2,076 research outputs found

### Theoretical prediction of spectral and optical properties of bacteriochlorophylls in thermally disordered LH2 antenna complexes

A general approach for calculating spectral and optical properties of
pigment-protein complexes of known atomic structure is presented. The method,
that combines molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry calculations
and statistical mechanical modeling, is demonstrated by calculating the
absorption and circular dichroism spectra of the B800-B850 BChls of the LH2
antenna complex from Rs. molischianum at room temperature. The calculated
spectra are found to be in good agreement with the available experimental
results. The calculations reveal that the broadening of the B800 band is mainly
caused by the interactions with the polar protein environment, while the
broadening of the B850 band is due to the excitonic interactions. Since it
contains no fitting parameters, in principle, the proposed method can be used
to predict optical spectra of arbitrary pigment-protein complexes of known
structure.Comment: ReVTeX4, 11 pages, 9 figures, submitted to J. Chem. Phy

### Ab initio study of alanine polypeptide chains twisting

We have investigated the potential energy surfaces for alanine chains
consisting of three and six amino acids. For these molecules we have calculated
potential energy surfaces as a function of the Ramachandran angles Phi and Psi,
which are widely used for the characterization of the polypeptide chains. These
particular degrees of freedom are essential for the characterization of
proteins folding process. Calculations have been carried out within ab initio
theoretical framework based on the density functional theory and accounting for
all the electrons in the system. We have determined stable conformations and
calculated the energy barriers for transitions between them. Using a
thermodynamic approach, we have estimated the times of characteristic
transitions between these conformations. The results of our calculations have
been compared with those obtained by other theoretical methods and with the
available experimental data extracted from the Protein Data Base. This
comparison demonstrates a reasonable correspondence of the most prominent
minima on the calculated potential energy surfaces to the experimentally
measured angles Phi and Psi for alanine chains appearing in native proteins. We
have also investigated the influence of the secondary structure of polypeptide
chains on the formation of the potential energy landscape. This analysis has
been performed for the sheet and the helix conformations of chains of six amino
acids.Comment: 24 pages, 10 figure

### Maximum Flux Transition Paths of Conformational Change

Given two metastable states A and B of a biomolecular system, the problem is
to calculate the likely paths of the transition from A to B. Such a calculation
is more informative and more manageable if done for a reduced set of collective
variables chosen so that paths cluster in collective variable space. The
computational task becomes that of computing the "center" of such a cluster. A
good way to define the center employs the concept of a committor, whose value
at a point in collective variable space is the probability that a trajectory at
that point will reach B before A. The committor "foliates" the transition
region into a set of isocommittors. The maximum flux transition path is defined
as a path that crosses each isocommittor at a point which (locally) has the
highest crossing rate of distinct reactive trajectories. (This path is
different from that of the MaxFlux method of Huo and Straub.) It is argued that
such a path is nearer to an ideal path than others that have been proposed with
the possible exception of the finite-temperature string method path. To make
the calculation tractable, three approximations are introduced, yielding a path
that is the solution of a nonsingular two-point boundary-value problem. For
such a problem, one can construct a simple and robust algorithm. One such
algorithm and its performance is discussed.Comment: 7 figure

### Structure, dynamics, and function of the monooxygenase P450 BM-3: insights from computer simulations studies

The monooxygenase P450 BM-3 is a NADPH-dependent fatty acid hydroxylase enzyme isolated from soil bacterium Bacillus megaterium. As a pivotal member of cytochrome P450 superfamily, it has been intensely studied for the comprehension of structure-dynamics-function relationships in this class of enzymes. In addition, due to its peculiar properties, it is also a promising enzyme for biochemical and biomedical applications. However, despite the efforts, the full understanding of the enzyme structure and dynamics is not yet achieved. Computational studies, particularly molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, have importantly contributed to this endeavor by providing new insights at an atomic level regarding the correlations between structure, dynamics, and function of the protein. This topical review summarizes computational studies based on MD simulations of the cytochrome P450 BM-3 and gives an outlook on future directions

### Secondary-Structure Design of Proteins by a Backbone Torsion Energy

We propose a new backbone-torsion-energy term in the force field for protein
systems. This torsion-energy term is represented by a double Fourier series in
two variables, the backbone dihedral angles phi and psi. It gives a natural
representation of the torsion energy in the Ramachandran space in the sense
that any two-dimensional energy surface periodic in both phi and psi can be
expanded by the double Fourier series. We can then easily control
secondary-structure-forming tendencies by modifying the torsion-energy surface.
For instance, we can increase/decrease the alpha-helix-forming-tendencies by
lowering/raising the torsion-energy surface in the alpha-helix region and
likewise increase/decrease the beta-sheet-forming tendencies by
lowering/raising the surface in the beta-sheet region in the Ramachandran
space. We applied our approach to AMBER parm94 and AMBER parm96 force fields
and demonstrated that our modifications of the torsion-energy terms resulted in
the expected changes of secondary-structure-forming-tendencies by performing
folding simulations of alpha-helical and beta-hairpin peptides.Comment: 13 pages, (Revtex4), 5 figure

### Exploring the conformational dynamics of alanine dipeptide in solution subjected to an external electric field: A nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulation

In this paper, we investigate the conformational dynamics of alanine
dipeptide under an external electric field by nonequilibrium molecular dynamics
simulation. We consider the case of a constant and of an oscillatory field. In
this context we propose a procedure to implement the temperature control, which
removes the irrelevant thermal effects of the field. For the constant field
different time-scales are identified in the conformational, dipole moment, and
orientational dynamics. Moreover, we prove that the solvent structure only
marginally changes when the external field is switched on. In the case of
oscillatory field, the conformational changes are shown to be as strong as in
the previous case, and non-trivial nonequilibrium circular paths in the
conformation space are revealed by calculating the integrated net probability
fluxes.Comment: 23 pages, 12 figure

### Excitons in a Photosynthetic Light-Harvesting System: A Combined Molecular Dynamics/Quantum Chemistry and Polaron Model Study

The dynamics of pigment-pigment and pigment-protein interactions in
light-harvesting complexes is studied with a novel approach which combines
molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with quantum chemistry (QC) calculations.
The MD simulations of an LH-II complex, solvated and embedded in a lipid
bilayer at physiological conditions (with total system size of 87,055 atoms)
revealed a pathway of a water molecule into the B800 binding site, as well as
increased dimerization within the B850 BChl ring, as compared to the
dimerization found for the crystal structure. The fluctuations of pigment (B850
BChl) excitation energies, as a function of time, were determined via ab initio
QC calculations based on the geometries that emerged from the MD simulations.
From the results of these calculations we constructed a time-dependent
Hamiltonian of the B850 exciton system from which we determined the linear
absorption spectrum. Finally, a polaron model is introduced to describe quantum
mechanically both the excitonic and vibrational (phonon) degrees of freedom.
The exciton-phonon coupling that enters into the polaron model, and the
corresponding phonon spectral function are derived from the MD/QC simulations.
It is demonstrated that, in the framework of the polaron model, the absorption
spectrum of the B850 excitons can be calculated from the autocorrelation
function of the excitation energies of individual BChls, which is readily
available from the combined MD/QC simulations. The obtained result is in good
agreement with the experimentally measured absorption spectrum.Comment: REVTeX3.1, 23 pages, 13 (EPS) figures included. A high quality PDF
file of the paper is available at
http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Publications/Papers/PDF/DAMJ2001/DAMJ2001.pd

### A two-domain elevator mechanism for sodium/proton antiport

Sodium/proton (Na+/H+) antiporters, located at the plasma membrane in every cell, are vital for cell homeostasis1. In humans, their dysfunction has been linked to diseases, such as hypertension, heart failure and epilepsy, and they are well-established drug targets2. The best understood model system for Na+/H+ antiport is NhaA from Escherichia coli1, 3, for which both electron microscopy and crystal structures are available4, 5, 6. NhaA is made up of two distinct domains: a core domain and a dimerization domain. In the NhaA crystal structure a cavity is located between the two domains, providing access to the ion-binding site from the inward-facing surface of the protein1, 4. Like many Na+/H+ antiporters, the activity of NhaA is regulated by pH, only becoming active above pH 6.5, at which point a conformational change is thought to occur7. The only reported NhaA crystal structure so far is of the low pH inactivated form4. Here we describe the active-state structure of a Na+/H+ antiporter, NapA from Thermus thermophilus, at 3 Å resolution, solved from crystals grown at pH 7.8. In the NapA structure, the core and dimerization domains are in different positions to those seen in NhaA, and a negatively charged cavity has now opened to the outside. The extracellular cavity allows access to a strictly conserved aspartate residue thought to coordinate ion binding1, 8, 9 directly, a role supported here by molecular dynamics simulations. To alternate access to this ion-binding site, however, requires a surprisingly large rotation of the core domain, some 20° against the dimerization interface. We conclude that despite their fast transport rates of up to 1,500 ions per second3, Na+/H+ antiporters operate by a two-domain rocking bundle model, revealing themes relevant to secondary-active transporters in general

### In Silico Identification of a β2-Adrenoceptor Allosteric Site That Selectively Augments Canonical β2AR-Gs Signaling and Function

Activation of β2-adrenoceptors (β2ARs) causes airway smooth muscle (ASM) relaxation and bronchodilation, and β2AR agonists (β-agonists) are front-line treatments for asthma and other obstructive lung diseases. However, the therapeutic efficacy of β-agonists is limited by agonist-induced β2AR desensitization and noncanonical β2AR signaling involving β-arrestin that is shown to promote asthma pathophysiology. Accordingly, we undertook the identification of an allosteric site on β2AR that could modulate the activity of β-agonists to overcome these limitations. We employed the site identification by ligand competitive saturation (SILCS) computational method to comprehensively map the entire 3D structure of in silico-generated β2AR intermediate conformations and identified a putative allosteric binding site. Subsequent database screening using SILCS identified drug-like molecules with the potential to bind to the site. Experimental assays in HEK293 cells (expressing recombinant wild-type human β2AR) and human ASM cells (expressing endogenous β2AR) identified positive and negative allosteric modulators (PAMs and NAMs) of β2AR as assessed by regulation of β-agonist-stimulation of cyclic AMP generation. PAMs/NAMs had no effect on β-agonist-induced recruitment of β-arrestin to β2AR- or β-agonist-induced loss of cell surface expression in HEK293 cells expressing β2AR. Mutagenesis analysis of β2AR confirmed the SILCS identified site based on mutants of amino acids R131, Y219, and F282. Finally, functional studies revealed augmentation of β-agonist-induced relaxation of contracted human ASM cells and bronchodilation of contracted airways. These findings identify a allosteric binding site on the β2AR, whose activation selectively augments β-agonist-induced Gs signaling, and increases relaxation of ASM cells, the principal therapeutic effect of β-agonists

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