Browsing by Subject "FORCE-FIELD"

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  • Seifert, Tina; Malo, Marcus; Kokkola, Tarja; Steen, E. Johanna L.; Meinander, Kristian; Wallen, Erik A. A.; Jarho, Elina M.; Luthman, Kristina (2020)
    Sirtuins (SIRT1-SIRT7) are an evolutionary conserved family of NAD(+)-dependent protein deacylases regulating the acylation state of epsilon-N-lysine residues of proteins thereby controlling key biological processes. Numerous studies have found association of the aberrant enzymatic activity of SIRTs with various diseases like diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Previously, we have shown that substituted 2-alkyl-chroman-4-one/chromone derivatives can serve as selective inhibitors of SIRT2 possessing an antiproliferative effect in two human cancer cell lines. In this study, we have explored the bioisosteric replacement of the chroman-4-one/chromone core structure with different less lipophilic bicyclic scaffolds to overcome problems associated to poor physiochemical properties due to a highly lipophilic substitution pattern required for achieve a good inhibitory effect. Various new derivatives based on the quinolin-4(1H)-one scaffold, bicyclic secondary sulfonamides or saccharins were synthesized and evaluated for their SIRT inhibitory effect. Among the evaluated scaffolds, the benzothiadiazine-1,1-dioxide-based compounds showed the highest SIRT2 inhibitory activity. Molecular modeling studies gave insight into the binding mode of the new scaffold-replacement analogues.
  • Melcr, Josef; Martinez-Seara, Hector; Nencini, Ricky; Kolafa, Jiri; Jungwirth, Pavel; Ollila, O. H. Samuli (2018)
    Binding affinities and stoichiometries of Na+ and Ca2+ ions to phospholipid bilayers are of paramount significance in the properties and functionality of cellular membranes. Current estimates of binding affinities and stoichiometries of cations are, however, inconsistent due to limitations in the available experimental and computational methods. In this work, we improve the description of the binding details of Na+ and Ca2+ ions to a 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-phosphatidylcholine (POPC) bilayer by implicitly including electronic polarization as a mean field correction, known as the electronic continuum correction (ECC). This is applied by scaling the partial charges of a selected state-of-the-art POPC lipid model for molecular dynamics simulations. Our improved ECC-POPC model reproduces not only the experimentally measured structural parameters for the ion-free membrane, but also the response of lipid headgroup to a strongly bound cationic amphiphile, as well as the binding affinities of Na+ and Ca2+ ions. With our new model, we observe on the one side negligible binding of Na+ ions to POPC bilayer, while on the other side stronger interactions of Ca2+ primarily with phosphate oxygens, which is in agreement with the previous interpretations of the experimental spectroscopic data. The present model results in Ca2+ ions forming complexes with one to three POPC molecules with almost equal probabilities, suggesting more complex binding stoichiometries than those from simple models used to interpret the NMR data previously. The results of this work pave the way to quantitative molecular simulations with realistic electrostatic interactions of complex biochemical systems at cellular membranes.
  • Matovic, Jelena; Järvinen, Juulia; Bland, Helena C.; Sokka, Iris K.; Imlimthan, Surachet; Ferrando, Ruth Mateu; Huttunen, Kristiina M.; Timonen, Juri; Peräniemi, Sirpa; Aitio, Olli; Airaksinen, Anu J.; Sarparanta, Mirkka; Johansson, Mikael P.; Rautio, Jarkko; Ekholm, Filip S. (2020)
    Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) for cancer is on the rise worldwide due to recent developments of in-hospital neutron accelerators which are expected to revolutionize patient treatments. There is an urgent need for improved boron delivery agents, and herein we have focused on studying the biochemical foundations upon which a successful GLUT1-targeting strategy to BNCT could be based. By combining synthesis and molecular modeling with affinity and cytotoxicity studies, we unravel the mechanisms behind the considerable potential of appropriately designed glucoconjugates as boron delivery agents for BNCT. In addition to addressing the biochemical premises of the approach in detail, we report on a hit glucoconjugate which displays good cytocompatibility, aqueous solubility, high transporter affinity, and, crucially, an exceptional boron delivery capacity in the in vitro assessment thereby pointing toward the significant potential embedded in this approach.
  • Nguyen, Su Duy; Javanainen, Matti; Rissanen, Sami; Zhao, Hongxia; Huusko, Jenni; Kivelä, Annukka M.; Ylä-Herttuala, Seppo; Navab, Mohamad; Fogelman, Alan M.; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Kovanen, Petri T.; Öörni, Katariina (2015)
    Lipolytic modification of LDL particles by SMase generates LDL aggregates with a strong affinity for human arterial proteoglycans and may so enhance LDL retention in the arterial wall. Here, we evaluated the effects of apoA-I mimetic peptide 4F on structural and functional properties of the SMase-modified LDL particles. LDL particles with and without 4F were incubated with SMase, after which their aggregation, structure, and proteoglycan binding were analyzed. At a molar ratio of L-4F to apoB-100 of 2.5 to 20: 1, 4F dose-dependently inhibited SMase-induced LDL aggregation. At a molar ratio of 20: 1, SMase-induced aggregation was fully blocked. Binding of 4F to LDL particles inhibited SMase-induced hydrolysis of LDL by 10% and prevented SMase-induced LDL aggregation. In addition, the binding of the SMase-modifi ed LDL particles to human aortic proteoglycans was dose-dependently inhibited by pretreating LDL with 4F. The 4F stabilized apoB-100 conformation and inhibited SMase-induced conformational changes of apoB-100. Molecular dynamic simulations showed that upon binding to protein-free LDL surface, 4F locally alters membrane order and fluidity and induces structural changes to the lipid layer. Collectively, 4F stabilizes LDL particles by preventing the SMase-induced conformational changes in apoB-100 and so blocks SMase-induced LDL aggregation and the resulting increase in LDL retention.
  • Vuorio, Joni; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Martinez-Seara, Hector (2017)
    Hyaluronan is a polyanionic, megadalton-scale polysaccharide, which initiates cell signaling by interacting with several receptor proteins including CD44 involved in cell-cell interactions and cell adhesion. Previous studies of the CD44 hyaluronan binding domain have identified multiple widespread residues to be responsible for its recognition capacity. In contrast, the X-ray structural characterization of CD44 has revealed a single binding mode associated with interactions that involve just a fraction of these residues. In this study, we show through atomistic molecular dynamics simulations that hyaluronan can bind CD44 with three topographically different binding modes that in unison define an interaction fingerprint, thus providing a plausible explanation for the disagreement between the earlier studies. Our results confirm that the known crystallographic mode is the strongest of the three binding modes. The other two modes represent metastable configurations that are readily available in the initial stages of the binding, and they are also the most frequently observed modes in our unbiased simulations. We further discuss how CD44, fostered by the weaker binding modes, diffuses along HA when attached. This 1D diffusion combined with the constrained relative orientation of the diffusing proteins is likely to influence the aggregation kinetics of CD44. Importantly, CD44 aggregation has been suggested to be a possible mechanism in CD44-mediated signaling.
  • Owen, Michael C.; Kulig, Waldemar; Rog, Tomasz; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Strodel, Birgit (2018)
    In an effort to delineate how cholesterol protects membrane structure under oxidative stress conditions, we monitored the changes to the structure of lipid bilayers comprising 30 mol% cholesterol and an increasing concentration of Class B oxidized 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC) glycerophospholipids, namely, 1-palmitoyl-2-(9'-oxo-nonanoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PoxnoPC), and 1-palmitoyl-2-azelaoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PazePC), using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Increasing the content of oxidized phospholipids (oxPLs) from 0 to 60 mol% oxPL resulted in a characteristic reduction in bilayer thickness and increase in area per lipid, thereby increasing the exposure of the membrane hydrophobic region to water. However, cholesterol was observed to help reduce water injury by moving into the bilayer core and forming more hydrogen bonds with the oxPLs. Cholesterol also resists altering its tilt angle, helping to maintain membrane integrity. Water that enters the 1-nm-thick core region remains part of the bulk water on either side of the bilayer, with relatively few water molecules able to traverse through the bilayer. In cholesterol-rich membranes, the bilayer does not form pores at concentrations of 60 mol% oxPL as was shown in previous simulations in the absence of cholesterol.
  • Paananen, Riku O.; Javanainen, Matti; Holopainen, Juha M.; Vattulainen, Ilpo (2019)
    Dry eye syndrome (DES), one of the most common ophthalmological diseases, is typically caused by excessive evaporation of tear fluid from the ocular surface. Excessive evaporation is linked to impaired function of the tear film lipid layer (TFLL) that covers the aqueous tear film. The principles of the evaporation resistance of the TFLL have remained unknown, however. We combined atomistic simulations with Brewster angle microscopy and surface potential experiments to explore the organization and evaporation resistance of films composed of wax esters, one of the main components of the TFLL. The results provide evidence that the evaporation resistance of the TFLL is based on crystalline-state layers of wax esters and that the evaporation rate is determined by defects in the TFLL and its coverage on the ocular surface. On the basis of the results, uncovering the nonequilibrium spreading and crystallization of TFLL films has potential to reveal new means of treating DES.
  • Karhu, Lasse; Magarkar, Aniket; Bunker, Alex; Xhaard, Henri (2019)
    We assess the stability of two previously suggested binding modes for the neuropeptide orexin-A in the OX2 receptor through extensive molecular dynamics simulations. As the activation determinants of the receptor remain unknown, we simulated an unliganded receptor and two small-molecular ligands, the antagonist suvorexant and the agonist Nag26 for comparison. Each system was simulated in pure POPC membrane as well as in the 25% cholesterol–POPC membrane. In total, we carried out 36 μs of simulations. Through this set of simulations, we report a stable binding mode for the C-terminus of orexin-A. In addition, we suggest interactions that would promote orexin receptor activation, as well as others that would stabilize the inactive state.
  • Kaurola, Petri; Sharma, Vivek; Vonk, Amanda; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Rog, Tomasz (2016)
    Quinone and its analogues (Q) constitute an important class of compounds that perform key electron transfer reactions in oxidative- and photo-phosphorylation. In the inner membrane of mitochondria, ubiquinone molecules undergo continuous redox transitions enabling electron transfer between the respiratory complexes. In such a dynamic system undergoing continuous turnover for ATP synthesis, an uninterrupted supply of substrate molecules is absolutely necessary. In the current work, we have performed atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations to assess the structure, dynamics, and localization of quinone and its analogues in a lipid bilayer, whose composition mimics the one in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The results show that there is a strong tendency of both quinone and quinol molecules to localize in the vicinity of the lipids' acyl groups, right under the lipid head group region. Additionally, we observe a second location in the middle of the bilayer where quinone molecules tend to stabilize. Translocation of quinone through a lipid bilayer is very fast and occurs in 10-100 ns time scale, whereas the translocation of quinol is at least an order of magnitude slower. We suggest that this has important mechanistic implications given that the localization of Q ensures maximal occupancy of the Q-binding sites or Q-entry points in electron transport chain complexes, thereby maintaining an optimal turnover rate for ATP synthesis. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Djurabekova, Amina; Yoga, Etienne Galemou; Nyman, Aino; Pirttikoski, Antti; Zickermann, Volker; Haapanen, Outi; Sharma, Vivek (2022)
    The first component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain is respiratory complex I. Several high-resolution structures of complex I from different species have been resolved. However, despite these significant achievements, the mechanism of redox-coupled proton pumping remains elusive. Here, we combined atomistic docking, molecular dynamics simulations, and site-directed mutagenesis on respiratory complex I from Yarrowia lipolytica to identify a quinone (Q)-binding site on its surface near the horizontal amphipathic helices of ND1 and NDUFS7 subunits. The surface-bound Q makes stable interactions with conserved charged and polar residues, including the highly conserved Arg72 from the NDUFS7 subunit. The binding and dynamics of a Q molecule at the surface-binding site raise interesting possibilities about the mechanism of complex I, which are discussed.
  • Daub, Christopher David; Zakai, Itai; Valiev, Rashid; Salo, Vili-Taneli; Gerber, R. Benny; Kurten, Theo (2022)
    In this paper we study collisions between polyatomic radicals - an important process in fields ranging from biology to combustion. Energy transfer, formation of intermediate complexes and recombination reactions are treated, with applications to peroxy radicals in atmospheric chemistry. Multi-reference perturbation theory, supplemented by coupled-cluster calculations, describes the potential energy surfaces with high accuracy, including the interaction of singlet and triplet spin states during radical recombination. Our multi-reference molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories on methyl peroxy radicals confirm the reaction mechanism postulated in earlier studies. Specifically, they show that if suitable pre-reactive complexes are formed, they will rapidly lead to the formation and subsequent decomposition of tetroxide intermediates. However, generating multi-reference MD trajectories is exceedingly computationally demanding, and we cannot adequately sample the whole conformational space. To answer this challenge, we promote the use of a novel simplified semi-empirical MD methodology. It assumes the collision is governed by two states, a singlet (S-0) and a triplet (T-1) state. The method predicts differences between collisions on S-0 and T-1 surfaces, and qualitatively includes not only pre-reactive complex formation, but also recombination processes such as tetroxide formation. Finally, classical MD simulations using force-fields for non-reactive collisions are employed to generate thousands of collision trajectories, to verify that the semi-empirical method is sampling collisions adequately, and to carry out preliminary investigations of larger systems. For systems with low activation energies, the experimental rate coefficient is surprisingly well reproduced by simply multiplying the gas-kinetic collision rate by the simulated probability for long-lived complex formation.
  • Daub, Christopher David; Zakai, Itai; Valiev, Rashid; Salo, Vili-Taneli; Gerber, R. Benny; Kurten, Theo (2022)
    In this paper we study collisions between polyatomic radicals - an important process in fields ranging from biology to combustion. Energy transfer, formation of intermediate complexes and recombination reactions are treated, with applications to peroxy radicals in atmospheric chemistry. Multi-reference perturbation theory, supplemented by coupled-cluster calculations, describes the potential energy surfaces with high accuracy, including the interaction of singlet and triplet spin states during radical recombination. Our multi-reference molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories on methyl peroxy radicals confirm the reaction mechanism postulated in earlier studies. Specifically, they show that if suitable pre-reactive complexes are formed, they will rapidly lead to the formation and subsequent decomposition of tetroxide intermediates. However, generating multi-reference MD trajectories is exceedingly computationally demanding, and we cannot adequately sample the whole conformational space. To answer this challenge, we promote the use of a novel simplified semi-empirical MD methodology. It assumes the collision is governed by two states, a singlet (S-0) and a triplet (T-1) state. The method predicts differences between collisions on S-0 and T-1 surfaces, and qualitatively includes not only pre-reactive complex formation, but also recombination processes such as tetroxide formation. Finally, classical MD simulations using force-fields for non-reactive collisions are employed to generate thousands of collision trajectories, to verify that the semi-empirical method is sampling collisions adequately, and to carry out preliminary investigations of larger systems. For systems with low activation energies, the experimental rate coefficient is surprisingly well reproduced by simply multiplying the gas-kinetic collision rate by the simulated probability for long-lived complex formation.
  • Khoshoei, Azadeh; Ghasemy, Ebrahim; Poustchi, Fatemeh; Shahbazi, Mohammad-Ali; Maleki, Reza (2020)
    Purpose The aim of this study was to introduce a smart and responsive drug carrier for Doxorubicin (DOX) and Paclitaxel (PAX) for desirable therapeutic application. Method Loading and releasing of DOX and PAX from smart and pH-sensitive functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNTs) and graphene carriers have been simulated by molecular dynamics. The influences of chitosan polymer on proposed carriers have been studied, and both carriers were functionalized with carboxyl groups to improve the loading and releasing properties of the drugs. Results The results showed that DOX could be well adsorbed on both functionalized SWCNTs and graphene. In contrast, there was a weak electrostatic and Van der Waals interaction between both these drugs and carriers at cancerous tissues, which is highly favorable for cancer therapy. Adding trimethyl chitosan (TMC) polymer to carriers facilitated DOX release at acidic tissues. Furthermore, at blood pH, the PAX loaded on the functionalized SWCNTs carrier represented the highest dispersion of the drug while the DOX-graphene showed the highest concentration of the drug at a point. In addition, the mean-square displacement (MSD) results of PAX-graphene indicated that the PAX could be adsorbed quickly and be released slowly. Finally, functionalized graphene-TMC-PAX is a smart drug system with responsive behavior and controllable drug release, which are essential in cancer therapy. Conclusion Simultaneous application of the carboxyl group and TMC can optimize the pH sensitivity of the SWCNTs and graphene to prepare a novel and smart drug carrier for cancer therapy.
  • Oliveira, Aline A.; Rog, Tomasz; da Silva, Alberico B. F.; Amaro, Rommie E.; Johnson, Mark S.; Postila, Pekka A. (2022)
    The outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) is involved in multiple cellular functions such as apoptosis, inflammation and signaling via its membrane-associated and -embedded proteins. Despite the central role of the OMM in these vital phenomena, the structure and dynamics of the membrane have regularly been investigated in silico using simple two-component models. Accordingly, the aim was to generate the realistic multi-component model of the OMM and inspect its properties using atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. All major lipid components, phosphatidylinositol (PI), phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and phosphatidylserine (PS), were included in the probed OMM models. Because increased levels of anionic PS lipids have potential effects on schizophrenia and, more specifically, on monoamine oxidase B enzyme activity, the effect of varying the PS concentration was explored. The MD simulations indicate that the complex membrane lipid composition (MLC) behavior is notably different from the two-component PC-PE model. The MLC changes caused relatively minor effects on the membrane structural properties such as membrane thickness or area per lipid; however, notable effects could be seen with the dynamical parameters at the water-membrane interface. Increase of PS levels appears to slow down lateral diffusion of all lipids and, in general, the presence of anionic lipids reduced hydration and slowed down the PE headgroup rotation. In addition, sodium ions could neutralize the membrane surface, when PI was the main anionic component; however, a similar effect was not seen for high PS levels. Based on these results, it is advisable for future studies on the OMM and its protein or ligand partners, especially when wanting to replicate the correct properties on the water-membrane interface, to use models that are sufficiently complex, containing anionic lipid types, PI in particular.
  • Marwah, Megha; Magarkar, Aniket; Ray, Debes; Aswal, Vinod; Bunker, Alex; Nagarsenker, Mangal (2018)
    Glyceryl monostearate (GMS) is a single-tailed lipidic monoglyceride commonly used as a nontoxic food additive. In this study, we have investigated GMS, specifically its self-assembling properties and subsequent application in drug delivery. Results from in silico modeling, corroborated by complementary small-angle neutron scattering, demonstrated vesicle formation; associated phase transitions were analyzed using differential scanning calorimetry; dynamic light scattering revealed particle size alterations that occurred in the transition region. Spherical morphology of unilamellar vesicles was visualized using transmission electron microscopy imaging. Further, hydrophilic and hydrophobic drug loading in GMS vesicles and their amenability to surface modification for hepatic targeting have, in this study, been both predicted through molecular simulation study and demonstrated experimentally. The influence of hepatotropic ligands on the stability of drug-loaded GMS vesicles vis-a-vis cholesterol has also been investigated; the resulting GMS-based drug delivery vehicle, its properties enhanced through surface decoration, is envisaged to achieve targeted delivery of its payload to hepatocytes.
  • Antila, Hanne; Buslaev, Pavel; Favela-Rosales, Fernando; Ferreira, Tiago M.; Gushchin, Ivan; Javanainen, Matti; Kav, Batuhan; Madsen, Jesper J.; Melcr, Josef; Miettinen, Markus S.; Määttä, Jukka; Nencini, Ricky; Ollila, O. H. Samuli; Piggot, Thomas J. (2019)
    Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a negatively charged lipid type commonly found in eukaryotic membranes, where it interacts with proteins via nonspecific electrostatic interactions as well as via specific binding. Moreover, in the presence of calcium ions, PS lipids can induce membrane fusion and phase separation. Molecular details of these phenomena remain poorly understood, partly because accurate models to interpret the experimental data have not been available. Here we gather a set of previously published experimental NMR data of C-H bond order parameter magnitudes, vertical bar S-CH vertical bar, for pure PS and mixed PS:PC (phosphatidylcholine) lipid bilayers and augment this data set by measuring the signs of S-CH in the PS headgroup using S-DROSS solid-state NMR spectroscopy. The augmented data set is then used to assess the accuracy of the PS headgroup structures in, and the cation binding to, PS-containing membranes in the most commonly used classical molecular dynamics (MD) force fields including CHARMM36, Lipidl7, MacRog, Slipids, GROMOS-CKP, Berger, and variants. We show large discrepancies between different force fields and that none of them reproduces the NMR data within experimental accuracy. However, the best MD models can detect the most essential differences between PC and PS headgroup structures. The cation binding affinity is not captured correctly by any of the PS force fields-an observation that is in line with our previous results for PC lipids. Moreover, the simulated response of the PS headgroup to bound ions can differ from experiments even qualitatively. The collected experimental data set and simulation results will pave the way for development of lipid force fields that correctly describe the biologically relevant negatively charged membranes and their interactions with ions. This work is part of the NMRlipids open collaboration project (nmrlipids.blogspot.fi).
  • Virtanen, Salla; Kiirikki, Anne M.; Mikula, Kornelia M.; Iwai, Hideo; Ollila, O. H. Samuli (2020)
    Importance of disordered protein regions is increasingly recognized in biology, but their characterization remains challenging due to the lack of suitable experimental and theoretical methods. NMR experiments can detect multiple timescale dynamics and structural details of disordered protein regions, but their detailed interpretation is often difficult. Here we combine protein backbone(15)N spin relaxation data with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to detect not only heterogeneous dynamics of large partially disordered proteins but also their conformational ensembles. We observed that the rotational dynamics of folded regions in partially disordered proteins is dominated by similar rigid body rotation as in globular proteins, thereby being largely independent of flexible disordered linkers. Disordered regions, on the other hand, exhibit complex rotational motions with multiple timescales below similar to 30 ns which are difficult to detect from experimental data alone, but can be captured by MD simulations. Combining MD simulations and backbone(15)N spin relaxation data, measured applying segmental isotopic labeling with salt-inducible split intein, we resolved the conformational ensemble and dynamics of partially disordered periplasmic domain of TonB protein fromHelicobacter pyloricontaining 250 residues. To demonstrate the universality of our approach, it was applied also to the partially disordered region of chicken Engrailed 2. Our results pave the way in understanding how TonB transfers energy from inner membrane to the outer membrane receptors in Gram-negative bacteria, as well as the function of other proteins with disordered domains.
  • Parey, Kristian; Haapanen, Outi; Sharma, Vivek; Köfeler, Harald; Züllig, Thomas; Prinz, Simone; Siegmund, Karin; Wittig, Ilka; Mills, Deryck J.; Vonck, Janet; Kühlbrandt, Werner; Zickermann, Volker (2019)
    Respiratory complex I is a redox-driven proton pump, accounting for a large part of the electrochemical gradient that powers mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate synthesis. Complex I dysfunction is associated with severe human diseases. Assembly of the one-megadalton complex I in the inner mitochondrial membrane requires assembly factors and chaperones. We have determined the structure of complex I from the aerobic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica by electron cryo-microscopy at 3.2-angstrom resolution. A ubiquinone molecule was identified in the access path to the active site. The electron cryo-microscopy structure indicated an unusual lipid-protein arrangement at the junction of membrane and matrix arms that was confirmed by molecular simulations. The structure of a complex I mutant and an assembly intermediate provide detailed molecular insights into the cause of a hereditary complex I-linked disease and complex I assembly in the inner mitochondrial membrane.
  • Parey, Kristian; Lasham, Jonathan; Mills, Deryck J.; Djurabekova, Amina; Haapanen, Outi; Yoga, Etienne Galemou; Xie, Hao; Kuhlbrandt, Werner; Sharma, Vivek; Vonck, Janet; Zickermann, Volker (2021)
    Mitochondrial NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) is a 1-MDa membrane protein complex with a central role in energy metabolism. Redox-driven proton translocation by complex I contributes substantially to the proton motive force that drives ATP synthase. Several structures of complex I from bacteria and mitochondria have been determined, but its catalytic mechanism has remained controversial. We here present the cryo-EM structure of complex I from Yarrowia lipolytica at 2.1-angstrom resolution, which reveals the positions of more than 1600 protein-bound water molecules, of which similar to 100 are located in putative proton translocation pathways. Another structure of the same complex under steady-state activity conditions at 3.4-angstrom resolution indicates conformational transitions that we associate with proton injection into the central hydrophilic axis. By combining high-resolution structural data with site-directed mutagenesis and large-scale molecular dynamic simulations, we define details of the proton translocation pathways and offer insights into the redox-coupled proton pumping mechanism of complex I.
  • Alves, Ana Catarina; Magarkar, Aniket; Horta, Miguel; Lima, Jose L. F. C.; Bunker, Alex; Nunes, Claudia; Reis, Salette (2017)
    Despite doxorubicin being commonly used in chemotherapy there still remain significant holes in our knowledge regarding its delivery efficacy and an observed resistance mechanism that is postulated to involve the cell membrane. One possible mechanism is the efflux by protein P-gp, which is found predominantly in cholesterol enriched domains. Thereby, a hypothesis for the vulnerability of doxorubicin to efflux through P-gp is its enhanced affinity for the ordered cholesterol rich regions of the plasma membrane. Thus, we have studied doxorubicin's interaction with model membranes in a cholesterol rich, ordered environment and in liquid-disordered cholesterol poor environment. We have combined three separate experimental protocols: UV-Vis spectrophotometry, fluorescence quenching and steady-state anisotropy and computational molecular dynamics modeling. Our results show that the presence of cholesterol induces a change in membrane structure and doesn't impair doxorubicin's membrane partitioning, but reduces drug's influence on membrane fluidity without directly interacting with it. It is thus possible that the resistance mechanism that lowers the efficacy of doxorubicin, results from an increased density in membrane regions where the efflux proteins are present. This work represents a successful approach, combining experimental and computational studies of membrane based systems to unveil the behavior of drugs and candidate drug molecules.