Chemistry & Biochemistry Research Works

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    3D DNA Crystals and Nanotechnology
    (MDPI, 2016-08-18) Paukstelis, Paul J.; Seeman, Nadrian C.
    DNA’s molecular recognition properties have made it one of the most widely used biomacromolecular construction materials. The programmed assembly of DNA oligonucleotides has been used to create complex 2D and 3D self-assembled architectures and to guide the assembly of other molecules. The origins of DNA nanotechnology are rooted in the goal of assembling DNA molecules into designed periodic arrays, i.e., crystals. Here, we highlight several DNA crystal structures, the progress made in designing DNA crystals, and look at the current prospects and future directions of DNA crystals in nanotechnology.
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    Implementation of Glycan Remodeling to Plant-Made Therapeutic Antibodies
    (MDPI, 2018-01-31) Bennett, Lindsay D.; Yang, Qiang; Berquist, Brian R.; Giddens, John P.; Ren, Zhongjie; Kommineni, Vally; Murray, Ryan P.; White, Earl L.; Holtz, Barry R.; Wang, Lai-Xi; Marcel, Sylvain
    N-glycosylation profoundly affects the biological stability and function of therapeutic proteins, which explains the recent interest in glycoengineering technologies as methods to develop biobetter therapeutics. In current manufacturing processes, N-glycosylation is host-specific and remains difficult to control in a production environment that changes with scale and production batches leading to glycosylation heterogeneity and inconsistency. On the other hand, in vitro chemoenzymatic glycan remodeling has been successful in producing homogeneous pre-defined protein glycoforms, but needs to be combined with a cost-effective and scalable production method. An efficient chemoenzymatic glycan remodeling technology using a plant expression system that combines in vivo deglycosylation with an in vitro chemoenzymatic glycosylation is described. Using the monoclonal antibody rituximab as a model therapeutic protein, a uniform Gal2GlcNAc2Man3GlcNAc2 (A2G2) glycoform without α-1,6-fucose, plant-specific α-1,3-fucose or β-1,2-xylose residues was produced. When compared with the innovator product Rituxan®, the plant-made remodeled afucosylated antibody showed similar binding affinity to the CD20 antigen but significantly enhanced cell cytotoxicity in vitro. Using a scalable plant expression system and reducing the in vitro deglycosylation burden creates the potential to eliminate glycan heterogeneity and provide affordable customization of therapeutics’ glycosylation for maximal and targeted biological activity. This feature can reduce cost and provide an affordable platform to manufacture biobetter antibodies.
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    Structural and Dynamical Order of a Disordered Protein: Molecular Insights into Conformational Switching of PAGE4 at the Systems Level
    (MDPI, 2019-02-22) Lin, Xingcheng; Kulkarni, Prakash; Bocci, Federico; Schafer, Nicholas P.; Roy, Susmita; Tsai, Min-Yeh; He, Yanan; Chen, Yihong; Rajagopalan, Krithika; Mooney, Steven M.; Zeng, Yu; Weninger, Keith; Grishaev, Alex; Onuchic, José N.; Levine, Herbert; Wolynes, Peter G.; Salgia, Ravi; Rangarajan, Govindan; Uversky, Vladimir; Orban, John; Jolly, Mohit Kumar
    Folded proteins show a high degree of structural order and undergo (fairly constrained) collective motions related to their functions. On the other hand, intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), while lacking a well-defined three-dimensional structure, do exhibit some structural and dynamical ordering, but are less constrained in their motions than folded proteins. The larger structural plasticity of IDPs emphasizes the importance of entropically driven motions. Many IDPs undergo function-related disorder-to-order transitions driven by their interaction with specific binding partners. As experimental techniques become more sensitive and become better integrated with computational simulations, we are beginning to see how the modest structural ordering and large amplitude collective motions of IDPs endow them with an ability to mediate multiple interactions with different partners in the cell. To illustrate these points, here, we use Prostate-associated gene 4 (PAGE4), an IDP implicated in prostate cancer (PCa) as an example. We first review our previous efforts using molecular dynamics simulations based on atomistic AWSEM to study the conformational dynamics of PAGE4 and how its motions change in its different physiologically relevant phosphorylated forms. Our simulations quantitatively reproduced experimental observations and revealed how structural and dynamical ordering are encoded in the sequence of PAGE4 and can be modulated by different extents of phosphorylation by the kinases HIPK1 and CLK2. This ordering is reflected in changing populations of certain secondary structural elements as well as in the regularity of its collective motions. These ordered features are directly correlated with the functional interactions of WT-PAGE4, HIPK1-PAGE4 and CLK2-PAGE4 with the AP-1 signaling axis. These interactions give rise to repeated transitions between (high HIPK1-PAGE4, low CLK2-PAGE4) and (low HIPK1-PAGE4, high CLK2-PAGE4) cell phenotypes, which possess differing sensitivities to the standard PCa therapies, such as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). We argue that, although the structural plasticity of an IDP is important in promoting promiscuous interactions, the modulation of the structural ordering is important for sculpting its interactions so as to rewire with agility biomolecular interaction networks with significant functional consequences.
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    Solid-Phase Chemical Synthesis of Stable Isotope-Labeled RNA to Aid Structure and Dynamics Studies by NMR Spectroscopy
    (MDPI, 2019-09-25) Becette, Owen; Olenginski, Lukasz T.; Dayie, Theodore K.
    RNA structure and dynamic studies by NMR spectroscopy suffer from chemical shift overlap and line broadening, both of which become worse as RNA size increases. Incorporation of stable isotope labels into RNA has provided several solutions to these limitations. Nevertheless, the only method to circumvent the problem of spectral overlap completely is the solid-phase chemical synthesis of RNA with labeled RNA phosphoramidites. In this review, we summarize the practical aspects of this methodology for NMR spectroscopy studies of RNA. These types of investigations lie at the intersection of chemistry and biophysics and highlight the need for collaborative efforts to tackle the integrative structural biology problems that exist in the RNA world. Finally, examples of RNA structure and dynamic studies using labeled phosphoramidites are highlighted.
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    Polymerization Reactions and Modifications of Polymers by Ionizing Radiation
    (MDPI, 2020-11-30) Ashfaq, Aiysha; Clochard, Marie-Claude; Coqueret, Xavier; Dispenza, Clelia; Driscoll, Mark S.; Ulański, Piotr; Al-Sheikhly, Mohamad
    Ionizing radiation has become the most effective way to modify natural and synthetic polymers through crosslinking, degradation, and graft polymerization. This review will include an in-depth analysis of radiation chemistry mechanisms and the kinetics of the radiation-induced C-centered free radical, anion, and cation polymerization, and grafting. It also presents sections on radiation modifications of synthetic and natural polymers. For decades, low linear energy transfer (LLET) ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays, X-rays, and up to 10 MeV electron beams, has been the primary tool to produce many products through polymerization reactions. Photons and electrons interaction with polymers display various mechanisms. While the interactions of gamma ray and X-ray photons are mainly through the photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, and pair-production, the interactions of the high-energy electrons take place through coulombic interactions. Despite the type of radiation used on materials, photons or high energy electrons, in both cases ions and electrons are produced. The interactions between electrons and monomers takes place within less than a nanosecond. Depending on the dose rate (dose is defined as the absorbed radiation energy per unit mass), the kinetic chain length of the propagation can be controlled, hence allowing for some control over the degree of polymerization. When polymers are submitted to high-energy radiation in the bulk, contrasting behaviors are observed with a dominant effect of cross-linking or chain scission, depending on the chemical nature and physical characteristics of the material. Polymers in solution are subject to indirect effects resulting from the radiolysis of the medium. Likewise, for radiation-induced polymerization, depending on the dose rate, the free radicals generated on polymer chains can undergo various reactions, such as inter/intramolecular combination or inter/intramolecular disproportionation, b-scission. These reactions lead to structural or functional polymer modifications. In the presence of oxygen, playing on irradiation dose-rates, one can favor crosslinking reactions or promotes degradations through oxidations. The competition between the crosslinking reactions of C-centered free radicals and their reactions with oxygen is described through fundamental mechanism formalisms. The fundamentals of polymerization reactions are herein presented to meet industrial needs for various polymer materials produced or degraded by irradiation. Notably, the medical and industrial applications of polymers are endless and thus it is vital to investigate the effects of sterilization dose and dose rate on various polymers and copolymers with different molecular structures and morphologies. The presence or absence of various functional groups, degree of crystallinity, irradiation temperature, etc. all greatly affect the radiation chemistry of the irradiated polymers. Over the past decade, grafting new chemical functionalities on solid polymers by radiation-induced polymerization (also called RIG for Radiation-Induced Grafting) has been widely exploited to develop innovative materials in coherence with actual societal expectations. These novel materials respond not only to health emergencies but also to carbon-free energy needs (e.g., hydrogen fuel cells, piezoelectricity, etc.) and environmental concerns with the development of numerous specific adsorbents of chemical hazards and pollutants. The modification of polymers through RIG is durable as it covalently bonds the functional monomers. As radiation penetration depths can be varied, this technique can be used to modify polymer surface or bulk. The many parameters influencing RIG that control the yield of the grafting process are discussed in this review. These include monomer reactivity, irradiation dose, solvent, presence of inhibitor of homopolymerization, grafting temperature, etc. Today, the general knowledge of RIG can be applied to any solid polymer and may predict, to some extent, the grafting location. A special focus is on how ionizing radiation sources (ion and electron beams, UVs) may be chosen or mixed to combine both solid polymer nanostructuration and RIG. LLET ionizing radiation has also been extensively used to synthesize hydrogel and nanogel for drug delivery systems and other advanced applications. In particular, nanogels can either be produced by radiation-induced polymerization and simultaneous crosslinking of hydrophilic monomers in “nanocompartments”, i.e., within the aqueous phase of inverse micelles, or by intramolecular crosslinking of suitable water-soluble polymers. The radiolytically produced oxidizing species from water, •OH radicals, can easily abstract H-atoms from the backbone of the dissolved polymers (or can add to the unsaturated bonds) leading to the formation of C-centered radicals. These C-centered free radicals can undergo two main competitive reactions; intramolecular and intermolecular crosslinking. When produced by electron beam irradiation, higher temperatures, dose rates within the pulse, and pulse repetition rates favour intramolecular crosslinking over intermolecular crosslinking, thus enabling a better control of particle size and size distribution. For other water-soluble biopolymers such as polysaccharides, proteins, DNA and RNA, the abstraction of H atoms or the addition to the unsaturation by •OH can lead to the direct scission of the backbone, double, or single strand breaks of these polymers.