(1/3535) Polarization-modulated FTIR spectroscopy of lipid/gramicidin monolayers at the air/water interface.

Monolayers of gramicidin A, pure and in mixtures with dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC), were studied in situ at the air/H2O and air/D2O interfaces by polarization-modulated infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS). Simulations of the entire set of amide I absorption modes were also performed, using complete parameter sets for different conformations based on published normal mode calculations. The structure of gramicidin A in the DMPC monolayer could clearly be assigned to a beta6.3 helix. Quantitative analysis of the amide I bands revealed that film pressures of up to 25-30 mN/m the helix tilt angle from the vertical in the pure gramicidin A layer exceeded 60 degrees. A marked dependence of the peptide orientation on the applied surface pressure was observed for the mixed lipid-peptide monolayers. At low pressure the helix lay flat on the surface, whereas at high pressures the helix was oriented almost parallel to the surface normal.  (+info)

(2/3535) Distortion of the L-->M transition in the photocycle of the bacteriorhodopsin mutant D96N: a time-resolved step-scan FTIR investigation.

The D96N mutant of bacteriorhodopsin has often been taken as a model system to study the M intermediate of the wild type photocycle due to the long life time of the corresponding intermediate of the mutant. Using time-resolved step-scan FTIR spectroscopy in combination with a sample changing wheel we investigated the photocycle of the mutant with microsecond time resolution. Already after several microseconds an intermediate similar to the MN state is observed, which contrasts with the M state of the wild type protein. At reduced hydration M and N intermediates similar to those of wild type BR can be detected. These results have a bearing on the interpretation of the photocycle of this mutant. A mechanism is suggested for the fast rise of MN which provides some insight into the molecular events involved in triggering the opening of the cytosolic channel also of the wild type protein.  (+info)

(3/3535) Both familial Parkinson's disease mutations accelerate alpha-synuclein aggregation.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is pathologically characterized by the presence of intracytoplasmic Lewy bodies, the major component of which are filaments consisting of alpha-synuclein. Two recently identified point mutations in alpha-synuclein are the only known genetic causes of PD, but their pathogenic mechanism is not understood. Here we show that both wild type and mutant alpha-synuclein form insoluble fibrillar aggregates with antiparallel beta-sheet structure upon incubation at physiological temperature in vitro. Importantly, aggregate formation is accelerated by both PD-linked mutations. Under the experimental conditions, the lag time for the formation of precipitable aggregates is about 280 h for the wild type protein, 180 h for the A30P mutant, and only 100 h for the A53T mutant protein. These data suggest that the formation of alpha-synuclein aggregates could be a critical step in PD pathogenesis, which is accelerated by the PD-linked mutations.  (+info)

(4/3535) Chloride ion binding to bacteriorhodopsin at low pH: an infrared spectroscopic study.

Bacteriorhodopsin (bR) and halorhodopsin (hR) are light-induced ion pumps in the cell membrane of Halobacterium salinarium. Under normal conditions bR is an outward proton transporter, whereas hR is an inward Cl- transporter. There is strong evidence that at very low pH and in the presence of Cl-, bR transports Cl- ions into the cell, similarly to hR. The chloride pumping activity of bR is connected to the so-called acid purple state. To account for the observed effects in bR a tentative complex counterion was suggested for the protonated Schiff base of the retinal chromophore. It would consist of three charged residues: Asp-85, Asp-212, and Arg-82. This quadruplet (including the Schiff base) would also serve as a Cl- binding site at low pH. We used Fourier transform infrared difference spectroscopy to study the structural changes during the transitions between the normal, acid blue, and acid purple states. Asp-85 and Asp-212 were shown to participate in the transitions. During the normal-to-acid blue transition, Asp-85 protonates. When the pH is further lowered in the presence of Cl-, Cl- binds and Asp-212 also protonates. The binding of Cl- and the protonation of Asp-212 occur simultaneously, but take place only when Asp-85 is already protonated. It is suggested that HCl is taken up in undissociated form in exchange for a neutral water molecule.  (+info)

(5/3535) Structural analysis of DNA-chlorophyll complexes by Fourier transform infrared difference spectroscopy.

Porphyrins and metalloporphyrins are strong DNA binders. Some of these compounds have been used for radiation sensitization therapy of cancer and are targeted to interact with cellular DNA. This study was designed to examine the interaction of calf thymus DNA with chlorophyll a (CHL) in aqueous solution at physiological pH with CHL/DNA(phosphate) ratios (r) of 1/160, 1/80, 1/40, 1/20, 1/10, and 1/5. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectroscopy was used to characterize the nature of DNA-pigment interactions and to establish correlations between spectral changes and the CHL binding mode, binding constant, sequence selectivity, DNA secondary structure, and structural variations of DNA-CHL complexes in aqueous solution. Spectroscopic results showed that CHL is an external DNA binder with no affinity for DNA intercalation. At low pigment concentration (r = 1/160, 1/80, and 1/40), there are two major binding sites for CHL on DNA duplex: 1) Mg-PO2 and 2) Mg-N7 (guanine) with an overall binding constant of K = 1.13 x 10(4) M-1. The pigment distributions are 60% with the backbone PO2 group and 20% with the G-C base pairs. The chlorophyll interaction is associated with a major reduction of B-DNA structure in favor of A-DNA. At high chlorophyll content (r = 1/10), helix opening occurs, with major spectral alterations of the G-C and A-T bases. At high chlorophyll concentration (1/5), pigment aggregation is observed, which does not favor CHL-DNA complexation.  (+info)

(6/3535) Spectral morphometric characterization of breast carcinoma cells.

The spectral morphometric characteristics of standard haematoxylin and eosin breast carcinoma specimens were evaluated by light microscopy combined with a spectral imaging system. Light intensity at each wavelength in the range of 450-800 nm was recorded for 10(4) pixels from each field and represented as transmitted light spectra. A library of six characteristic spectra served to scan the cells and reconstruct new images depicting the nuclear area occupied by each spectrum. Fifteen cases of infiltrating ductal carcinoma and six cases of lobular carcinoma were examined; nine of the infiltrating ductal carcinoma and three of the lobular carcinoma showed an in situ component. The spectral morphometric analysis revealed a correlation between specific patterns of spectra and different groups of breast carcinoma cells. The most consistent result was that lobular carcinoma cells of in situ and infiltrating components from all patients showed a similar spectral pattern, whereas ductal carcinoma cells displayed spectral variety. Comparison of the in situ and the infiltrating ductal solid, cribriform and comedo carcinoma cells from the same patient revealed a strong similarity of the spectral elements and their relative distribution in the nucleus. The spectrum designated as number 5 in the library incorporated more than 40% of the nuclear area in 74.08% of the infiltrating lobular cells and in 13.64% of the infiltrating ductal carcinoma cells (P < 0.001). Spectrum number 2 appeared in all infiltrating ductal cells examined and in none of the lobular cells. These results indicate that spectrum number 5 is related to infiltrating lobular carcinoma, whereas spectrum number 2 is characteristic for infiltrating ductal carcinoma cells. Spectral similarity mapping of central necrotic regions of comedo type in situ carcinoma revealed nuclear fragmentation into defined segments composed of highly condensed chromatin. We conclude that the spectral morphometric features found for lobular and ductal cell populations may serve future automated histological diagnostics.  (+info)

(7/3535) Membrane interactions of the synthetic N-terminal peptide of HIV-1 gp41 and its structural analogs.

Structural and functional studies assessed the membrane actions of the N terminus of HIV-1 glycoprotein 41000 (gp41). Earlier site-directed mutagenesis has shown that key amino acid changes in this gp41 domain inhibit viral infection and syncytia formation. Here, a synthetic peptide corresponding to the N terminus of gp41 (FP; 23 residues, 519-541), and also FP analogs (FP520V/E with Val-->Glu at residue 520; FP527L/R with Leu-->Arg at 527; FP529F/Y with Phe-->Tyr at 529; and FPCLP1 with FP truncated at 525) incorporating these modifications were prepared. When added to human erythrocytes at physiologic pH, the lytic and aggregating activities of the FP analogs were much reduced over those with the wild-type FP. With resealed human erythrocyte ghosts, the lipid-mixing activities of the FP analogs were also substantially depressed over that with the wild-type FP. Combined with results from earlier studies, theoretical calculations using hydrophobic moment plot analysis and physical experiments using circular dichroism and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicate that the diminished lysis and fusion noted for FP analogs may be due to altered peptide-membrane lipid interactions. These data confirm that the N-terminal gp41 domain plays critical roles in the cytolysis and fusion underlying HIV-cell infection.  (+info)

(8/3535) Substitution of the methionine residues of calmodulin with the unnatural amino acid analogs ethionine and norleucine: biochemical and spectroscopic studies.

Calmodulin (CaM) is a 148-residue regulatory calcium-binding protein that activates a wide range of target proteins and enzymes. Calcium-saturated CaM has a bilobal structure, and each domain has an exposed hydrophobic surface region where target proteins are bound. These two "active sites" of calmodulin are remarkably rich in Met residues. Here we have biosynthetically substituted (up to 90% incorporation) the unnatural amino acids ethionine (Eth) and norleucine (Nle) for the nine Met residues of CaM. The substituted proteins bind in a calcium-dependent manner to hydrophobic matrices and a synthetic peptide, encompassing the CaM-binding domain of myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK). Infrared and circular dichroism spectroscopy show that there are essentially no changes in the secondary structure of these proteins compared to wild-type CaM (WT-CaM). One- and two-dimensional NMR studies of the Eth-CaM and Nle-CaM proteins reveal that, while the core of the proteins is relatively unaffected by the substitutions, the two hydrophobic interaction surfaces adjust to accommodate the Eth and Nle residues. Enzyme activation studies with MLCK show that Eth-CaM and Nle-CaM activate the enzyme to 90% of its maximal activity, with little changes in dissociation constant. For calcineurin only 50% activation was obtained, and the K(D) for Nle-CaM also increased 3.5-fold compared with WT-CaM. These data show that the "active site" Met residues of CaM play a distinct role in the activation of different target enzymes, in agreement with site-directed mutagenesis studies of the Met residues of CaM.  (+info)