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  • Larsson, Daniel, 1981- (författare)
  • Exploring the Molecular Dynamics of Proteins and Viruses
  • 2012
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Knowledge about structure and dynamics of the important biological macromolecules — proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and sugars — helps to understand their function. Atomic-resolution structures of macromolecules are routinely captured with X-ray crystallography and other techniques. In this thesis, simulations are used to explore the dynamics of the molecules beyond the static structures.Viruses are machines constructed from macromolecules. Crystal structures of them reveal little to no information about their genomes. In simulations of empty capsids, we observed a correlation between the spatial distribution of chloride ions in the solution and the position of RNA in crystals of satellite tobacco necrosis virus (STNV) and satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV). In this manner, structural features of the non-symmetric RNA could also be inferred.The capsid of STNV binds calcium ions on the icosahedral symmetry axes. The release of these ions controls the activation of the virus particle upon infection. Our simulations reproduced the swelling of the capsid upon removal of the ions and we quantified the water permeability of the capsid. The structure and dynamics of the expanded capsid suggest that the disassembly is initiated at the 3-fold symmetry axis.Several experimental methods require biomolecular samples to be injected into vacuum, such as mass-spectrometry and diffractive imaging of single particles. It is therefore important to understand how proteins and molecule-complexes respond to being aerosolized. In simulations we mimicked the dehydration process upon going from solution into the gas phase. We find that two important factors for structural stability of proteins are the temperature and the level of residual hydration. The simulations support experimental claims that membrane proteins can be protected by a lipid micelle and that a non-membrane protein could be stabilized in a reverse micelle in the gas phase. A water-layer around virus particles would impede the signal in diffractive experiments, but our calculations estimate that it should be possible to determine the orientation of the particle in individual images, which is a prerequisite for three-dimensional reconstruction.
  • Conti, Luca, et al. (författare)
  • Reciprocal voltage sensor-to-pore coupling leads to potassium channel C-type inactivation
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Scientific Reports. - : Nature Publishing Group. - 2045-2322. ; 6
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Voltage-gated potassium channels open at depolarized membrane voltages. A prolonged depolarization causes a rearrangement of the selectivity filter which terminates the conduction of ions - a process called slow or C-type inactivation. How structural rearrangements in the voltage-sensor domain (VSD) cause alteration in the selectivity filter, and vice versa, are not fully understood. We show that pulling the pore domain of the Shaker potassium channel towards the VSD by a Cd2+ bridge accelerates C-type inactivation. Molecular dynamics simulations show that such pulling widens the selectivity filter and disrupts the K+ coordination, a hallmark for C-type inactivation. An engineered Cd2+ bridge within the VSD also affect C-type inactivation. Conversely, a pore domain mutation affects VSD gating-charge movement. Finally, C-type inactivation is caused by the concerted action of distant amino acid residues in the pore domain. All together, these data suggest a reciprocal communication between the pore domain and the VSD in the extracellular portion of the channel.
  • Landreh, Michael, et al. (författare)
  • Integrating mass spectrometry with MD simulations reveals the role of lipids in Na+/H+ antiporters
  • 2017
  • Ingår i: Nature Communications. - : Springer Science and Business Media LLC. - 2041-1723. ; 8
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Na+/H+ antiporters are found in all kingdoms of life and exhibit catalysis rates that are among the fastest of all known secondary-active transporters. Here we combine ion mobility mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations to study the conformational stability and lipid-binding properties of the Na+/H+ exchanger NapA from Thermus thermophilus and compare this to the prototypical antiporter NhaA from Escherichia coli and the human homologue NHA2. We find that NapA and NHA2, but not NhaA, form stable dimers and do not selectively retain membrane lipids. By comparing wild-type NapA with engineered variants, we show that the unfolding of the protein in the gas phase involves the disruption of inter-domain contacts. Lipids around the domain interface protect the native fold in the gas phase by mediating contacts between the mobile protein segments. We speculate that elevator-type antiporters such as NapA, and likely NHA2, use a subset of annular lipids as structural support to facilitate large-scale conformational changes within the membrane.
  • Moles, A. T., et al. (författare)
  • Correlations between physical and chemical defences in plants : Tradeoffs, syndromes, or just many different ways to skin a herbivorous cat?
  • 2013
  • Ingår i: New Phytologist. - : Wiley. - 0028-646X .- 1469-8137. ; 198:1, s. 252-263
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Most plant species have a range of traits that deter herbivores. However, understanding of how different defences are related to one another is surprisingly weak. Many authors argue that defence traits trade off against one another, while others argue that they form coordinated defence syndromes. We collected a dataset of unprecedented taxonomic and geographic scope (261 species spanning 80 families, from 75 sites across the globe) to investigate relationships among four chemical and six physical defences. Five of the 45 pairwise correlations between defence traits were significant and three of these were tradeoffs. The relationship between species' overall chemical and physical defence levels was marginally nonsignificant (P = 0.08), and remained nonsignificant after accounting for phylogeny, growth form and abundance. Neither categorical principal component analysis (PCA) nor hierarchical cluster analysis supported the idea that species displayed defence syndromes. Our results do not support arguments for tradeoffs or for coordinated defence syndromes. Rather, plants display a range of combinations of defence traits. We suggest this lack of consistent defence syndromes may be adaptive, resulting from selective pressure to deploy a different combination of defences to coexisting species.
  • Reddy, Hemanth K.N., et al. (författare)
  • Electron cryo-microscopy of bacteriophage PR772 reveals the elusive vertex complex and the capsid architecture
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: eLIFE. - : ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD. - 2050-084X. ; 8
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Bacteriophage PR772, a member of the Tectiviridae family, has a 70 nm diameter icosahedral protein capsid that encapsulates a lipid membrane, dsDNA, and various internal proteins. An icosahedrally averaged CryoEM reconstruction of the wild-type virion and a localized reconstruction of the vertex region reveal the composition and the structure of the vertex complex along with new protein conformations that play a vital role in maintaining the capsid architecture of the virion. The overall resolution of the virion is 2.75 angstrom, while the resolution of the protein capsid is 2.3 angstrom. The conventional penta-symmetron formed by the capsomeres is replaced by a large vertex complex in the pseudo T = 25 capsid. All the vertices contain the host-recognition protein, P5; two of these vertices show the presence of the receptor-binding protein, P2. The 3D structure of the vertex complex shows interactions with the viral membrane, indicating a possible mechanism for viral infection.
  • Aurell, Erik, 1961-, et al. (författare)
  • The bulk and the tail of minimal absent words in genome sequences
  • 2016
  • Ingår i: Physical Biology. - : Institute of Physics (IOP). - 1478-3967 .- 1478-3975. ; 13:2
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Minimal absent words (MAW) of a genomic sequence are subsequences that are absent themselves but the subwords of which are all present in the sequence. The characteristic distribution of genomic MAWs as a function of their length has been observed to be qualitatively similar for all living organisms, the bulk being rather short, and only relatively few being long. It has been an open issue whether the reason behind this phenomenon is statistical or reflects a biological mechanism, and what biological information is contained in absent words. % In this work we demonstrate that the bulk can be described by a probabilistic model of sampling words from random sequences, while the tail of long MAWs is of biological origin. We introduce the novel concept of a core of a minimal absent word, which are sequences present in the genome and closest to a given MAW. We show that in bacteria and yeast the cores of the longest MAWs, which exist in two or more copies, are located in highly conserved regions the most prominent example being ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). We also show that while the distribution of the cores of long MAWs is roughly uniform over these genomes on a coarse-grained level, on a more detailed level it is strongly enhanced in 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) and, to a lesser extent, also in 5' UTRs. This indicates that MAWs and associated MAW cores correspond to fine-tuned evolutionary relationships, and suggest that they can be more widely used as markers for genomic complexity.
  • Griese, Julia J., et al. (författare)
  • Location-specific quantification of protein-bound metal ions by X-ray anomalous dispersion : Q-XAD
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: Acta Crystallographica Section D. - 2059-7983. ; D75, s. 764-771
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Here, a method is described which exploits X-ray anomalous dispersion (XAD) to quantify mixtures of metal ions in the binding sites of proteins and can be applied to metalloprotein crystals of average quality. This method has successfully been used to study site-specific metal binding in a protein from the R2-like ligand-binding oxidase family which assembles a heterodinuclear Mn/Fe cofactor. While previously only the relative contents of Fe and Mn in each metal-binding site have been assessed, here it is shown that the method can be extended to quantify the relative occupancies of at least three different transition metals, enabling complex competition experiments. The number of different metal ions that can be quantified is only limited by the number of high-quality anomalous data sets that can be obtained from one crystal, as one data set has to be collected for each transition-metal ion that is present (or is suspected to be present) in the protein, ideally at the absorption edge of each metal. A detailed description of the method, Q-XAD, is provided.
  • Manzetti, Sergio, 1975- (författare)
  • Computational Ecotoxicology
  • 2022
  • Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt)abstract
    • Human society has progressed by polluting ecosystems since at least the early industrial revolution. Large amounts of harmful chemical compounds have been dispersed in soils, seas, ground waters and wildlife habitats by industrial and anthropomorphic activities over the last two centuries, leading to a persistent toxicological load on the environment. Pollution is a threat to biodiversity, to the health of ecosystems, and to all living organisms. Advances in environmental sciences are needed so that pollutants can be distinguished from harmless compounds. New methods could ease the enormous task of sorting out hazardous chemicals, and also facilitate the study of existing problems in ecotoxicology, which are often hampered by insufficient data. In our research, we apply the methods of computational chemistry to predict the interactions of various toxins, carcinogens, nanoparticles and xenobiotics with proteins, DNA, and cell membranes. Methods such as molecular dynamics simulations, docking, and quantum chemistry are at the core of these studies, each having its role in facilitating the enormous task of transforming in vitro ecotoxicology to in silico ecotoxicology. We perform detailed studies of a few compounds and receptors, as well as larger, more comprehensive groups of compounds. We also outline approaches for drawing computational conclusions about the molecular behaviour of various potential environmental toxins by modelling their interactions with DNA and proteins, and we use partition coefficients to describe their ability to permeate the cell membrane. Methods for studying the purification of pollutants from essential sources, such as water, are proposed. We also investigate the emerging problem of nanoparticle pollution and propose computational approaches to model the formation of nanoparticles from combustion emissions and the interactions of such particles with atmospheric components.
  • Mork-Jansson, Astrid Elisabeth, et al. (författare)
  • Lil3 dimerization and chlorophyll binding in Arabidopsis thaliana
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: FEBS Letters. - : Wiley. - 0014-5793 .- 1873-3468. ; 589:20, s. 3064-3070
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The two-helix light harvesting like (Lil) protein Lil3 belongs to the family of chlorophyll binding light harvesting proteins of photosynthetic membranes. A function in tetrapyrrol synthesis and stabilization of geranylgeraniol reductase has been shown. Lil proteins contain the chlorophyll a/b-binding motif; however, binding of chlorophyll has not been demonstrated. We find that Lil3.2 from Arabidopsis thaliana forms heterodimers with Lil3.1 and binds chlorophyll. Lil3.2 heterodimerization (25 +/- 7.8 nM) is favored relative to homodimerization (431 +/- 59 nM). Interaction of Lil3.2 with chlorophyll a (231 +/- 49 nM) suggests that heterodimerization precedes binding of chlorophyll in Arabidopsis thatiana. 
  • Nedergaard, Jan, et al. (författare)
  • Cell proliferation and apoptosis inhibition : essential processes for recruitment of the full thermogenic capacity-of-brown-adipose-tissue
  • 2019
  • Ingår i: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. - : Elsevier BV. - 1388-1981 .- 1879-2618. ; 1864:1, s. 51-58
  • Forskningsöversikt (refereegranskat)abstract
    • In mice living under normal animal house conditions, the brown adipocytes in classical brown adipose tissue depots are already essentially fully differentiated: UCP1 mRNA and UCP1 protein levels are practically saturated. This means that any further recruitment in response to cold exposure or any other browning agent - does not result in significant augmentation of these parameters. This may easily be construed to indicate that classical brown adipose tissue cannot be further recruited. However, this is far from the case: the capacity for further recruitment instead lies in the ability of the tissue to increase the number of brown-fat cells, a remarkable and highly controlled physiological recruitment process. We have compiled here the available data concerning the unique ability of norepinephrine to increase cell proliferation and inhibit apoptosis in brown adipocytes. Adrenergically stimulated cell proliferation is fully mediated via beta(1)-adrenoceptors and occurs through activation of stem cells in the tissue; intracellular mediation of the signal involves CAMP and protein kinase A activation, but activation of Erk1/2 is not part of the pathway. Apoptosis inhibition in brown adipocytes is induced by both beta- and alpha(1)-adrenergic receptors and here the intracellular pathway includes Erk1/2 activation. This unique ability of norepinephrine to increase cell number in an apparently mitogenically dormant tissue provides possibilities to augment the metabolic capacity of brown adipose tissue, also for therapeutic purposes.
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