cellular profiling methods applied to small-molecule science provide opportunities to use complex phenotypic information to prioritize and optimize small-molecule structures simultaneously against multiple biological endpoints. As throughput increases and cost decreases for such technologies, we see an emerging paradigm of using more information earlier in probe- and drug-discovery efforts. Moreover, increasing access to public datasets makes possible the construction of “virtual” profiles of small-molecule performance, even when multiplexed measurements were not performed or when multidimensional profiling was not the original intent. We review some key conceptual advances in small-molecule phenotypic profiling, emphasizing connections to other information, such as protein-binding measurements, genetic perturbations, and cell states. We argue that to maximally leverage these measurements in probe and drug discovery requires a fundamental connection to synthetic chemistry, allowing the consequences of synthetic decisions to be described in terms of changes in small-molecule profiles. Mining such data in the context of chemical structure and synthesis strategies can inform decisions about chemistry procurement and library development, leading to optimal small-molecule screening collections. PMID:19825513

  14. Small Molecule Amiloride Modulates Oncogenic RNA Alternative Splicing to Devitalize Human Cancer Cells

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Jan-Gowth; Chang, Wen-Hsin; Chow, Lu-Ping; Chan, Wen-Ling; Lin, Hui-Hua; Huang, Hsien-Da; Chang, Ya-Sian; Hung, Cheng-Hao; Yang, Wen-Kuang

    2011-01-01

    Alternative splicing involves differential exon selection of a gene transcript to generate mRNA and protein isoforms with structural and functional diversity. Abnormal alternative splicing has been shown to be associated with malignant phenotypes of cancer cells, such as chemo-resistance and invasive activity. Screening small molecules and drugs for modulating RNA splicing in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line Huh-7, we discovered that amiloride, distinct from four pH-affecting amiloride analogues, could “normalize” the splicing of BCL-X, HIPK3 and RON/MISTR1 transcripts. Our proteomic analyses of amiloride-treated cells detected hypo-phosphorylation of splicing factor SF2/ASF, and decreased levels of SRp20 and two un-identified SR proteins. We further observed decreased phosphorylation of AKT, ERK1/2 and PP1, and increased phosphorylation of p38 and JNK, suggesting that amiloride treatment down-regulates kinases and up-regulates phosphatases in the signal pathways known to affect splicing factor protein phosphorylation. These amiloride effects of “normalized” oncogenic RNA splicing and splicing factor hypo-phosphorylation were both abrogated by pre-treatment with a PP1 inhibitor. Global exon array of amiloride-treated Huh-7 cells detected splicing pattern changes involving 584 exons in 551 gene transcripts, many of which encode proteins playing key roles in ion transport, cellular matrix formation, cytoskeleton remodeling, and genome maintenance. Cellular functional analyses revealed subsequent invasion and migration defects, cell cycle disruption, cytokinesis impairment, and lethal DNA degradation in amiloride-treated Huh-7 cells. Other human solid tumor and leukemic cells, but not a few normal cells, showed similar amiloride-altered RNA splicing with devitalized consequence. This study thus provides mechanistic underpinnings for exploiting small molecule modulation of RNA splicing for cancer therapeutics. PMID:21694768

  15. Tethered particle motion method for studying transcript elongation by a single RNA polymerase molecule.

    PubMed Central

    Yin, H; Landick, R; Gelles, J

    1994-01-01

    Schafer et al. (Nature 352:444-448 (1991)) devised the tethered particle motion (TPM) method to detect directly the movement of single, isolated molecules of a processive nucleic acid polymerase along a template DNA molecule. In TPM studies, the polymerase molecule is immobilized on a glass surface, and a particle (e.g., a 0.23 microns diameter polystyrene bead) is attached to one end of the enzyme-bound DNA molecule. Time-resolved measurements of the DNA contour length between the particle and the immobilized enzyme (the "tether length") are made by determining the magnitude of the Brownian motion of the DNA-tethered particle using light microscopy and digital image processing. We report here improved sample preparation methods that permit TPM data collection on transcript elongation by the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase at rates (approximately 10(2)-fold higher than those previously obtained) sufficient for practical use of microscopic kinetics techniques to analyze polymerase reaction mechanisms. In earlier TPM experiments, calculation of tether length from the observed Brownian motion was based on an untested numerical simulation of tethered bead Brownian motion. Using the improved methods, we have now empirically validated the TPM technique for tether lengths of 308-1915 base pairs (bp) using calibration specimens containing particles tethered by individual DNA molecules of known lengths. TPM analysis of such specimens yielded a linear calibration curve relating observed Brownian motion to tether length and allowed determination of the accuracy of the technique and measurement of how temporal bandwidth, tether length, and other experimental variables affect measurement precision. Under a standard set of experimental conditions (0.23 microns diameter bead, 0.23 Hz bandwidth, 23 degrees), accuracy is 108 and 258 bp r.m.s. at tether lengths of 308 and 1915 bp, respectively. Precision improves linearly with decreasing tether length to an extrapolated

  16. Recent advances in the biology and drug targeting of malaria parasite aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases.

    PubMed

    Khan, Sameena

    2016-04-12

    Escalating drug resistance in malaria parasites and lack of vaccine entails the discovery of novel drug targets and inhibitor molecules. The multi-component protein translation machinery is a rich source of such drug targets. Malaria parasites contain three translational compartments: the cytoplasm, apicoplast and mitochondrion, of which the latter two are of the prokaryotic type. Recent explorations by many groups into the malaria parasite protein translation enzymes, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs), have yielded many promising inhibitors. The understanding of the biology of this unique set of 36 enzymes has become much clearer in recent times. Current review discusses the advances made in understanding of crucial aaRSs from Plasmodium and also the specific inhibitors found against malaria aaRSs.

  17. Dynamics of Translation of Single mRNA Molecules In Vivo.

    PubMed

    Yan, Xiaowei; Hoek, Tim A; Vale, Ronald D; Tanenbaum, Marvin E

    2016-05-05

    Regulation of mRNA translation, the process by which ribosomes decode mRNAs into polypeptides, is used to tune cellular protein levels. Currently, methods for observing the complete process of translation from single mRNAs in vivo are unavailable. Here, we report the long-term (>1 hr) imaging of single mRNAs undergoing hundreds of rounds of translation in live cells, enabling quantitative measurements of ribosome initiation, elongation, and stalling. This approach reveals a surprising heterogeneity in the translation of individual mRNAs within the same cell, including rapid and reversible transitions between a translating and non-translating state. Applying this method to the cell-cycle gene Emi1, we find strong overall repression of translation initiation by specific 5' UTR sequences, but individual mRNA molecules in the same cell can exhibit dramatically different translational efficiencies. The ability to observe translation of single mRNA molecules in live cells provides a powerful tool to study translation regulation.

  18. Small Molecule Targeting of a MicroRNA Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

    PubMed Central

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L.

    2016-01-01

    Development of precision therapeutics is of immense interest, particularly as applied to the treatment of cancer. By analyzing the preferred cellular RNA targets of small molecules, we discovered that 5″-azido neomycin B binds the Drosha processing site in the microRNA (miR)-525 precursor. MiR-525 confers invasive properties to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Although HCC is one of the most common cancers, treatment options are limited, making the disease often fatal. Herein, we find that addition of 5″-azido neomycin B and its FDA-approved precursor, neomycin B, to an HCC cell line selectively inhibits production of the mature miRNA, boosts a downstream protein, and inhibits invasion. Interestingly, neomycin B is a second-line agent for hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and bacterial infections due to cirrhosis. Our results provocatively suggest that neomycin B, or second-generation derivatives, may be dual functioning molecules to treat both HE and HCC. Collectively, these studies show that rational design approaches can be tailored to disease-associated RNAs to afford potential lead therapeutics. PMID:26551630

  19. Small Molecule Targeting of a MicroRNA Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

    PubMed

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Disney, Matthew D

    2016-02-19

    Development of precision therapeutics is of immense interest, particularly as applied to the treatment of cancer. By analyzing the preferred cellular RNA targets of small molecules, we discovered that 5"-azido neomycin B binds the Drosha processing site in the microRNA (miR)-525 precursor. MiR-525 confers invasive properties to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Although HCC is one of the most common cancers, treatment options are limited, making the disease often fatal. Herein, we find that addition of 5"-azido neomycin B and its FDA-approved precursor, neomycin B, to an HCC cell line selectively inhibits production of the mature miRNA, boosts a downstream protein, and inhibits invasion. Interestingly, neomycin B is a second-line agent for hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and bacterial infections due to cirrhosis. Our results provocatively suggest that neomycin B, or second-generation derivatives, may be dual functioning molecules to treat both HE and HCC. Collectively, these studies show that rational design approaches can be tailored to disease-associated RNAs to afford potential lead therapeutics.

  20. Legume genomics: understanding biology through DNA and RNA sequencing

    PubMed Central

    O'Rourke, Jamie A.; Bolon, Yung-Tsi; Bucciarelli, Bruna; Vance, Carroll P.

    2014-01-01

    Background The legume family (Leguminosae) consists of approx. 17 000 species. A few of these species, including, but not limited to, Phaseolus vulgaris, Cicer arietinum and Cajanus cajan, are important dietary components, providing protein for approx. 300 million people worldwide. Additional species, including soybean (Glycine max) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa), are important crops utilized mainly in animal feed. In addition, legumes are important contributors to biological nitrogen, forming symbiotic relationships with rhizobia to fix atmospheric N2 and providing up to 30 % of available nitrogen for the next season of crops. The application of high-throughput genomic technologies including genome sequencing projects, genome re-sequencing (DNA-seq) and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) by the legume research community has provided major insights into genome evolution, genomic architecture and domestication. Scope and Conclusions This review presents an overview of the current state of legume genomics and explores the role that next-generation sequencing technologies play in advancing legume genomics. The adoption of next-generation sequencing and implementation of associated bioinformatic tools has allowed researchers to turn each species of interest into their own model organism. To illustrate the power of next-generation sequencing, an in-depth overview of the transcriptomes of both soybean and white lupin (Lupinus albus) is provided. The soybean transcriptome focuses on analysing seed development in two near-isogenic lines, examining the role of transporters, oil biosynthesis and nitrogen utilization. The white lupin transcriptome analysis examines how phosphate deficiency alters gene expression patterns, inducing the formation of cluster roots. Such studies illustrate the power of next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses in elucidating the gene networks underlying biological processes. PMID:24769535

  1. Single molecule microscopy reveals mechanistic insight into RNA polymerase II preinitiation complex assembly and transcriptional activity.

    PubMed

    Horn, Abigail E; Kugel, Jennifer F; Goodrich, James A

    2016-09-06

    Transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is a complex process that requires general transcription factors and Pol II to assemble on DNA into preinitiation complexes that can begin RNA synthesis upon binding of NTPs (nucleoside triphosphate). The pathways by which preinitiation complexes form, and how this impacts transcriptional activity are not completely clear. To address these issues, we developed a single molecule system using TIRF (total internal reflection fluorescence) microscopy and purified human transcription factors, which allows us to visualize transcriptional activity at individual template molecules. We see that stable interactions between polymerase II (Pol II) and a heteroduplex DNA template do not depend on general transcription factors; however, transcriptional activity is highly dependent upon TATA-binding protein, TFIIB and TFIIF. We also found that subsets of general transcription factors and Pol II can form stable complexes that are precursors for functional transcription complexes upon addition of the remaining factors and DNA. Ultimately we found that Pol II, TATA-binding protein, TFIIB and TFIIF can form a quaternary complex in the absence of promoter DNA, indicating that a stable network of interactions exists between these proteins independent of promoter DNA. Single molecule studies can be used to learn how different modes of preinitiation complex assembly impact transcriptional activity. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  2. Evaluation of a commercially available synthetic RNA lipid enveloped control molecule.

    PubMed

    Maloney, Samuel; Francis, Fleur; Bletchly, Cheryl; Norton, Robert

    2015-01-01

    Detection of viral ribonucleic acid with RT PCR is a useful tool for viral detection. One of the drawbacks of this technique is the difficulty in including an internal control molecule to ensure the validity of the extraction and amplification process. In this study the potential usefulness of a novel lipid enveloped commercially available RNA control molecule is investigated. Initial optimisation of the detection assay was performed by amplification of IC (internal control) spiked into PCR water. Thirty-two clinical respiratory samples were spiked with the IC before and after extraction and RT PCR was then performed. Inefficient extraction was simulated. Inhibition of the RT PCR was achieved by serial dilution of heparin sulfate into samples post extraction. No Targets that matched the IC (Internal Control) primers were identified in 32 extracted sputum samples as determined by the absence of non specific amplification curves. The unextracted IC had an increased CT (cycle threshold) value compared to IC that had been extracted. Inefficient extraction was detected by an increased CT. Increasing concentrations of heparin inhibited the PCR in a predictable fashion. The Bioline IC molecule provides a stable RNA IC that has acceptable performance characteristics. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Structure of the Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2 RNA and Designed Small Molecules That Reduce Toxicity

    PubMed Central

    Park, HaJeung; Lohman, Jeremy R.; Guan, Lirui; Tran, Tuan; Sarkar, Partha; Schatz, George C.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2014-01-01

    Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is an untreatable neuromuscular disorder caused by a r(CCUG) expansion (r(CCUG)exp) that folds into an extended hairpin with periodically repeating 2×2 nucleotide internal loops (5’CCUG/3’GUCC). We designed multivalent compounds that improve DM2-associated defects using information about RNA-small molecule interactions. We also report the first crystal structure of r(CCUG)exp refined to 2.35 Å. Structural analysis of the three 5’CCUG/3’GUCC repeat internal loops (L) reveals that the CU pairs in L1 are each stabilized by one hydrogen bond and a water-mediated hydrogen bond while CU pairs in L2 and L3 are stabilized by two hydrogen bonds. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveal that the CU pairs are dynamic and stabilized by Na+ and water molecules. MD simulations of the binding of the small molecule to r(CCUG) repeats reveal that the lowest free energy binding mode occurs via the major groove, in which one C residue is unstacked and the cross-strand nucleotides are displaced. Moreover, we modeled the binding of our dimeric compound to two 5’CCUG/3’GUCC motifs, which shows that the scaffold on which the RNA-binding modules are displayed provides an optimal distance to span two adjacent loops. PMID:24341895

  4. Structure of the myotonic dystrophy type 2 RNA and designed small molecules that reduce toxicity.

    PubMed

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Yildirim, Ilyas; Park, HaJeung; Lohman, Jeremy R; Guan, Lirui; Tran, Tuan; Sarkar, Partha; Schatz, George C; Disney, Matthew D

    2014-02-21

    Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is an incurable neuromuscular disorder caused by a r(CCUG) expansion (r(CCUG)(exp)) that folds into an extended hairpin with periodically repeating 2×2 nucleotide internal loops (5'CCUG/3'GUCC). We designed multivalent compounds that improve DM2-associated defects using information about RNA-small molecule interactions. We also report the first crystal structure of r(CCUG) repeats refined to 2.35 Å. Structural analysis of the three 5'CCUG/3'GUCC repeat internal loops (L) reveals that the CU pairs in L1 are each stabilized by one hydrogen bond and a water-mediated hydrogen bond, while CU pairs in L2 and L3 are stabilized by two hydrogen bonds. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations reveal that the CU pairs are dynamic and stabilized by Na(+) and water molecules. MD simulations of the binding of the small molecule to r(CCUG) repeats reveal that the lowest free energy binding mode occurs via the major groove, in which one C residue is unstacked and the cross-strand nucleotides are displaced. Moreover, we modeled the binding of our dimeric compound to two 5'CCUG/3'GUCC motifs, which shows that the scaffold on which the RNA-binding modules are displayed provides an optimal distance to span two adjacent loops.

  5. Target deconvolution of bioactive small molecules: the heart of chemical biology and drug discovery.

    PubMed

    Jung, Hye Jin; Kwon, Ho Jeong

    2015-09-01

    Identification of the target proteins of bioactive small molecules isolated from phenotypic screens plays an important role in chemical biology and drug discovery. However, discovering the targets of small molecules is often the most challenging and time-consuming step for chemical biology researchers. To overcome the bottlenecks in target identification, many new approaches based on genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics technologies have been developed. Here, we provide an overview of the current major methodologies for target deconvolution of bioactive small molecules. To obtain an integrated view of the mechanisms of action of small molecules, we propose a systematic approach that involves the combination of multi-omics-based target identification and validation and preclinical target validation.

  6. From physics to biology: A journey through science accompanying the hydrogen bond and the water molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maréchal, Y.

    2008-05-01

    The ubiquity of the hydrogen bond in many various scientific domains comes for a great part from its fundamental geometrical, thermodynamical and dynamical properties, but also owes much to the existence of such an exceptional molecule as the water molecule H 2O. Illustrative examples of up to date problems that are picked in various different scientific fields that extend from physics to biology and strongly involve H-bonds and/or the water molecule are examined. They hopefully show that if science is to propose solutions to newly arising problems humanity has to face, it absolutely needs knowing more about the subtle properties of hydrogen bonds and the often ignored crucial roles of water molecules. The interest of teaching more than is up to now done hydrogen bonds in university courses of physics, chemistry or molecular biology is stressed as a conclusion.

  7. A method to label biological molecules with dsDNA coated gold nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Xing, Ming; Li, Fangliang; Dong, Yingshan; Yu, Zhenxiang; Chen, Xia

    2015-03-01

    We described a new method to label biological molecules using gold nanoparticles (GNPs) and double stranded DNA. Researchers can conveniently label their own samples with GNPs using this method. The label is based on dsDNA with a 93.5% coverage of GNPs (dsDNA:GNP = 303:1). Antigens, streptavidin and biotin were labeled on GNPs and the success of the method was investigated with agarose gel electrophoresis, laser particle size analysis and ultraviolet spectrophotometry. These analyses confirmed that biological molecules were successfully bound to the GNPs. These molecules retained their biological activity and were able to detect targets on PVDF and NC membranes with excellent selectivity and low levels of background. Modified GNPs were also able to detect targets on nylon membranes, but with some degree of false positives. The maximum limit of detection was 25 ng proteins.

  8. Interrogating Biology with Force: Single Molecule High-Resolution Measurements with Optical Tweezers

    PubMed Central

    Capitanio, Marco; Pavone, Francesco S.

    2013-01-01

    Single molecule force spectroscopy methods, such as optical and magnetic tweezers and atomic force microscopy, have opened up the possibility to study biological processes regulated by force, dynamics of structural conformations of proteins and nucleic acids, and load-dependent kinetics of molecular interactions. Among the various tools available today, optical tweezers have recently seen great progress in terms of spatial resolution, which now allows the measurement of atomic-scale conformational changes, and temporal resolution, which has reached the limit of the microsecond-scale relaxation times of biological molecules bound to a force probe. Here, we review different strategies and experimental configurations recently developed to apply and measure force using optical tweezers. We present the latest progress that has pushed optical tweezers’ spatial and temporal resolution down to today’s values, discussing the experimental variables and constraints that are influencing measurement resolution and how these can be optimized depending on the biological molecule under study. PMID:24047980

  9. Single-molecule FRET reveals the pre-initiation and initiation conformations of influenza virus promoter RNA

    PubMed Central

    Robb, Nicole C.; te Velthuis, Aartjan J. W.; Wieneke, Ralph; Tampé, Robert; Cordes, Thorben; Fodor, Ervin; Kapanidis, Achillefs N.

    2016-01-01

    Influenza viruses have a segmented viral RNA (vRNA) genome, which is replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP). Replication initiates on the vRNA 3′ terminus, producing a complementary RNA (cRNA) intermediate, which serves as a template for the synthesis of new vRNA. RNAP structures show the 3′ terminus of the vRNA template in a pre-initiation state, bound on the surface of the RNAP rather than in the active site; no information is available on 3′ cRNA binding. Here, we have used single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) to probe the viral RNA conformations that occur during RNAP binding and initial replication. We show that even in the absence of nucleotides, the RNAP-bound 3′ termini of both vRNA and cRNA exist in two conformations, corresponding to the pre-initiation state and an initiation conformation in which the 3′ terminus of the viral RNA is in the RNAP active site. Nucleotide addition stabilises the 3′ vRNA in the active site and results in unwinding of the duplexed region of the promoter. Our data provide insights into the dynamic motions of RNA that occur during initial influenza replication and has implications for our understanding of the replication mechanisms of similar pathogenic viruses. PMID:27694620

  10. Single-molecule FRET reveals the pre-initiation and initiation conformations of influenza virus promoter RNA.

    PubMed

    Robb, Nicole C; Te Velthuis, Aartjan J W; Wieneke, Ralph; Tampé, Robert; Cordes, Thorben; Fodor, Ervin; Kapanidis, Achillefs N

    2016-12-01

    Influenza viruses have a segmented viral RNA (vRNA) genome, which is replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP). Replication initiates on the vRNA 3' terminus, producing a complementary RNA (cRNA) intermediate, which serves as a template for the synthesis of new vRNA. RNAP structures show the 3' terminus of the vRNA template in a pre-initiation state, bound on the surface of the RNAP rather than in the active site; no information is available on 3' cRNA binding. Here, we have used single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) to probe the viral RNA conformations that occur during RNAP binding and initial replication. We show that even in the absence of nucleotides, the RNAP-bound 3' termini of both vRNA and cRNA exist in two conformations, corresponding to the pre-initiation state and an initiation conformation in which the 3' terminus of the viral RNA is in the RNAP active site. Nucleotide addition stabilises the 3' vRNA in the active site and results in unwinding of the duplexed region of the promoter. Our data provide insights into the dynamic motions of RNA that occur during initial influenza replication and has implications for our understanding of the replication mechanisms of similar pathogenic viruses. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  11. mRNA Molecules Containing Murine Leukemia Virus Packaging Signals Are Encapsidated as Dimers

    PubMed Central

    Hibbert, Catherine S.; Mirro, Jane; Rein, Alan

    2004-01-01

    Prior work by others has shown that insertion of ψ (i.e., leader) sequences from the Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) genome into the 3′ untranslated region of a nonviral mRNA leads to the specific encapsidation of this RNA in MLV particles. We now report that these RNAs are, like genomic RNAs, encapsidated as dimers. These dimers have the same thermostability as MLV genomic RNA dimers; like them, these dimers are more stable if isolated from mature virions than from immature virions. We characterized encapsidated mRNAs containing deletions or truncations of MLV ψ or with ψ sequences from MLV-related acute transforming viruses. The results indicate that the dimeric linkage in genomic RNA can be completely attributed to the ψ region of the genome. While this conclusion agrees with earlier electron microscopic studies on mature MLV dimers, it is the first evidence as to the site of the linkage in immature dimers for any retrovirus. Since the Ψ+ mRNA is not encapsidated as well as genomic RNA, it is only present in a minority of virions. The fact that it is nevertheless dimeric argues strongly that two of these molecules are packaged into particles together. We also found that the kissing loop is unnecessary for this coencapsidation or for the stability of mature dimers but makes a major contribution to the stability of immature dimers. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the packaging signal involves a dimeric structure in which the RNAs are joined by intermolecular interactions between GACG loops. PMID:15452213

  12. Group-10 metal complexes of biological molecules and related ligands: structural and functional properties.

    PubMed

    Shimazaki, Yuichi; Yamauchi, Osamu

    2012-09-01

    The complexes of group-10 metals, Ni, Pd, and Pt, with biological molecules and related ligands have been attracting increasing attention in recent years due to their reactivities and functions, such as catalysts and drugs, and their biological relevance. The well-defined structures and kinetic inertness especially of Pt complexes have been used as the sites for weak interactions with other molecules. The Ni complexes have been reported as models not only for Ni enzymes but also for other metalloenzyme active sites for deeper understanding of the reactivities such as oxygen activations and detailed electronic structures. Pd Complexes are widely known for their catalytic activities in conversions of various organic molecules including useful biological molecules, such as Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling, while Pt complexes have been intensively studied for their antitumor activities. We focus in this review on our recent results on weak interactions and reactivities of the group-10 metal complexes with biological molecules and related compounds, and discuss their structural features and some new properties pointing to functional possibilities. Copyright © 2012 Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta AG, Zürich.

  13. Single-molecule FRET-Rosetta reveals RNA structural rearrangements during human telomerase catalysis.

    PubMed

    Parks, Joseph W; Kappel, Kalli; Das, Rhiju; Stone, Michael D

    2017-02-01

    Maintenance of telomeres by telomerase permits continuous proliferation of rapidly dividing cells, including the majority of human cancers. Despite its direct biomedical significance, the architecture of the human telomerase complex remains unknown. Generating homogeneous telomerase samples has presented a significant barrier to developing improved structural models. Here we pair single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) measurements with Rosetta modeling to map the conformations of the essential telomerase RNA core domain within the active ribonucleoprotein. FRET-guided modeling places the essential pseudoknot fold distal to the active site on a protein surface comprising the C-terminal element, a domain that shares structural homology with canonical polymerase thumb domains. An independently solved medium-resolution structure of Tetrahymena telomerase provides a blind test of our modeling methodology and sheds light on the structural homology of this domain across diverse organisms. Our smFRET-Rosetta models reveal nanometer-scale rearrangements within the RNA core domain during catalysis. Taken together, our FRET data and pseudoatomic molecular models permit us to propose a possible mechanism for how RNA core domain rearrangement is coupled to template hybrid elongation. © 2017 Parks et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.

  14. Deciphering the protein-RNA recognition code: combining large-scale quantitative methods with structural biology.

    PubMed

    Hennig, Janosch; Sattler, Michael

    2015-08-01

    RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are key factors for the regulation of gene expression by binding to cis elements, i.e. short sequence motifs in RNAs. Recent studies demonstrate that cooperative binding of multiple RBPs is important for the sequence-specific recognition of RNA and thereby enables the regulation of diverse biological activities by a limited set of RBPs. Cross-linking immuno-precipitation (CLIP) and other recently developed high-throughput methods provide comprehensive, genome-wide maps of protein-RNA interactions in the cell. Structural biology gives detailed insights into molecular mechanisms and principles of RNA recognition by RBPs, but has so far focused on single RNA binding proteins and often on single RNA binding domains. The combination of high-throughput methods and detailed structural biology studies is expected to greatly advance our understanding of the code for protein-RNA recognition in gene regulation, as we review in this article. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Experimental approaches for addressing fundamental biological questions in living, functioning cells with single molecule precision.

    PubMed

    Lenn, Tchern; Leake, Mark C

    2012-06-01

    In recent years, single molecule experimentation has allowed researchers to observe biological processes at the sensitivity level of single molecules in actual functioning, living cells, thereby allowing us to observe the molecular basis of the key mechanistic processes in question in a very direct way, rather than inferring these from ensemble average data gained from traditional molecular and biochemical techniques. In this short review, we demonstrate the impact that the application of single molecule bioscience experimentation has had on our understanding of various cellular systems and processes, and the potential that this approach has for the future to really address very challenging and fundamental questions in the life sciences.

  16. The evolving biology of small molecules: controlling cell fate and identity.

    PubMed

    Efe, Jem A; Ding, Sheng

    2011-08-12

    Small molecules have been playing important roles in elucidating basic biology and treatment of a vast number of diseases for nearly a century, making their use in the field of stem cell biology a comparatively recent phenomenon. Nonetheless, the power of biology-oriented chemical design and synthesis, coupled with significant advances in screening technology, has enabled the discovery of a growing number of small molecules that have improved our understanding of stem cell biology and allowed us to manipulate stem cells in unprecedented ways. This review focuses on recent small molecule studies of (i) the key pathways governing stem cell homeostasis, (ii) the pluripotent stem cell niche, (iii) the directed differentiation of stem cells, (iv) the biology of adult stem cells, and (v) somatic cell reprogramming. In a very short period of time, small molecules have defined a perhaps universally attainable naive ground state of pluripotency, and are facilitating the precise, rapid and efficient differentiation of stem cells into somatic cell populations relevant to the clinic. Finally, following the publication of numerous groundbreaking studies at a pace and consistency unusual for a young field, we are closer than ever to completely eliminating the need for genetic modification in reprogramming.

  17. Reverse pharmacognosy: identifying biological properties for plants by means of their molecule constituents: application to meranzin.

    PubMed

    Do, Quoc-Tuan; Lamy, Cécile; Renimel, Isabelle; Sauvan, Nancy; André, Patrice; Himbert, Franck; Morin-Allory, Luc; Bernard, Philippe

    2007-10-01

    Reverse pharmacognosy aims at finding biological targets for natural compounds by virtual or real screening and identifying natural resources that contain the active molecules. We report herein a study focused on the identification of biological properties of meranzin, a major component isolated from Limnocitrus littoralis (Miq.) Swingle. Selnergy, an IN SILICO biological profiling software, was used to identify putative binding targets of meranzin. Among the 400 screened proteins, 3 targets were selected: COX1, COX2 and PPARgamma. Binding tests were realised for these 3 protein candidates, as well as two negative controls. The predictions made by Selnergy were consistent with the experimental results, meaning that these 3 targets can be modulated by an extract containing this compound in a suitable concentration. These results demonstrate that reverse pharmacognosy and its inverse docking component is a powerful tool to identify biological properties for natural molecules and hence for plants containing these compounds.

  18. Methods to Study Long Noncoding RNA Biology in Cancer.

    PubMed

    Luo, Man-Li

    Thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been discovered in recent years. The functions of lncRNAs range broadly from regulating chromatin structure and gene expression in the nucleus to controlling messenger RNA (mRNA) processing, mRNA posttranscriptional regulation, cellular signaling, and protein activity in the cytoplasm. Experimental and computational techniques have been developed to characterize lncRNAs in high-throughput scale, to study the lncRNA function in vitro and in vivo, to map lncRNA binding sites on the genome, and to capture lncRNA-protein interactions with the identification of lncRNA-binding partners, binding sites, and interaction determinants. In this chapter, we will discuss these technologies and their applications in decoding the functions of lncRNAs. Understanding these techniques including their advantages and disadvantages and developing them in the future will be essential to elaborate the roles of lncRNAs in cancer and other diseases.

  19. Single Molecule Studies of Transcription: From One RNA Polymerase at a Time to the Gene Expression Profile of a Cell

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Feng; Greene, Eric C.

    2011-01-01

    Single molecule techniques have emerged as powerful tools for deciphering mechanistic details of transcription, and have yielded discoveries that would otherwise have been impossible to make through the use of more traditional biochemical and/or biophysical techniques. Here we provide a brief overview of single molecule techniques most commonly used for studying RNA polymerase and transcription. We then present specific examples of single molecule studies that have contributed to our understanding of key mechanistic details for each different stage of the transcription cycle. Finally, we discuss emerging single molecule approaches and future directions, including efforts to study transcription at the single molecule level in living cells. PMID:21255583

  20. The glmS ribozyme: use of a small molecule coenzyme by a gene-regulatory RNA.

    PubMed

    Ferré-D'Amaré, Adrian R

    2010-11-01

    The glmS ribozyme is the first known example of a natural ribozyme that has evolved to require binding of an exogenous small molecule for activity. In Gram-positive bacteria, this RNA domain is part of the messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding the essential enzyme that synthesizes glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P). When present at physiologic concentration, this small molecule binds to the glmS ribozyme and uncovers a latent self-cleavage activity that ultimately leads to degradation of the mRNA. Biochemical and structural studies reveal that the RNA adopts a rigid fold stabilized by three pseudoknots and the packing of a peripheral domain against the ribozyme core. GlcN6P binding to this pre-organized RNA does not induce conformational changes; rather, the small molecule functions as a coenzyme, providing a catalytically essential amine group to the active site. The ribozyme is not a passive player, however. Active site functional groups are essential for catalysis, even in the presence of GlcN6P. In addition to being a superb experimental system with which to analyze how RNA catalysts can exploit small molecule coenzymes to broaden their chemical versatility, the presence of the glmS ribozyme in numerous pathogenic bacteria make this RNA an attractive target for the development of new antibiotics and antibacterial strategies.

  1. Experimental and Computational Characterization of Biological Liquid Crystals: A Review of Single-Molecule Bioassays

    PubMed Central

    Eom, Kilho; Yang, Jaemoon; Park, Jinsung; Yoon, Gwonchan; Soo Sohn, Young; Park, Shinsuk; Yoon, Dae Sung; Na, Sungsoo; Kwon, Taeyun

    2009-01-01

    Quantitative understanding of the mechanical behavior of biological liquid crystals such as proteins is essential for gaining insight into their biological functions, since some proteins perform notable mechanical functions. Recently, single-molecule experiments have allowed not only the quantitative characterization of the mechanical behavior of proteins such as protein unfolding mechanics, but also the exploration of the free energy landscape for protein folding. In this work, we have reviewed the current state-of-art in single-molecule bioassays that enable quantitative studies on protein unfolding mechanics and/or various molecular interactions. Specifically, single-molecule pulling experiments based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) have been overviewed. In addition, the computational simulations on single-molecule pulling experiments have been reviewed. We have also reviewed the AFM cantilever-based bioassay that provides insight into various molecular interactions. Our review highlights the AFM-based single-molecule bioassay for quantitative characterization of biological liquid crystals such as proteins. PMID:19865530

  2. A semantic web ontology for small molecules and their biological targets.

    PubMed

    Choi, Jooyoung; Davis, Melissa J; Newman, Andrew F; Ragan, Mark A

    2010-05-24

    A wide range of data on sequences, structures, pathways, and networks of genes and gene products is available for hypothesis testing and discovery in biological and biomedical research. However, data describing the physical, chemical, and biological properties of small molecules have not been well-integrated with these resources. Semantically rich representations of chemical data, combined with Semantic Web technologies, have the potential to enable the integration of small molecule and biomolecular data resources, expanding the scope and power of biomedical and pharmacological research. We employed the Semantic Web technologies Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) to generate a Small Molecule Ontology (SMO) that represents concepts and provides unique identifiers for biologically relevant properties of small molecules and their interactions with biomolecules, such as proteins. We instanced SMO using data from three public data sources, i.e., DrugBank, PubChem and UniProt, and converted to RDF triples. Evaluation of SMO by use of predetermined competency questions implemented as SPARQL queries demonstrated that data from chemical and biomolecular data sources were effectively represented and that useful knowledge can be extracted. These results illustrate the potential of Semantic Web technologies in chemical, biological, and pharmacological research and in drug discovery.

  3. Proteins associated with poly(A) and other regions of mRNA and hnRNA molecules as investigated by crosslinking

    SciTech Connect

    Setyono, B.; Greenberg, J.R.

    1981-06-01

    The proteins associated with poly(A) and other regions of mRNA and hnRNA molecules in mouse L cells were investigated with the aid of ultraviolet light-induced crosslinking of proteins to RNA. The poly(A)s of polyribosomal and free cytoplasmic mRNAs are associated with a protein, p78A. In contrast, the poly(A) of hnRNA is associated with a smaller protein, p60A, that differs from p78A in its partial peptide map. p78A occurs free in the cytoplasm, but p60A does not. There is a second 78 kd protein, p78X, associated with mRNA sequences other than poly(A). p78X differs from p78A in its partial peptide map. The total proteins crosslinked to polyribosomal and free cytoplasmic mRNAs are similar. However, the total proteins crosslinked to hnRNA are quite different from those crosslinked to mRNA. We suggest that newly synthesized mRNA molecules emerging from the nucleus into the cytoplasm shed the proteins with which they were associated in the nucleus and become associated with a new set of proteins derived from the cytosol. Furthermore, the cytoplasmic mRNA-associated proteins continue to exchange with free proteins.

  4. Unintended consequences? Water molecules at biological and crystallographic protein-protein interfaces.

    PubMed

    Ahmed, Mostafa H; Habtemariam, Mesay; Safo, Martin K; Scarsdale, J Neel; Spyrakis, Francesca; Cozzini, Pietro; Mozzarelli, Andrea; Kellogg, Glen E

    2013-12-01

    The importance of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is becoming increasingly appreciated, as these interactions lie at the core of virtually every biological process. Small molecule modulators that target PPIs are under exploration as new therapies. One of the greatest obstacles faced in crystallographically determining the 3D structures of proteins is coaxing the proteins to form "artificial" PPIs that lead to uniform crystals suitable for X-ray diffraction. This work compares interactions formed naturally, i.e., "biological", with those artificially formed under crystallization conditions or "non-biological". In particular, a detailed analysis of water molecules at the interfaces of high-resolution (≤2.30 Å) X-ray crystal structures of protein-protein complexes, where 140 are biological protein-protein complex structures and 112 include non-biological protein-protein interfaces, was carried out using modeling tools based on the HINT forcefield. Surprisingly few and relatively subtle differences were observed between the two types of interfaces: (i) non-biological interfaces are more polar than biological interfaces, yet there is better organized hydrogen bonding at the latter; (ii) biological associations rely more on water-mediated interactions with backbone atoms compared to non-biological associations; (iii) aromatic/planar residues play a larger role in biological associations with respect to water, and (iv) Lys has a particularly large role at non-biological interfaces. A support vector machines (SVMs) classifier using descriptors from this study was devised that was able to correctly classify 84% of the two interface types. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Chemical Derivatives of a Small Molecule Deubiquitinase Inhibitor Have Antiviral Activity against Several RNA Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Hernandez, Marta J.; Pal, Anupama; Gyan, Kofi E.; Charbonneau, Marie-Eve; Showalter, Hollis D.; Donato, Nicholas J.; O'Riordan, Mary; Wobus, Christiane E.

    2014-01-01

    Most antiviral treatment options target the invading pathogen and unavoidably encounter loss of efficacy as the pathogen mutates to overcome replication restrictions. A good strategy for circumventing drug resistance, or for pathogens without treatment options, is to target host cell proteins that are utilized by viruses during infection. The small molecule WP1130 is a selective deubiquitinase inhibitor shown previously to successfully reduce replication of noroviruses and some other RNA viruses. In this study, we screened a library of 31 small molecule derivatives of WP1130 to identify compounds that retained the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of the parent compound in vitro but exhibited improved drug-like properties, particularly increased aqueous solubility. Seventeen compounds significantly reduced murine norovirus infection in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells, with four causing decreases in viral titers that were similar or slightly better than WP1130 (1.9 to 2.6 log scale). Antiviral activity was observed following pre-treatment and up to 1 hour postinfection in RAW 264.7 cells as well as in primary bone marrow-derived macrophages. Treatment of the human norovirus replicon system cell line with the same four compounds also decreased levels of Norwalk virus RNA. No significant cytotoxicity was observed at the working concentration of 5 µM for all compounds tested. In addition, the WP1130 derivatives maintained their broad-spectrum antiviral activity against other RNA viruses, Sindbis virus, LaCrosse virus, encephalomyocarditis virus, and Tulane virus. Thus, altering structural characteristics of WP1130 can maintain effective broad-spectrum antiviral activity while increasing aqueous solubility. PMID:24722666

  6. Chemical derivatives of a small molecule deubiquitinase inhibitor have antiviral activity against several RNA viruses.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Hernandez, Marta J; Pal, Anupama; Gyan, Kofi E; Charbonneau, Marie-Eve; Showalter, Hollis D; Donato, Nicholas J; O'Riordan, Mary; Wobus, Christiane E

    2014-01-01

    Most antiviral treatment options target the invading pathogen and unavoidably encounter loss of efficacy as the pathogen mutates to overcome replication restrictions. A good strategy for circumventing drug resistance, or for pathogens without treatment options, is to target host cell proteins that are utilized by viruses during infection. The small molecule WP1130 is a selective deubiquitinase inhibitor shown previously to successfully reduce replication of noroviruses and some other RNA viruses. In this study, we screened a library of 31 small molecule derivatives of WP1130 to identify compounds that retained the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of the parent compound in vitro but exhibited improved drug-like properties, particularly increased aqueous solubility. Seventeen compounds significantly reduced murine norovirus infection in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells, with four causing decreases in viral titers that were similar or slightly better than WP1130 (1.9 to 2.6 log scale). Antiviral activity was observed following pre-treatment and up to 1 hour postinfection in RAW 264.7 cells as well as in primary bone marrow-derived macrophages. Treatment of the human norovirus replicon system cell line with the same four compounds also decreased levels of Norwalk virus RNA. No significant cytotoxicity was observed at the working concentration of 5 µM for all compounds tested. In addition, the WP1130 derivatives maintained their broad-spectrum antiviral activity against other RNA viruses, Sindbis virus, LaCrosse virus, encephalomyocarditis virus, and Tulane virus. Thus, altering structural characteristics of WP1130 can maintain effective broad-spectrum antiviral activity while increasing aqueous solubility.

  7. How to switch the motor on: RNA polymerase initiation steps at the single-molecule level.

    PubMed

    Marchetti, M; Malinowska, A; Heller, I; Wuite, G J L

    2017-07-01

    RNA polymerase (RNAP) is the central motor of gene expression since it governs the process of transcription. In prokaryotes, this holoenzyme is formed by the RNAP core and a sigma factor. After approaching and binding the specific promoter site on the DNA, the holoenzyme-promoter complex undergoes several conformational transitions that allow unwinding and opening of the DNA duplex. Once the first DNA basepairs (∼10 bp) are transcribed in an initial transcription process, the enzyme unbinds from the promoter and proceeds downstream along the DNA while continuously opening the helix and polymerizing the ribonucleotides in correspondence with the template DNA sequence. When the gene is transcribed into RNA, the process generally is terminated and RNAP unbinds from the DNA. The first step of transcription-initiation, is considered the rate-limiting step of the entire process. This review focuses on the single-molecule studies that try to reveal the key steps in the initiation phase of bacterial transcription. Such single-molecule studies have, for example, allowed real-time observations of the RNAP target search mechanism, a mechanism still under debate. Moreover, single-molecule studies using Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) revealed the conformational changes that the enzyme undergoes during initiation. Force-based techniques such as scanning force microscopy and magnetic tweezers allowed quantification of the energy that drives the RNAP translocation along DNA and its dynamics. In addition to these in vitro experiments, single particle tracking in vivo has provided a direct quantification of the relative populations in each phase of transcription and their locations within the cell. © 2017 The Protein Society.

  8. RNA molecules with conserved catalytic cores but variable peripheries fold along unique energetically optimized pathways

    PubMed Central

    Mitra, Somdeb; Laederach, Alain; Golden, Barbara L.; Altman, Russ B.; Brenowitz, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Functional and kinetic constraints must be efficiently balanced during the folding process of all biopolymers. To understand how homologous RNA molecules with different global architectures fold into a common core structure we determined, under identical conditions, the folding mechanisms of three phylogenetically divergent group I intron ribozymes. These ribozymes share a conserved functional core defined by topologically equivalent tertiary motifs but differ in their primary sequence, size, and structural complexity. Time-resolved hydroxyl radical probing of the backbone solvent accessible surface and catalytic activity measurements integrated with structural-kinetic modeling reveal that each ribozyme adopts a unique strategy to attain the conserved functional fold. The folding rates are not dictated by the size or the overall structural complexity, but rather by the strength of the constituent tertiary motifs which, in turn, govern the structure, stability, and lifetime of the folding intermediates. A fundamental general principle of RNA folding emerges from this study: The dominant folding flux always proceeds through an optimally structured kinetic intermediate that has sufficient stability to act as a nucleating scaffold while retaining enough conformational freedom to avoid kinetic trapping. Our results also suggest a potential role of naturally selected peripheral A-minor interactions in balancing RNA structural stability with folding efficiency. PMID:21712400

  9. Imaging of single mRNA molecules moving within a living cell nucleus

    SciTech Connect

    Tadakuma, Hisashi; Ishihama, Yo; Shibuya, Toshiharu; Tani, Tokio; Funatsu, Takashi . E-mail: funatsu@mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp

    2006-06-09

    In eukaryotic cells, pre-mRNAs are transcribed in the nucleus, processed by 5' capping, 3'-polyadenylation, and splicing, and exported to the cytoplasm for translation. To examine the nuclear mRNA transport mechanism, intron-deficient mRNAs of truncated {beta}-globin and EGFP were synthesized, fluorescently labeled in vitro, and injected into the nucleus of living Xenopus A6 cells. The trajectories of single mRNA molecules in the nucleus were visualized using video-rate confocal microscopy. Approximately half the mRNAs moved by Brownian motion in the nucleoplasm, except the nucleoli, with an apparent diffusion coefficient of 0.2 {mu}m{sup 2}/s, about 1/150 of that in water. The slow diffusion could not be explained by simple diffusion obeying the Stokes-Einstein equation, suggesting interactions of the mRNAs with nuclear components. The remaining mRNAs were stationary with an average residence time of about 30 s, comparable to the time required for mRNA diffusion from the site of synthesis to nuclear pores.

  10. Rationally designed small molecules that target both the DNA and RNA causing myotonic dystrophy type 1.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Lien; Luu, Long M; Peng, Shaohong; Serrano, Julio F; Chan, H Y Edwin; Zimmerman, Steven C

    2015-11-11

    Single-agent, single-target therapeutic approaches are often limited by a complex disease pathobiology. We report rationally designed, multi-target agents for myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). DM1 originates in an abnormal expansion of CTG repeats (CTG(exp)) in the DMPK gene. The resultant expanded CUG transcript (CUG(exp)) identified as a toxic agent sequesters important proteins, such as muscleblind-like proteins (MBNL), undergoes repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation, and potentially causes microRNA dysregulation. We report rationally designed small molecules that target the DM1 pathobiology in vitro in three distinct ways by acting simultaneously as transcription inhibitors, by inhibiting aberrant protein binding to the toxic RNA, and by acting as RNase mimics to degrade the toxic RNA. In vitro, the agents are shown to (1) bind CTG(exp) and inhibit formation of the CUG(exp) transcript, (2) bind CUG(exp) and inhibit sequestration of MBNL1, and (3) cleave CUG(exp) in an RNase-like manner. The most potent compounds are capable of reducing the levels of CUG(exp) in DM1 model cells, and one reverses two separate CUG(exp)-induced phenotypes in a DM1 Drosophila model.

  11. Targeting Th17 Cells with Small Molecules and Small Interference RNA.

    PubMed

    Lin, Hui; Song, Pingfang; Zhao, Yi; Xue, Li-Jia; Liu, Yi; Chu, Cong-Qiu

    2015-01-01

    T helper 17 (Th17) cells play a central role in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases via the production of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin- (IL-) 17, IL-17F, and IL-22. Anti-IL-17 monoclonal antibodies show potent efficacy in psoriasis but poor effect in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Crohn's disease. Alternative agents targeting Th17 cells may be a better way to inhibit the development and function of Th17 cells than antibodies of blocking a single effector cytokine. Retinoic acid-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) which acts as the master transcription factor of Th17 differentiation has been an attractive pharmacologic target for the treatment of Th17-mediated autoimmune disease. Recent progress in technology of chemical screen and engineering nucleic acid enable two new classes of therapeutics targeting RORγt. Chemical screen technology identified several small molecule specific inhibitors of RORγt from a small molecule library. Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) technology enabled target specific aptamers to be isolated from a random sequence oligonucleotide library. In this review, we highlight the development and therapeutic potential of small molecules inhibiting Th17 cells by targeting RORγt and aptamer mediated CD4(+) T cell specific delivery of small interference RNA against RORγt gene expression to inhibit pathogenic effector functions of Th17 lineage.

  12. MicroRNA-regulated networks: the perfect storm for classical molecular biology, the ideal scenario for systems biology.

    PubMed

    Vera, Julio; Lai, Xin; Schmitz, Ulf; Wolkenhauer, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in many regulatory pathways some of which are complex networks enriched in regulatory motifs like positive or negative feedback loops or coherent and incoherent feedforward loops. Their complexity makes the understanding of their regulation difficult and the interpretation of experimental data cumbersome. In this book chapter we claim that systems biology is the appropriate approach to investigate the regulation of these miRNA-regulated networks. Systems biology is an interdisciplinary approach by which biomedical questions on biochemical networks are addressed by integrating experiments with mathematical modelling and simulation. We here introduce the foundations of the systems biology approach, the basic theoretical and computational tools used to perform model-based analyses of miRNA-regulated networks and review the scientific literature in systems biology of miRNA regulation, with a focus on cancer.

  13. Determination of the Absolute Number of Cytokine mRNA Molecules within Individual Activated Human T Cells

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Karr, Laurel J.; Marshall, Gwen; Hockett, Richard D.; Bucy, R. Pat; Curreri, Peter A. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    A primary function of activated T cells is the expression and subsequent secretion of cytokines, which orchestrate the differentiation of other lymphocytes, modulate antigen presenting cell activity, and alter vascular endothelium to mediate an immune response. Since many features of immune regulation probably result from modest alterations of endogenous rates of multiple interacting processes, quantitative analysis of the frequency and specific activity of individual T cells is critically important. Using a coordinated set of quantitative methods, the absolute number of molecules of several key cytokine mRNA species in individual T cells has been determined. The frequency of human blood T cells activated in vitro by mitogens and recall protein antigens was determined by intracellular cytokine protein staining, in situ hybridization for cytokine mRNA, and by limiting dilution analysis for cytokine mRNA+ cells. The absolute number of mRNA molecules was simultaneously determined in both homogenates of the entire population of cells and in individual cells obtained by limiting dilution, using a quantitative, competitive RT-PCR assay. The absolute numbers of mRNA molecules in a population of cells divided by the frequency of individual positive cells, yielded essentially the same number of mRNA molecules per cell as direct analysis of individual cells by limiting dilution analysis. Mean numbers of mRNA per positive cell from both mitogen and antigen activated T cells, using these stimulation conditions, were 6000 for IL-2, 6300 for IFN-gamma, and 1600 for IL-4.

  14. The glmS ribozyme: use of a small molecule coenzyme by a gene-regulatory RNA

    PubMed Central

    Ferré-D’Amaré, Adrian R.

    2012-01-01

    The glmS ribozyme is the first known example of a natural ribozyme that has evolved to require binding of an exogenous small molecule for activity. In Gram-positive bacteria, this RNA domain is part of the mRNA encoding the essential enzyme that synthesizes glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P). When present at physiologic concentration, this small molecule binds to the glmS ribozyme and uncovers a latent self-cleavage activity that ultimately leads to degradation of the mRNA. Biochemical and structural studies reveal that the RNA adopts a rigid fold stabilized by three pseudoknots and the packing of a peripheral domain against the ribozyme core. GlcN6P binding to this pre-organized RNA does not induce conformational changes; rather, the small molecule functions as a co-enzyme, providing a catalytically essential amine group to the active site. The ribozyme is not a passive player, however. Active site functional groups are essential for activity, even in the presence of GlcN6P. In addition to being a superb experimental system with which to analyze how RNA catalysts can exploit small molecule coenzymes to broaden their chemical versatility, the presence of the glmS ribozyme in numerous pathogenic bacteria make this RNA an attractive target for the development of new antibiotics and antibacterial strategies. PMID:20822574

  15. Determination of the Absolute Number of Cytokine mRNA Molecules within Individual Activated Human T Cells

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Karr, Laurel J.; Marshall, Gwen; Hockett, Richard D.; Bucy, R. Pat; Curreri, Peter A. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    A primary function of activated T cells is the expression and subsequent secretion of cytokines, which orchestrate the differentiation of other lymphocytes, modulate antigen presenting cell activity, and alter vascular endothelium to mediate an immune response. Since many features of immune regulation probably result from modest alterations of endogenous rates of multiple interacting processes, quantitative analysis of the frequency and specific activity of individual T cells is critically important. Using a coordinated set of quantitative methods, the absolute number of molecules of several key cytokine mRNA species in individual T cells has been determined. The frequency of human blood T cells activated in vitro by mitogens and recall protein antigens was determined by intracellular cytokine protein staining, in situ hybridization for cytokine mRNA, and by limiting dilution analysis for cytokine mRNA+ cells. The absolute number of mRNA molecules was simultaneously determined in both homogenates of the entire population of cells and in individual cells obtained by limiting dilution, using a quantitative, competitive RT-PCR assay. The absolute numbers of mRNA molecules in a population of cells divided by the frequency of individual positive cells, yielded essentially the same number of mRNA molecules per cell as direct analysis of individual cells by limiting dilution analysis. Mean numbers of mRNA per positive cell from both mitogen and antigen activated T cells, using these stimulation conditions, were 6000 for IL-2, 6300 for IFN-gamma, and 1600 for IL-4.

  16. SERS of whole-cell bacteria and trace levels of biological molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzelian, Andrew A.; Sylvia, James M.; Janni, James A.; Clauson, Susan L.; Spencer, Kevin M.

    2002-02-01

    Through its several orders of magnitude signal enhancement over normal Raman, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) provides an opportunity to extend the benefits of vibrational spectroscopy to trace level detection. SERS in particular holds great potential for biological sensing due to the weak Raman bands of water and the reduction in fluorescence backgrounds from interactions of the analyte with the metal SERS substrate. This work examines the trace level detection of biological molecules and oligomers such as amino acids, peptides, and oligonucleotides as well as the detection of whole cell bacteria. The SERS substrates employed are electrochemically roughened gold. The biological molecules show well-resolved and intense bands that are an effective spectral signature; these bands also persist in corresponding oligomeric compounds. Spectra from whole cell bacteria have been obtained for several species, including gram-positive and gram-negative strains. Viable and nonviable cells have also been examined and significant spectral differences are observed. The results show the potential for using SERS as an analytical tool for the identification of biological molecules and microorganisms with applications in biological agent detection, food and water monitoring, and the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

  17. Principles of Single-Molecule Manipulation and its Application in Biological Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Wei-Hung; Wilson, Jonathan D.; Wijeratne, Sithara S.; Southmayd, Sarah A.; Lin, Kuan-Jiuh; Kiang, Ching-Hwa

    Recent advances in nanoscale manipulation and piconewton force detection provide a unique tool for studying the mechanical and thermodynamic properties of biological molecules and complexes at the single-molecule level. Detailed equilibrium and dynamics information on proteins and DNA have been revealed by single-molecule manipulation and force detection techniques. The atomic force microscope (AFM) and optical tweezers have been widely used to quantify the intra- and inter-molecular interactions of many complex biomolecular systems. In this article, we describe the background, analysis, and applications of these novel techniques. Experimental procedures that can serve as a guide for setting up a single-molecule manipulation system using the AFM are also presented.

  18. Sensors and Biosensors for the Determination of Small Molecule Biological Toxins

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xiang-Hong; Wang, Shuo

    2008-01-01

    The following review of sensors and biosensors focuses on the determination of commonly studied small molecule biological toxins, including mycotoxins and small molecule neurotoxins. Because of the high toxicity of small molecule toxins, an effective analysis technique for determining their toxicity is indispensable. Sensors and biosensors have emerged as sensitive and rapid techniques for toxicity analysis in the past decade. Several different sensors for the determination of mycotoxins and other small molecule neurotoxins have been reported in the literature, and many of these sensors such as tissue biosensors, enzyme sensors, optical immunosensors, electrochemical sensors, quartz crystal sensors, and surface plasmon resonance biosensors are reviewed in this paper. Sensors are a practical and convenient monitoring tool in the area of routine analysis, and their specificity, sensitivity, reproducibility and analysis stability should all be improved in future work. In addition, accuracy field portable sensing devices and multiplexing analysis devices will be important requirement for the future. PMID:27873857

  19. The up-regulation of ferritin expression using a small-molecule ligand to the native mRNA

    PubMed Central

    Tibodeau, Jennifer D.; Fox, Paige M.; Ropp, Patricia A.; Theil, Elizabeth C.; Thorp, H. Holden

    2006-01-01

    The binding of small molecules to distinctive three-dimensional structures in mRNA provides a new dimension in RNA control, previously limited to the targeting of secondary structures with antisense and RNA interference; such targeting can modulate mRNA function and rates of protein biosynthesis. Small molecules that selectively bind the iron-responsive element (IRE), a specific three-dimensional structure in the noncoding region of the ferritin mRNA model that is recognized by the iron-regulatory protein repressor, were identified by using chemical footprinting. The assay used involved an oxoruthenium(IV) complex that oxidizes guanine bases in RNA sequences. Small molecules that blocked oxidation of guanines in the internal loop region were expected to selectively increase the rate of ferritin synthesis, because the internal loop region of the ferritin IRE is distinctive from those of other IREs. The natural product yohimbine was found (based on gel mobility shifts) to block cleavage of the internal loop RNA site by >50% and seemed to inhibit protein binding. In the presence of yohimbine, the rate of biosynthesis of ferritin in a cell-free expression system (rabbit reticulocyte lysate) increased by 40%. Assignment of the IRE–yohimbine interaction as the origin of this effect was supported by a similar increase in synthesis of luciferase protein in a chimera of the IRE and luciferase gene. The identification of a small, drug-like molecule that recognizes a naturally occurring three-dimensional mRNA structure and regulates protein biosynthesis rates raises the possibility that small molecules can regulate protein biosynthesis by selectively binding to mRNA. PMID:16381820

  20. Unbinding forces and energies between a siRNA molecule and a dendrimer measured by force spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Dumitru, Andra C; Herruzo, Elena T; Rausell, Estrella; Ceña, Valentin; Garcia, Ricardo

    2015-12-21

    We have measured the intermolecular forces between small interference RNA (siRNA) and polyamidoamine dendrimers at the single molecular level. A single molecule force spectroscopy approach has been developed to measure the unbinding forces and energies between a siRNA molecule and polyamidoamine dendrimers deposited on a mica surface in a buffer solution. We report three types of unbinding events which are characterized by forces and free unbinding energies, respectively, of 28 pN, 0.709 eV; 38 pN, 0.722 eV; and 50 pN, 0.724 eV. These events reflect different possible electrostatic interactions between the positive charges of one or two dendrimers and the negatively charged phosphate groups of a single siRNA. We have evidence of a high binding affinity of siRNA towards polyamidoamine dendrimers that leads to a 45% probability of measuring specific unbinding events.

  1. Unbinding forces and energies between a siRNA molecule and a dendrimer measured by force spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dumitru, Andra C.; Herruzo, Elena T.; Rausell, Estrella; Ceña, Valentin; Garcia, Ricardo

    2015-11-01

    We have measured the intermolecular forces between small interference RNA (siRNA) and polyamidoamine dendrimers at the single molecular level. A single molecule force spectroscopy approach has been developed to measure the unbinding forces and energies between a siRNA molecule and polyamidoamine dendrimers deposited on a mica surface in a buffer solution. We report three types of unbinding events which are characterized by forces and free unbinding energies, respectively, of 28 pN, 0.709 eV; 38 pN, 0.722 eV; and 50 pN, 0.724 eV. These events reflect different possible electrostatic interactions between the positive charges of one or two dendrimers and the negatively charged phosphate groups of a single siRNA. We have evidence of a high binding affinity of siRNA towards polyamidoamine dendrimers that leads to a 45% probability of measuring specific unbinding events.

  2. Artificial control of gene expression in mammalian cells by modulating RNA interference through aptamer–small molecule interaction

    PubMed Central

    An, Chung-Il; Trinh, Vu B.; Yokobayashi, Yohei

    2006-01-01

    Recent studies have uncovered extensive presence and functions of small noncoding RNAs in gene regulation in eukaryotes. In particular, RNA interference (RNAi) has been the subject of significant investigations for its unique role in post-transcriptional gene regulation and utility as a tool for artificial gene knockdown. Here, we describe a novel strategy for post-transcriptional gene regulation in mammalian cells in which RNAi is specifically modulated through RNA aptamer–small molecule interaction. Incorporation of an RNA aptamer for theophylline in the loop region of a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) designed to silence fluorescent reporter genes led to dose-dependent inhibition of RNAi by theophylline. shRNA cleavage experiments using recombinant Dicer demonstrated that theophylline inhibited cleavage of an aptamer-fused shRNA by Dicer in vitro. Inhibition of siRNA production by theophylline was also observed in vivo. The results presented here provide the first evidence of specific RNA–small molecule interaction affecting RNAi, and a novel strategy to regulate mammalian gene expression by small molecules without engineered proteins. PMID:16606868

  3. Suppression and enhancement of non-native molecules within biological systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, E. A.; Lockyer, N. P.; Vickerman, J. C.

    2006-07-01

    With the aim of evaluating the potential of SIMS to provide molecular information from small molecules within biological systems, here we investigate the effect of different biological compounds as they act as matrices. The results highlight the fact that the chemical environment of a molecule can have a significant effect on its limit of detection. This has implications for the imaging of drugs and xenobiotics in tissue sections and other biological matrices. A 1:1 mixture of the organic acid 2,4,6-trihydroxyacetophenone and the dipeptide valine-valine demonstrates that almost complete suppression of the [M + H] + ion of one compound can be caused by the presence of a compound of higher proton affinity. The significance of this is highlighted when two similar drug molecules, atropine (a neutral molecule) and ipratropium bromide (a quaternary nitrogen containing salt) are mixed with brain homogenate. The atropine [M + H] + ion shows significant suppression whilst the [M - Br] + of ipratopium bromide is detected at an intensity that can be rationalised by its decreased surface concentration. By investigating the effect of two abundant tissue lipids, cholesterol and dipalmitoylphosphatidyl choline (DPPC), on the atropine [M + H] + signal detected in mixtures with these lipids we see that the DPPC has a strong suppressing effect, which may be attributed to gas phase proton transfer.

  4. Multicomponent redox catalysts for reduction of large biological molecules using molecular hydrogen as the reductant

    SciTech Connect

    Chao, S.; Simon, R.A.; Mallouk, T.E.; Wrighton, M.S.

    1988-03-30

    One-electron reduction of the large biological molecules horse heart cytochrome c, sperm whale myoglobin, and horseradish peroxidase using H/sub 2/ as the reductant can be catalyzed by two-component, high surface area heterogeneous catalysts. The catalysts can be prepared by first functionalizing high surface area SiO/sub 2/ with a polycationic polymer into which is dispersed MCl/sub 4//sup 2 -/ (M = Pd, Pt). Reduction with H/sub 2/ yields elemental Pd or Pt dispersed in the polymer. The particles are finally functionalized with a redox polymer derived from hydrolysis of Si(OR)/sub 3/ groups of an N,N'-dialkyl-4,4'-bipyridinium- or from a cobalticenium-based monomer. The two components of the heterogeneous catalysts are the buried noble metal capable of activating the H/sub 2/ and the redox polymer, which can equilibrate both with the noble metal and with the large biological molecule. Reduction of the large biological molecules in aqueous solution can be effected at room temperature and 1 atm H/sub 2/ using the catalysts under conditions where the biological materials would not be reducible with H/sub 2/ alone or when the noble metal alone would be used as the catalyst.

  5. Modulation of Host Biology by Pseudomonas aeruginosa Quorum Sensing Signal Molecules: Messengers or Traitors

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Yi-Chia; Chan, Kok-Gan; Chang, Chien-Yi

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial cells sense their population density and respond accordingly by producing various signal molecules to the surrounding environments thereby trigger a plethora of gene expression. This regulatory pathway is termed quorum sensing (QS). Plenty of bacterial virulence factors are controlled by QS or QS-mediated regulatory systems and QS signal molecules (QSSMs) play crucial roles in bacterial signaling transduction. Moreover, bacterial QSSMs were shown to interfere with host cell signaling and modulate host immune responses. QSSMs not only regulate the expression of bacterial virulence factors but themselves act in the modulation of host biology that can be potential therapeutic targets. PMID:26617576

  6. Modulation of Host Biology by Pseudomonas aeruginosa Quorum Sensing Signal Molecules: Messengers or Traitors.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yi-Chia; Chan, Kok-Gan; Chang, Chien-Yi

    2015-01-01

    Bacterial cells sense their population density and respond accordingly by producing various signal molecules to the surrounding environments thereby trigger a plethora of gene expression. This regulatory pathway is termed quorum sensing (QS). Plenty of bacterial virulence factors are controlled by QS or QS-mediated regulatory systems and QS signal molecules (QSSMs) play crucial roles in bacterial signaling transduction. Moreover, bacterial QSSMs were shown to interfere with host cell signaling and modulate host immune responses. QSSMs not only regulate the expression of bacterial virulence factors but themselves act in the modulation of host biology that can be potential therapeutic targets.

  7. Analyzing abundance of mRNA molecules with a near-infrared fluorescence technique.

    PubMed

    Chen, Ying; Pan, Yan; Zhang, Beibei; Wang, Jinke

    2014-01-01

    This study describes a simple method for analyzing the abundance of mRNA molecules in a total DNA sample. Due to the dependence on the near-infrared fluorescence technique, this method is named near-infrared fluorescence gene expression detection (NIRF-GED). The procedure has three steps: (1) isolating total RNA from detected samples and reverse-transcription into cDNA with a biotin-labeled oligo dT; (2) hybridizing cDNA to oligonucleotide probes coupled to a 96-well microplate; and (3) detecting biotins with NIRF-labeled streptavidin. The method was evaluated by performing proof-in-concept detections of absolute and relative expressions of housekeeping and NF-κB target genes in HeLa cells. As a result, the absolute expression of three genes, Ccl20, Cxcl2, and Gapdh, in TNF-α-uninduced HeLa cells was determined with a standard curve constructed on the same microplate, and the relative expression of five genes, Ccl20, Cxcl2, Il-6, STAT5A, and Gapdh, in TNF-α-induced and -uninduced HeLa cells was measured by using NIRF-GED. The results were verified by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and DNA microarray detections. The biggest advantage of NIRF-GED over the current techniques lies in its independence of exponential or linear amplification of nucleic acids. Moreover, NIRF-GED also has several other benefits, including high sensitivity as low as several fmols, absolute quantification in the range of 9 to 147 fmols, low cDNA consumption similar to qPCR template, and the current medium throughput in 96-well microplate format and future high throughput in DNA microarray format. NIRF-GED thus provides a new tool for analyzing gene transcripts and other nucleic acid molecules.

  8. A renaissance in RNA synthetic biology: new mechanisms, applications and tools for the future.

    PubMed

    Chappell, James; Watters, Kyle E; Takahashi, Melissa K; Lucks, Julius B

    2015-10-01

    Since our ability to engineer biological systems is directly related to our ability to control gene expression, a central focus of synthetic biology has been to develop programmable genetic regulatory systems. Researchers are increasingly turning to RNA regulators for this task because of their versatility, and the emergence of new powerful RNA design principles. Here we review advances that are transforming the way we use RNAs to engineer biological systems. First, we examine new designable RNA mechanisms that are enabling large libraries of regulators with protein-like dynamic ranges. Next, we review emerging applications, from RNA genetic circuits to molecular diagnostics. Finally, we describe new experimental and computational tools that promise to accelerate our understanding of RNA folding, function and design.

  9. Biological analysis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: integration of mRNA and microRNA expression profiles.

    PubMed

    Dong, L; Bi, K H; Huang, N; Chen, C Y

    2016-01-08

    Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a disease that involves progressive accumulation of nonfunctioning lymphocytes and has a low cure rate. There is an urgent requirement to determine the molecular mechanism underlying this disease in order to improve the early diagnosis and treatment of CLL. In this study, genes differentially expressed between CLL samples and age-matched controls were identified using microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA expression profiles. Differentially expressed (DE) miRNA targets were predicted by combining five algorithms. Common genes were obtained on overlapping the DE mRNA and DE miRNA targets. Then, network and module analyses were performed. A total of 239 miRNA targets were predicted and 357 DE mRNAs were obtained. On intersecting miRNA targets and DE mRNAs, 33 common genes were obtained. The protein-protein interaction network and module analysis identified several crucial genes and modules that might be associated with the development of CLL. These DE mRNAs were significantly enriched in the hematopoietic cell lineage (P = 2.58E-4), mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway (P = 0.0025), and leukocyte transendothelial migration pathway (P = 0.0026). Thus, we conducted biological analysis on integration of DE mRNAs and DE miRNAs in CLL, determined gene expression patterns, and screened out several important genes that might be related to CLL.

  10. Single-molecule FRET and crosslinking studies in structural biology enabled by noncanonical amino acids.

    PubMed

    Tyagi, Swati; Lemke, Edward A

    2015-06-01

    Contemporary structural biology research promises more than just static snap-shots of molecular machineries. This goal is not just facilitated by combining different structural biology techniques, but also by new tools from the field of protein and genetic engineering, as well as from chemistry. Genetic encoding of noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) through codon-suppression technology provides an excellent opportunity to probe biomolecules using different structural biology methods. In this article, we review the applications of ncAA incorporation into proteins for determining structural information through various techniques with the main focus on crosslinking mass spectrometry and single-molecule FRET-based techniques. Furthermore, advances and limitations of the incorporation of multiple ncAAs are discussed, with respect to design of an ideal host organism for modern and integrative structural biology research.

  11. Electron impact total cross sections for components of DNA and RNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinodkumar, Minaxi; Limbachiya, Chetan; Barot, Mayuri; Barot, Avani; Swadia, Mohit

    2013-09-01

    Biomolecules, in particular DNA/RNA components are prone to high energy radiation damage which can occur due to primary, secondary or reactive processes. We report electron impact total cross sections (QT) , total elastic cross sections (Qel) and total inelastic cross sections (Qinel) for components of DNA and RNA molecules from threshold to 2000 eV. These components include Uracil (C4H4N2O2) , Thymine (C5H6N2O2) , Cytosine (C4H5N3O),Adenine(C5H5N5) , Guanine (C5H5N5O) and Phosphoric acid (H3PO4) . We have employed Spherical Complex Optical Potential (SCOP) formalism to calculate the total elastic cross sections, total inelastic cross sections and total cross sections. CGL thanks UGC (F.No.40-429/2011 (SR)) and MVK thanks DST, New Delhi for Major Research Project Grant No: SR/S2/LOP-26/2008.

  12. Single-molecule tracking of the transcription cycle by sub-second RNA detection

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zhengjian; Revyakin, Andrey; Grimm, Jonathan B; Lavis, Luke D; Tjian, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Transcription is an inherently stochastic, noisy, and multi-step process, in which fluctuations at every step can cause variations in RNA synthesis, and affect physiology and differentiation decisions in otherwise identical cells. However, it has been an experimental challenge to directly link the stochastic events at the promoter to transcript production. Here we established a fast fluorescence in situ hybridization (fastFISH) method that takes advantage of intrinsically unstructured nucleic acid sequences to achieve exceptionally fast rates of specific hybridization (∼10e7 M−1s−1), and allows deterministic detection of single nascent transcripts. Using a prototypical RNA polymerase, we demonstrated the use of fastFISH to measure the kinetic rates of promoter escape, elongation, and termination in one assay at the single-molecule level, at sub-second temporal resolution. The principles of fastFISH design can be used to study stochasticity in gene regulation, to select targets for gene silencing, and to design nucleic acid nanostructures. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01775.001 PMID:24473079

  13. Self-Assembled Fluorescent Nanoparticles from π-Conjugated Small Molecules: En Route to Biological Applications.

    PubMed

    Schill, Jurgen; Schenning, Albertus P H J; Brunsveld, Luc

    2015-07-01

    Since the development of supramolecular chemical biology, self-organised nano-architectures have been widely explored in a variety of biomedical applications. Functionalized synthetic molecules with the ability of non-covalent assembly in an aqueous environment are typically able to interact with biological systems and are therefore especially interesting for their use in theranostics. Nanostructures based on π-conjugated oligomers are particularly promising as theranostic platforms as they bear outstanding photophysical properties as well as drug loading capabilities. This Feature Article provides an overview on the recent advances in the self-assembly of intrinsically fluorescent nanoparticles from π-conjugated small molecules such as fluorene or perylene based chromophores for biomedical applications. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  14. Amino Acid Specific Effects on RNA Tertiary Interactions: Single-Molecule Kinetic and Thermodynamic Studies.

    PubMed

    Sengupta, Abhigyan; Sung, Hsuan-Lei; Nesbitt, David J

    2016-10-10

    In light of the current models for an early RNA-based universe, the potential influence of simple amino acids on tertiary folding of ribozymal RNA into biochemically competent structures is speculated to be of significant evolutionary importance. In the present work, the folding-unfolding kinetics of a ubiquitous tertiary interaction motif, the GAAA tetraloop-tetraloop receptor (TL-TLR), is investigated by single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer spectroscopy in the presence of natural amino acids both with (e.g., lysine, arginine) and without (e.g., glycine) protonated side chain residues. By way of control, we also investigate the effects of a special amino acid (e.g., proline) and amino acid mimetic (e.g., betaine) that contain secondary or quaternary amine groups rather than a primary amine group. This combination permits systematic study of amino acid induced (or amino acid like) RNA folding dynamics as a function of side chain complexity, pKa, charge state, and amine group content. Most importantly, each of the naturally occurring amino acids is found to destabilize the TL-TLR tertiary folding equilibrium, the kinetic origin of which is dominated by a decrease in the folding rate constant (kdock), also affected by a strongly amino acid selective increase in the unfolding rate constant (kundock). To further elucidate the underlying thermodynamics, single-molecule equilibrium constants (Keq) for TL-TLR folding have been probed as a function of temperature, which reveal an amino acid dependent decrease in both overall exothermicity (ΔΔH° > 0) and entropic cost (-TΔΔS° < 0) for the overall folding process. Temperature-dependent studies on the folding/unfolding kinetic rate constants reveal analogous amino acid specific changes in both enthalpy (ΔΔH(⧧)) and entropy (ΔΔS(⧧)) for accessing the transition state barrier. The maximum destabilization of the TL-TLR tertiary interaction is observed for arginine, which is consistent with early

  15. The corrosion inhibition of iron and aluminum by various naturally occurring biological molecules

    SciTech Connect

    McCafferty, E.; Hansen, D.C.

    1995-12-31

    Biological polymers that exhibit a strong affinity for metal surfaces are increasingly becoming the focus of research toward the development of environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitors. This paper deals with the use of various naturally occurring organic molecules as corrosion inhibitors for iron or aluminum. Among the organic molecules considered are catecholate and hydroxamate siderophores isolated from bacteria, the adhesive protein from the blue mussel Mytilus edulis L, and caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. FTIR analysis, anodic polarization curves, and AC impedance measurements were used to determine the adsorption and effectiveness of the various organic molecules as corrosion inhibitors. Parabactin, a catecholate siderophore, was effective in inhibiting both the corrosion of iron in hydrochloric acid and the pitting of aluminum in 0.1 M sodium chloride. The adhesive protein from the blue mussel was also effective in inhibiting the pitting of aluminum.

  16. Graphene as a transparent conductive support for studying biological molecules by transmission electron microscopy

    SciTech Connect

    Nair, R. R.; Anissimova, S.; Novoselov, K. S.; Blake, P.; Blake, J. R.; Geim, A. K.; Zan, R.; Bangert, U.; Golovanov, A. P.; Morozov, S. V.; Latychevskaia, T.

    2010-10-11

    We demonstrate the application of graphene as a support for imaging individual biological molecules in transmission electron microscope (TEM). A simple procedure to produce free-standing graphene membranes has been designed. Such membranes are extremely robust and can support practically any submicrometer object. Tobacco mosaic virus has been deposited on graphene samples and observed in a TEM. High contrast has been achieved even though no staining has been applied.

  17. Structure-property relationship of quinuclidinium surfactants--Towards multifunctional biologically active molecules.

    PubMed

    Skočibušić, Mirjana; Odžak, Renata; Štefanić, Zoran; Križić, Ivana; Krišto, Lucija; Jović, Ozren; Hrenar, Tomica; Primožič, Ines; Jurašin, Darija

    2016-04-01

    Motivated by diverse biological and pharmacological activity of quinuclidine and oxime compounds we have synthesized and characterized novel class of surfactants, 3-hydroxyimino quinuclidinium bromides with different alkyl chains lengths (CnQNOH; n=12, 14 and 16). The incorporation of non conventional hydroxyimino quinuclidinium headgroup and variation in alkyl chain length affects hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance of surfactant molecule and thereby physicochemical properties important for its application. Therefore, newly synthesized surfactants were characterized by the combination of different experimental techniques: X-ray analysis, potentiometry, electrical conductivity, surface tension and dynamic light scattering measurements, as well as antimicrobial susceptibility tests. Comprehensive investigation of CnQNOH surfactants enabled insight into structure-property relationship i.e., way in which the arrangement of surfactant molecules in the crystal phase correlates with their solution behavior and biologically activity. The synthesized CnQNOH surfactants exhibited high adsorption efficiency and relatively low critical micelle concentrations. In addition, all investigated compounds showed very potent and promising activity against Gram-positive and clinically relevant Gram-negative bacterial strains compared to conventional antimicrobial agents: tetracycline and gentamicin. The overall results indicate that bicyclic headgroup with oxime moiety, which affects both hydrophilicity and hydrophobicity of CnQNOH molecule in addition to enabling hydrogen bonding, has dominant effect on crystal packing and physicochemical properties. The unique structural features of cationic surfactants with hydroxyimino quinuclidine headgroup along with diverse biological activity have made them promising structures in novel drug discovery. Obtained fundamental understanding how combination of different functionalities in a single surfactant molecule affects its physicochemical

  18. Gold nanoparticle wire and integrated wire array for electronic detection of chemical and biological molecules

    DOE PAGES

    Diao, J. J.; Cao, Qing

    2011-03-30

    Nanoparticle wire and integrated nanoparticle wire array have been prepared through a green technique: discontinuous vertical evaporation-driven colloidal deposition. The conducting gold nanoparticle wire made by this technique shows ability for the sensitive electronic detection of chemical and biological molecules due to its high surface to volume ratio. In addition, we also demonstrate a potential usage of integrated gold nanoparticle wire array for the localized detection.

  19. In vivo diffusion MRS investigation of non-water molecules in biological tissues.

    PubMed

    Cao, Peng; Wu, Ed X

    2017-03-01

    Diffusion MRS of non-water molecules offers great potential in directly revealing various tissue microstructures and physiology at both cellular and subcellular levels. In brain, (1) H diffusion MRS has been demonstrated as a new tool for probing normal tissue microstructures and their pathological changes. In skeletal muscle, (1) H diffusion MRS could characterize slow and restricted intramyocellular lipid diffusion, providing a sensitive marker for metabolic alterations, while (31) P diffusion MRS can measure ATP and PCr diffusion, which may reflect the capacity of cellular energy transport, complementing the information from frequently used (31) P MRS in muscle. In intervertebral disk, (1) H diffusion MRS can directly monitor extracellular matrix integrity by quantifying the mobility of macromolecules such as proteoglycans and collagens. In tumor tissue, (13) C diffusion MRS could probe intracellular glycolytic metabolism, while (1) H diffusion MRS may separate the spectrally overlapped lactate and lipid resonances. In this review, recent diffusion MRS studies of these biologically relevant non-water molecules under normal and diseased conditions will be presented. Technical considerations for diffusion MRS experiments will be discussed. With advances in MRI hardware and diffusion methodology, diffusion MRS of non-water molecules is expected to provide increasingly valuable and biologically specific information on tissue microstructures and physiology, complementing the traditional diffusion MRI of small and ubiquitous water molecules. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  20. Insects' RNA Profiling Reveals Absence of "Hidden Break" in 28S Ribosomal RNA Molecule of Onion Thrips, Thrips tabaci.

    PubMed

    Macharia, Rosaline Wanjiru; Ombura, Fidelis Levi; Aroko, Erick Onyango

    2015-01-01

    With an exception of aphids, insects' 28S rRNA is thought to harbor a "hidden break" which cleaves under denaturing conditions to comigrate with 18S rRNA band to exhibit a degraded appearance on native agarose gels. The degraded appearance confounds determination of RNA integrity in laboratories that rely on gel electrophoresis. To provide guidelines for RNA profiles, RNA from five major insect orders, namely, Diptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera, was compared under denaturing and nondenaturing conditions. This study confirmed that although present in most of insect's RNA, the "hidden break" is absent in the 28S rRNA of onion thrips, Thrips tabaci. On the other hand, presence of "hidden break" was depicted in whiteflies' 28S rRNA despite their evolutionary grouping under same order with aphids. Divergence of 28S rRNA sequences confirms variation of both size and composition of gap region among insect species. However, phylogeny reconstruction does not support speciation as a possible source of the hidden break in insect's 28S rRNA. In conclusion, we show that RNA from a given insect order does not conform to a particular banding profile and therefore this approach cannot be reliably used to characterize newly discovered species.

  1. Vibrational spectroscopy and the development of new force fields for biological molecules.

    PubMed

    Gerber, R B; Chaban, G M; Gregurick, S K; Brauer, B

    2003-03-01

    The role of vibrational spectroscopy in the testing of force fields of biological molecules and in the determination of improved force fields is discussed. Analysis shows that quantitative testing of potential energy surfaces by comparison with spectroscopic data generally requires calculations that include anharmonic couplings between different vibrational modes. Applications of the vibrational self-consistent field (VSCF) method to calculations of spectroscopy of biological molecules are presented, and comparison with experiment is used to determine the merits and flaws of various types of force fields. The main conclusions include the following: (1) Potential surfaces from ab initio methods at the level of MP2 yield very satisfactory agreement with spectroscopic experimental data. (2) By the test of spectroscopy, ab initio force fields are considerably superior to the standard versions of force fields such as AMBER or OPLS. (3) Much of the spectroscopic weakness of AMBER and OPLS is due to incorrect description of anharmonic coupling between different vibrational modes. (4) Potential surfaces of the QM/MM (Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics) type, and potentials based on improved versions of semi-empirical electronic structure theory, which are feasible for large biological molecules, yield encouraging results by the test of vibrational spectroscopy.

  2. Interrogating biology with force: single molecule high-resolution measurements with optical tweezers.

    PubMed

    Capitanio, Marco; Pavone, Francesco S

    2013-09-17

    Single molecule force spectroscopy methods, such as optical and magnetic tweezers and atomic force microscopy, have opened up the possibility to study biological processes regulated by force, dynamics of structural conformations of proteins and nucleic acids, and load-dependent kinetics of molecular interactions. Among the various tools available today, optical tweezers have recently seen great progress in terms of spatial resolution, which now allows the measurement of atomic-scale conformational changes, and temporal resolution, which has reached the limit of the microsecond-scale relaxation times of biological molecules bound to a force probe. Here, we review different strategies and experimental configurations recently developed to apply and measure force using optical tweezers. We present the latest progress that has pushed optical tweezers' spatial and temporal resolution down to today's values, discussing the experimental variables and constraints that are influencing measurement resolution and how these can be optimized depending on the biological molecule under study. Copyright © 2013 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Shaping Small Bioactive Molecules to Untangle Their Biological Function: A Focus on Fluorescent Plant Hormones.

    PubMed

    Lace, Beatrice; Prandi, Cristina

    2016-08-01

    Modern biology overlaps with chemistry in explaining the structure and function of all cellular processes at the molecular level. Plant hormone research is perfectly located at the interface between these two disciplines, taking advantage of synthetic and computational chemistry as a tool to decipher the complex biological mechanisms regulating the action of plant hormones. These small signaling molecules regulate a wide range of developmental processes, adapting plant growth to ever changing environmental conditions. The synthesis of small bioactive molecules mimicking the activity of endogenous hormones allows us to unveil many molecular features of their functioning, giving rise to a new field, plant chemical biology. In this framework, fluorescence labeling of plant hormones is emerging as a successful strategy to track the fate of these challenging molecules inside living organisms. Thanks to the increasing availability of new fluorescent probes as well as advanced and innovative imaging technologies, we are now in a position to investigate many of the dynamic mechanisms through which plant hormones exert their action. Such a deep and detailed comprehension is mandatory for the development of new green technologies for practical applications. In this review, we summarize the results obtained so far concerning the fluorescent labeling of plant hormones, highlighting the basic steps leading to the design and synthesis of these compelling molecular tools and their applications.

  4. [Effects of endothelial lipase on mRNA expression of adhesion molecule of human umbilical vascular endothelial cells].

    PubMed

    Fang, Yu-qiang; Huang, Lan; Zhao, Xiao-hui; Yin, Yang-guang; Kang, Hua-li; Deng, Meng-yang

    2007-12-01

    To explore the relationship between human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) and endothelial lipase (EL), and the effect of EL on expression of endothelial cell adhesion molecule (ICAM). HUVECs was treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNF-alpha) 10 microg/L and the mRNA of adhesion molecules [intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and E-selectin] were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Then the effect of 50 microg/L anti-endothelial lipase (anti-EL) antibody on the influence of TNF-alpha on these adhesion molecules was observed. After being treated with TNF-alpha, the mRNA of adhesion molecules expressed by HUVECs were significant up-regulated, there was significant difference compared with control group (all P<0.01). These effects of TNF-alpha were significantly abolished by 50 microg/L anti-EL antibody (P<0.05 or P<0.01). EL can affect the expression of adhesion molecules on endothelial cell adhesion molecule. This effect of EL may play a role in the pathophysiologic process in the pathogenesis progress of atherosclerosis.

  5. DNA-Directed Cell-Free Synthesis of Biologically Active Transfer RNA: su+III Tyrosyl-tRNA

    PubMed Central

    Zubay, Geoffrey; Cheong, Loretta; Gefter, Malcolm

    1971-01-01

    Biologically active su+III tyrosyl-tRNA has been synthesized in a DNA-directed cell-free system from Escerichia coli. Such a system should be most useful for studying the mechanism of tRNA synthesis. This tRNA is capable of suppressing amber mutations in the gene coding for β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23) and, therefore, must be capable of being charged and transferring amino acids. A 4-fold stimulation in the activity of the tRNA formed de novo is obtained with isopentenyl pyrophosphate, a compound involved in the post-transcriptional acylation of an adenine base adjacent to the anticodon. It has been suggested elsewhere that formation of RNA subject to stringent control may be inhibited by guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp). However, guanosine tetraphosphate did not affect the synthesis of su+III tyrosyl-tRNA, even though the synthesis of this tRNA is subject to stringent control. PMID:4943792

  6. Metabolite sensing in eukaryotic mRNA biology

    PubMed Central

    Clingman, Carina C

    2016-01-01

    All living creatures change their gene expression program in response to nutrient availability and metabolic demands. Nutrients and metabolites can directly control transcription and activate second-messenger systems. More recent studies reveal that metabolites also affect post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. Here, we review the increasing number of connections between metabolism and post-transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic organisms. First, we present evidence that riboswitches, a common mechanism of metabolite sensing in bacteria, also function in eukaryotes. Next, we review an example of a double stranded RNA modifying enzyme that directly interacts with a metabolite, suggesting a link between RNA editing and metabolic state. Finally, we discuss work that shows some metabolic enzymes bind directly to RNA to affect mRNA stability or translation efficiency. These examples were discovered through gene-specific genetic, biochemical, and structural studies. A directed systems level approach will be necessary to determine whether they are anomalies of evolution or pioneer discoveries in what may be a broadly connected network of metabolism and post-transcriptional regulation. PMID:23653333

  7. Biological mechanisms determining the success of RNA interference in insects.

    PubMed

    Wynant, Niels; Santos, Dulce; Vanden Broeck, Jozef

    2014-01-01

    Insects constitute the largest group of animals on this planet, having a huge impact on our environment, as well as on our quality of life. RNA interference (RNAi) is a posttranscriptional gene silencing mechanism triggered by double-stranded (ds)RNA fragments. This process not only forms the basis of a widely used reverse genetics research method in many different eukaryotes but also holds great promise to contribute to the species-specific control of agricultural pests and to combat viral infections in beneficial and disease vectoring insects. However, in many economically important insect species, such as flies, mosquitoes, and caterpillars, systemic delivery of naked dsRNA does not trigger effective gene silencing. Although many components of the RNAi pathway have initially been deciphered in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, it will be of major importance to investigate this process in a wider variety of species, including dsRNA-sensitive insects such as locusts and beetles, to elucidate the factors responsible for the remarkable variability in RNAi efficiency, as observed in different insects. In this chapter, we review the current knowledge on the RNAi pathway, as well as the most recent insights into the mechanisms that might determine successful RNAi in insects.

  8. Ionic current blockades from DNA and RNA molecules in the alpha-hemolysin nanopore.

    PubMed

    Butler, Tom Z; Gundlach, Jens H; Troll, Mark

    2007-11-01

    We characterize the substate structure of current blockades produced when single-stranded polynucleotide molecules were electrophoretically driven into the alpha-hemolysin protein pore. We frequently observe substates where the ionic current is reduced by approximately 50%. Most of these substates can be associated with a molecular configuration where a polymer occupies only the vestibule region of the pore, though a few appear related to a polymer occupying only the transmembrane beta-barrel region of the pore. The duration of the vestibule configuration depends on polymer composition and on which end of the polymer, 3' or 5', subsequently threads into the narrowest constriction and initiates translocation. Below approximately 140 mV a polymer is more likely to escape from the vestibule against the applied voltage gradient, while at higher voltages a polymer is more likely to follow the voltage gradient by threading through the narrowest constriction and translocating through the pore. Increasing the applied voltage also increases the duration of the vestibule configuration. A semiquantitative model of these trends suggests that escape has stronger voltage dependence than threading, and that threading is sensitive to polymer orientation while escape is not. These results emphasize the utility of alpha-hemolysin as a model system to study biologically relevant physical and chemical processes at the single-molecule level.

  9. Recent Advances in Biological Single-Molecule Applications of Optical Tweezers and Fluorescence Microscopy.

    PubMed

    Hashemi Shabestari, M; Meijering, A E C; Roos, W H; Wuite, G J L; Peterman, E J G

    2017-01-01

    Over the past two decades, single-molecule techniques have evolved into robust tools to study many fundamental biological processes. The combination of optical tweezers with fluorescence microscopy and microfluidics provides a powerful single-molecule manipulation and visualization technique that has found widespread application in biology. In this combined approach, the spatial (~nm) and temporal (~ms) resolution, as well as the force scale (~pN) accessible to optical tweezers is complemented with the power of fluorescence microscopy. Thereby, it provides information on the local presence, identity, spatial dynamics, and conformational dynamics of single biomolecules. Together, these techniques allow comprehensive studies of, among others, molecular motors, protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions, biomolecular conformational changes, and mechanotransduction pathways. In this chapter, recent applications of fluorescence microscopy in combination with optical trapping are discussed. After an introductory section, we provide a description of instrumentation together with the current capabilities and limitations of the approaches. Next we summarize recent studies that applied this combination of techniques in biological systems and highlight some representative biological assays to mark the exquisite opportunities that optical tweezers combined with fluorescence microscopy provide. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Hunting the Needle in the Haystack: A Guide to Obtain Biologically Meaningful MicroRNA Targets

    PubMed Central

    Karbiener, Michael; Glantschnig, Christina; Scheideler, Marcel

    2014-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs of ~23 nucleotides in length that form up a novel class of regulatory determinants, with a large set of target mRNAs postulated for every single miRNA. Thousands of miRNAs have been discovered so far, with hundreds of them shown to govern biological processes with impact on disease. However, very little is known about how they specifically interfere with biological pathways and disease mechanisms. To investigate this interaction, the hunt for direct miRNA targets that mediate the miRNA effects—the “needle in the haystack”—is an essential step. In this review we provide a comprehensive workflow of successfully applied methods starting from the identification of putative miRNA-target pairs, followed by validation of direct miRNA–mRNA interactions, and finally presenting methods that dissect the impact of particular miRNA-target pairs on a biological process or disease. This guide allows the way to be paved for obtaining biologically meaningful miRNA targets. PMID:25383673

  11. Transport and Stability of Biological Molecules in Surfactant-Alginate Composite Hydrogels

    PubMed Central

    Stoppel, Whitney L.; White, Joseph C.; Horava, Sarena D.; Bhatia, Surita R.; Roberts, Susan C.

    2013-01-01

    Obstructed transport of biological molecules can result in improper release of pharmaceuticals or biologics from biomedical devices. Recent studies have shown that nonionic surfactants, such as Pluronic® F68 (F68), positively alter biomaterial properties, such as mesh size and microcapsule diameter. To further understand the effect of F68 (incorporated at concentrations well above the critical micelle concentration (CMC)) in traditional biomaterials, the transport properties of BSA and riboflavin were investigated in F68-alginate composite hydrogels. Results indicate that small molecule transport (represented by riboflavin) was not significantly hindered by F68 in homogeneously crosslinked hydrogels (up to an 11% decrease in loading capacity and 14% increase in effective diffusion coefficient, Deff), while protein transport in homogeneously crosslinked hydrogels (represented by BSA) was significantly affected (up to a 43% decrease in loading capacity and 40% increase in Deff). For inhomogeneously crosslinked hydrogels (CaCl2 or BaCl2 gelation), the Deff increased up to 50% and 83% for small molecule and proteins, respectively. Variation in the alginate gelation method was shown to affect transport through measurable changes in swelling ratio (30% decrease) and observable changes in crosslinking structure as well as up to a 3.6 and 11.8-fold difference in Deff for riboflavin and BSA, respectively. The change in protein transport properties is a product of mesh size restrictions (10–25 nm estimated by mechanical properties) and BSA-F68 interaction (DLS). Taken as a whole, these results show that incorporation of a nonionic surfactant at concentrations above the CMC can affect device functionality by impeding the transport of large biological molecules. PMID:21798381

  12. Linear dichroism spectroscopy of gas phase biological molecules embedded in superfluid helium droplets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Wei; Pei, Linsen; Zhang, Jie

    This article presents the current status of gas phase linear dichroism (LD) spectroscopy, including the theoretical background, the experimental technique, and a few examples in the UV/VIS and IR. Orientation and alignment of gas phase samples are achieved using a DC electric field. To reach the necessary degree of alignment, biological molecules vaporized from a heated oven need to be embedded in superfluid helium droplets. Excitation under different polarization directions of the light source relative to the alignment field can then be used to derive the direction of the transition dipole, or the size of the permanent dipole, or both. For biological molecules that have no resonance lines or too many resonance lines, LD offers an additional parameter for spectroscopic assignment and tautomeric and conformational identification. The direction of the vibrational transition dipole is proven more reliable for vibrational and tautomeric assignment than the energy or frequency information, which is often problematic because of its sensitivity to basis sets and calculation methods. Several examples of vibrational LD of nucleic acid bases will be discussed. On the other hand, if a chromophore with a known electronic transition dipole is attached to a biological molecule, as demonstrated in the case of tryptamine, the permanent dipole determined from LD is then representative of the molecular conformation. This method of conformational determination does not rely on detailed spectroscopic assignment, thus it is applicable to molecules that do not have resolvable vibronic bands. However, its application is currently limited to the availability of an effective chromophore, and the search for such a chromophore is an on-going effort.

  13. Enthalpy-Driven RNA Folding: Single-Molecule Thermodynamics of Tetraloop–Receptor Tertiary Interaction†

    PubMed Central

    Fiore, Julie L.; Kraemer, Benedikt; Koberling, Felix; Edmann, Rainer; Nesbitt, David J.

    2010-01-01

    RNA folding thermodynamics are crucial for structure prediction, which requires characterization of both enthalpic and entropic contributions of tertiary motifs to conformational stability. We explore the temperature dependence of RNA folding due to the ubiquitous GAAA tetraloop–receptor docking interaction, exploiting immobilized and freely diffusing single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) methods. The equilibrium constant for intramolecular docking is obtained as a function of temperature (T = 21–47 °C), from which a van’t Hoff analysis yields the enthalpy (ΔH°) and entropy (ΔS°) of docking. Tetraloop–receptor docking is significantly exothermic and entropically unfavorable in 1 mM MgCl2 and 100 mM NaCl, with excellent agreement between immobilized (ΔH° = −17.4 ± 1.6 kcal/mol, and ΔS° = −56.2 ± 5.4 cal mol−1 K−1) and freely diffusing (ΔH° = −17.2 ± 1.6 kcal/mol, and ΔS° = −55.9 ± 5.2 cal mol−1 K−1) species. Kinetic heterogeneity in the tetraloop–receptor construct is unaffected over the temperature range investigated, indicating a large energy barrier for interconversion between the actively docking and nondocking subpopulations. Formation of the tetraloop–receptor interaction can account for ~60% of the ΔH° and ΔS° of P4–P6 domain folding in the Tetrahymena ribozyme, suggesting that it may act as a thermodynamic clamp for the domain. Comparison of the isolated tetraloop–receptor and other tertiary folding thermodynamics supports a theme that enthalpy- versus entropy-driven folding is determined by the number of hydrogen bonding and base stacking interactions. PMID:19186984

  14. A systems biology approach for miRNA-mRNA expression patterns analysis in non-small cell lung cancer.

    PubMed

    Najafi, Ali; Tavallaei, Mahmood; Hosseini, Sayed Mostafa

    2016-01-01

    Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) is a prevalent and heterogeneous subtype of lung cancer accounting for 85 percent of patients. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small endogenous non-coding RNAs, incorporate into regulation of gene expression post-transcriptionally. Therefore, deregulation of miRNAs' expression has provided further layers of complexity to the molecular etiology and pathogenesis of different diseases and malignancies. Although, until now considerable number of studies has been carried out to illuminate this complexity in NSCLC, they have remained less effective in their goal due to lack of a holistic and integrative systems biology approach which considers all natural elaborations of miRNAs' function. It is able to reliably nominate most affected signaling pathways and therapeutic target genes by deregulated miRNAs during a particular pathological condition. Herein, we utilized a holistic systems biology approach, based on appropriate re-analyses of microarray datasets followed by reliable data filtering, to analyze integrative and combinatorial deregulated miRNA-mRNA interaction network in NSCLC, aiming to ascertain miRNA-dysregulated signaling pathway and potential therapeutic miRNAs and mRNAs which represent a lion' share during various aspects of NSCLC's pathogenesis. Our systems biology approach introduced and nominated 1) important deregulated miRNAs in NSCLCs compared with normal tissue 2) significant and confident deregulated mRNAs which were anti-correlatively targeted by deregulated miRNA in NSCLCs and 3) dysregulated signaling pathways in association with deregulated miRNA-mRNAs interactions in NSCLCs. These results introduce possible mechanism of function of deregulated miRNAs and mRNAs in NSCLC that could be used as potential therapeutic targets.

  15. Bioturbo similarity searching: combining chemical and biological similarity to discover structurally diverse bioactive molecules.

    PubMed

    Wassermann, Anne Mai; Lounkine, Eugen; Glick, Meir

    2013-03-25

    Virtual screening using bioactivity profiles has become an integral part of currently applied hit finding methods in pharmaceutical industry. However, a significant drawback of this approach is that it is only applicable to compounds that have been biologically tested in the past and have sufficient activity annotations for meaningful profile comparisons. Although bioactivity data generated in pharmaceutical institutions are growing on an unprecedented scale, the number of biologically annotated compounds still covers only a minuscule fraction of chemical space. For a newly synthesized compound or an isolated natural product to be biologically characterized across multiple assays, it may take a considerable amount of time. Consequently, this chemical matter will not be included in virtual screening campaigns based on bioactivity profiles. To overcome this problem, we herein introduce bioturbo similarity searching that uses chemical similarity to map molecules without biological annotations into bioactivity space and then searches for biologically similar compounds in this reference system. In benchmark calculations on primary screening data, we demonstrate that our approach generally achieves higher hit rates and identifies structurally more diverse compounds than approaches using chemical information only. Furthermore, our method is able to discover hits with novel modes of inhibition that traditional 2D and 3D similarity approaches are unlikely to discover. Test calculations on a set of natural products reveal the practical utility of the approach for identifying novel and synthetically more accessible chemical matter.

  16. Engineering Bacteria to Search for Specific Concentrations of Molecules by a Systematic Synthetic Biology Design Method.

    PubMed

    Tien, Shin-Ming; Hsu, Chih-Yuan; Chen, Bor-Sen

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria navigate environments full of various chemicals to seek favorable places for survival by controlling the flagella's rotation using a complicated signal transduction pathway. By influencing the pathway, bacteria can be engineered to search for specific molecules, which has great potential for application to biomedicine and bioremediation. In this study, genetic circuits were constructed to make bacteria search for a specific molecule at particular concentrations in their environment through a synthetic biology method. In addition, by replacing the "brake component" in the synthetic circuit with some specific sensitivities, the bacteria can be engineered to locate areas containing specific concentrations of the molecule. Measured by the swarm assay qualitatively and microfluidic techniques quantitatively, the characteristics of each "brake component" were identified and represented by a mathematical model. Furthermore, we established another mathematical model to anticipate the characteristics of the "brake component". Based on this model, an abundant component library can be established to provide adequate component selection for different searching conditions without identifying all components individually. Finally, a systematic design procedure was proposed. Following this systematic procedure, one can design a genetic circuit for bacteria to rapidly search for and locate different concentrations of particular molecules by selecting the most adequate "brake component" in the library. Moreover, following simple procedures, one can also establish an exclusive component library suitable for other cultivated environments, promoter systems, or bacterial strains.

  17. Engineering Bacteria to Search for Specific Concentrations of Molecules by a Systematic Synthetic Biology Design Method

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Bor-Sen

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria navigate environments full of various chemicals to seek favorable places for survival by controlling the flagella’s rotation using a complicated signal transduction pathway. By influencing the pathway, bacteria can be engineered to search for specific molecules, which has great potential for application to biomedicine and bioremediation. In this study, genetic circuits were constructed to make bacteria search for a specific molecule at particular concentrations in their environment through a synthetic biology method. In addition, by replacing the “brake component” in the synthetic circuit with some specific sensitivities, the bacteria can be engineered to locate areas containing specific concentrations of the molecule. Measured by the swarm assay qualitatively and microfluidic techniques quantitatively, the characteristics of each “brake component” were identified and represented by a mathematical model. Furthermore, we established another mathematical model to anticipate the characteristics of the “brake component”. Based on this model, an abundant component library can be established to provide adequate component selection for different searching conditions without identifying all components individually. Finally, a systematic design procedure was proposed. Following this systematic procedure, one can design a genetic circuit for bacteria to rapidly search for and locate different concentrations of particular molecules by selecting the most adequate “brake component” in the library. Moreover, following simple procedures, one can also establish an exclusive component library suitable for other cultivated environments, promoter systems, or bacterial strains. PMID:27096615

  18. Biological carrier molecules of radiopharmaceuticals for molecular cancer imaging and targeted cancer therapy.

    PubMed

    Aerts, A; Impens, N R E N; Gijs, M; D'Huyvetter, M; Vanmarcke, H; Ponsard, B; Lahoutte, T; Luxen, A; Baatout, S

    2014-01-01

    Many tumors express one or more proteins that are either absent or hardly present in normal tissues, and which can be targeted by radiopharmaceuticals for either visualization of tumor cells or for targeted therapy. Radiopharmaceuticals can consist of a radionuclide and a carrier molecule that interacts with the tumor target and as such guides the attached radionuclide to the right spot. Radiopharmaceuticals hold great promise for the future of oncology by providing early, precise diagnosis and better, personalized treatment. Most advanced developments with marketed products are based on whole antibodies or antibody fragments as carrier molecules. However, a substantial number of (pre)clinical studies indicate that radiopharmaceuticals based on other carrier molecules, such as peptides, nonimmunoglobulin scaffolds, or nucleic acids may be valuable alternatives. In this review, we discuss the biological molecules that can deliver radionuclide payloads to tumor cells in terms of their structure, the selection procedure, their (pre)clinical status, and advantages or obstacles to their use in a radiopharmaceutical design. We also consider the plethora of molecular targets existing on cancer cells that can be targeted by radiopharmaceuticals, as well as how to select a radionuclide for a given diagnostic or therapeutic product.

  19. MicroRNA Biomarkers of Toxicity in Biological Matrices.

    PubMed

    Harrill, Alison H; McCullough, Shaun D; Wood, Charles E; Kahle, Juliette J; Chorley, Brian N

    2016-08-01

    Biomarker measurements that reliably correlate with tissue injury and that can be measured within accessible biofluids offer benefits in terms of cost, time, and convenience when assessing chemical and drug-induced toxicity in model systems or human cohorts. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged in recent years as a promising new class of biomarker for monitoring toxicity. Recent enthusiasm for miRNA biomarker research has been fueled by evidence that certain miRNAs are cell-type specific and are released during injury, thus raising the possibility of using biofluid-based miRNAs as a "liquid biopsy" that may be obtained by sampling extracellular fluids. As biomarkers, miRNAs demonstrate improved stability as compared with many protein markers and sequences are largely conserved across species, simplifying analytical techniques. Recent efforts have sought to identify miRNAs that are released into accessible biofluids following xenobiotic exposure, using compounds that target specific organs. Whereas still early in the discovery phase, miRNA biomarkers will have an increasingly important role in the assessment of adverse effects of both environmental chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs. Here, we review the current findings of biofluid-based miRNAs, as well as highlight technical challenges in assessing toxicologic pathology using these biomarkers.

  20. Application of terahertz spectroscopy for characterization of biologically active organic molecules in natural environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karaliūnas, Mindaugas; Jakštas, Vytautas; Nasser, Kinan E.; Venckevičius, Rimvydas; Urbanowicz, Andrzej; Kašalynas, Irmantas; Valušis, Gintaras

    2016-09-01

    In this work, a comparative research of biologically active organic molecules in its natural environment using the terahertz (THz) time domain spectroscopy (TDS) and Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTS) systems is carried out. Absorption coefficient and refractive index of Nicotiana tabacum L. leaves containing nicotine, Cannabis sativa L. leaves containing tetrahydrocannabinol, and Humulu lupulus L. leaves containing α-acids, active organic molecules that obtain in natural environment, were measured in broad frequency range from 0.1 to 13 THz at room temperature. In the spectra of absorption coefficient the features were found to be unique for N. tabacum, C. sativa and H. lupulus. Moreover, those features can be exploited for identification of C. sativa sex and N. tabacum origin. The refractive index can be also used to characterize different species.

  1. Collective vibrational modes in biological molecules investigated by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Walther, M; Plochocka, P; Fischer, B; Helm, H; Uhd Jepsen, P

    2002-01-01

    We present well-resolved absorption spectra of biological molecules in the far-IR (FIR) spectral region recorded by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). As an illustrative example we discuss the absorption spectra of benzoic acid, its monosubstitutes salicylic acid (2-hydroxy-benzoic acid), 3- and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) in the spectral region between 18 and 150 cm(-1). The spectra exhibit distinct features originating from low-frequency vibrational modes caused by intra- or intermolecular collective motion and lattice modes. Due to the collective origin of the observed modes the absorption spectra are highly sensitive to the overall structure and configuration of the molecules, as well as their environment. The THz-TDS procedure can provide a direct fingerprint of the molecular structure or conformational state of a compound.

  2. Ab Initio Calculations of the Electronic Structures and Biological Functions of Protein Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Haoping

    The self-consistent cluster-embedding (SCCE) calculation method reduces the computational effort from M3 to about M1 (M is the number of atoms in the system) with precise calculations. Thus the ab initio, all-electron calculation of the electronic structure and biological function of protein molecule has become a reality, which will promote new proteomics considerably. The calculated results of two real protein molecules, the trypsin inhibitor from the seeds of squash Cucurbita maxima (CMTI-I, 436 atoms) and the ascaris trypsin inhibitor (912 atoms, two three-dimensional structures), will be presented in this paper. The reactive sites of the inhibitors are determined and explained. The accuracy of structure determination of the inhibitors are tested theoretically.

  3. Ab Initio Calculations of the Electronic Structures and Biological Functions of Protein Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Haoping

    2003-04-01

    The self-consistent cluster-embedding (SCCE) calculation method reduces the computational effort from M3 to about M1 (M is the number of atoms in the system) with unchanged calculation precision. So the ab initio, all-electron calculation of the electronic structure and biological function of protein molecule becomes a reality, which will promote new proteomics considerably. The calculated results of two real protein molecules, the trypsin inhibitor from the seeds of squash Cucurbita maxima (CMTI-I, 436 atoms) and the Ascaris trypsin inhibitor (912 atoms, two three-dimensional structures), are presented. The reactive sites of the inhibitors are determined and explained. The precision of structure determination of inhibitors are tested theoretically.

  4. An Unbiased Cell Morphology–Based Screen for New, Biologically Active Small Molecules

    PubMed Central

    Tanaka, Masahiro; Bateman, Raynard; Rauh, Daniel; Vaisberg, Eugeni; Ramachandani, Shyam; Zhang, Chao; Hansen, Kirk C; Burlingame, Alma L; Trautman, Jay K; Adams, Cynthia L

    2005-01-01

    We have implemented an unbiased cell morphology–based screen to identify small-molecule modulators of cellular processes using the Cytometrix (TM) automated imaging and analysis system. This assay format provides unbiased analysis of morphological effects induced by small molecules by capturing phenotypic readouts of most known classes of pharmacological agents and has the potential to read out pathways for which little is known. Four human-cancer cell lines and one noncancerous primary cell type were treated with 107 small molecules comprising four different protein kinase–inhibitor scaffolds. Cellular phenotypes induced by each compound were quantified by multivariate statistical analysis of the morphology, staining intensity, and spatial attributes of the cellular nuclei, microtubules, and Golgi compartments. Principal component analysis was used to identify inhibitors of cellular components not targeted by known protein kinase inhibitors. Here we focus on a hydroxyl-substituted analog (hydroxy-PP) of the known Src-family kinase inhibitor PP2 because it induced cell-specific morphological features distinct from all known kinase inhibitors in the collection. We used affinity purification to identify a target of hydroxy-PP, carbonyl reductase 1 (CBR1), a short-chain dehydrogenase-reductase. We solved the X-ray crystal structure of the CBR1/hydroxy-PP complex to 1.24 Å resolution. Structure-based design of more potent and selective CBR1 inhibitors provided probes for analyzing the biological function of CBR1 in A549 cells. These studies revealed a previously unknown function for CBR1 in serum-withdrawal-induced apoptosis. Further studies indicate CBR1 inhibitors may enhance the effectiveness of anticancer anthracyclines. Morphology-based screening of diverse cancer cell types has provided a method for discovering potent new small-molecule probes for cell biological studies and anticancer drug candidates. PMID:15799708

  5. A universal small molecule, inorganic phosphate, restricts the substrate specificity of Dicer-2 in small RNA biogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Fukunaga, Ryuya; Zamore, Phillip D

    2014-01-01

    The enzyme Dicer is central to the production of small silencing RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Like other insects, Drosophila melanogaster uses different Dicers to make siRNAs and miRNAs: Dicer-1 produces miRNAs from pre-miRNAs, whereas Dicer-2 generates siRNAs from long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). How do the 2 Dicers achieve their substrate specificity? Here, we review recent findings that inorganic phosphate restricts the substrate specificity of Dicer-2 to long dsRNA. Inorganic phosphate inhibits Dicer-2 from binding and cleaving pre-miRNAs, without affecting the processing of long dsRNA. Crystal structures of a fragment of human Dicer in complex with an RNA duplex identify a phosphate-binding pocket that recognizes both the 5′-monophosphate of a substrate RNA and inorganic phosphate. We propose that inorganic phosphate occupies the phosphate-binding pocket in the fly Dicer-2, blocking binding of pre-miRNA and restricting pre-miRNA processing to Dicer-1. Thus, a small molecule can alter the substrate specificity of a nucleic acid-processing enzyme. PMID:24787225

  6. Single ionization and capture cross sections from biological molecules by bare projectile impact*

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinto, Michele A.; Monti, Juan M.; Montenegro, Pablo D.; Fojón, Omar A.; Champion, Christophe; Rivarola, Roberto D.

    2017-02-01

    We report calculations on single differential and total cross sections for single ionization and single electron capture from biological targets, namely, vapor water and DNA nucleobasese molecules, by bare projectile impact: H+, He2+, and C6+. They are performed within the Continuum Distorted Wave - Eikonal Initial State approximation and compared to several existing experimental data. This study is oriented to the obtention of a reliable set of theoretical data to be used as input in a Monte Carlo code destined to micro- and nano- dosimetry.

  7. Pulse requirements for x-ray diffraction imaging of single biological molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Hau-Riege, S; London, R; Huldt, G; Chapman, H

    2005-01-05

    It has been suggested that x-ray free electron lasers will enable single-particle diffraction imaging of biological molecules. In this paper we present a model to estimate the required pulse parameters based on a trade-off between minimizing image degradation due to damage and maximizing the image signal-to-noise ratio. We discuss several means to alleviate the photon requirements, and compare the requirements with existing or planned x-ray sources such as short-pulse x-ray free-electron lasers.

  8. Concepts of neuroendocrine cardiology and neuroendocrine immunology, chemistry and biology of signal molecules.

    PubMed

    Galoyan, Armen

    2010-12-01

    Discovery of neurosecretion of cardioactive neurohormones produced by hypothalamic nuclei (NSO and NPV), as well as the biosynthesis of several immunomodulators (signal molecules of the neuroendocrine immune system of brain), deciphering of their chemical structure and study of their biological properties led to the foundation of two important trends of neurobiology: neuroendocrine immunology and cardiology. Hormone formation by atrium ganglionary nerve cells and auriculum establishment of neurohumoral interactions between hypothalamic and atrium neurosecretion indicated the existence of the system neuroendocrine hypothalamus--endocrine heart. Study of their biological properties promoted creation of powerful neurohormonal preparations for the treatment of immune, cardio-vascular, neurodegenerative, infectious and tumor diseases. Concepts suggested by us on neuroendocrine cardiology and immunology, create large perspectives for development of the theory and its implementation in medicine.

  9. Long noncoding RNAs: Novel molecules in cardiovascular biology, disease and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Hou, Jingying; Zhou, Changqing; Long, Huibao; Zheng, Shaoxin; Guo, Tianzhu; Wu, Quanhua; Wu, Hao; Zhong, Tingting; Wang, Tong

    2016-06-01

    Remarkable breakthroughs made in genomic technologies have facilitated the discovery of thousands of novel transcripts that do not template protein synthesis. Numerous RNAs termed as long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) generated from this pervasive transcription function vividly in gene regulatory networks and a variety of biological and cellular processes. Here, we make a brief description of the known and putative functions of lncRNAs in cardiovascular biology and disease. The association between lncRNAs and stem cells mediated cardiomyocytes differentiation and neovascularization is discussed then. It will provide a new clue for further studies on these novel molecules in cardiovascular disease and bring bright prospects for their future applications in cardiac regenerative medicine. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. MS-based metabolomics facilitates the discovery of in vivo functional small molecules with a diversity of biological contexts.

    PubMed

    Yan, Leyu; Nie, Wenna; Parker, Tony; Upton, Zee; Lu, Haitao

    2013-10-01

    In vivo small molecules as necessary intermediates are involved in numerous critical metabolic pathways and biological processes associated with many essential biological functions and events. There is growing evidence that MS-based metabolomics is emerging as a powerful tool to facilitate the discovery of functional small molecules that can better our understanding of development, infection, nutrition, disease, toxicity, drug therapeutics, gene modifications and host-pathogen interaction from metabolic perspectives. However, further progress must still be made in MS-based metabolomics because of the shortcomings in the current technologies and knowledge. This technique-driven review aims to explore the discovery of in vivo functional small molecules facilitated by MS-based metabolomics and to highlight the analytic capabilities and promising applications of this discovery strategy. Moreover, the biological significance of the discovery of in vivo functional small molecules with different biological contexts is also interrogated at a metabolic perspective.

  11. Quantitative evaluations of mechanisms of radiofrequency interactions with biological molecules and processes.

    PubMed

    Sheppard, Asher R; Swicord, Mays L; Balzano, Quirino

    2008-10-01

    The complexity of interactions of electromagnetic fields up to 10(12) Hz with the ions, atoms, and molecules of biological systems has given rise to a large number of established and proposed biophysical mechanisms applicable over a wide range of time and distance scales, field amplitudes, frequencies, and waveforms. This review focuses on the physical principles that guide quantitative assessment of mechanisms applicable for exposures at or below the level of endogenous electric fields associated with development, wound healing, and excitation of muscles and the nervous system (generally, 1 to 10(2) V m(-1)), with emphasis on conditions where temperature increases are insignificant (<1 K). Experiment and theory demonstrate possible demodulation at membrane barriers for frequencies < or =10 MHz, but not at higher frequencies. Although signal levels somewhat below system noise can be detected, signal-to-noise ratios substantially less than 0.1 cannot be overcome by cooperativity, signal averaging, coherent detection, or by nonlinear dynamical systems. Sensory systems and possible effects on biological magnetite suggest paradigms for extreme sensitivity at lower frequencies, but there are no known radiofrequency (RF) analogues. At the molecular level, vibrational modes are so overdamped by water molecules that excitation of molecular modes below the far infrared cannot occur. Two RF mechanisms plausibly may affect biological matter under common exposure conditions. For frequencies below approximately 150 MHz, shifts in the rate of chemical reactions can be mediated by radical pairs and, at all frequencies, dielectric and resistive heating can raise temperature and increase the entropy of the affected biological system.

  12. Single-molecule detection and tracking of RNA transcripts in living cells using phosphorothioate-optimized 2'-O-methyl RNA molecular beacons.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Dan; Yang, Yantao; Qu, Na; Chen, Mingming; Ma, Zhao; Krueger, Christopher J; Behlke, Mark A; Chen, Antony K

    2016-09-01

    Molecular Beacons (MBs) composed of 2'-O-methyl RNA (2Me) and phosphorothioate (PS) linkages throughout the backbone (2Me/PSFULL MBs) have enabled long-term imaging of RNA in living cells, but excess PS modification can induce nonspecific binding, causing false-positive signals. In this study, we evaluate the intracellular stability of MBs composed of 2Me with various PS modifications, and found that false-positive signals could be reduced to marginal levels when the MBs possess a fully PS-modified loop domain and a phosphodiester stem (2Me/PSLOOP MB). Additionally, 2Me/PSLOOP MBs exhibited uncompromised hybridization kinetics, prolonged functionality and >88% detection accuracy for single RNA transcripts, and could do so without interfering with gene expression or cell growth. Finally, 2Me/PSLOOP MBs could image the dynamics of single mRNA transcripts in the nucleus and the cytoplasm simultaneously, regardless of whether the MBs targeted the 5'- or the 3'-UTR. Together, these findings demonstrate the effectiveness of loop-domain PS modification in reducing nonspecific signals and the potential for sensitive and accurate imaging of individual RNAs at the single-molecule level. With the growing interest in the role of RNA localization and dynamics in health and disease, 2Me/PSLOOP MBs could enable new discoveries in RNA research.

  13. Screening for Small-Molecule Modulators of Long Noncoding RNA-Protein Interactions Using AlphaScreen.

    PubMed

    Pedram Fatemi, Roya; Salah-Uddin, Sultan; Modarresi, Farzaneh; Khoury, Nathalie; Wahlestedt, Claes; Faghihi, Mohammad Ali

    2015-10-01

    Long non-protein coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an important class of molecules that help orchestrate key cellular events. Although their functional roles in cells are not well understood, thousands of lncRNAs and a number of possible mechanisms by which they act have been reported. LncRNAs can exert their regulatory function in cells by interacting with epigenetic enzymes. In this study, we developed a tool to study lncRNA-protein interactions for high-throughput screening of small-molecule modulators using AlphaScreen technology. We tested the interaction of two lncRNAs: brain-derived neurotrophic factor antisense (BDNF-AS) and Hox transcript antisense RNA (HOTAIR), with Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a histone methyltransferase against a phytochemical library, to look for small-molecule inhibitors that can alter the expression of downstream target genes. We identified ellipticine, a compound that up-regulates BDNF transcription. Our study shows the feasibility of using high-throughput screening to identify modulators of lncRNA-protein interactions and paves the road for targeting lncRNAs that are dysregulated in human disorders using small-molecule therapies. © 2015 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening.

  14. Induction and Reversal of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 Pre-mRNA Splicing Defects by Small Molecules

    PubMed Central

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L.; Stepniak-Konieczna, Ewa; Tran, Tuan; Yildirim, Ilyas; Park, HaJeung; Chen, Catherine Z.; Hoskins, Jason; Southall, Noel; Marugan, Juan J.; Patnaik, Samarjit; Zheng, Wei; Austin, Chris P.; Schatz, George C.; Sobczak, Krzysztof; Thornton, Charles A.; Disney, Matthew D.

    2013-01-01

    The ability to control pre-mRNA splicing with small molecules could facilitate the development of therapeutics or cell-based circuits that control gene function. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by the dysregulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing due to sequestration of muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1) by expanded, non-coding r(CUG) repeats (r(CUG)exp). Here we report two small molecules that induce or ameliorate alternative splicing dysregulation. The thiophene-containing small molecule (1) inhibits the interaction of MBNL1 with its natural pre-mRNA substrates. Compound (2), a substituted naphthyridine, binds r(CUG)exp and displaces MBNL1. Structural models show that 1 binds MBNL1 in the Zn-finger domain and that 2 interacts with UU loops in r(CUG)exp. This study provides a structural framework for small molecules that target MBNL1 by mimicking r(CUG)exp and shows that targeting MBNL1 causes dysregulation of alternative splicing, suggesting that MBNL1 is thus not a suitable therapeutic target for the treatment of DM1. PMID:23806903

  15. Induction and reversal of myotonic dystrophy type 1 pre-mRNA splicing defects by small molecules.

    PubMed

    Childs-Disney, Jessica L; Stepniak-Konieczna, Ewa; Tran, Tuan; Yildirim, Ilyas; Park, HaJeung; Chen, Catherine Z; Hoskins, Jason; Southall, Noel; Marugan, Juan J; Patnaik, Samarjit; Zheng, Wei; Austin, Chris P; Schatz, George C; Sobczak, Krzysztof; Thornton, Charles A; Disney, Matthew D

    2013-01-01

    The ability to control pre-mRNA splicing with small molecules could facilitate the development of therapeutics or cell-based circuits that control gene function. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is caused by the dysregulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing due to sequestration of muscleblind-like 1 protein (MBNL1) by expanded, non-coding r(CUG) repeats (r(CUG)(exp)). Here we report two small molecules that induce or ameliorate alternative splicing dysregulation. A thiophene-containing small molecule (1) inhibits the interaction of MBNL1 with its natural pre-mRNA substrates. Compound (2), a substituted naphthyridine, binds r(CUG)(exp) and displaces MBNL1. Structural models show that 1 binds MBNL1 in the Zn-finger domain and that 2 interacts with UU loops in r(CUG)(exp). This study provides a structural framework for small molecules that target MBNL1 by mimicking r(CUG)(exp) and shows that targeting MBNL1 causes dysregulation of alternative splicing, suggesting that MBNL1 is thus not a suitable therapeutic target for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy type 1.

  16. In vitro selection of RNA molecules that displace cocaine from the membrane-bound nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

    PubMed

    Ulrich, H; Ippolito, J E; Pagán, O R; Eterović, V A; Hann, R M; Shi, H; Lis, J T; Eldefrawi, M E; Hess, G P

    1998-11-24

    The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) controls signal transmission between cells in the nervous system. Abused drugs such as cocaine inhibit this receptor. Transient kinetic investigations indicate that inhibitors decrease the channel-opening equilibrium constant [Hess, G. P. & Grewer, C. (1998) Methods Enzymol. 291, 443-473]. Can compounds be found that compete with inhibitors for their binding site but do not change the channel-opening equilibrium? The systematic evolution of RNA ligands by exponential enrichment methodology and the AChR in Torpedo californica electroplax membranes were used to find RNAs that can displace inhibitors from the receptor. The selection of RNA ligands was carried out in two consecutive steps: (i) a gel-shift selection of high-affinity ligands bound to the AChR in the electroplax membrane, and (ii) subsequent use of nitrocellulose filters to which both the membrane-bound receptor and RNAs bind strongly, but from which the desired RNA can be displaced from the receptor by a high-affinity AChR inhibitor, phencyclidine. After nine selection rounds, two classes of RNA molecules that bind to the AChR with nanomolar affinities were isolated and sequenced. Both classes of RNA molecules are displaced by phencyclidine and cocaine from their binding site on the AChR. Class I molecules are potent inhibitors of AChR activity in BC3H1 muscle cells, as determined by using the whole-cell current-recording technique. Class II molecules, although competing with AChR inhibitors, do not affect receptor activity in this assay; such compounds or derivatives may be useful for alleviating the toxicity experienced by millions of addicts.

  17. In vitro selection of RNA molecules that displace cocaine from the membrane-bound nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

    PubMed Central

    Ulrich, Henning; Ippolito, Joseph E.; Pagán, Oné R.; Eterovic, Vesna A.; Hann, Richard M.; Shi, Hua; Lis, John T.; Eldefrawi, Mohyee E.; Hess, George P.

    1998-01-01

    The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) controls signal transmission between cells in the nervous system. Abused drugs such as cocaine inhibit this receptor. Transient kinetic investigations indicate that inhibitors decrease the channel-opening equilibrium constant [Hess, G. P. & Grewer, C. (1998) Methods Enzymol. 291, 443–473]. Can compounds be found that compete with inhibitors for their binding site but do not change the channel-opening equilibrium? The systematic evolution of RNA ligands by exponential enrichment methodology and the AChR in Torpedo californica electroplax membranes were used to find RNAs that can displace inhibitors from the receptor. The selection of RNA ligands was carried out in two consecutive steps: (i) a gel-shift selection of high-affinity ligands bound to the AChR in the electroplax membrane, and (ii) subsequent use of nitrocellulose filters to which both the membrane-bound receptor and RNAs bind strongly, but from which the desired RNA can be displaced from the receptor by a high-affinity AChR inhibitor, phencyclidine. After nine selection rounds, two classes of RNA molecules that bind to the AChR with nanomolar affinities were isolated and sequenced. Both classes of RNA molecules are displaced by phencyclidine and cocaine from their binding site on the AChR. Class I molecules are potent inhibitors of AChR activity in BC3H1 muscle cells, as determined by using the whole-cell current-recording technique. Class II molecules, although competing with AChR inhibitors, do not affect receptor activity in this assay; such compounds or derivatives may be useful for alleviating the toxicity experienced by millions of addicts. PMID:9826651

  18. RNA systems biology: uniting functional discoveries and structural tools to understand global roles of RNAs.

    PubMed

    Strobel, Eric J; Watters, Kyle E; Loughrey, David; Lucks, Julius B

    2016-06-01

    RNAs assume sophisticated structures that are active in myriad cellular processes. In this review, we highlight newly identified ribozymes, riboswitches, and small RNAs, some of which control the function of cellular metabolic and gene expression networks. We then examine recent developments in genome-wide RNA structure probing technologies that are yielding new insights into the structural landscape of the transcriptome. Finally, we discuss how these RNA 'structomic' methods can address emerging questions in RNA systems biology, from the mechanisms behind long non-coding RNAs to new bases for human diseases.

  19. A Synthetic Biology Project - Developing a single-molecule device for screening drug-target interactions.

    PubMed

    Firman, Keith; Evans, Luke; Youell, James

    2012-07-16

    This review describes a European-funded project in the area of Synthetic Biology. The project seeks to demonstrate the application of engineering techniques and methodologies to the design and construction of a biosensor for detecting drug-target interactions at the single-molecule level. Production of the proteins required for the system followed the principle of previously described "bioparts" concepts (a system where a database of biological parts - promoters, genes, terminators, linking tags and cleavage sequences - is used to construct novel gene assemblies) and cassette-type assembly of gene expression systems (the concept of linking different "bioparts" to produce functional "cassettes"), but problems were quickly identified with these approaches. DNA substrates for the device were also constructed using a cassette-system. Finally, micro-engineering was used to build a magnetoresistive Magnetic Tweezer device for detection of single molecule DNA modifying enzymes (motors), while the possibility of constructing a Hall Effect version of this device was explored. The device is currently being used to study helicases from Plasmodium as potential targets for anti-malarial drugs, but we also suggest other potential uses for the device. Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Biological signaling by carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide-releasing molecules.

    PubMed

    Motterlini, Roberto; Foresti, Roberta

    2017-03-01

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is continuously produced in mammalian cells during the degradation of heme. It is a stable gaseous molecule that reacts selectively with transition metals in a specific redox state, and these characteristics restrict the interaction of CO with defined biological targets that transduce its signaling activity. Because of the high affinity of CO for ferrous heme, these targets can be grouped into heme-containing proteins, representing a large variety of sensors and enzymes with a series of diverse function in the cell and the organism. Despite this notion, progress in identifying which of these targets are selective for CO has been slow and even the significance of elevated carbonmonoxy hemoglobin, a classical marker used to diagnose CO poisoning, is not well understood. This is also due to the lack of technologies capable of assessing in a comprehensive fashion the distribution and local levels of CO between the blood circulation, the tissue, and the mitochondria, one of the cellular compartments where CO exerts its signaling or detrimental effects. Nevertheless, the use of CO gas and CO-releasing molecules as pharmacological approaches in models of disease has provided new important information about the signaling properties of CO. In this review we will analyze the most salient effects of CO in biology and discuss how the binding of CO with key ferrous hemoproteins serves as a posttranslational modification that regulates important processes as diverse as aerobic metabolism, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial bioenergetics. Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.

  1. Assessing Specific Oligonucleotides and Small Molecule Antibiotics for the Ability to Inhibit the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA Interaction

    PubMed Central

    Thomsen, Dana; Lee, Chow H.

    2014-01-01

    Studies on Coding Region Determinant-Binding Protein (CRD-BP) and its orthologs have confirmed their functional role in mRNA stability and localization. CRD-BP is present in extremely low levels in normal adult tissues, but it is over-expressed in many types of aggressive human cancers and in neonatal tissues. Although the exact role of CRD-BP in tumour progression is unclear, cumulative evidence suggests that its ability to physically associate with target mRNAs is an important criterion for its oncogenic role. CRD-BP has high affinity for the 3′UTR of the oncogenic CD44 mRNA and depletion of CRD-BP in cells led to destabilization of CD44 mRNA, decreased CD44 expression, reduced adhesion and disruption of invadopodia formation. Here, we further characterize the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction and assess specific antisense oligonucleotides and small molecule antibiotics for their ability to inhibit the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction. CRD-BP has a high affinity for binding to CD44 RNA nts 2862–3055 with a Kd of 645 nM. Out of ten antisense oligonucleotides spanning nts 2862–3055, only three antisense oligonucleotides (DD4, DD7 and DD10) were effective in competing with CRD-BP for binding to 32P-labeled CD44 RNA. The potency of DD4, DD7 and DD10 in inhibiting the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction in vitro correlated with their ability to specifically reduce the steady-state level of CD44 mRNA in cells. The aminoglycoside antibiotics neomycin, paramomycin, kanamycin and streptomycin effectively inhibited the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction in vitro. Assessing the potential inhibitory effect of aminoglycoside antibiotics including neomycin on the CRD-BP-CD44 mRNA interaction in cells proved difficult, likely due to their propensity to non-specifically bind nucleic acids. Our results have important implications for future studies in finding small molecules and nucleic acid-based inhibitors that interfere with protein-RNA interactions. PMID:24622399

  2. Assessing specific oligonucleotides and small molecule antibiotics for the ability to inhibit the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction.

    PubMed

    King, Dustin T; Barnes, Mark; Thomsen, Dana; Lee, Chow H

    2014-01-01

    Studies on Coding Region Determinant-Binding Protein (CRD-BP) and its orthologs have confirmed their functional role in mRNA stability and localization. CRD-BP is present in extremely low levels in normal adult tissues, but it is over-expressed in many types of aggressive human cancers and in neonatal tissues. Although the exact role of CRD-BP in tumour progression is unclear, cumulative evidence suggests that its ability to physically associate with target mRNAs is an important criterion for its oncogenic role. CRD-BP has high affinity for the 3'UTR of the oncogenic CD44 mRNA and depletion of CRD-BP in cells led to destabilization of CD44 mRNA, decreased CD44 expression, reduced adhesion and disruption of invadopodia formation. Here, we further characterize the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction and assess specific antisense oligonucleotides and small molecule antibiotics for their ability to inhibit the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction. CRD-BP has a high affinity for binding to CD44 RNA nts 2862-3055 with a Kd of 645 nM. Out of ten antisense oligonucleotides spanning nts 2862-3055, only three antisense oligonucleotides (DD4, DD7 and DD10) were effective in competing with CRD-BP for binding to 32P-labeled CD44 RNA. The potency of DD4, DD7 and DD10 in inhibiting the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction in vitro correlated with their ability to specifically reduce the steady-state level of CD44 mRNA in cells. The aminoglycoside antibiotics neomycin, paramomycin, kanamycin and streptomycin effectively inhibited the CRD-BP-CD44 RNA interaction in vitro. Assessing the potential inhibitory effect of aminoglycoside antibiotics including neomycin on the CRD-BP-CD44 mRNA interaction in cells proved difficult, likely due to their propensity to non-specifically bind nucleic acids. Our results have important implications for future studies in finding small molecules and nucleic acid-based inhibitors that interfere with protein-RNA interactions.

  3. Interstellar Chemistry Special Feature: Interferometric observations of large biologically interesting interstellar and cometary molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snyder, Lewis E.

    2006-08-01

    Interferometric observations of high-mass regions in interstellar molecular clouds have revealed hot molecular cores that have substantial column densities of large, partly hydrogen-saturated molecules. Many of these molecules are of interest to biology and thus are labeled "biomolecules." Because the clouds containing these molecules provide the material for star formation, they may provide insight into presolar nebular chemistry, and the biomolecules may provide information about the potential of the associated interstellar chemistry for seeding newly formed planets with prebiotic organic chemistry. In this overview, events are outlined that led to the current interferometric array observations. Clues that connect this interstellar hot core chemistry to the solar system can be found in the cometary detection of methyl formate and the interferometric maps of cometary methanol. Major obstacles to understanding hot core chemistry remain because chemical models are not well developed and interferometric observations have not been very sensitive. Differentiation in the molecular isomers glycolaldehdye, methyl formate, and acetic acid has been observed, but not explained. The extended source structure for certain sugars, aldehydes, and alcohols may require nonthermal formation mechanisms such as shock heating of grains. Major advances in understanding the formation chemistry of hot core species can come from observations with the next generation of sensitive, high-resolution arrays. biomolecules | comets | chemistry

  4. High throughput extraction of plant, marine and fungal specimens for preservation of biologically active molecules.

    PubMed

    McCloud, Thomas G

    2010-06-24

    The Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), at its NCI-Frederick facility, has built perhaps the largest and most diverse natural products screening library in the world for drug discovery. Composed of plant, marine organism and microbial extracts, it currently contains in excess of 230,000 unique materials. From the inception of this program to identify new anticancer chemotherapeutics from natural products sources in 1987, two extracts have been sequentially prepared from each specimen: one produced by organic solvent extraction, which yields a complex material that contains non- to moderately polar small molecules, and a water-soluble extract, a milieu largely unexplored for useful drugs in earlier years, which contains polar small to medium-sized molecules. Plant specimens and microbial ferments are extracted by modified traditional methods, while the method developed to produce extracts from marine organisms is unique and very different from that used by marine natural products chemists previously, but again yields both an organic solvent soluble and a water soluble material for inclusion into the screening library. Details of high throughput extract production for preservation of biologically active molecules are presented.

  5. Next generation techniques in the high resolution spectroscopy of biologically relevant molecules.

    PubMed

    Neill, Justin L; Douglass, Kevin O; Pate, Brooks H; Pratt, David W

    2011-04-28

    Recent advances in the technology of test and measurement equipment driven by the computer and telecommunications industries have made possible the development of a new broadband, Fourier-transform microwave spectrometer that operates on principles similar to FTNMR. This technique uses a high sample-rate arbitrary waveform generator to construct a phase-locked chirped microwave pulse that gives a linear frequency sweep over a wide frequency range in 1 μs. The chirped pulse efficiently polarizes the molecular sample at all frequencies lying within this band. The subsequent free induction decay of this polarization is measured with a high-speed digitizer and then fast Fourier-transformed to yield a broadband, frequency-resolved rotational spectrum, spanning up to 11.5 GHz and containing lines that are as narrow as 100 kHz. This new technique is called chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave (CP-FTMW) spectroscopy. The technique offers the potential to determine the structural and dynamical properties of very large molecules solely from fully resolved pure rotational spectra. FTMW double resonance techniques employing a low-resolution UV laser facilitate an easy assignment of overlapping spectra produced by different conformers in the sample. Of particular interest are the energy landscapes of conformationally flexible molecules of biological importance, including studies of their interaction with solvent and/or other weakly bound molecules. An example is provided from the authors' work on p-methoxyphenethylamine, a neurotransmitter, and its complexes with water.

  6. Molecules in interstellar clouds. [physical and chemical conditions of star formation and biological evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Hjalmarson, A.; Rydbeck, O. E. H.

    1981-01-01

    The physical conditions and chemical compositions of the gas in interstellar clouds are reviewed in light of the importance of interstellar clouds for star formation and the origin of life. The Orion A region is discussed as an example of a giant molecular cloud where massive stars are being formed, and it is pointed out that conditions in the core of the cloud, with a kinetic temperature of about 75 K and a density of 100,000-1,000,000 molecules/cu cm, may support gas phase ion-molecule chemistry. The Taurus Molecular Clouds are then considered as examples of cold, dark, relatively dense interstellar clouds which may be the birthplaces of solar-type stars and which have been found to contain the heaviest interstellar molecules yet discovered. The molecular species identified in each of these regions are tabulated, including such building blocks of biological monomers as H2O, NH3, H2CO, CO, H2S, CH3CN and H2, and more complex species such as HCOOCH3 and CH3CH2CN.

  7. Electron Momentum Spectroscopy and Its Applications to Molecules of Biological Interest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Feng

    2007-11-01

    Energy and wave function are the heart and soul of Schrödinger quantum mechanics. Electron momentum spectroscopy (EMS) so far provides the most stringent test for quantum mechanical models (theory, basis sets and the combination of both) through observables such as binding energy spectra and Dyson orbital momentum distributions. The capability of EMS to measure Dyson orbitals of a molecule as momentum distributions provides a unique opportunity to assess the models of quantum mechanics based on orbitals, rather than on energy dominated (mostly isotropic) properties. Recently, the author introduced a technique called dual space analysis (DSA), which is based on EMS and quantum mechanics to analyze orbital based information in the more familiar position space as well as the less familiar momentum space. In this article, the development of EMS and DSA is reviewed through the applications to molecules of biological interest such as amino acids, nucleic acid bases and recently nucleosides. The emphasis is the applications of DSA to study isomerization processes and chemical bonding mechanisms of these molecules.

  8. Second-harmonic generation for studying structural motion of biological molecules in real time and space.

    PubMed

    Salafsky, Joshua S

    2007-11-14

    SHG and sum-frequency generation (SFG) are surface-selective, nonlinear optical techniques whose ability to measure the average tilt angle of molecules on surfaces is well known in non-biological systems. By labeling molecules with a second-harmonic-active dye probe, SHG detection is extended to any biological molecule. The method has been used in previous work to detect biomolecules at an interface and their ligand-induced conformational changes. Here I demonstrate that SHG can be used to study structural motion quantitatively using a probe placed at a specific site (Cys-77) in adenylate kinase, a protein. The protein is also labeled non-site-specifically via amines. Labeled protein is absorbed to a surface and a baseline SH signal is measured. Upon introducing ATP, AMP or a specific inhibitor, AP(5)A, the baseline signal changes depending on the ligand and the labeling site. In particular, a substantial change in SH intensity is produced upon binding ATP to the amine-labeled protein, consistent with the X-ray crystal structures. In contrast, SHG polarization measurements are used to quantitatively determine that no rotation occurs at site Cys-77, in agreement with the lack of motion observed at this site in the X-ray crystal structures. A method for building a global map of conformational change in real time and space is proposed using a set of probes placed at different sites in a biomolecule. For this purpose, SH-active unnatural amino acids are attractive complements to exogenous labels.

  9. Electron transfer behaviour of biological macromolecules towards the single-molecule level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Jingdong; Grubb, Mikala; Hansen, Allan G.; Kuznetsov, Alexander M.; Boisen, Anja; Wackerbarth, Hainer; Ulstrup, Jens

    2003-05-01

    Redox metalloproteins immobilized on metallic surfaces in contact with aqueous biological media are important in many areas of pure and applied sciences. Redox metalloprotein films are currently being addressed by new approaches where biotechnology including modified and synthetic proteins is combined with state-of-the-art physical electrochemistry with emphasis on single-crystal, atomically planar electrode surfaces, in situ scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and other surface techniques. These approaches have brought bioelectrochemistry important steps forward towards the nanoscale and single-molecule levels. We discuss here these advances with reference to two specific redox metalloproteins, the blue single-copper protein Pseudomonas aeruginosa azurin and the single-haem protein Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cytochrome c, and a short oligonucleotide. Both proteins can be immobilized on Au(111) by chemisorption via exposed sulfur-containing residues. Voltammetric, interfacial capacitance, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and microcantilever sensor data, together with in situ STM with single-molecule resolution, all point to a coherent view of monolayer organization with protein electron transfer (ET) function retained. In situ STM can also address the microscopic mechanisms for electron tunnelling through the biomolecules and offers novel notions such as coherent multi-ET between the substrate and tip via the molecular redox levels. This differs in important respects from electrochemical ET at a single metal/electrolyte interface. Similar data for a short oligonucleotide immobilized on Au(111) show that oligonucleotides can be characterized with comparable detail, with novel perspectives for addressing DNA electronic conduction mechanisms and for biological screening towards the single-molecule level.

  10. Structure, Properties, and Biological Relevance of the DNA and RNA G-Quadruplexes: Overview 50 Years after Their Discovery.

    PubMed

    Dolinnaya, N G; Ogloblina, A M; Yakubovskaya, M G

    2016-12-01

    G-quadruplexes (G4s), which are known to have important roles in regulation of key biological processes in both normal and pathological cells, are the most actively studied non-canonical structures of nucleic acids. In this review, we summarize the results of studies published in recent years that change significantly scientific views on various aspects of our understanding of quadruplexes. Modern notions on the polymorphism of DNA quadruplexes, on factors affecting thermodynamics and kinetics of G4 folding-unfolding, on structural organization of multiquadruplex systems, and on conformational features of RNA G4s and hybrid DNA-RNA G4s are discussed. Here we report the data on location of G4 sequence motifs in the genomes of eukaryotes, bacteria, and viruses, characterize G4-specific small-molecule ligands and proteins, as well as the mechanisms of their interactions with quadruplexes. New information on the structure and stability of G4s in telomeric DNA and oncogene promoters is discussed as well as proof being provided on the occurrence of G-quadruplexes in cells. Prominence is given to novel experimental techniques (single molecule manipulations, optical and magnetic tweezers, original chemical approaches, G4 detection in situ, in-cell NMR spectroscopy) that facilitate breakthroughs in the investigation of the structure and functions of G-quadruplexes.

  11. An RNA interference screen uncovers a new molecule in stem cell self-renewal and long-term regeneration.

    PubMed

    Chen, Ting; Heller, Evan; Beronja, Slobodan; Oshimori, Naoki; Stokes, Nicole; Fuchs, Elaine

    2012-04-04

    Adult stem cells sustain tissue maintenance and regeneration throughout the lifetime of an animal. These cells often reside in specific signalling niches that orchestrate the stem cell's balancing act between quiescence and cell-cycle re-entry based on the demand for tissue regeneration. How stem cells maintain their capacity to replenish themselves after tissue regeneration is poorly understood. Here we use RNA-interference-based loss-of-function screening as a powerful approach to uncover transcriptional regulators that govern the self-renewal capacity and regenerative potential of stem cells. Hair follicle stem cells provide an ideal model. These cells have been purified and characterized from their native niche in vivo and, in contrast to their rapidly dividing progeny, they can be maintained and passaged long-term in vitro. Focusing on the nuclear proteins and/or transcription factors that are enriched in stem cells compared with their progeny, we screened ∼2,000 short hairpin RNAs for their effect on long-term, but not short-term, stem cell self-renewal in vitro. To address the physiological relevance of our findings, we selected one candidate that was uncovered in the screen: TBX1. This transcription factor is expressed in many tissues but has not been studied in the context of stem cell biology. By conditionally ablating Tbx1 in vivo, we showed that during homeostasis, tissue regeneration occurs normally but is markedly delayed. We then devised an in vivo assay for stem cell replenishment and found that when challenged with repetitive rounds of regeneration, the Tbx1-deficient stem cell niche becomes progressively depleted. Addressing the mechanism of TBX1 action, we discovered that TBX1 acts as an intrinsic rheostat of BMP signalling: it is a gatekeeper that governs the transition between stem cell quiescence and proliferation in hair follicles. Our results validate the RNA interference screen and underscore its power in unearthing new molecules that

  12. Theory and Modeling of RNA Structure and Interactions with Metal Ions and Small Molecules.

    PubMed

    Sun, Li-Zhen; Zhang, Dong; Chen, Shi-Jie

    2017-03-15

    In addition to continuous rapid progress in RNA structure determination, probing, and biophysical studies, the past decade has seen remarkable advances in the development of a new generation of RNA folding theories and models. In this article, we review RNA structure prediction models and models for ion-RNA and ligand-RNA interactions. These new models are becoming increasingly important for a mechanistic understanding of RNA function and quantitative design of RNA nanotechnology. We focus on new methods for physics-based, knowledge-based, and experimental data-directed modeling for RNA structures and explore the new theories for the predictions of metal ion and ligand binding sites and metal iondependent RNA stabilities. The integration of these new methods with theories about the cellular environment effects in RNA folding, such as molecular crowding and cotranscriptional kinetic effects, may ultimately lead to an all-encompassing RNA folding model. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biophysics Volume 46 is May 20, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

  13. Small stable RNAs from Escherichia coli: evidence for the existence of new molecules and for a new ribonucleoprotein particle containing 6S RNA.

    PubMed

    Lee, S Y; Bailey, S C; Apirion, D

    1978-02-01

    Small stable RNA molecules of Escherichia coli other than 5S (rRNA) and 4S (tRNA) were studied. Two of the molecules corresponded to 4.5S and 6S RNA, which have been reported previously. The third stable RNA molecule, 10S RNA, has not been described before. RNA labeled with (32)P(i) or [(14)C]uracil for a relatively long time, when separated in 5%/12% tandem polyacrylamide gels, displayed three bands corresponding to 10S, 6S, and 4.5S RNA in addition to rRNA and tRNA bands. These RNAs were stable in pulse-chase-labeling experiments. The amount of these RNAs was small, comprising only 0.2 to 0.5% of the total (32)P incorporation. However, this amount represented a large number of molecules; for 6S and 4.5S, it was about 1,000/DNA molecule. These three RNAs were found in the postribosomal supernatant fraction. None of them was found in purified nucleoid fractions in which the tightly coiled DNA molecules were contained. Of these three RNAs, 6S RNA was unique in that it seemed to exist in a ribonucleoprotein particle. All these RNAs, as well as tRNA, were very stable in the cell under various physiological conditions. 5S RNA was less stable. On the other hand, purified 6S RNA was more susceptible than tRNA to cell nucleases when incubated with cell extracts, suggesting that, being in a particle, it is protected from cell nucleases.

  14. Biological role of microRNA-103 based on expression profile and target genes analysis in pigs.

    PubMed

    Li, Guoxi; Wu, Zongsong; Li, Xinjian; Ning, Xiaomin; Li, Yanjie; Yang, Gongshe

    2011-10-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously expressed RNAs consisting of 20-24 nucleotides. These molecules are thought to repress protein translation by binding to target mRNAs. However, biological functions have not been assigned to most of the 175 porcine miRNAs registered in miRBase (release 15.0). In an effort to uncover miR-103 important in pigs, we examined the integrative tissue expression profile and gene ontology (GO) term enrichment of predicted target genes to determine the global biological functions of miR-103. Our results demonstrated that miR-103 is involved in various biological processes including brain development, lipid metabolism, adipocyte differentiation, hematopoiesis, and immunity. Moreover, we also experimentally verified effects of miR-103 in porcine preadipocytes. miR-103 levels increased in differentiating adipocytes, and inhibition of miR-103 effectively inhibited preadipocyte differentiation. In addition, mRNA levels of the putative miR-103 target RAI14 were higher in miR-103 inhibitor-treated adipocytes. These results demonstrate that miR-103 is involved in porcine preadipocyte differentiation and may act through the putative target gene RAI14. In a word, our data provide new insights into the global biological role of miR-103.

  15. Microtechnology meets systems biology: the small molecules of metabolome as next big targets.

    PubMed

    Wurm, M; Schöpke, B; Lutz, D; Müller, J; Zeng, A-P

    2010-08-20

    One of the key objectives of systems biology is to study and control biological processes in terms of interactions of components at different molecular levels. Advances in genome sequencing, transcriptomics and proteomics have paved the way for a systemic analysis of cellular processes at gene and protein levels. However, tools are still missing for a reliable and systemic analysis of the small molecules inside cells, the so-called metabolome. Due to the generally very low concentration, high turn-over rate and chemical diversity of metabolites their quantification under physiological, in vivo and dynamic conditions presents major challenges and the missing link for a real systems biology approach on the way from genome to cellular function. To this end, microfluidics can play an important role owing to its unique characteristics such as highly spatial and temporal resolution of sample treatment and analysis. Despite impressive progresses in microtechnology in recent years, many of the microfluidic studies or devices remain at the level of proof-of-principle and have been seldom applied to the real world of metabolomic analysis. In this review article, we first present the major obstacles and challenges for determining in vivo metabolite dynamics in complex biological systems. The progresses in microfluidics, their characteristics and possible applications to solving some of the compelling problems in metabolomic analysis are then discussed. Emphases are put on pinpointing the deficits of the presently available devices and technologies and directions for further development to fulfill the special need of systems biology. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. A human haploid gene trap collection to study lncRNAs with unusual RNA biology.

    PubMed

    Kornienko, Aleksandra E; Vlatkovic, Irena; Neesen, Jürgen; Barlow, Denise P; Pauler, Florian M

    2016-01-01

    Many thousand long non-coding (lnc) RNAs are mapped in the human genome. Time consuming studies using reverse genetic approaches by post-transcriptional knock-down or genetic modification of the locus demonstrated diverse biological functions for a few of these transcripts. The Human Gene Trap Mutant Collection in haploid KBM7 cells is a ready-to-use tool for studying protein-coding gene function. As lncRNAs show remarkable differences in RNA biology compared to protein-coding genes, it is unclear if this gene trap collection is useful for functional analysis of lncRNAs. Here we use the uncharacterized LOC100288798 lncRNA as a model to answer this question. Using public RNA-seq data we show that LOC100288798 is ubiquitously expressed, but inefficiently spliced. The minor spliced LOC100288798 isoforms are exported to the cytoplasm, whereas the major unspliced isoform is nuclear localized. This shows that LOC100288798 RNA biology differs markedly from typical mRNAs. De novo assembly from RNA-seq data suggests that LOC100288798 extends 289kb beyond its annotated 3' end and overlaps the downstream SLC38A4 gene. Three cell lines with independent gene trap insertions in LOC100288798 were available from the KBM7 gene trap collection. RT-qPCR and RNA-seq confirmed successful lncRNA truncation and its extended length. Expression analysis from RNA-seq data shows significant deregulation of 41 protein-coding genes upon LOC100288798 truncation. Our data shows that gene trap collections in human haploid cell lines are useful tools to study lncRNAs, and identifies the previously uncharacterized LOC100288798 as a potential gene regulator.

  17. Breaking the Nanometer Barrier: Progress in Biological Nanoscience, Measured One Molecule at a Time (How a Biophysicist Watches DNA Transcription)

    SciTech Connect

    Block, Stephen

    2006-03-20

    A new field of scientific exploration - single molecule biophysics - is currently reshaping and redefining our understanding of the mechanochemistry of life. The development of laser-based optical traps, or 'optical tweezers,' has allowed for physiological assessments of such precision that bio-molecules can now be measured and studied one at a time. In this colloquium, Professor Block will present findings based on his group's construction of optical trapping instrumentation that has broken the nanometer barrier, allowing researchers to study single-molecule displacements on the Angstrom level. Focusing on RNA polymerase, the motor enzyme responsible for transcribing the genetic code contained in DNA, Block's group has been able to measure, in real time, the motion of a single molecule of RNA polymerase as it moves from base to base along the DNA template.

  18. Small Molecule Binding, Docking, and Characterization of the Interaction between Pth1 and Peptidyl-tRNA

    SciTech Connect

    Hames, Mary C; McFeeters, Hana; Holloway, W Blake; Stanley, Christopher B; Urban, Volker S; McFeeters, Robert L

    2013-01-01

    Bacterial Pth1 is essential for viability. Pth1 cleaves the ester bond between the peptide and nucleotide of peptidyl-tRNA generated from aborted translation, expression of mini-genes, and short ORFs. We have determined the shape of the Pth1:peptidyl-tRNA complex using small angle neutron scattering. Binding of piperonylpiperazine, a small molecule constituent of a combinatorial synthetic library common to most compounds with inhibitory activity, was mapped to Pth1 via NMR spectroscopy. We also report computational docking results, modeling piperonylpiperazine binding based on chemical shift perturbation mapping. Overall these studies promote Pth1 as a novel antibiotic target, contributing to understanding how Pth1 interacts with its substrate, advancing the current model for cleavage, and demonstrating feasibility of small molecule inhibition.

  19. Unraveling retrograde signaling pathways: finding candidate signaling molecules via metabolomics and systems biology driven approaches.

    PubMed

    Caldana, Camila; Fernie, Alisdair R; Willmitzer, Lothar; Steinhauser, Dirk

    2012-01-01

    A tight coordination of biological processes between cellular compartments and organelles is crucial for the survival of any eukaryotic organism. According to cellular requirements, signals can be generated within organelles, such as chloroplasts and mitochondria, modulating the nuclear gene expression in a process called retrograde signaling. Whilst many research efforts have been focused on dissecting retrograde signaling pathways using biochemical and genetics approaches, metabolomics and systems biology driven studies have illustrated their great potential for hypotheses generation and for dissecting signaling networks in a rather unbiased or untargeted fashion. Recently, integrative genomics approaches, in which correlation analysis has been applied on transcript and metabolite profiling data of Arabidopsis thaliana, revealed the identification of metabolites which are putatively acting as mediators of nuclear gene expression. Complimentary, the continuous technological developments in the field of metabolomics per se has further demonstrated its potential as a very suitable readout to unravel metabolite-mediated signaling processes. As foundation for these studies here we outline and discuss recent advances in elucidating retrograde signaling molecules and pathways with an emphasis on metabolomics and systems biology driven approaches.

  20. Biological mechanism analysis of acute renal allograft rejection: integrated of mRNA and microRNA expression profiles

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Shi-Ming; Zhao, Xia; Zhao, Xue-Mei; Wang, Xiao-Ying; Li, Shan-Shan; Zhu, Yu-Hui

    2014-01-01

    Objectives: Renal transplantation is the preferred method for most patients with end-stage renal disease, however, acute renal allograft rejection is still a major risk factor for recipients leading to renal injury. To improve the early diagnosis and treatment of acute rejection, study on the molecular mechanism of it is urgent. Methods: MicroRNA (miRNA) expression profile and mRNA expression profile of acute renal allograft rejection and well-functioning allograft downloaded from ArrayExpress database were applied to identify differentially expressed (DE) miRNAs and DE mRNAs. DE miRNAs targets were predicted by combining five algorithm. By overlapping the DE mRNAs and DE miRNAs targets, common genes were obtained. Differentially co-expressed genes (DCGs) were identified by differential co-expression profile (DCp) and differential co-expression enrichment (DCe) methods in Differentially Co-expressed Genes and Links (DCGL) package. Then, co-expression network of DCGs and the cluster analysis were performed. Functional enrichment analysis for DCGs was undergone. Results: A total of 1270 miRNA targets were predicted and 698 DE mRNAs were obtained. While overlapping miRNA targets and DE mRNAs, 59 common genes were gained. We obtained 103 DCGs and 5 transcription factors (TFs) based on regulatory impact factors (RIF), then built the regulation network of miRNA targets and DE mRNAs. By clustering the co-expression network, 5 modules were obtained. Thereinto, module 1 had the highest degree and module 2 showed the most number of DCGs and common genes. TF CEBPB and several common genes, such as RXRA, BASP1 and AKAP10, were mapped on the co-expression network. C1R showed the highest degree in the network. These genes might be associated with human acute renal allograft rejection. Conclusions: We conducted biological analysis on integration of DE mRNA and DE miRNA in acute renal allograft rejection, displayed gene expression patterns and screened out genes and TFs that may

  1. Biological mechanism analysis of acute renal allograft rejection: integrated of mRNA and microRNA expression profiles.

    PubMed

    Huang, Shi-Ming; Zhao, Xia; Zhao, Xue-Mei; Wang, Xiao-Ying; Li, Shan-Shan; Zhu, Yu-Hui

    2014-01-01

    Renal transplantation is the preferred method for most patients with end-stage renal disease, however, acute renal allograft rejection is still a major risk factor for recipients leading to renal injury. To improve the early diagnosis and treatment of acute rejection, study on the molecular mechanism of it is urgent. MicroRNA (miRNA) expression profile and mRNA expression profile of acute renal allograft rejection and well-functioning allograft downloaded from ArrayExpress database were applied to identify differentially expressed (DE) miRNAs and DE mRNAs. DE miRNAs targets were predicted by combining five algorithm. By overlapping the DE mRNAs and DE miRNAs targets, common genes were obtained. Differentially co-expressed genes (DCGs) were identified by differential co-expression profile (DCp) and differential co-expression enrichment (DCe) methods in Differentially Co-expressed Genes and Links (DCGL) package. Then, co-expression network of DCGs and the cluster analysis were performed. Functional enrichment analysis for DCGs was undergone. A total of 1270 miRNA targets were predicted and 698 DE mRNAs were obtained. While overlapping miRNA targets and DE mRNAs, 59 common genes were gained. We obtained 103 DCGs and 5 transcription factors (TFs) based on regulatory impact factors (RIF), then built the regulation network of miRNA targets and DE mRNAs. By clustering the co-expression network, 5 modules were obtained. Thereinto, module 1 had the highest degree and module 2 showed the most number of DCGs and common genes. TF CEBPB and several common genes, such as RXRA, BASP1 and AKAP10, were mapped on the co-expression network. C1R showed the highest degree in the network. These genes might be associated with human acute renal allograft rejection. We conducted biological analysis on integration of DE mRNA and DE miRNA in acute renal allograft rejection, displayed gene expression patterns and screened out genes and TFs that may be related to acute renal allograft

  2. The Juxtaposition of Ribose Hydroxyl Groups: The Root of Biological Catalysis and the RNA World?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernhardt, Harold S.

    2015-06-01

    We normally think of enzymes as being proteins; however, the RNA world hypothesis suggests that the earliest biological catalysts may have been composed of RNA. One of the oldest surviving RNA enzymes we are aware of is the peptidyl transferase centre (PTC) of the large ribosomal RNA, which joins amino acids together to form proteins. Recent evidence indicates that the enzymatic activity of the PTC is principally due to ribose 2 '-OHs. Many other reactions catalyzed by RNA and/or in which RNA is a substrate similarly utilize ribose 2 '-OHs, including phosphoryl transfer reactions that involve the cleavage and/or ligation of the ribose-phosphate backbone. It has recently been proposed by Yakhnin (2013) that phosphoryl transfer reactions were important in the prebiotic chemical evolution of RNA, by enabling macromolecules composed of polyols joined by phosphodiester linkages to undergo recombination reactions, with the reaction energy supplied by the phosphodiester bond itself. The almost unique juxtaposition of the ribose 2'-hydroxyl and 3'-oxygen in ribose-containing polymers such as RNA, which gives ribose the ability to catalyze such reactions, may have been an important factor in the selection of ribose as a component of the first biopolymer. In addition, the juxtaposition of hydroxyl groups in free ribose: (i) allows coordination of borate ions, which could have provided significant and preferential stabilization of ribose in a prebiotic environment; and (ii) enhances the rate of permeation by ribose into a variety of lipid membrane systems, possibly favouring its incorporation into early metabolic pathways and an ancestral ribose-phosphate polymer. Somewhat more speculatively, hydrogen bonds formed by juxtaposed ribose hydroxyl groups may have stabilized an ancestral ribose-phosphate polymer against degradation (Bernhardt and Sandwick 2014). I propose that the almost unique juxtaposition of ribose hydroxyl groups constitutes the root of both biological

  3. Single Molecule Detection in Living Biological Cells using Carbon Nanotube Optical Probes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strano, Michael

    2009-03-01

    Nanoscale sensing elements offer promise for single molecule analyte detection in physically or biologically constrained environments. Molecular adsorption can be amplified via modulation of sharp singularities in the electronic density of states that arise from 1D quantum confinement [1]. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT), as single molecule optical sensors [2-3], offer unique advantages such as photostable near-infrared (n-IR) emission for prolonged detection through biological media, single-molecule sensitivity and, nearly orthogonal optical modes for signal transduction that can be used to identify distinct classes of analytes. Selective binding to the SWNT surface is difficult to engineer [4]. In this lecture, we will briefly review the immerging field of fluorescent diagnostics using band gap emission from SWNT. In recent work, we demonstrate that even a single pair of SWNT provides at least four optical modes that can be modulated to uniquely fingerprint chemical agents by the degree to which they alter either the emission band intensity or wavelength. We validate this identification method in vitro by demonstrating detection and identification of six genotoxic analytes, including chemotherapeutic drugs and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are spectroscopically differentiated into four distinct classes. We also demonstrate single-molecule sensitivity in detecting hydrogen peroxide, one of the most common genotoxins and an important cellular signal. Finally, we employ our sensing and fingerprinting method of these analytes in real time within live 3T3 cells, demonstrating the first multiplexed optical detection from a nanoscale biosensor and the first label-free tool to optically discriminate between genotoxins. We will also discuss our recent efforts to fabricate biomedical sensors for real time detection of glucose and other important physiologically relevant analytes in-vivo. The response of embedded SWNT in a swellable hydrogel construct to

  4. Challenges of biological sample preparation for SIMS imaging of elements and molecules at subcellular resolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chandra, Subhash

    2008-12-01

    Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) based imaging techniques capable of subcellular resolution characterization of elements and molecules are becoming valuable tools in many areas of biology and medicine. Due to high vacuum requirements of SIMS, the live cells cannot be analyzed directly in the instrument. The sample preparation, therefore, plays a critical role in preserving the native chemical composition for SIMS analysis. This work focuses on the evaluation of frozen-hydrated and frozen freeze-dried sample preparations for SIMS studies of cultured cells with a CAMECA IMS-3f dynamic SIMS ion microscope instrument capable of producing SIMS images with a spatial resolution of 500 nm. The sandwich freeze-fracture method was used for fracturing the cells. The complimentary fracture planes in the plasma membrane were characterized by field-emission secondary electron microscopy (FESEM) in the frozen-hydrated state. The cells fractured at the dorsal surface were used for SIMS analysis. The frozen-hydrated SIMS analysis of individual cells under dynamic primary ion beam (O 2+) revealed local secondary ion signal enhancements correlated with the water image signals of 19(H 3O) +. A preferential removal of water from the frozen cell matrix in the Z-axis was also observed. These complications render the frozen-hydrated sample type less desirable for subcellular dynamic SIMS studies. The freeze-drying of frozen-hydrated cells, either inside the instrument or externally in a freeze-drier, allowed SIMS imaging of subcellular chemical composition. Morphological evaluations of fractured freeze-dried cells with SEM and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) revealed well-preserved mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, and stress fibers. SIMS analysis of fractured freeze-dried cells revealed well-preserved chemical composition of even the most highly diffusible ions like K + and Na + in physiologically relevant concentrations. The high K-low Na signature in individual cells

  5. Small RNA Library Construction for Exosomal RNA from Biological Samples for the Ion Torrent PGM™ and Ion S5™ System.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Lesley; Hill, Andrew F

    2017-01-01

    Next-generation deep sequencing (NGS) technology represents a powerful and innovative approach to profile small RNA. Currently, there are a number of large-scale and benchtop sequencing platforms available on the market. Although each platform is relatively straightforward to operate, constructing cDNA libraries can be the most difficult part of the NGS workflow. Constructing quality libraries is essential to obtaining a successful sequencing run of high-quality reads and coverage. The quality and yield of RNA affect hybridization and ligation of sequencing adapters. In the field of biomarker discovery, there has been an interest in profiling exosomal RNA from biological fluids. However, very little RNA yield is obtained when extracting RNA from exosomes, thus making library construction difficult. Here, this protocol describes an optimized protocol for constructing small RNA libraries from low yields of RNA, in particular, extracted from exosomes isolated from biological fluids.

  6. Identification of distinct biological functions for four 3′-5′ RNA polymerases

    PubMed Central

    Long, Yicheng; Abad, Maria G.; Olson, Erik D.; Carrillo, Elisabeth Y.; Jackman, Jane E.

    2016-01-01

    The superfamily of 3′-5′ polymerases synthesize RNA in the opposite direction to all other DNA/RNA polymerases, and its members include eukaryotic tRNAHis guanylyltransferase (Thg1), as well as Thg1-like proteins (TLPs) of unknown function that are broadly distributed, with family members in all three domains of life. Dictyostelium discoideum encodes one Thg1 and three TLPs (DdiTLP2, DdiTLP3 and DdiTLP4). Here, we demonstrate that depletion of each of the genes results in a significant growth defect, and that each protein catalyzes a unique biological reaction, taking advantage of specialized biochemical properties. DdiTLP2 catalyzes a mitochondria-specific tRNAHis maturation reaction, which is distinct from the tRNAHis maturation reaction typically catalyzed by Thg1 enzymes on cytosolic tRNA. DdiTLP3 catalyzes tRNA repair during mitochondrial tRNA 5′-editing in vivo and in vitro, establishing template-dependent 3′-5′ polymerase activity of TLPs as a bona fide biological activity for the first time since its unexpected discovery more than a decade ago. DdiTLP4 is cytosolic and, surprisingly, catalyzes robust 3′-5′ polymerase activity on non-tRNA substrates, strongly implying further roles for TLP 3′-5′ polymerases in eukaryotes. PMID:27484477

  7. MicroRNA responses to environmental liver carcinogens: Biological and clinical significance.

    PubMed

    Nicolaidou, Vicky; Koufaris, Costas

    2015-05-20

    A large number of biological, chemical, and dietary factors have been implicated in the development of liver cancer. These involve complex and protracted interactions between genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors. The survival rate for patients diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer is currently low due to the aggressive nature of the disease and resistance to therapy. An increasing body of evidence has offered support for the crucial role of non-coding microRNA (miRNA) in directing hepatic responses to environmental risk factors for liver cancer. In this review we focus on miRNA responses to environmental liver cancer risk factors and their potential biological and clinical significance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. RNA around the clock - regulation at the RNA level in biological timing.

    PubMed

    Nolte, Christine; Staiger, Dorothee

    2015-01-01

    The circadian timing system in plants synchronizes their physiological functions with the environment. This is achieved by a global control of gene expression programs with a considerable part of the transcriptome undergoing 24-h oscillations in steady-state abundance. These circadian oscillations are driven by a set of core clock proteins that generate their own 24-h rhythm through periodic feedback on their own transcription. Additionally, post-transcriptional events are instrumental for oscillations of core clock genes and genes in clock output. Here we provide an update on molecular events at the RNA level that contribute to the 24-h rhythm of the core clock proteins and shape the circadian transcriptome. We focus on the circadian system of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana but also discuss selected regulatory principles in other organisms.

  9. RNA around the clock – regulation at the RNA level in biological timing

    PubMed Central

    Nolte, Christine; Staiger, Dorothee

    2015-01-01

    The circadian timing system in plants synchronizes their physiological functions with the environment. This is achieved by a global control of gene expression programs with a considerable part of the transcriptome undergoing 24-h oscillations in steady-state abundance. These circadian oscillations are driven by a set of core clock proteins that generate their own 24-h rhythm through periodic feedback on their own transcription. Additionally, post-transcriptional events are instrumental for oscillations of core clock genes and genes in clock output. Here we provide an update on molecular events at the RNA level that contribute to the 24-h rhythm of the core clock proteins and shape the circadian transcriptome. We focus on the circadian system of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana but also discuss selected regulatory principles in other organisms. PMID:25999975

  10. SERS-based inverse molecular sentinel (iMS) nanoprobes for multiplexed detection of microRNA cancer biomarkers in biological samples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crawford, Bridget M.; Wang, Hsin-Neng; Fales, Andrew M.; Bowie, Michelle L.; Seewaldt, Victoria L.; Vo-Dinh, Tuan

    2017-02-01

    The development of sensitive and selective biosensing techniques is of great interest for clinical diagnostics. Here, we describe the development and application of a surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensing technology, referred to as "inverse Molecular Sentinel (iMS)" nanoprobes, for the detection of nucleic acid biomarkers in biological samples. This iMS nanoprobe involves the use of plasmonic-active nanostars as the sensing platform for a homogenous assay for multiplexed detection of nucleic acid biomarkers, including DNA, RNA and microRNA (miRNA). The "OFF-to-ON" signal switch is based on a non-enzymatic strand-displacement process and the conformational change of stem-loop (hairpin) oligonucleotide probes upon target binding. Here, we demonstrate the development of iMS nanoprobes for the detection of DNA sequences as well as a modified design of the nanoprobe for the detection of short (22-nt) microRNA sequences. The application of iMS nanoprobes to detect miRNAs in real biological samples was performed with total small RNA extracted from breast cancer cell lines. The multiplex capability of the iMS technique was demonstrated using a mixture of the two differently labeled nanoprobes to detect miR-21 and miR-34a miRNA biomarkers for breast cancer. The results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of applying the iMS technique for multiplexed detection of nucleic acid biomarkers, including short miRNAs molecules.

  11. Small molecules unravel complex interplay between auxin biology and endomembrane trafficking.

    PubMed

    Doyle, Siamsa M; Vain, Thomas; Robert, Stéphanie

    2015-08-01

    The establishment and maintenance of controlled auxin gradients within plant tissues are essential for a multitude of developmental processes. Auxin gradient formation is co-ordinated via local biosynthesis and transport. Cell to cell auxin transport is facilitated and precisely regulated by complex endomembrane trafficking mechanisms that target auxin carrier proteins to their final destinations. In turn, auxin and cross-talk with other phytohormones regulate the endomembrane trafficking of auxin carriers. Dissecting such rapid and complicated processes is challenging for classical genetic experiments due to trafficking pathway diversity, gene functional redundancy, and lethality in loss-of-function mutants. Many of these difficulties can be bypassed via the use of small molecules to modify or disrupt the function or localization of proteins. Here, we will review examples of the knowledge acquired by the use of such chemical tools in this field, outlining the advantages afforded by chemical biology approaches.

  12. Extension of in vivo half-life of biologically active molecules by XTEN protein polymers.

    PubMed

    Podust, Vladimir N; Balan, Sibu; Sim, Bee-Cheng; Coyle, Michael P; Ernst, Ulrich; Peters, Robert T; Schellenberger, Volker

    2016-10-28

    XTEN™ is a class of unstructured hydrophilic, biodegradable protein polymers designed to increase the half-lives of therapeutic peptides and proteins. XTEN polymers and XTEN fusion proteins are typically expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by conventional protein chromatography as monodisperse polypeptides of exact length and sequence. Unstructured XTEN polypeptides have hydrodynamic volumes significantly larger than typical globular proteins of similar mass, thus imparting a bulking effect to the therapeutic payloads attached to them. Since their invention, XTEN polypeptides have been utilized to extend the half-lives of a variety of peptide- and protein-based therapeutics. Multiple clinical and preclinical studies and related drug discovery and development efforts are in progress. This review details the most current understanding of physicochemical properties and biological behavior of XTEN and XTENylated molecules. Additionally, the development path and status of several advanced drug discovery and development efforts are highlighted.

  13. Higher sensitivity secondary ion mass spectrometry of biological molecules for high resolution, chemically specific imaging.

    PubMed

    McDonnell, Liam A; Heeren, Ron M A; de Lange, Robert P J; Fletcher, Ian W

    2006-09-01

    To expand the role of high spatial resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) in biological studies, numerous developments have been reported in recent years for enhancing the molecular ion yield of high mass molecules. These include both surface modification, including matrix-enhanced SIMS and metal-assisted SIMS, and polyatomic primary ions. Using rat brain tissue sections and a bismuth primary ion gun able to produce atomic and polyatomic primary ions, we report here how the sensitivity enhancements provided by these developments are additive. Combined surface modification and polyatomic primary ions provided approximately 15.8 times more signal than using atomic primary ions on the raw sample, whereas surface modification and polyatomic primary ions yield approximately 3.8 and approximately 8.4 times more signal. This higher sensitivity is used to generate chemically specific images of higher mass biomolecules using a single molecular ion peak.

  14. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy at single-molecule scale and its implications in biology.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuling; Irudayaraj, Joseph

    2013-02-05

    Single-molecule (SM) spectroscopy has been an exciting area of research offering significant promise and hope in the field of sensor development to detect targets at ultra-low levels down to SM resolution. To the experts and developers in the field of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), this has often been a challenge and a significant opportunity for exploration. Needless to say, the opportunities and excitement of this multidisciplinary area impacts span the fields of physics, chemistry and engineering, along with a significant thrust in applications constituting areas in medicine, biology, environment and agriculture among others. In this review, we will attempt to provide a quick snapshot of the basics of SM-SERS, nanostructures and devices that can enable SM Raman measurement. We will conclude with a discussion on SERS implications in biomedical sciences.

  15. In situ sensing and manipulation of molecules in biological samples using a nanorobotic system.

    PubMed

    Li, Guangyong; Xi, Ning; Wang, Donna H

    2005-03-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a powerful and widely used imaging technique that can visualize single molecules both in air and solution. Using the AFM tip as an end-effector, an atomic force microscope can be modified into a nanorobot that can manipulate objects in nanoscale. By functionalizing the AFM tip with specific antibodies, the nanorobot is able to identify specific types of receptors on cells' membrane. It is similar to the fluorescent optical microscopy but with higher resolution. By locally updating the AFm image based on interaction force infromation and objects' model during nanomanipulation, real-time visual feedback is obtained through the augmented reality interface. The development of the AFM-based nanorobotic system will enable us to simultaneously conduct in situ imaging, sensing, and manipulation at nanometer scale (eg, protein and DNA levels). This new technology opens a promising way to individually study the function of biological system in molecular level.

  16. New Insights into the Biological Role of Mammalian ADARs; the RNA Editing Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Mannion, Niamh; Arieti, Fabiana; Gallo, Angela; Keegan, Liam P.; O’Connell, Mary A.

    2015-01-01

    The ADAR proteins deaminate adenosine to inosine in double-stranded RNA which is one of the most abundant modifications present in mammalian RNA. Inosine can have a profound effect on the RNAs that are edited, not only changing the base-pairing properties, but can also result in recoding, as inosine behaves as if it were guanosine. In mammals there are three ADAR proteins and two ADAR-related proteins (ADAD) expressed. All have a very similar modular structure; however, both their expression and biological function differ significantly. Only two of the ADAR proteins have enzymatic activity. However, both ADAR and ADAD proteins possess the ability to bind double-strand RNA. Mutations in ADARs have been associated with many diseases ranging from cancer, innate immunity to neurological disorders. Here, we will discuss in detail the domain structure of mammalian ADARs, the effects of RNA editing, and the role of ADARs in human diseases. PMID:26437436

  17. Single-molecule RNA observation in vivo reveals dynamics of co-transcriptional splicing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferguson, M. L.; Coulon, A.; de Turris, V.; Palangat, M.; Chow, C. C.; Singer, R. H.; Larson, D. R.

    2013-03-01

    The synthesis of pre-mRNA and the splicing of that pre-mRNA to form completed transcripts requires coordination between two large multi-subunit complexes (the transcription elongation complex and the spliceosome). How this coordination occurs in vivo is unknown. Here we report the first experimental observation of transcription and splicing occurring at the same gene in living cells. By utilizing the PP7/MS2 fluorescent RNA reporter system, we can directly observe two distinct regions of the nascent RNA, allowing us to measure the rise and fall time of the intron and exon of a reporter gene stably integrated into a human cell line. The reporter gene consists of a beta globin gene where we have inserted a 24 RNA hairpin cassette into the intron/exon. Upon synthesis, the RNA hairpins are tightly bound by fluorescently-labeled PP7/MS2 bacteriophage coat proteins. After gene induction, a single locus of active transcription in the nucleus shows fluorescence intensity changes characteristic of the synthesis and excision of the intron/exon. Using fluctuation analysis, we determine the elongation rate to be 1.5 kb/min. From the temporal cross correlation function, we determine that splicing of this gene must be co-transcriptional with a splicing time of ~100 seconds before termination and a ~200 second pause at termination. We propose that dual-color RNA imaging may be extended to investigate other mechanisms of transcription, gene regulation, and RNA processing.

  18. The T box mechanism: tRNA as a regulatory molecule

    PubMed Central

    Green, Nicholas J.; Grundy, Frank J.; Henkin, Tina M.

    2009-01-01

    The T box mechanism is widely used in Gram-positive bacteria to regulate expression of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase genes and genes involved in amino acid biosynthesis and uptake. Binding of a specific uncharged tRNA to a riboswitch element in the nascent transcript causes a structural change in the transcript that promotes expression of the downstream coding sequence. In most cases, this occurs by stabilization of an antiterminator element that competes with formation of a terminator helix. Specific tRNA recognition by the nascent transcript results in increased expression of genes important for tRNA aminoacylation in response to decreased pools of charged tRNA. PMID:19932103

  19. Reproducing the three-dimensional structure of a tRNA molecule from structural constraints.

    PubMed Central

    Major, F; Gautheret, D; Cedergren, R

    1993-01-01

    The three-dimensional structure of yeast tRNA(Phe) was reproduced at atomic resolution with the automated RNA modeling program MC-SYM, which is based on a constraint-satisfaction algorithm. Structural constraints used in the modeling were derived from the secondary structure, four tertiary base pairs, and other information available prior to the determination of the x-ray crystal structure of the tRNA. The program generated 26 solutions (models), all of which had the familiar "L" form of tRNA and root-mean-square deviations from the crystal structure in the range of 3.1-3.8 A. The interaction between uridine-8 and adenosine-14 was crucial in the modeling procedure, since only this among the tertiary pairs is necessary and sufficient to reproduce the L form of tRNA. Other tertiary interactions were critical in reducing the number of solutions proposed by the program. PMID:8415714

  20. Reproducing the three-dimensional structure of a tRNA molecule from structural constraints.

    PubMed

    Major, F; Gautheret, D; Cedergren, R

    1993-10-15

    The three-dimensional structure of yeast tRNA(Phe) was reproduced at atomic resolution with the automated RNA modeling program MC-SYM, which is based on a constraint-satisfaction algorithm. Structural constraints used in the modeling were derived from the secondary structure, four tertiary base pairs, and other information available prior to the determination of the x-ray crystal structure of the tRNA. The program generated 26 solutions (models), all of which had the familiar "L" form of tRNA and root-mean-square deviations from the crystal structure in the range of 3.1-3.8 A. The interaction between uridine-8 and adenosine-14 was crucial in the modeling procedure, since only this among the tertiary pairs is necessary and sufficient to reproduce the L form of tRNA. Other tertiary interactions were critical in reducing the number of solutions proposed by the program.

  1. Role of the primer activation signal in tRNA annealing onto the HIV-1 genome studied by single-molecule FRET microscopy.

    PubMed

    Beerens, Nancy; Jepsen, Mette D E; Nechyporuk-Zloy, Volodymyr; Krüger, Asger C; Darlix, Jean-Luc; Kjems, Jørgen; Birkedal, Victoria

    2013-04-01

    HIV-1 reverse transcription is primed by a cellular tRNAlys3 molecule that binds to the primer binding site (PBS) in the genomic RNA. An additional interaction between the tRNA molecule and the primer activation signal (PAS) is thought to regulate the initiation of reverse transcription. The mechanism of tRNA annealing onto the HIV-1 genome was examined using ensemble and single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) assays, in which fluorescent donor and acceptor molecules were covalently attached to an RNA template mimicking the PBS region. The role of the viral nucleocapsid (NC) protein in tRNA annealing was studied. Both heat annealing and NC-mediated annealing of tRNAlys3 were found to change the FRET efficiency, and thus the conformation of the HIV-1 RNA template. The results are consistent with a model for tRNA annealing that involves an interaction between the tRNAlys3 molecule and the PAS sequence in the HIV-1 genome. The NC protein may stimulate the interaction of the tRNA molecule with the PAS, thereby regulating the initiation of reverse transcription.

  2. [Studies on construction of artificial mutants of Cucumber mosaic virus satellite RNA and their biological activity].

    PubMed

    Jin, Bo; Chen, Ji-Shuang; Zhang, Hua-Rong

    2005-08-01

    Based on the full length cDNA clone of a Cucumber mosaic virus satellite RNA, which was 369nt in size, artificial mutants were developed by the method of error-prone PCR and DNA shuffling. The new satellite cDNAs were transcribed in vitro into ssRNA and pseudo-recombined with a helper Cucumber mosaic virus, which contains no satellite RNA. Sequence analysis showed that A to T/G or G to A replacement all the four mutants, named MS1, MS5, MS6 and MS11 respectively, and there is no C to G or G to C replacement, but amongst, only the mutants MS11 could replicated when recombined with the helper virus strain. No satellite RNA could be detected by RT-PCR amplification and double-stranded RNA analysis for those pseudo-recombination constitution of Cucumber mosaic virus strain with mutants MS1, MS5 and MS6.Sequence homological comparison showed that the single replacement of mutants MS1, MS5 and MS6 occurred in the highly conservative regions and the T to A replacement of mutant MS11 was located in the normal-variation region. This is the first artificial mutation of satellite RNA of plant RNA viruses. The results indicated that single base in the region of satellite RNA maybe important to maintaining the biological activity of satellite RNA for its replication and stability. The variation and evolution of satellite RNA could be hopefully studied through combination directed evolution by DNA shuffling with pseudo-recombination in vitro.

  3. The juxtaposition of ribose hydroxyl groups: the root of biological catalysis and the RNA world?

    PubMed

    Bernhardt, Harold S

    2015-06-01

    We normally think of enzymes as being proteins; however, the RNA world hypothesis suggests that the earliest biological catalysts may have been composed of RNA. One of the oldest surviving RNA enzymes we are aware of is the peptidyl transferase centre (PTC) of the large ribosomal RNA, which joins amino acids together to form proteins. Recent evidence indicates that the enzymatic activity of the PTC is principally due to ribose 2'-OHs. Many other reactions catalyzed by RNA and/or in which RNA is a substrate similarly utilize ribose 2'-OHs, including phosphoryl transfer reactions that involve the cleavage and/or ligation of the ribose-phosphate backbone. It has recently been proposed by Yakhnin (2013) that phosphoryl transfer reactions were important in the prebiotic chemical evolution of RNA, by enabling macromolecules composed of polyols joined by phosphodiester linkages to undergo recombination reactions, with the reaction energy supplied by the phosphodiester bond itself. The almost unique juxtaposition of the ribose 2'-hydroxyl and 3'-oxygen in ribose-containing polymers such as RNA, which gives ribose the ability to catalyze such reactions, may have been an important factor in the selection of ribose as a component of the first biopolymer. In addition, the juxtaposition of hydroxyl groups in free ribose: (i) allows coordination of borate ions, which could have provided significant and preferential stabilization of ribose in a prebiotic environment; and (ii) enhances the rate of permeation by ribose into a variety of lipid membrane systems, possibly favouring its incorporation into early metabolic pathways and an ancestral ribose-phosphate polymer. Somewhat more speculatively, hydrogen bonds formed by juxtaposed ribose hydroxyl groups may have stabilized an ancestral ribose-phosphate polymer against degradation (Bernhardt and Sandwick 2014). I propose that the almost unique juxtaposition of ribose hydroxyl groups constitutes the root of both biological

  4. The subcellular distribution of small molecules: from pharmacokinetics to synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Nan; Tsai, Hobart Ng; Zhang, Xinyuan; Rosania, Gus R

    2011-10-03

    The systemic pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of small molecules are determined by subcellular transport phenomena. Although approaches used to study the subcellular distribution of small molecules have gradually evolved over the past several decades, experimental analysis and prediction of cellular pharmacokinetics remains a challenge. In this review, we survey the progress of subcellular distribution research since the 1960s, with a focus on the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of the various experimental techniques. Critical review of the existing body of knowledge points to many opportunities to advance the rational design of organelle-targeted chemical agents. These opportunities include (1) development of quantitative, non-fluorescence-based, whole cell methods and techniques to measure the subcellular distribution of chemical agents in multiple compartments; (2) exploratory experimentation with nonspecific transport probes that have not been enriched with putative, organelle-targeting features; (3) elaboration of hypothesis-driven, mechanistic and modeling-based approaches to guide experiments aimed at elucidating subcellular distribution and transport; and (4) introduction of revolutionary conceptual approaches borrowed from the field of synthetic biology combined with cutting edge experimental strategies. In our laboratory, state-of-the-art subcellular transport studies are now being aimed at understanding the formation of new intracellular membrane structures in response to drug therapy, exploring the function of drug-membrane complexes as intracellular drug depots, and synthesizing new organelles with extraordinary physical and chemical properties.

  5. Biological response of HeLa cells to gold nanoparticles coated with organic molecules.

    PubMed

    Cardoso Avila, P E; Rangel Mendoza, A; Pichardo Molina, J L; Flores Villavicencio, L L; Castruita Dominguez, J P; Chilakapati, M K; Sabanero Lopez, M

    2017-08-01

    In this work, gold nanospheres functionalized with low weight organic molecules (4-aminothiphenol and cysteamine) were synthesized in a one-step method for their in vitro cytotoxic evaluation on HeLa cells. To enhance the biocompatibility of the cysteamine-capped GNPs, BSA was used due to its broad PH stability and high binding affinity to gold nanoparticles. Besides, the widely reported silica coated gold nanorods were tested here to contrast their toxic response against our nanoparticles coated with organic molecules. Our results shown, the viability measured at 1.9×10(-5)M did not show significant differences against negative controls for all the samples; however, the metabolic activity of HeLa cells dropped when they were exposed to silica gold nanorods in the range of concentrations from 2.9×10(-7)M to 3.0×10(-4)M, while in the cases of gold nanospheres, we found that only at concentrations below 1.9×10(-5)M metabolic activity was normal. Our preliminary results did not indicate any perceivable harmful toxicity to cell membrane, cytoskeleton or nucleus due to our nanospheres at 1.9×10(-5)M. Additional test should be conducted in order to ensure a safe use of them for biological applications, and to determine the extent of possible damage. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Documenting and harnessing the biological potential of molecules in Distributed Drug Discovery (D3) virtual catalogs.

    PubMed

    Abraham, Milata M; Denton, Ryan E; Harper, Richard W; Scott, William L; O'Donnell, Martin J; Durrant, Jacob D

    2017-04-28

    Virtual molecular catalogs have limited utility if member compounds are (i) difficult to synthesize or (ii) unlikely to have biological activity. The Distributed Drug Discovery (D3) program addresses the synthesis challenge by providing scientists with a free virtual D3 catalog of 73,024 easy-to-synthesize N-acyl unnatural α-amino acids, their methyl esters, and primary amides. The remaining challenge is to document and exploit the bioactivity potential of these compounds. In the current work, a search process is described that retrospectively identifies all virtual D3 compounds classified as bioactive hits in PubChem-cataloged experimental assays. The results provide insight into the broad range of drug-target classes amenable to inhibition and/or agonism by D3-accessible molecules. To encourage computer-aided drug discovery centered on these compounds, a publicly available virtual database of D3 molecules prepared for use with popular computer docking programs is also presented. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  7. Semiexperimental equilibrium structures for building blocks of organic and biological molecules: the B2PLYP route.

    PubMed

    Penocchio, Emanuele; Piccardo, Matteo; Barone, Vincenzo

    2015-10-13

    The B2PLYP double hybrid functional, coupled with the correlation-consistent triple-ζ cc-pVTZ (VTZ) basis set, has been validated in the framework of the semiexperimental (SE) approach for deriving accurate equilibrium structures of molecules containing up to 15 atoms. A systematic comparison between new B2PLYP/VTZ results and several equilibrium SE structures previously determined at other levels, in particular B3LYP/SNSD and CCSD(T) with various basis sets, has put in evidence the accuracy and the remarkable stability of such model chemistry for both equilibrium structures and vibrational corrections. New SE equilibrium structures for phenylacetylene, pyruvic acid, peroxyformic acid, and phenyl radical are discussed and compared with literature data. Particular attention has been devoted to the discussion of systems for which lack of sufficient experimental data prevents a complete SE determination. In order to obtain an accurate equilibrium SE structure for these situations, the so-called templating molecule approach is discussed and generalized with respect to our previous work. Important applications are those involving biological building blocks, like uracil and thiouracil. In addition, for more general situations the linear regression approach has been proposed and validated.

  8. Exosomes from iPSCs Delivering siRNA Attenuate Intracellular Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression and Neutrophils Adhesion in Pulmonary Microvascular Endothelial Cells.

    PubMed

    Ju, Zhihai; Ma, Jinhui; Wang, Chen; Yu, Jie; Qiao, Yeru; Hei, Feilong

    2017-04-01

    The pro-inflammatory activation of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells resulting in continuous expression of cellular adhesion molecules, and subsequently recruiting primed neutrophils to form a firm neutrophils-endothelium (PMN-EC) adhesion, has been examined and found to play a vital role in acute lung injury (ALI). RNA interference (RNAi) is a cellular process through harnessing a natural pathway silencing target gene based on recognition and subsequent degradation of specific mRNA sequences. It opens a promising approach for precision medicine. However, this application was hampered by many obstacles, such as immunogenicity, instability, toxicity problems, and difficulty in across the biological membrane. In this study, we reprogrammed urine exfoliated renal epithelial cells into human induced pluripotent stem cells (huiPSCs) and purified the exosomes (Exo) from huiPSCs as RNAi delivery system. Through choosing the episomal system to deliver transcription factors, we obtained a non-integrating huiPSCs. Experiments in both vitro and vivo demonstrated that these huiPSCs possess the pluripotent properties. The exosomes of huiPSCs isolated by differential centrifugation were visualized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showing a typical exosomal appearance with an average diameter of 122 nm. Immunoblotting confirmed the presence of the typical exosomal markers, including CD63, TSG 101, and Alix. Co-cultured PKH26-labeled exosomes with human primary pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) confirmed that they could be internalized by recipient cells at a time-dependent manner. Then, electroporation was used to introduce siRNA against intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) into exosomes to form an Exo/siRNA compound. The Exo/siRNA compound efficiently delivered the target siRNA into HMVECs causing selective gene silencing, inhibiting the ICAM-1 protein expression, and PMN-EC adhesion induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These data suggest

  9. Control of rRNA Synthesis in Escherichia coli: a Systems Biology Approach†

    PubMed Central

    Dennis, Patrick P.; Ehrenberg, Mans; Bremer, Hans

    2004-01-01

    The first part of this review contains an overview of the various contributions and models relating to the control of rRNA synthesis reported over the last 45 years. The second part describes a systems biology approach to identify the factors and effectors that control the interactions between RNA polymerase and rRNA (rrn) promoters of Escherichia coli bacteria during exponential growth in different media. This analysis is based on measurements of absolute rrn promoter activities as transcripts per minute per promoter in bacterial strains either deficient or proficient in the synthesis of the factor Fis and/or the effector ppGpp. These absolute promoter activities are evaluated in terms of rrn promoter strength (Vmax/Km) and free RNA polymerase concentrations. Three major conclusions emerge from this evaluation. First, the rrn promoters are not saturated with RNA polymerase. As a consequence, changes in the concentration of free RNA polymerase contribute to changes in rrn promoter activities. Second, rrn P2 promoter strength is not specifically regulated during exponential growth at different rates; its activity changes only when the concentration of free RNA polymerase changes. Third, the effector ppGpp reduces the strength of the rrn P1 promoter both directly and indirectly by reducing synthesis of the stimulating factor Fis. This control of rrn P1 promoter strength forms part of a larger feedback loop that adjusts the synthesis of ribosomes to the availability of amino acids via amino acid-dependent control of ppGpp accumulation. PMID:15590778

  10. The Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO): a comprehensive resource for the unification of non-coding RNA biology.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jingshan; Eilbeck, Karen; Smith, Barry; Blake, Judith A; Dou, Dejing; Huang, Weili; Natale, Darren A; Ruttenberg, Alan; Huan, Jun; Zimmermann, Michael T; Jiang, Guoqian; Lin, Yu; Wu, Bin; Strachan, Harrison J; He, Yongqun; Zhang, Shaojie; Wang, Xiaowei; Liu, Zixing; Borchert, Glen M; Tan, Ming

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, sequencing technologies have enabled the identification of a wide range of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Unfortunately, annotation and integration of ncRNA data has lagged behind their identification. Given the large quantity of information being obtained in this area, there emerges an urgent need to integrate what is being discovered by a broad range of relevant communities. To this end, the Non-Coding RNA Ontology (NCRO) is being developed to provide a systematically structured and precisely defined controlled vocabulary for the domain of ncRNAs, thereby facilitating the discovery, curation, analysis, exchange, and reasoning of data about structures of ncRNAs, their molecular and cellular functions, and their impacts upon phenotypes. The goal of NCRO is to serve as a common resource for annotations of diverse research in a way that will significantly enhance integrative and comparative analysis of the myriad resources currently housed in disparate sources. It is our belief that the NCRO ontology can perform an important role in the comprehensive unification of ncRNA biology and, indeed, fill a critical gap in both the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Library and the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) BioPortal. Our initial focus is on the ontological representation of small regulatory ncRNAs, which we see as the first step in providing a resource for the annotation of data about all forms of ncRNAs. The NCRO ontology is free and open to all users, accessible at: http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/ncro.owl.

  11. Aqueous Phase Separation as a Possible Route to Compartmentalization of Biological Molecules

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    How could the incredible complexity of modern cells evolve from something simple enough to have appeared in a primordial soup? This enduring question has sparked the interest of researchers since Darwin first considered his theory of natural selection. Organic molecules, even potentially functional molecules including peptides and nucleotides, can be produced abiotically. Amphiphiles such as surfactants and lipids display remarkable self-assembly processes including the spontaneous formation of vesicles resembling the membranes of living cells. Nonetheless, numerous questions remain. Given the presumably dilute concentrations of macromolecules in the prebiotic pools where the earliest cells are thought to have appeared, how could the necessary components become concentrated and encapsulated within a semipermeable membrane? What would drive the further structural complexity that is a hallmark of modern living systems? The interior of modern cells is subdivided into microcompartments such as the nucleoid of bacteria or the organelles of eukaryotic cells. Even within what at first appears to be a single compartment, for example, the cytoplasm or nucleus, chemical composition is often nonuniform, containing gradients, macromolecular assemblies, and/or liquid droplets. What might the internal structure of intermediate evolutionary forms have looked like? The nonideal aqueous solution chemistry of macromolecules offers an attractive possible answer to these questions. Aqueous polymer solutions will form multiple coexisting thermodynamic phases under a variety of readily accessible conditions. In this Account, we describe aqueous phase separation as a model system for biological compartmentalization in both early and modern cells, with an emphasis on systems that have been encapsulated within a lipid bilayer. We begin with an introduction to aqueous phase separation and discuss how this phenomenon can lead to microcompartmentalization and could facilitate biopolymer

  12. Aqueous phase separation as a possible route to compartmentalization of biological molecules.

    PubMed

    Keating, Christine D

    2012-12-18

    How could the incredible complexity of modern cells evolve from something simple enough to have appeared in a primordial soup? This enduring question has sparked the interest of researchers since Darwin first considered his theory of natural selection. Organic molecules, even potentially functional molecules including peptides and nucleotides, can be produced abiotically. Amphiphiles such as surfactants and lipids display remarkable self-assembly processes including the spontaneous formation of vesicles resembling the membranes of living cells. Nonetheless, numerous questions remain. Given the presumably dilute concentrations of macromolecules in the prebiotic pools where the earliest cells are thought to have appeared, how could the necessary components become concentrated and encapsulated within a semipermeable membrane? What would drive the further structural complexity that is a hallmark of modern living systems? The interior of modern cells is subdivided into microcompartments such as the nucleoid of bacteria or the organelles of eukaryotic cells. Even within what at first appears to be a single compartment, for example, the cytoplasm or nucleus, chemical composition is often nonuniform, containing gradients, macromolecular assemblies, and/or liquid droplets. What might the internal structure of intermediate evolutionary forms have looked like? The nonideal aqueous solution chemistry of macromolecules offers an attractive possible answer to these questions. Aqueous polymer solutions will form multiple coexisting thermodynamic phases under a variety of readily accessible conditions. In this Account, we describe aqueous phase separation as a model system for biological compartmentalization in both early and modern cells, with an emphasis on systems that have been encapsulated within a lipid bilayer. We begin with an introduction to aqueous phase separation and discuss how this phenomenon can lead to microcompartmentalization and could facilitate biopolymer

  13. Force per cross-sectional area from molecules to muscles: a general property of biological motors.

    PubMed

    Rospars, Jean-Pierre; Meyer-Vernet, Nicole

    2016-07-01

    We propose to formally extend the notion of specific tension, i.e. force per cross-sectional area-classically used for muscles, to quantify forces in molecular motors exerting various biological functions. In doing so, we review and compare the maximum tensions exerted by about 265 biological motors operated by about 150 species of different taxonomic groups. The motors considered range from single molecules and motile appendages of microorganisms to whole muscles of large animals. We show that specific tensions exerted by molecular and non-molecular motors follow similar statistical distributions, with in particular, similar medians and (logarithmic) means. Over the 10(19) mass (M) range of the cell or body from which the motors are extracted, their specific tensions vary as M(α) with α not significantly different from zero. The typical specific tension found in most motors is about 200 kPa, which generalizes to individual molecular motors and microorganisms a classical property of macroscopic muscles. We propose a basic order-of-magnitude interpretation of this result.

  14. Force per cross-sectional area from molecules to muscles: a general property of biological motors

    PubMed Central

    Meyer-Vernet, Nicole

    2016-01-01

    We propose to formally extend the notion of specific tension, i.e. force per cross-sectional area—classically used for muscles, to quantify forces in molecular motors exerting various biological functions. In doing so, we review and compare the maximum tensions exerted by about 265 biological motors operated by about 150 species of different taxonomic groups. The motors considered range from single molecules and motile appendages of microorganisms to whole muscles of large animals. We show that specific tensions exerted by molecular and non-molecular motors follow similar statistical distributions, with in particular, similar medians and (logarithmic) means. Over the 1019 mass (M) range of the cell or body from which the motors are extracted, their specific tensions vary as Mα with α not significantly different from zero. The typical specific tension found in most motors is about 200 kPa, which generalizes to individual molecular motors and microorganisms a classical property of macroscopic muscles. We propose a basic order-of-magnitude interpretation of this result. PMID:27493785

  15. Phosphate ester hydrolysis of biologically relevant molecules by cerium oxide nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Kuchma, Melissa Hirsch; Komanski, Christopher B; Colon, Jimmie; Teblum, Andrew; Masunov, Artëm E; Alvarado, Beatrice; Babu, Suresh; Seal, Sudipta; Summy, Justin; Baker, Cheryl H

    2010-12-01

    In an effort to characterize the interaction of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CNPs) in biological systems, we explored the reactivity of CNPs with the phosphate ester bonds of p-nitrophenylphosphate (pNPP), ATP, o-phospho-l-tyrosine, and DNA. The activity of the bond cleavage for pNPP at pH 7 is calculated to be 0.860 ± 0.010 nmol p-nitrophenol/min/μg CNPs. Interestingly, when CNPs bind to plasmid DNA, no cleavage products are detected. While cerium(IV) complexes generally exhibit the ability to break phosphorus-oxygen bonds, the reactions we report appear to be dependent on the availability of cerium(III) sites, not cerium(IV) sites. We investigated the dephosphorylation mechanism from the first principles and find the reaction proceeds through inversion of the phosphate group similar to an S(N)2 mechanism. The ability of CNPs to interact with phosphate ester bonds of biologically relevant molecules has important implications for their use as potential therapeutics.

  16. Designing microarray and RNA-Seq experiments for greater systems biology discovery in modern plant genomics.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chuanping; Wei, Hairong

    2015-02-01

    Microarray and RNA-seq experiments have become an important part of modern genomics and systems biology. Obtaining meaningful biological data from these experiments is an arduous task that demands close attention to many details. Negligence at any step can lead to gene expression data containing inadequate or composite information that is recalcitrant for pattern extraction. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully consider experimental design before launching a time-consuming and costly experiment. Contemporarily, most genomics experiments have two objectives: (1) to generate two or more groups of comparable data for identifying differentially expressed genes, gene families, biological processes, or metabolic pathways under experimental conditions; (2) to build local gene regulatory networks and identify hierarchically important regulators governing biological processes and pathways of interest. Since the first objective aims to identify the active molecular identities and the second provides a basis for understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms through inferring causality relationships mediated by treatment, an optimal experiment is to produce biologically relevant and extractable data to meet both objectives without substantially increasing the cost. This review discusses the major issues that researchers commonly face when embarking on microarray or RNA-seq experiments and summarizes important aspects of experimental design, which aim to help researchers deliberate how to generate gene expression profiles with low background noise but with more interaction to facilitate novel biological discoveries in modern plant genomics.

  17. Small molecule probes finely differentiate between various ds- and ss-DNA and RNA by fluorescence, CD and NMR response.

    PubMed

    Crnolatac, Ivo; Rogan, Iva; Majić, Boris; Tomić, Sanja; Deligeorgiev, Todor; Horvat, Gordan; Makuc, Damjan; Plavec, Janez; Pescitelli, Gennaro; Piantanida, Ivo

    2016-10-12

    Two small molecules showed intriguing properties of analytical multipurpose probes, whereby one chromophore gives different signal for many different DNA/RNA by application of several highly sensitive spectroscopic methods. Dyes revealed pronounced fluorescence ratiomeric differentiation between ds-AU-RNA, AT-DNA and GC-DNA in approximate order 10:8:1. Particularly interesting, dyes showed specific fluorimetric response for poly rA even at 10-fold excess of any other ss-RNA, and moreover such emission selectivity is preserved in multicomponent ss-RNA mixtures. The dyes also showed specific chiral recognition of poly rU in respect to the other ss-RNA by induced CD (ICD) pattern in visible range (400-500 nm), which was attributed to the dye-side-chain contribution to binding (confirmed by absence of any ICD band for reference compound lacking side-chain). Most intriguingly, minor difference in the side-chain attached to dye chromophore resulted in opposite sign of dye-ICD pattern, whereby differences in NMR NOESY contacts and proton chemical shifts between two dye/oligo rU complexes combined with MD simulations and CD calculations attributed observed bisignate ICD to the dimeric dye aggregate within oligo rU.

  18. On the role of water molecules in the interface between biological systems and polymers.

    PubMed

    Tsuruta, Teiji

    2010-01-01

    The excellent biocompatibility of PMEA was ascribed by Tanaka to the predominant population of intermediate water in the hydrated polymer matrix. The intermediate water concept was examined using the 'nano-plate model' on the basis of new results (by Morita) of a time-resolved IR study on the water sorption process into PMEA. The examination showed that the image picture proposed by Tanaka concerning the role of intermediate water was in consistent with experimental results so far obtained. Morita showed that the intermediate water exhibited a strong peak at 3400 cm(-1) in its IR spectrum. Water sorption profiles of MMA, PEG and PMVE were found to be similar to that of PMEA. It was shown that the biocompatibility of these polymers could be explained by the intermediate water concept. It was also pointed out that PVP and PDMAA have a considerable amount of intermediate water under appropriate circumstances. The PHEMA-water system showed neither clear peak for cold crystallization in DSC chart, nor the strong peak at 3400 cm(-1) in its IR spectrum, because the PHEMA system did not contain enough intermediate water to show similar behavior to PMEA. The hydrated PHEMA matrix contains a stable network structure of water molecules including the nodes of OH groups of its side-chains. In the stable network system, most water molecules should be hydrogen bonded strongly to form non-freezing water, but not intermediate water. The inferior biocompatibility of PHEMA was ascribed to the stable network structure of water molecules. Some of the PHEMA co-polymers, on the other hand, were found to have highly improved biocompatibility. Mechanism for the improvement was discussed in terms of loosening the network structure, which could be brought about by introducing ionic groups or branching to the polymer chains through co-polymerization with appropriate 'key monomers'. The mobility of polymer chains, as well as the population of three kinds of water in polysaccharide molecules in

  19. Reading Out Single-Molecule Digital RNA and DNA Isothermal Amplification in Nanoliter Volumes with Unmodified Camera Phones.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Manzano, Jesus; Karymov, Mikhail A; Begolo, Stefano; Selck, David A; Zhukov, Dmitriy V; Jue, Erik; Ismagilov, Rustem F

    2016-03-22

    Digital single-molecule technologies are expanding diagnostic capabilities, enabling the ultrasensitive quantification of targets, such as viral load in HIV and hepatitis C infections, by directly counting single molecules. Replacing fluorescent readout with a robust visual readout that can be captured by any unmodified cell phone camera will facilitate the global distribution of diagnostic tests, including in limited-resource settings where the need is greatest. This paper describes a methodology for developing a visual readout system for digital single-molecule amplification of RNA and DNA by (i) selecting colorimetric amplification-indicator dyes that are compatible with the spectral sensitivity of standard mobile phones, and (ii) identifying an optimal ratiometric image-process for a selected dye to achieve a readout that is robust to lighting conditions and camera hardware and provides unambiguous quantitative results, even for colorblind users. We also include an analysis of the limitations of this methodology, and provide a microfluidic approach that can be applied to expand dynamic range and improve reaction performance, allowing ultrasensitive, quantitative measurements at volumes as low as 5 nL. We validate this methodology using SlipChip-based digital single-molecule isothermal amplification with λDNA as a model and hepatitis C viral RNA as a clinically relevant target. The innovative combination of isothermal amplification chemistry in the presence of a judiciously chosen indicator dye and ratiometric image processing with SlipChip technology allowed the sequence-specific visual readout of single nucleic acid molecules in nanoliter volumes with an unmodified cell phone camera. When paired with devices that integrate sample preparation and nucleic acid amplification, this hardware-agnostic approach will increase the affordability and the distribution of quantitative diagnostic and environmental tests.

  20. Reading Out Single-Molecule Digital RNA and DNA Isothermal Amplification in Nanoliter Volumes with Unmodified Camera Phones

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Digital single-molecule technologies are expanding diagnostic capabilities, enabling the ultrasensitive quantification of targets, such as viral load in HIV and hepatitis C infections, by directly counting single molecules. Replacing fluorescent readout with a robust visual readout that can be captured by any unmodified cell phone camera will facilitate the global distribution of diagnostic tests, including in limited-resource settings where the need is greatest. This paper describes a methodology for developing a visual readout system for digital single-molecule amplification of RNA and DNA by (i) selecting colorimetric amplification-indicator dyes that are compatible with the spectral sensitivity of standard mobile phones, and (ii) identifying an optimal ratiometric image-process for a selected dye to achieve a readout that is robust to lighting conditions and camera hardware and provides unambiguous quantitative results, even for colorblind users. We also include an analysis of the limitations of this methodology, and provide a microfluidic approach that can be applied to expand dynamic range and improve reaction performance, allowing ultrasensitive, quantitative measurements at volumes as low as 5 nL. We validate this methodology using SlipChip-based digital single-molecule isothermal amplification with λDNA as a model and hepatitis C viral RNA as a clinically relevant target. The innovative combination of isothermal amplification chemistry in the presence of a judiciously chosen indicator dye and ratiometric image processing with SlipChip technology allowed the sequence-specific visual readout of single nucleic acid molecules in nanoliter volumes with an unmodified cell phone camera. When paired with devices that integrate sample preparation and nucleic acid amplification, this hardware-agnostic approach will increase the affordability and the distribution of quantitative diagnostic and environmental tests. PMID:26900709

  1. Unfolding single RNA molecules by mechanical force: A stochastic kinetic method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Fei; Ou-Yang, Zhong-Can

    2004-10-01

    Using simple polymer elastic theory and known RNA free energies, we study the single RNA folding and unfolding on the secondary structure level under mechanical constant force by stochastic kinetic simulation. As a primary application, this method is used to simulate the experiment performed by Liphardt [Science 292, 733 (2001)]. The extension-force curves in equilibrium and kinetic reaction rate constants for folding and unfolding are calculated. Our results show that the agreement between simulation and experimental measurements is satisfactory.

  2. Interaction between cationic agents and small interfering RNA and DNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unksov, I. N.; Slita, A. V.; Petrova, A. V.; Pereviazko, I.; Bakulev, V. M.; Rolich, V. I.; Bondarenko, A. B.; Kasyanenko, N. A.

    2016-11-01

    Azobenzene containing surfactant AzoTAB was used for investigation of binding in cationic- agent + nucleic acid in NaCl salt aqueous solutions. Two nucleic acids, macromolecular DNA and small interfering RNA, were examined upon the interaction with the surfactant. For DNA the interaction was studied using spectral methods and the methods of viscometry and flow birefringence measurement. For siRNA the possibility of surfactant-based delivery was checked in vitro.

  3. Constructing a magnetic tweezers to monitor RNA translocation at the single-molecule level.

    PubMed

    Salas, Desiree; Gocheva, Veronika; Nöllmann, Marcelo

    2015-01-01

    Single-molecule methods have become an invaluable tool in the investigation of the mechanisms of nucleic-acid motors. Magnetic tweezers is a single-molecule manipulation technique that permits the real-time measurement of enzyme activities on single nucleic-acid molecules at high-resolution, high-throughput, and inherently constant force. Here, we describe several aspects of the implementation of magnetic tweezers, with special emphasis on the construction of a simple magnetic trap and, in particular, on the detailed description of image analysis methods to measure the extension changes in nucleic-acid molecules induced by protein activity. Finally, we carefully describe the steps involved in performing a full magnetic tweezers experiment.

  4. RNAiFold 2.0: a web server and software to design custom and Rfam-based RNA molecules

    PubMed Central

    Garcia-Martin, Juan Antonio; Dotu, Ivan; Clote, Peter

    2015-01-01

    Several algorithms for RNA inverse folding have been used to design synthetic riboswitches, ribozymes and thermoswitches, whose activity has been experimentally validated. The RNAiFold software is unique among approaches for inverse folding in that (exhaustive) constraint programming is used instead of heuristic methods. For that reason, RNAiFold can generate all sequences that fold into the target structure or determine that there is no solution. RNAiFold 2.0 is a complete overhaul of RNAiFold 1.0, rewritten from the now defunct COMET language to C++. The new code properly extends the capabilities of its predecessor by providing a user-friendly pipeline to design synthetic constructs having the functionality of given Rfam families. In addition, the new software supports amino acid constraints, even for proteins translated in different reading frames from overlapping coding sequences; moreover, structure compatibility/incompatibility constraints have been expanded. With these features, RNAiFold 2.0 allows the user to design single RNA molecules as well as hybridization complexes of two RNA molecules. Availability: the web server, source code and linux binaries are publicly accessible at http://bioinformatics.bc.edu/clotelab/RNAiFold2.0. PMID:26019176

  5. RNAiFold 2.0: a web server and software to design custom and Rfam-based RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Martin, Juan Antonio; Dotu, Ivan; Clote, Peter

    2015-07-01

    Several algorithms for RNA inverse folding have been used to design synthetic riboswitches, ribozymes and thermoswitches, whose activity has been experimentally validated. The RNAiFold software is unique among approaches for inverse folding in that (exhaustive) constraint programming is used instead of heuristic methods. For that reason, RNAiFold can generate all sequences that fold into the target structure or determine that there is no solution. RNAiFold 2.0 is a complete overhaul of RNAiFold 1.0, rewritten from the now defunct COMET language to C++. The new code properly extends the capabilities of its predecessor by providing a user-friendly pipeline to design synthetic constructs having the functionality of given Rfam families. In addition, the new software supports amino acid constraints, even for proteins translated in different reading frames from overlapping coding sequences; moreover, structure compatibility/incompatibility constraints have been expanded. With these features, RNAiFold 2.0 allows the user to design single RNA molecules as well as hybridization complexes of two RNA molecules. the web server, source code and linux binaries are publicly accessible at http://bioinformatics.bc.edu/clotelab/RNAiFold2.0. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  6. 2012 SINGLE MOLECULE APPROACHES TO BIOLOGY GORDON RESEARCH CONFERENCE (JULY 15-20, 2012 - MOUNT SNOW RESORT, WEST DOVER VT)

    SciTech Connect

    Fernandez, Julio

    2012-04-20

    Single molecule techniques are rapidly occupying a central role in biological research at all levels. This transition was made possible by the availability and dissemination of robust techniques that use fluorescence and force probes to track the conformation of molecules one at a time, in vitro as well as in live cells. Single-molecule approaches have changed the way many biological problems are studied. These novel techniques provide previously unobtainable data on fundamental biochemical processes that are essential for all forms of life. The ability of single-molecule approaches to avoid ensemble averaging and to capture transient intermediates and heterogeneous behavior renders them particularly powerful in elucidating mechanisms of the molecular systems that underpin the functioning of living cells. Hence, our conference seeks to disseminate the implementation and use of single molecule techniques in the pursuit of new biological knowledge. Topics covered include: Molecular Motors on the Move; Origin And Fate Of Proteins; Physical Principles Of Life; Molecules and Super-resolution Microscopy; Nanoswitches In Action; Active Motion Or Random Diffusion?; Building Blocks Of Living Cells; From Molecular Mechanics To Physiology; Tug-of-war: Force Spectroscopy Of Single Proteins.

  7. Applications of Engineered DNA-Binding Molecules Such as TAL Proteins and the CRISPR/Cas System in Biology Research.

    PubMed

    Fujita, Toshitsugu; Fujii, Hodaka

    2015-09-24

    Engineered DNA-binding molecules such as transcription activator-like effector (TAL or TALE) proteins and the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) (CRISPR/Cas) system have been used extensively for genome editing in cells of various types and species. The sequence-specific DNA-binding activities of these engineered DNA-binding molecules can also be utilized for other purposes, such as transcriptional activation, transcriptional repression, chromatin modification, visualization of genomic regions, and isolation of chromatin in a locus-specific manner. In this review, we describe applications of these engineered DNA-binding molecules for biological purposes other than genome editing.

  8. Selection of an RNA molecule that mimics a major autoantigenic epitope of human insulin receptor.

    PubMed Central

    Doudna, J A; Cech, T R; Sullenger, B A

    1995-01-01

    Autoimmunity often involves the abnormal targeting of self-antigens by antibodies, leading to tissue destruction and other pathologies. This process could potentially be disrupted by small ligands that bind specifically to autoantibodies and inhibit their interaction with the target antigen. Here we report the identification of an RNA sequence that binds a mouse monoclonal antibody specific for an autoantigenic epitope of human insulin receptor. The RNA ligand binds specifically and with high affinity (apparent Kd congruent to 2 nM) to the anti-insulin receptor antibody and not to other mouse IgGs. The RNA can also act as a decoy, blocking the antibody from binding the insulin receptor. Thus, it probably binds near the combining site on the antibody. Strikingly, the RNA cross-reacts with autoantibodies from patients with extreme insulin resistance. One simple explanation is that the selected RNA may structurally mimic the antigenic epitope on the insulin receptor protein. These results suggest that decoy RNAs may be used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 PMID:7534420

  9. Design and Synthesis of Functional Molecules Based on Complexation and Their Biological Applications.

    PubMed

    Hisamatsu, Yosuke

    2016-01-01

     In this review, we introduce the development of supermolecules, host-guest complexes, and metal complexes formed from the combination of non-covalent interactions and/or coordination bonds, as well as their biological applications. An adenine selective host molecule 1 provides a correctly oriented array of complementary hydrogen bonding sites for the adenine nucleobase. Furthermore, the new DDAA (D: hydrogen bond donor, A: hydrogen bond acceptor) module 4 and ADDA module 7 have been developed as quadruple hydrogen-bonding modules. A quadruple zwitterion 8 forms supramolecular gel in dimethyl sulfoxide, driven by the formation of ion-paired dimers between the zwitterionic units. The obtained supramolecular gel exhibits reversible gel-sol transitions in response to both acid, base, and heating. Self-assembly of a dimeric zinc(II) complex, dianion of cyanuric acid (CA) or 5,5-diethylbarbituric acid (Bar), and copper(II) ion (Cu(2+)) in an aqueous solution provides 4 : 4 : 4 and 2 : 2 : 2 supermolecules 10 and 11, respectively. These supermolecules possess Cu2(μ-OH)2 centers, and accelerate the hydrolysis of a phosphate monoester dianion, mono(4-nitrophenyl)phosphate (MNP), at neutral pH. Regioselective substitution reactions of tris-cyclometalated iridium (Ir) complexes at the 5'-position on 2-phenylpyridine type ligands, and their subsequent conversions to a variety of functional groups are described. For example, pH-sensitive Ir complexes having basic functional groups have been developed. Tris-cyclometalated Ir complexes containing cationic peptides, such as Lys-Lys-Gly-Gly (KKGG) peptides, work as inducers and detectors of cancer cell death. Mechanistic studies suggest that the Ir complex interacts with anionic molecules on the cell surface and/or membrane receptors to trigger an intracellular Ca(2+) response, resulting in necrosis accompanied by membrane disruption.

  10. Genome-wide Approaches in the Study of microRNA Biology

    PubMed Central

    Wilbert, Melissa L.; Yeo, Gene W.

    2010-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of ~21-23 nucleotide long non-coding RNAs, have critical roles in diverse biological processes that encompass development, proliferation, apoptosis, stress response, and fat metabolism. MiRNAs recognize their target mRNA transcripts by partial sequence complementarity and collectively have been estimated to regulate the majority of human genes. Consequently, misregulation of miRNAs or disruption of their target sites in genes has been implicated in a variety of human diseases ranging from cancer metastasis to neurological disorders. With the development and availability of genomic technologies and computational approaches, the field of miRNA biology has advanced tremendously over the last decade. Here, we review the genome-wide approaches that have allowed for the discovery of new miRNAs, the characterization of their targets, and a systems-level view of their impact. PMID:21197653

  11. microRNA expression in the biology, prognosis, and therapy of Waldenström macroglobulinemia.

    PubMed

    Roccaro, Aldo M; Sacco, Antonio; Chen, Changzhong; Runnels, Judith; Leleu, Xavier; Azab, Feda; Azab, Abdel Kareem; Jia, Xiaoying; Ngo, Hai T; Melhem, Molly R; Burwick, Nicholas; Varticovski, Lyuba; Novina, Carl D; Rollins, Barrett J; Anderson, Kenneth C; Ghobrial, Irene M

    2009-04-30

    Multilevel genetic characterization of Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) is required to improve our understanding of the underlying molecular changes that lead to the initiation and progression of this disease. We performed microRNA-expression profiling of bone marrow-derived CD19(+) WM cells, compared with their normal cellular counterparts and validated data by quantitative reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We identified a WM-specific microRNA signature characterized by increased expression of microRNA-363*/-206/-494/-155/-184/-542-3p, and decreased expression of microRNA-9* (ANOVA; P < .01). We found that microRNA-155 regulates proliferation and growth of WM cells in vitro and in vivo, by inhibiting MAPK/ERK, PI3/AKT, and NF-kappaB pathways. Potential microRNA-155 target genes were identified using gene-expression profiling and included genes involved in cell-cycle progression, adhesion, and migration. Importantly, increased expression of the 6 miRNAs significantly correlated with a poorer outcome predicted by the International Prognostic Staging System for WM. We further demonstrated that therapeutic agents commonly used in WM alter the levels of the major miRNAs identified, by inducing downmodulation of 5 increased miRNAs and up-modulation of patient-downexpressed miRNA-9*. These data indicate that microRNAs play a pivotal role in the biology of WM; represent important prognostic marker; and provide the basis for the development of new microRNA-based targeted therapies in WM.

  12. MicroRNA-221 controls expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in epithelial cells in response to Cryptosporidium parvum infection

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Ai-Yu; Hu, Guoku; Zhou, Rui; Liu, Jun; Feng, Yaoyu; Soukup, Garrett A.; Chen, Xian-Ming

    2011-01-01

    Cryptosporidium parvum is a protozoan parasite that infects gastrointestinal epithelial cells and causes diarrheal disease in humans and animals globally. Pathological changes following C. parvum infection include crypt hyperplasia, a modest inflammatory reaction with increased infiltration of lymphocytes into intestinal mucosa. Expression of adhesion molecules such as intercellular adhesion