Structural and Dynamic “Portraits” of Recombinant and Native Cytotoxin I from Naja oxiana: How Close Are They?
Today, recombinant proteins are quite widely used in biomedical and biotechnological applications. At the same time, the question about their full equivalence to the native analogues remains unanswered. To gain additional insight into this problem, intimate atomistic details of a relatively simple protein, small and structurally rigid recombinant cardiotoxin I (CTI) from cobra Naja oxiana venom, were characterized using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in water. Compared to the natural protein, it contains an additional Met residue at the N-terminus. In this work, the NMR-derived spatial structure of uniformly 13C- and 15N-labeled CTI and its dynamic behavior were investigated and subjected to comparative analysis with the corresponding data for the native toxin. The differences were found in dihedral angles of only a single residue, adjacent to the N-terminal methionine. Microsecond-long MD traces of the toxins reveal an increased flexibility in the residues spatially close to the N-Met. As the detected structural and dynamic changes of the two CTI models do not result in substantial differences in their cytotoxicities, we assume that the recombinant protein can be used for many purposes as a reasonable surrogate of the native one. In addition, we discuss general features of the spatial organization of cytotoxins, implied by the results of the current combined NMR and MD study.
Many environmental stimuli present a quasi-rhythmic structure at different timescales that the brain needs to decompose and integrate. Cortical oscillations have been proposed as instruments of sensory de-multiplexing, i.e., the parallel processing of different frequency streams in sensory signals. Yet their causal role in such a process has never been demonstrated. Here, we used a neural microcircuit model to address whether coupled theta–gamma oscillations, as observed in human auditory cortex, could underpin the multiscale sensory analysis of speech. We show that, in continuous speech, theta oscillations can flexibly track the syllabic rhythm and temporally organize the phoneme-level response of gamma neurons into a code that enables syllable identification. The tracking of slow speech fluctuations by theta oscillations, and its coupling to gamma-spiking activity both appeared as critical features for accurate speech encoding. These results demonstrate that cortical oscillations can be a key instrument of speech de-multiplexing, parsing, and encoding.
The quantum nuclear effects are studied in water using centroid molecular dynamics (CMD) method. The aim is the calibration of CMD implementation in LAMMPS. The calculated intramolecular energy, atoms gyration radii and radial distribution functions are shown in comparison with previous works. The work is assumed to be the step toward to solution of the discrepancy between the simulation results and the experimental data of liquid n-alkane properties in our previous works.
It is well recognized that excessive ice accumulation at low-temperature conditions can cause significant damage to civil infrastructure. The passive anti-icing surfaces provide a promising solution to suppress ice nucleation and enhance ice removal. However, despite extensive efforts, it remains a challenge to design anti-icing surfaces with low ice adhesion. Using all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, we show that surfaces with single-walled carbon nanotube array (CNTA) significantly reduce ice adhesion due to the extremely low solid areal fraction. It was found that the CNTA surface exhibits up to a 45% decrease in the ice adhesion strength in comparison with the atomically smooth graphene surface. The details of the ice detachment from the CNTA surface were examined for different water-carbon interaction energies and temperatures of the ice cube. Remarkably, the results of MD simulations demonstrate that the ice detaching strength depends linearly on the ratio of the ice-surface interaction energy and the ice temperature. These results open the possibility for designing novel robust surfaces with low ice adhesion for passive anti-icing applications.
Molecular-level knowledge of the thermodynamic, structural, and transport properties of water confined by interfaces and nanopores of various materials is crucial for quantitative understanding and prediction of many natural and technological processes, including carbon sequestration, water desalination, nuclear waste storage, cement chemistry, fuel cell technology, etc. Computational molecular modeling is capable to significantly complement the experimental investigations of such systems by providing invaluable atomic-scale information leading to improved understanding of the specific effects of the substrate structure and composition on the structure, dynamics and reactivity of interfacial and nano-confined aqueous solutions. This paper offers a brief overview of recent efforts to quantify some of these effects for individual H2O molecules and hydrated ions confined at the interfaces and in nanopores of several typical hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials. The first molecular layer of aqueous solution at all substrates is often highly ordered, indicating reduced translational and orientational mobility of the H2O molecules. This ordering cannot be simply described as “ice-like”, but rather resembles the behavior of supercooled water or amorphous ice, although with very significant substrate-specific variations.
In this work, we perform coexistence simulations of methane hydrates for pressures up to 5000 bar for different water models. We calculate the kinetic stability boundary of the superheated metastable sI structure and analyze the effects of the heating rate, system size and cage occupancy. We also report molecular dynamics simulation of several possible structuresfor the new hydrogen hydrate clathrate. We show the strength of molecular simulation as a supplement tool for the analysis of experimental data. © 2015 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
The investigation of antibacterial activity of three-finger cobra cytotoxins towards Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria showed no activity against the former species, whereas M. luteus was found most susceptible to cytotoxins. A correlation was revealed between this activity and hydrophobicity of the toxins (HTL scores), total charge and its distribution over the toxin molecule: the absence of Glu-16 residue and the presence of positively charged residues (Lys30/His31) in the tip of the loop 2
Cooling of tokamak boundary plasma owing to radiation of non-fully stripped lithium ions is considered as a promising way for protection of plasma facing elements (PFE) in tokamak. It may be effectively realized when the main part of lithium ions are involved in the closed circuit of migration between plasma and PFE surface. Such an approach may be implemented with the use of lithium device whose hot (500-600 °C) area to be effected by plasma serves as a Li-emitter and the cold part (∼180 °C) as a Li-collector in the shadow. Capillary-pore system (CPS) provides the returning of collected and condensed lithium to emitting zone by capillary forces. The main goals of the last T-11M lithium experiments were investigating Li ions transport in the tokamak scrape of layer (SOL) and their collecting by different kinds of limiters. The design of devices based on lithium CPS with different ratio of emitting/collecting area is the main subject of this paper. © 2015 The Authors.
One of the key advances in genome assembly that has led to a significant improvement in contig lengths has been improved algorithms for utilization of paired reads (mate-pairs). While in most assemblers, mate-pair information is used in a post-processing step, the recently proposed Paired de Bruijn Graph (PDBG) approach incorporates the mate-pair information directly in the assembly graph structure. However, the PDBG approach faces difficulties when the variation in the insert sizes is high. To address this problem, we first transform mate-pairs into edge-pair histograms that allow one to better estimate the distance between edges in the assembly graph that represent regions linked by multiple mate-pairs. Further, we combine the ideas of mate-pair transformation and PDBGs to construct new data structures for genome assembly: pathsets and pathset graphs.