ResearchPad - biophysical-simulations https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Medusa: Software to build and analyze ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7734 Uncertainty in the structure and parameters of networks is ubiquitous across computational biology. In constraint-based reconstruction and analysis of metabolic networks, this uncertainty is present both during the reconstruction of networks and in simulations performed with them. Here, we present Medusa, a Python package for the generation and analysis of ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa builds on the COBRApy package for constraint-based reconstruction and analysis by compressing a set of models into a compact ensemble object, providing functions for the generation of ensembles using experimental data, and extending constraint-based analyses to ensemble scale. We demonstrate how Medusa can be used to generate ensembles and perform ensemble simulations, and how machine learning can be used in conjunction with Medusa to guide the curation of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa is available under the permissive MIT license from the Python Packaging Index (https://pypi.org) and from github (https://github.com/opencobra/Medusa), and comprehensive documentation is available at https://medusa.readthedocs.io/en/latest.

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<![CDATA[Combining multi-scale modelling methods to decipher molecular motions of a branching sucrase from glycoside-hydrolase family 70]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6d94bd463d7e2f79286cc2

Among α-transglucosylases from Glycoside-Hydrolase family 70, the ΔN123-GB-CD2 enzyme derived from the bifunctional DSR-E from L. citreum NRRL B-1299 is particularly interesting as it was the first described engineered Branching Sucrase, not able to elongate glucan polymers from sucrose substrate. The previously reported overall structural organization of this multi-domain enzyme is an intricate U-shape fold conserved among GH70 enzymes which showed a certain conformational variability of the so-called domain V, assumed to play a role in the control of product structures, in available X-ray structures. Understanding the role of functional dynamics on enzyme reaction and substrate recognition is of utmost interest although it remains a challenge for biophysical methods. By combining long molecular dynamics simulation (1μs) and multiple analyses (NMA, PCA, Morelet Continuous Wavelet Transform and Cross Correlations Dynamics), we investigated here the dynamics of ΔN123-GB-CD2 alone and in interaction with sucrose substrate. Overall, our results provide the detailed picture at atomic level of the hierarchy of motions occurring along different timescales and how they are correlated, in agreement with experimental structural data. In particular, detailed analysis of the different structural domains revealed cooperative dynamic behaviors such as twisting, bending and wobbling through anti- and correlated motions, and also two structural hinge regions, of which one was unreported. Several highly flexible loops surrounding the catalytic pocket were also highlighted, suggesting a potential role in the acceptor promiscuity of ΔN123-GBD-CD2. Normal modes and essential dynamics underlined an interesting two-fold dynamic of the catalytic domain A, pivoting about an axis splitting the catalytic gorge in two parts. The comparison of the conformational free energy landscapes using principal component analysis of the enzyme in absence or in presence of sucrose, also revealed a more harmonic basin when sucrose is bound with a shift population of the bending mode, consistent with the substrate binding event.

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<![CDATA[φ-evo: A program to evolve phenotypic models of biological networks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b9fd463d7e156497703d

Molecular networks are at the core of most cellular decisions, but are often difficult to comprehend. Reverse engineering of network architecture from their functions has proved fruitful to classify and predict the structure and function of molecular networks, suggesting new experimental tests and biological predictions. We present φ-evo, an open-source program to evolve in silico phenotypic networks performing a given biological function. We include implementations for evolution of biochemical adaptation, adaptive sorting for immune recognition, metazoan development (somitogenesis, hox patterning), as well as Pareto evolution. We detail the program architecture based on C, Python 3, and a Jupyter interface for project configuration and network analysis. We illustrate the predictive power of φ-evo by first recovering the asymmetrical structure of the lac operon regulation from an objective function with symmetrical constraints. Second, we use the problem of hox-like embryonic patterning to show how a single effective fitness can emerge from multi-objective (Pareto) evolution. φ-evo provides an efficient approach and user-friendly interface for the phenotypic prediction of networks and the numerical study of evolution itself.

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<![CDATA[Mechanical positioning of multiple nuclei in muscle cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b9fb463d7e156497703c

Many types of large cells have multiple nuclei. In skeletal muscle fibers, the nuclei are distributed along the cell to maximize their internuclear distances. This myonuclear positioning is crucial for cell function. Although microtubules, microtubule associated proteins, and motors have been implicated, mechanisms responsible for myonuclear positioning remain unclear. We used a combination of rough interacting particle and detailed agent-based modeling to examine computationally the hypothesis that a force balance generated by microtubules positions the muscle nuclei. Rather than assuming the nature and identity of the forces, we simulated various types of forces between the pairs of nuclei and between the nuclei and cell boundary to position the myonuclei according to the laws of mechanics. We started with a large number of potential interacting particle models and computationally screened these models for their ability to fit biological data on nuclear positions in hundreds of Drosophila larval muscle cells. This reverse engineering approach resulted in a small number of feasible models, the one with the best fit suggests that the nuclei repel each other and the cell boundary with forces that decrease with distance. The model makes nontrivial predictions about the increased nuclear density near the cell poles, the zigzag patterns of the nuclear positions in wider cells, and about correlations between the cell width and elongated nuclear shapes, all of which we confirm by image analysis of the biological data. We support the predictions of the interacting particle model with simulations of an agent-based mechanical model. Taken together, our data suggest that microtubules growing from nuclear envelopes push on the neighboring nuclei and the cell boundaries, which is sufficient to establish the nearly-uniform nuclear spreading observed in muscle fibers.

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<![CDATA[Web-Based Computational Chemistry Education with CHARMMing III: Reduction Potentials of Electron Transfer Proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadbab0ee8fa60bb9e84

A module for fast determination of reduction potentials, , of redox-active proteins has been implemented in the CHARMM INterface and Graphics (CHARMMing) web portal (www.charmming.org). The free energy of reduction, which is proportional to , is composed of an intrinsic contribution due to the redox site and an environmental contribution due to the protein and solvent. Here, the intrinsic contribution is selected from a library of pre-calculated density functional theory values for each type of redox site and redox couple, while the environmental contribution is calculated from a crystal structure of the protein using Poisson-Boltzmann continuum electrostatics. An accompanying lesson demonstrates a calculation of . In this lesson, an ionizable residue in a [4Fe-4S]-protein that causes a pH-dependent is identified, and the of a mutant that would test the identification is predicted. This demonstration is valuable to both computational chemistry students and researchers interested in predicting sequence determinants of for mutagenesis.

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<![CDATA[Regulation of the Nucleosome Repeat Length In Vivo by the DNA Sequence, Protein Concentrations and Long-Range Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac55f

The nucleosome repeat length (NRL) is an integral chromatin property important for its biological functions. Recent experiments revealed several conflicting trends of the NRL dependence on the concentrations of histones and other architectural chromatin proteins, both in vitro and in vivo, but a systematic theoretical description of NRL as a function of DNA sequence and epigenetic determinants is currently lacking. To address this problem, we have performed an integrative biophysical and bioinformatics analysis in species ranging from yeast to frog to mouse where NRL was studied as a function of various parameters. We show that in simple eukaryotes such as yeast, a lower limit for the NRL value exists, determined by internucleosome interactions and remodeler action. For higher eukaryotes, also the upper limit exists since NRL is an increasing but saturating function of the linker histone concentration. Counterintuitively, smaller H1 variants or non-histone architectural proteins can initiate larger effects on the NRL due to entropic reasons. Furthermore, we demonstrate that different regimes of the NRL dependence on histone concentrations exist depending on whether DNA sequence-specific effects dominate over boundary effects or vice versa. We consider several classes of genomic regions with apparently different regimes of the NRL variation. As one extreme, our analysis reveals that the period of oscillations of the nucleosome density around bound RNA polymerase coincides with the period of oscillations of positioning sites of the corresponding DNA sequence. At another extreme, we show that although mouse major satellite repeats intrinsically encode well-defined nucleosome preferences, they have no unique nucleosome arrangement and can undergo a switch between two distinct types of nucleosome positioning.

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<![CDATA[From Spontaneous Motor Activity to Coordinated Behaviour: A Developmental Model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabeab0ee8fa60bafde8

In mammals, the developmental path that links the primary behaviours observed during foetal stages to the full fledged behaviours observed in adults is still beyond our understanding. Often theories of motor control try to deal with the process of incremental learning in an abstract and modular way without establishing any correspondence with the mammalian developmental stages. In this paper, we propose a computational model that links three distinct behaviours which appear at three different stages of development. In order of appearance, these behaviours are: spontaneous motor activity (SMA), reflexes, and coordinated behaviours, such as locomotion. The goal of our model is to address in silico four hypotheses that are currently hard to verify in vivo: First, the hypothesis that spinal reflex circuits can be self-organized from the sensor and motor activity induced by SMA. Second, the hypothesis that supraspinal systems can modulate reflex circuits to achieve coordinated behaviour. Third, the hypothesis that, since SMA is observed in an organism throughout its entire lifetime, it provides a mechanism suitable to maintain the reflex circuits aligned with the musculoskeletal system, and thus adapt to changes in body morphology. And fourth, the hypothesis that by changing the modulation of the reflex circuits over time, one can switch between different coordinated behaviours. Our model is tested in a simulated musculoskeletal leg actuated by six muscles arranged in a number of different ways. Hopping is used as a case study of coordinated behaviour. Our results show that reflex circuits can be self-organized from SMA, and that, once these circuits are in place, they can be modulated to achieve coordinated behaviour. In addition, our results show that our model can naturally adapt to different morphological changes and perform behavioural transitions.

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<![CDATA[Locating the Route of Entry and Binding Sites of Benzocaine and Phenytoin in a Bacterial Voltage Gated Sodium Channel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da58ab0ee8fa60b8f67c

Sodium channel blockers are used to control electrical excitability in cells as a treatment for epileptic seizures and cardiac arrhythmia, and to provide short term control of pain. Development of the next generation of drugs that can selectively target one of the nine types of voltage-gated sodium channel expressed in the body requires a much better understanding of how current channel blockers work. Here we make use of the recently determined crystal structure of the bacterial voltage gated sodium channel NavAb in molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the position at which the sodium channel blocking drugs benzocaine and phenytoin bind to the protein as well as to understand how these drugs find their way into resting channels. We show that both drugs have two likely binding sites in the pore characterised by nonspecific, hydrophobic interactions: one just above the activation gate, and one at the entrance to the the lateral lipid filled fenestrations. Three independent methods find the same sites and all suggest that binding to the activation gate is slightly more favourable than at the fenestration. Both drugs are found to be able to pass through the fenestrations into the lipid with only small energy barriers, suggesting that this can represent the long posited hydrophobic entrance route for neutral drugs. Our simulations highlight the importance of a number of residues in directing drugs into and through the fenestration, and in forming the drug binding sites.

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<![CDATA[Correlated Inter-Domain Motions in Adenylate Kinase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5eab0ee8fa60b9089d

Correlated inter-domain motions in proteins can mediate fundamental biochemical processes such as signal transduction and allostery. Here we characterize at structural level the inter-domain coupling in a multidomain enzyme, Adenylate Kinase (AK), using computational methods that exploit the shape information encoded in residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) measured under steric alignment by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). We find experimental evidence for a multi-state equilibrium distribution along the opening/closing pathway of Adenylate Kinase, previously proposed from computational work, in which inter-domain interactions disfavour states where only the AMP binding domain is closed. In summary, we provide a robust experimental technique for study of allosteric regulation in AK and other enzymes.

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<![CDATA[A Multiscale Approach to Modelling Drug Metabolism by Membrane-Bound Cytochrome P450 Enzymes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d2ab0ee8fa60b648fe

Cytochrome P450 enzymes are found in all life forms. P450s play an important role in drug metabolism, and have potential uses as biocatalysts. Human P450s are membrane-bound proteins. However, the interactions between P450s and their membrane environment are not well-understood. To date, all P450 crystal structures have been obtained from engineered proteins, from which the transmembrane helix was absent. A significant number of computational studies have been performed on P450s, but the majority of these have been performed on the solubilised forms of P450s. Here we present a multiscale approach for modelling P450s, spanning from coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to reaction modelling using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods. To our knowledge, this is the first application of such an integrated multiscale approach to modelling of a membrane-bound enzyme. We have applied this protocol to a key human P450 involved in drug metabolism: CYP3A4. A biologically realistic model of CYP3A4, complete with its transmembrane helix and a membrane, has been constructed and characterised. The dynamics of this complex have been studied, and the oxidation of the anticoagulant R-warfarin has been modelled in the active site. Calculations have also been performed on the soluble form of the enzyme in aqueous solution. Important differences are observed between the membrane and solution systems, most notably for the gating residues and channels that control access to the active site. The protocol that we describe here is applicable to other membrane-bound enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Signaling Domain of Sonic Hedgehog as Cannibalistic Calcium-Regulated Zinc-Peptidase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da82ab0ee8fa60b9b27f

Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is a representative of the evolutionary closely related class of Hedgehog proteins that have essential signaling functions in animal development. The N-terminal domain (ShhN) is also assigned to the group of LAS proteins (LAS = Lysostaphin type enzymes, D-Ala-D-Ala metalloproteases, Sonic Hedgehog), of which all members harbor a structurally well-defined center; however, it is remarkable that ShhN so far is the only LAS member without proven peptidase activity. Another unique feature of ShhN in the LAS group is a double- center close to the zinc. We have studied the effect of these calcium ions on ShhN structure, dynamics, and interactions. We find that the presence of calcium has a marked impact on ShhN properties, with the two calcium ions having different effects. The more strongly bound calcium ion significantly stabilizes the overall structure. Surprisingly, the binding of the second calcium ion switches the putative catalytic center from a state similar to LAS enzymes to a state that probably is catalytically inactive. We describe in detail the mechanics of the switch, including the effect on substrate co-ordinating residues and on the putative catalytic water molecule. The properties of the putative substrate binding site suggest that ShhN could degrade other ShhN molecules, e.g. by cleavage at highly conserved glycines in ShhN. To test experimentally the stability of ShhN against autodegradation, we compare two ShhN mutants in vitro: (1) a ShhN mutant unable to bind calcium but with putative catalytic center intact, and thus, according to our hypothesis, a constitutively active peptidase, and (2) a mutant carrying additionally mutation E177A, i.e., with the putative catalytically active residue knocked out. The in vitro results are consistent with ShhN being a cannibalistic zinc-peptidase. These experiments also reveal that the peptidase activity depends on .

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<![CDATA[Alkylpurine Glycosylase D Employs DNA Sculpting as a Strategy to Extrude and Excise Damaged Bases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e7ab0ee8fa60b6bc22

Alkylpurine glycosylase D (AlkD) exhibits a unique base excision strategy. Instead of interacting directly with the lesion, the enzyme engages the non-lesion DNA strand. AlkD induces flipping of the alkylated and opposing base accompanied by DNA stack compression. Since this strategy leaves the alkylated base solvent exposed, the means to achieve enzymatic cleavage had remained unclear. We determined a minimum energy path for flipping out a 3-methyl adenine by AlkD and computed a potential of mean force along this path to delineate the energetics of base extrusion. We show that AlkD acts as a scaffold to stabilize three distinct DNA conformations, including the final extruded state. These states are almost equivalent in free energy and separated by low barriers. Thus, AlkD acts by sculpting the global DNA conformation to achieve lesion expulsion from DNA. N-glycosidic bond scission is then facilitated by a backbone phosphate group proximal to the alkylated base.

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<![CDATA[Web-Based Computational Chemistry Education with CHARMMing II: Coarse-Grained Protein Folding]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dfab0ee8fa60b68db5

A lesson utilizing a coarse-grained (CG) G-like model has been implemented into the CHARMM INterface and Graphics (CHARMMing) web portal (www.charmming.org) to the Chemistry at HARvard Macromolecular Mechanics (CHARMM) molecular simulation package. While widely used to model various biophysical processes, such as protein folding and aggregation, CG models can also serve as an educational tool because they can provide qualitative descriptions of complex biophysical phenomena for a relatively cheap computational cost. As a proof of concept, this lesson demonstrates the construction of a CG model of a small globular protein, its simulation via Langevin dynamics, and the analysis of the resulting data. This lesson makes connections between modern molecular simulation techniques and topics commonly presented in an advanced undergraduate lecture on physical chemistry. It culminates in a straightforward analysis of a short dynamics trajectory of a small fast folding globular protein; we briefly describe the thermodynamic properties that can be calculated from this analysis. The assumptions inherent in the model and the data analysis are laid out in a clear, concise manner, and the techniques used are consistent with those employed by specialists in the field of CG modeling. One of the major tasks in building the G-like model is determining the relative strength of the nonbonded interactions between coarse-grained sites. New functionality has been added to CHARMMing to facilitate this process. The implementation of these features into CHARMMing helps automate many of the tedious aspects of constructing a CG G model. The CG model builder and its accompanying lesson should be a valuable tool to chemistry students, teachers, and modelers in the field.

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<![CDATA[Different Inward and Outward Conduction Mechanisms in NaVMs Suggested by Molecular Dynamics Simulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e6ab0ee8fa60b6b6b4

Rapid and selective ion transport is essential for the generation and regulation of electrical signaling pathways in living organisms. Here, we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with an applied membrane potential to investigate the ion flux of bacterial sodium channel NaVMs. 5.9 µs simulations with 500 mM NaCl suggest different mechanisms for inward and outward flux. The predicted inward conductance rate of ∼27±3 pS, agrees with experiment. The estimated outward conductance rate is 15±3 pS, which is considerably lower. Comparing inward and outward flux, the mean ion dwell time in the selectivity filter (SF) is prolonged from 13.5±0.6 ns to 20.1±1.1 ns. Analysis of the Na+ distribution revealed distinct patterns for influx and efflux events. In 32.0±5.9% of the simulation time, the E53 side chains adopted a flipped conformation during outward conduction, whereas this conformational change was rarely observed (2.7±0.5%) during influx. Further, simulations with dihedral restraints revealed that influx is less affected by the E53 conformational flexibility. In contrast, during outward conduction, our simulations indicate that the flipped E53 conformation provides direct coordination for Na+. The free energy profile (potential of mean force calculations) indicates that this conformational change lowers the putative barriers between sites SCEN and SHFS during outward conduction. We hypothesize that during an action potential, the increased Na+ outward transition propensities at depolarizing potentials might increase the probability of E53 conformational changes in the SF. Subsequently, this might be a first step towards initiating slow inactivation.

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<![CDATA[Computational Modeling and Analysis of Iron Release from Macrophages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db39ab0ee8fa60bd454e

A major process of iron homeostasis in whole-body iron metabolism is the release of iron from the macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system. Macrophages recognize and phagocytose senescent or damaged erythrocytes. Then, they process the heme iron, which is returned to the circulation for reutilization by red blood cell precursors during erythropoiesis. The amount of iron released, compared to the amount shunted for storage as ferritin, is greater during iron deficiency. A currently accepted model of iron release assumes a passive-gradient with free diffusion of intracellular labile iron (Fe2+) through ferroportin (FPN), the transporter on the plasma membrane. Outside the cell, a multi-copper ferroxidase, ceruloplasmin (Cp), oxidizes ferrous to ferric ion. Apo-transferrin (Tf), the primary carrier of soluble iron in the plasma, binds ferric ion to form mono-ferric and di-ferric transferrin. According to the passive-gradient model, the removal of ferrous ion from the site of release sustains the gradient that maintains the iron release. Subcellular localization of FPN, however, indicates that the role of FPN may be more complex. By experiments and mathematical modeling, we have investigated the detailed mechanism of iron release from macrophages focusing on the roles of the Cp, FPN and apo-Tf. The passive-gradient model is quantitatively analyzed using a mathematical model for the first time. A comparison of experimental data with model simulations shows that the passive-gradient model cannot explain macrophage iron release. However, a facilitated-transport model associated with FPN can explain the iron release mechanism. According to the facilitated-transport model, intracellular FPN carries labile iron to the macrophage membrane. Extracellular Cp accelerates the oxidation of ferrous ion bound to FPN. Apo-Tf in the extracellular environment binds to the oxidized ferrous ion, completing the release process. Facilitated-transport model can correctly predict cellular iron efflux and is essential for physiologically relevant whole-body model of iron metabolism.

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<![CDATA[PolyUbiquitin Chain Linkage Topology Selects the Functions from the Underlying Binding Landscape]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9fab0ee8fa60ba5443

Ubiquitin (Ub) can generate versatile molecular signals and lead to different celluar fates. The functional poly-valence of Ub is believed to be resulted from its ability to form distinct polymerized chains with eight linkage types. To provide a full picture of ubiquitin code, we explore the binding landscape of two free Ub monomers and also the functional landscapes of of all eight linkage types by theoretical modeling. Remarkably, we found that most of the compact structures of covalently connected dimeric Ub chains (diUbs) pre-exist on the binding landscape. These compact functional states were subsequently validated by corresponding linkage models. This leads to the proposal that the folding architecture of Ub monomer has encoded all functional states into its binding landscape, which is further selected by different topologies of polymeric Ub chains. Moreover, our results revealed that covalent linkage leads to symmetry breaking of interfacial interactions. We further propose that topological constraint not only limits the conformational space for effective switching between functional states, but also selects the local interactions for realizing the corresponding biological function. Therefore, the topological constraint provides a way for breaking the binding symmetry and reaching the functional specificity. The simulation results also provide several predictions that qualitatively and quantitatively consistent with experiments. Importantly, the K48 linkage model successfully predicted intermediate states. The resulting multi-state energy landscape was further employed to reconcile the seemingly contradictory experimental data on the conformational equilibrium of K48-diUb. Our results further suggest that hydrophobic interactions are dominant in the functional landscapes of K6-, K11-, K33- and K48 diUbs, while electrostatic interactions play a more important role in the functional landscapes of K27, K29, K63 and linear linkages.

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<![CDATA[Collective Behaviour without Collective Order in Wild Swarms of Midges]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da32ab0ee8fa60b85020

Collective behaviour is a widespread phenomenon in biology, cutting through a huge span of scales, from cell colonies up to bird flocks and fish schools. The most prominent trait of collective behaviour is the emergence of global order: individuals synchronize their states, giving the stunning impression that the group behaves as one. In many biological systems, though, it is unclear whether global order is present. A paradigmatic case is that of insect swarms, whose erratic movements seem to suggest that group formation is a mere epiphenomenon of the independent interaction of each individual with an external landmark. In these cases, whether or not the group behaves truly collectively is debated. Here, we experimentally study swarms of midges in the field and measure how much the change of direction of one midge affects that of other individuals. We discover that, despite the lack of collective order, swarms display very strong correlations, totally incompatible with models of non-interacting particles. We find that correlation increases sharply with the swarm's density, indicating that the interaction between midges is based on a metric perception mechanism. By means of numerical simulations we demonstrate that such growing correlation is typical of a system close to an ordering transition. Our findings suggest that correlation, rather than order, is the true hallmark of collective behaviour in biological systems.

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<![CDATA[LipidWrapper: An Algorithm for Generating Large-Scale Membrane Models of Arbitrary Geometry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad6ab0ee8fa60bb7e2a

As ever larger and more complex biological systems are modeled in silico, approximating physiological lipid bilayers with simple planar models becomes increasingly unrealistic. In order to build accurate large-scale models of subcellular environments, models of lipid membranes with carefully considered, biologically relevant curvature will be essential. In the current work, we present a multi-scale utility called LipidWrapper capable of creating curved membrane models with geometries derived from various sources, both experimental and theoretical. To demonstrate its utility, we use LipidWrapper to examine an important mechanism of influenza virulence. A copy of the program can be downloaded free of charge under the terms of the open-source FreeBSD License from http://nbcr.ucsd.edu/lipidwrapper. LipidWrapper has been tested on all major computer operating systems.

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<![CDATA[Structure-Based Druggability Assessment of the Mammalian Structural Proteome with Inclusion of Light Protein Flexibility]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa5ab0ee8fa60ba7703

Advances reported over the last few years and the increasing availability of protein crystal structure data have greatly improved structure-based druggability approaches. However, in practice, nearly all druggability estimation methods are applied to protein crystal structures as rigid proteins, with protein flexibility often not directly addressed. The inclusion of protein flexibility is important in correctly identifying the druggability of pockets that would be missed by methods based solely on the rigid crystal structure. These include cryptic pockets and flexible pockets often found at protein-protein interaction interfaces. Here, we apply an approach that uses protein modeling in concert with druggability estimation to account for light protein backbone movement and protein side-chain flexibility in protein binding sites. We assess the advantages and limitations of this approach on widely-used protein druggability sets. Applying the approach to all mammalian protein crystal structures in the PDB results in identification of 69 proteins with potential druggable cryptic pockets.

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<![CDATA[Atomistic Detailed Mechanism and Weak Cation-Conducting Activity of HIV-1 Vpu Revealed by Free Energy Calculations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da64ab0ee8fa60b918a5

The viral protein U (Vpu) encoded by HIV-1 has been shown to assist in the detachment of virion particles from infected cells. Vpu forms cation-specific ion channels in host cells, and has been proposed as a potential drug target. An understanding of the mechanism of ion transport through Vpu is desirable, but remains limited because of the unavailability of an experimental structure of the channel. Using a structure of the pentameric form of Vpu – modeled and validated based on available experimental data – umbrella sampling molecular dynamics simulations (cumulative simulation time of more than 0.4 µs) were employed to elucidate the energetics and the molecular mechanism of ion transport in Vpu. Free energy profiles corresponding to the permeation of Na+ and K+ were found to be similar to each other indicating lack of ion selection, consistent with previous experimental studies. The Ser23 residue is shown to enhance ion transport via two mechanisms: creating a weak binding site, and increasing the effective hydrophilic length of the channel, both of which have previously been hypothesized in experiments. A two-dimensional free energy landscape has been computed to model multiple ion permeation, based on which a mechanism for ion conduction is proposed. It is shown that only one ion can pass through the channel at a time. This, along with a stretch of hydrophobic residues in the transmembrane domain of Vpu, explains the slow kinetics of ion conduction. The results are consistent with previous conductance studies that showed Vpu to be a weakly conducting ion channel.

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