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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


In eukaryotes, DNA is packed in a highly condensed and hierarchically organized structure called chromatin, in which DNA tightly wraps around the histone octamer consisting of one histone 3-histone 4 (H3-H4) tetramer and two histone 2A- histone 2B (H2A-H2B) dimers with 147 base pairs in an almost two left handed turns. Almost all DNA dependent cellular processes, such as DNA duplication, transcription, DNA repair and recombination, take place in the chromatin form. Based on the critical importance of appropriate chromatin condensation, this thesis focused on the folding behavior of the nucleosome array reconstituted using different templates with various controllable factors …

Contributors
Fu, Qiang, Lindsay, Stuart M, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2010

Peptides offer great promise as targeted affinity ligands, but the space of possible peptide sequences is vast, making experimental identification of lead candidates expensive, difficult, and uncertain. Computational modeling can narrow the search by estimating the affinity and specificity of a given peptide in relation to a predetermined protein target. The predictive performance of computational models of interactions of intermediate-length peptides with proteins can be improved by taking into account the stochastic nature of the encounter and binding dynamics. A theoretical case is made for the hypothesis that, because of the flexibility of the peptide and the structural complexity of …

Contributors
Emery, Jack Scott, Pizziconi, Vincent B, Woodbury, Neal W, et al.
Created Date
2010

In oxygenic photosynthesis, Photosystem I (PSI) and Photosystem II (PSII) are two transmembrane protein complexes that catalyze the main step of energy conversion; the light induced charge separation that drives an electron transfer reaction across the thylakoid membrane. Current knowledge of the structure of PSI and PSII is based on three structures: PSI and PSII from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elonagatus and the PSI/light harvesting complex I (PSI-LHCI) of the plant, Pisum sativum. To improve the knowledge of these important membrane protein complexes from a wider spectrum of photosynthetic organisms, photosynthetic apparatus of the thermo-acidophilic red alga, Galdieria sulphuraria and …

Contributors
Thangaraj, Balakumar, Fromme, Petra, Shock, Everett, et al.
Created Date
2010

This thesis describes several experiments based on carbon nanotube nanofludic devices and field-effect transistors. The first experiment detected ion and molecule translocation through one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) that spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs. The electrical ionic current is measured. Translocation of small single stranded DNA oligomers is marked by large transient increases in current through the tube and confirmed by a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Carbon nanotubes simplify the construction of nanopores, permit new types of electrical measurement, and open new avenues for control of DNA translocation. The second experiment constructed devices in which the interior …

Contributors
Cao, Di, Lindsay, Stuart, Vaiana, Sara, et al.
Created Date
2011

Nanofluidic devices in which one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs were constructed, enabling direct electrical measurement of the transport of ions and molecules. Ion current through these devices is about 2 orders of magnitude larger than that predicted from the bulk resistivity of the electrolyte. Electroosmosis drives excess current, carried by cations, and is found to be the origin of giant ionic current through SWCNT as shown by building an ionic field-effect transistor with a gate electrode embedded in the fluid barrier. Wetting of inside of the semi-conducting SWCNT by water showed the change …

Contributors
Pang, Pei, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2011

Biological membranes are critical to cell sustainability by selectively permeating polar molecules into the intracellular space and providing protection to the interior organelles. Biomimetic membranes (model cell membranes) are often used to fundamentally study the lipid bilayer backbone structure of the biological membrane. Lipid bilayer membranes are often supported using inorganic materials in an effort to improve membrane stability and for application to novel biosensing platforms. Published literature has shown that a variety of dense inorganic materials with various surface properties have been investigated for the study of biomimetic membranes. However, literature does not adequately address the effect of porous …

Contributors
Eggen, Carrie Lynn, Lin, Jerry Y.S., Dai, Lenore, et al.
Created Date
2011

ATP synthase is a large multimeric protein complex responsible for generating the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in most organisms. The catalysis involves the rotation of a ring of c-subunits, which is driven by the transmembrane electrochemical gradient. This dissertation reports how the eukaryotic c-subunit from spinach chloroplast ATP synthase has successfully been expressed in Escherichia coli and purified in mg quantities by incorporating a unique combination of methods. Expression was accomplished using a codon optimized gene for the c-subunit, and it was expressed as an attachment to the larger, more soluble, native maltose binding protein (MBP-c1). The fusion protein …

Contributors
Lawrence, Robert Michael, Fromme, Petra, Chen, Julian J.L., et al.
Created Date
2011

This thesis describes several approaches to next generation DNA sequencing via tunneling current method based on a Scanning Tunneling Microscope system. In chapters 5 and 6, preliminary results have shown that DNA bases could be identified by their characteristic tunneling signals. Measurements taken in aqueous buffered solution showed that single base resolution could be achieved with economic setups. In chapter 7, it is illustrated that some ongoing measurements are indicating the sequence readout by making linear scan on a piece of short DNA oligomer. However, to overcome the difficulties of controlling DNA especially ssDNA movement, it is much better to …

Contributors
Huang, Shuo, Lindsay, Stuart, Sankey, Otto, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation features a compilation of studies concerning the biophysics of multicellular systems. I explore eukaryotic systems across length scales of the cell cytoskeleton to macroscopic scales of tissues. I begin with a general overview of the natural phenomena of life and a philosophy of investigating developmental systems in biology. The topics covered throughout this dissertation require a background in eukaryotic cell physiology, viscoelasticity, and processes of embryonic tissue morphogenesis. Following a brief background on these topics, I present an overview of the Subcellular Element Model (ScEM). This is a modeling framework which allows one to compute the dynamics of …

Contributors
Sandersius, Sebastian Ambrose, Newman, Timothy J, Rez, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2011

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many diseases are not well understood. In this thesis, protein folding is explored using a multi-scale modeling method including (i) geometric constraint based simulations that efficiently search for native like topologies and (ii) reservoir replica exchange molecular dynamics, which identify the low free energy structures and refines these structures toward the native conformation. A test set of eight proteins and three …

Contributors
Glembo, Tyler, Ozkan, Sefika B, Thorpe, Michael F, et al.
Created Date
2011

The properties of materials depend heavily on the spatial distribution and connectivity of their constituent parts. This applies equally to materials such as diamond and glasses as it does to biomolecules that are the product of billions of years of evolution. In science, insight is often gained through simple models with characteristics that are the result of the few features that have purposely been retained. Common to all research within in this thesis is the use of network-based models to describe the properties of materials. This work begins with the description of a technique for decoupling boundary effects from intrinsic …

Contributors
De Graff, Adam M R, Thorpe, Michael F., Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation describes the work on two projects which involves measuring molecular conductance and studying their properties on the nanoscale using various Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) techniques. The first molecule studied was a porphyrin-fullerene moiety known as a molecular Dyad for photovoltaic applications. This project is further divided into two section, the first one involving the characterization of the Dyad monolayers and conductance measurement in the dark. The Dyads are designed to form charge separated states on illumination. The lifetime of the charged states have been measured efficiently but the single-molecule conductance through the molecules have yet to be characterized. …

Contributors
Bhattacharyya, Shreya, Lindsay, Stuart, Moore, Ana, et al.
Created Date
2011

Conformational changes in biomolecules often take place on longer timescales than are easily accessible with unbiased molecular dynamics simulations, necessitating the use of enhanced sampling techniques, such as adaptive umbrella sampling. In this technique, the conformational free energy is calculated in terms of a designated set of reaction coordinates. At the same time, estimates of this free energy are subtracted from the potential energy in order to remove free energy barriers and cause conformational changes to take place more rapidly. This dissertation presents applications of adaptive umbrella sampling to a variety of biomolecular systems. The first study investigated the effects …

Contributors
Spiriti, Justin Matthew, Van Der Vaart, Arjan, Chizmeshya, Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2011

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide a particularly useful approach to understanding conformational change in biomolecular systems. MD simulations provide an atomistic, physics-based description of the motions accessible to biomolecular systems on the pico- to micro-second timescale, yielding important insight into the free energy of the system, the dynamical stability of contacts and the role of correlated motions in directing the motions of the system. In this thesis, I use molecular dynamics simulations to provide molecular mechanisms that rationalize structural, thermodynamic, and mutation data on the interactions between the lac repressor headpiece and its O1 operator DNA as well as the …

Contributors
Barr, Daniel, Van Der Vaart, Arjan, Matyushov, Dmitry, et al.
Created Date
2011

Membrane proteins are very important for all living cells, being involved in respiration, photosynthesis, cellular uptake and signal transduction, amongst other vital functions. However, less than 300 unique membrane protein structures have been determined to date, often due to difficulties associated with the growth of sufficiently large and well-ordered crystals. This work has been focused on showing the first proof of concept for using membrane protein nanocrystals and microcrystals for high-resolution structure determination. Upon determining that crystals of the membrane protein Photosystem I, which is the largest and most complex membrane protein crystallized to date, exist with only a hundred …

Contributors
Hunter, Mark S., Fromme, Petra, Wolf, George, et al.
Created Date
2011

The F1Fo ATP synthase is required for energy conversion in almost all living organisms. The F1 complex is a molecular motor that uses ATP hydrolysis to drive rotation of the γ–subunit. It has not been previously possible to resolve the speed and position of the γ–subunit of the F1–ATPase as it rotates during a power stroke. The single molecule experiments presented here measured light scattered from 45X91 nm gold nanorods attached to the γ–subunit that provide an unprecedented 5 μs resolution of rotational position as a function of time. The product of velocity and drag, which were both measured directly, …

Contributors
Martin Ii, James Leo, Frasch, Wayne D, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2012

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast agent with adjustable T2 or T1 relaxivity (r2 or r1). I first developed a simplified technique to incorporate iron oxides in apoferritin to form "magnetoferritin" for nM-level detection with T2- and T2* weighting. I then explored whether the crystal could be chemically modified to form a particle with high r1. I first adsorbed Mn2+ ions to metal binding sites in …

Contributors
Clavijo Jordan, Maria Veronica, Bennett, Kevin M, Kodibagkar, Vikram, et al.
Created Date
2012

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a biopolymer well known for its role in preserving genetic information in biology, is now drawing great deal of interest from material scientists. Ease of synthesis, predictable molecular recognition via Watson-Crick base pairing, vast numbers of available chemical modifications, and intrinsic nanoscale size makes DNA a suitable material for the construction of a plethora of nanostructures that can be used as scaffold to organize functional molecules with nanometer precision. This dissertation focuses on DNA-directed organization of metallic nanoparticles into well-defined, discrete structures and using them to study photonic interaction between fluorophore and metal particle. Presented here are …

Contributors
Pal, Suchetan, Liu, Yan, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2012

The heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is widely considered the simplest and most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) still in existence. Despite the simplicity of the HbRC, many aspects of the electron transfer mechanism remain unknown or under debate. Improving our understanding of the structure and function of the HbRC is important in determining its role in the evolution of photosynthetic RCs. In this work, the function and properties of the iron-sulfur cluster FX and quinones of the HbRC were investigated, as these are the characteristic terminal electron acceptors used by Type-I and Type-II RCs, respectively. In Chapter 3, I develop …

Contributors
Cowgill, John, Redding, Kevin, Jones, Anne, et al.
Created Date
2012

CpG methylation is an essential requirement for the normal development of mammals, but aberrant changes in the methylation can lead to tumor progression and cancer. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon can provide insights into the mechanism of gene repression. We present a study comparing methylated DNA and normal DNA wrt its persistence length and contour length. Although, previous experiments and studies show no difference between the physical properties of the two, the data collected and interpreted here gives a different picture to the methylation phenomena and its effect on gene silencing. The study was extended to the artificially reconstituted …

Contributors
Kaur, Parminder, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2012

Single cell analysis has become increasingly important in understanding disease onset, progression, treatment and prognosis, especially when applied to cancer where cellular responses are highly heterogeneous. Through the advent of single cell computerized tomography (Cell-CT), researchers and clinicians now have the ability to obtain high resolution three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of single cells. Yet to date, no live-cell compatible version of the technology exists. In this thesis, a microfluidic chip with the ability to rotate live single cells in hydrodynamic microvortices about an axis parallel to the optical focal plane has been demonstrated. The chip utilizes a novel 3D microchamber design …

Contributors
Myers, Jakrey, Meldrum, Deirdre, Johnson, Roger, et al.
Created Date
2012

The goal of this theoretical study of infrared spectra was to ascertain to what degree molecules may be identified from their IR spectra and which spectral regions are best suited for this purpose. The frequencies considered range from the lowest frequency molecular vibrations in the far-IR, terahertz region (below ~3 THz or 100 cm-1) up to the highest frequency vibrations (~120 THz or 4000 cm-1). An emphasis was placed on the IR spectra of chemical and biological threat molecules in the interest of detection and prevention. To calculate IR spectra, the technique of normal mode analysis was applied to organic …

Contributors
Mott, Adam J., Rez, Peter, Ozkan, Banu, et al.
Created Date
2012

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a chemical form that can be used to support other life processes. The high efficiency and structural simplicity make the bacterial reaction center a paradigm for studying electron transfer in biomolecules. This thesis starts with a comparison of the primary electron transfer process in the reaction centers from the Rhodobacter shperoides bacterium and those from its thermophilic homolog, Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Different temperature dependences in the primary electron transfer were found in …

Contributors
Guo, Zhi, Woodbury, Neal W, Lindsay, Stuart M, et al.
Created Date
2012

Single molecules in a tunnel junction can now be interrogated reliably using chemically-functionalized electrodes. Monitoring stochastic bonding fluctuations between a ligand bound to one electrode and its target bound to a second electrode ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration) gives insight into the nature of the intermolecular bonding at a single molecule-pair level, and defines the requirements for reproducible tunneling data. Importantly, at large tunnel gaps, there exists a regime for many molecules in which the tunneling is influenced more by the chemical identity of the molecules than by variability in the molecule-metal contact. Functionalizing a pair of electrodes with recognition reagents (the …

Contributors
Chang, Shuai, Lindsay, Stuart, Ros, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2012

Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes. To date, not much is known about the monomeric state of hIAPP or how it undergoes an irreversible transformation from disordered peptide to insoluble aggregate. IAPP contains a highly conserved disulfide bond that restricts hIAPP(1-8) into a short ring-like structure: N_loop. Removal or chemical reduction of N_loop not only prevents cell response upon binding to the CGRP receptor, but also …

Contributors
Cope, Stephanie M., Vaiana, Sara M, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2013

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the observed target molecules. The following work advances the current SPR sensor paradigm for the purpose of small molecule detection. The detection limits of two orthogonal components of SPR measurement are targeted: speed and sensitivity. In the context of this report, speed refers to the dynamic range of measured kinetic rate constants, while sensitivity refers to the target molecule mass limitation …

Contributors
Macgriff, Christopher Assiff, Tao, Nongjian, Wang, Shaopeng, et al.
Created Date
2013

Solution conformations and dynamics of proteins and protein-DNA complexes are often difficult to predict from their crystal structures. The crystal structure only shows a snapshot of the different conformations these biological molecules can have in solution. Multiple different conformations can exist in solution and potentially have more importance in the biological activity. DNA sliding clamps are a family of proteins with known crystal structures. These clamps encircle the DNA and enable other proteins to interact more efficiently with the DNA. Eukaryotic PCNA and prokaryotic β clamp are two of these clamps, some of the most stable homo-oligomers known. However, their …

Contributors
Ranjit, Suman, Levitus, Marcia, Lindsay, Stuart, et al.
Created Date
2013

Single molecule DNA Sequencing technology has been a hot research topic in the recent decades because it holds the promise to sequence a human genome in a fast and affordable way, which will eventually make personalized medicine possible. Single molecule differentiation and DNA translocation control are the two main challenges in all single molecule DNA sequencing methods. In this thesis, I will first introduce DNA sequencing technology development and its application, and then explain the performance and limitation of prior art in detail. Following that, I will show a single molecule DNA base differentiation result obtained in recognition tunneling experiments. …

Contributors
Liu, Hao, Lindsay, Stuart M, Lindsay, Stuart M, et al.
Created Date
2013

The overall goal of this research project was to assess the feasibility of investigating the effects of microgravity on mineralization systems in unit gravity environments. If possible to perform these studies in unit gravity earth environments, such as earth, such systems can offer markedly less costly and more concerted research efforts to study these vitally important systems. Expected outcomes from easily accessible test environments and more tractable studies include the development of more advanced and adaptive material systems, including biological systems, particularly as humans ponder human exploration in deep space. The specific focus of the research was the design and …

Contributors
Seyedmadani, Kimia, Pizziconi, Vincent, Towe, Bruce, et al.
Created Date
2013

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS) event can take place independently within each ec2/ec3 chlorophyll pair. In order to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, we have generated new mutations in the PsaA and PsaB subunits near the electron transfer cofactor 2 (ec2 chlorophyll). PsaA-Asn604 accepts a hydrogen bond from the water molecule that is the axial ligand of ec2B and the case is similar for PsaB-Asn591 and ec2A. The second set of targeted sites was …

Contributors
BADSHAH, SYED LAL, REDDING, KEVIN E, FROMME, PETRA, et al.
Created Date
2014

Mechanical properties (e.g. deformability or stiffness) are critical to a cancer cell's ability to maneuver through and exert forces upon the extracellular matrix, and thus affect its ability to metastasize. §3.1 introduces the experimental method combining atomic force microscope (AFM) based indentation and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). §3.2 presents a method combining AFM and confocal microscopy (AFM stiffness nanotomography), and results on normal and pre-cancerous esophageal cells which indicate that even in the earliest stages, cancer cells exhibit increased deformability. §3.3 presents experimental results on weakly metastatic breast cancer cells that compare well with values obtained from other experimental …

Contributors
Staunton, Jack Rory, Ros, Robert, Lindsay, Stuart M., et al.
Created Date
2014

Cell morphology and the distribution of voltage gated ion channels play a major role in determining a neuron's firing behavior, resulting in the specific processing of spatiotemporal synaptic input patterns. Although many studies have provided insight into the computational properties arising from neuronal structure as well as from channel kinetics, no comprehensive theory exists which explains how the interaction of these features shapes neuronal excitability. In this study computational models based on the identified Drosophila motoneuron (MN) 5 are developed to investigate the role of voltage gated ion channels, the impact of their densities and the effects of structural features. …

Contributors
Berger, Sandra Daniela, Crook, Sharon, Baer, Steven, et al.
Created Date
2014

Cyanovirin-N (CVN) is a cyanobacterial lectin with potent anti-HIV activity, mediated by binding to the N-linked oligosaccharide moiety of the envelope protein gp120. CVN offers a scaffold to develop multivalent carbohydrate-binding proteins with tunable specificities and affinities. I present here biophysical calculations completed on a monomeric-stabilized mutant of cyanovirin-N, P51G-m4-CVN, in which domain A binding activity is abolished by four mutations; with comparisons made to CVN<super>mutDB</super>, in which domain B binding activity is abolished. Using Monte Carlo calculations and docking simulations, mutations in CVN<super>mutDB</super> were considered singularly, and the mutations E41A/G and T57A were found to impact the affinity towards …

Contributors
Woodrum, Brian William, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, Redding, Kevin, et al.
Created Date
2014

Membrane proteins are a vital part of cellular structure. They are directly involved in many important cellular functions, such as uptake, signaling, respiration, and photosynthesis, among others. Despite their importance, however, less than 500 unique membrane protein structures have been determined to date. This is due to several difficulties with macromolecular crystallography, primarily the difficulty of growing large, well-ordered protein crystals. Since the first proof of concept for femtosecond nanocrystallography showing that diffraction patterns can be collected on extremely small crystals, thus negating the need to grow larger crystals, there have been many exciting advancements in the field. The technique …

Contributors
Kupitz, Christopher, Fromme, Petra, Spence, John C., et al.
Created Date
2014

Single molecule identification is one essential application area of nanotechnology. The application areas including DNA sequencing, peptide sequencing, early disease detection and other industrial applications such as quantitative and quantitative analysis of impurities, etc. The recognition tunneling technique we have developed shows that after functionalization of the probe and substrate of a conventional Scanning Tunneling Microscope with recognition molecules ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration), analyte molecules trapped in the gap that is formed by probe and substrate will bond with the reagent molecules. The stochastic bond formation/breakage fluctuations give insight into the nature of the intermolecular bonding at a single molecule-pair level. …

Contributors
Zhao, Yanan, Lindsay, Stuart, Nemanich, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2014

Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, commonly known as RuBisCO, is an enzyme involved in carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms. The enzyme is subject to a mechanism-based deactivation during its catalytic cycle. RuBisCO activase (Rca), an ancillary enzyme belonging to the AAA+ family of the ATP-ases, rescues RuBisCO by facilitating the removal of the tightly bound sugar phosphates from the active sites of RuBisCO. In this work, we investigated the ATP/ADP dependent oligomerization equilibrium of fluorescently tagged Rca for a wide range of concentrations using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Results show that in the presence of ADP-Mg2+, the oligomerization state of Rca gradually …

Contributors
Chakraborty, Manas, Levitus, Marcia, Angell, Charles, et al.
Created Date
2014

This thesis explores a wide array of topics related to the protein folding problem, ranging from the folding mechanism, ab initio structure prediction and protein design, to the mechanism of protein functional evolution, using multi-scale approaches. To investigate the role of native topology on folding mechanism, the native topology is dissected into non-local and local contacts. The number of non-local contacts and non-local contact orders are both negatively correlated with folding rates, suggesting that the non-local contacts dominate the barrier-crossing process. However, local contact orders show positive correlation with folding rates, indicating the role of a diffusive search in the …

Contributors
Zou, Taisong, Ozkan, Sefika B, Thorpe, Michael F, et al.
Created Date
2014

Proteins and peptides fold into dynamic structures that access a broad functional landscape, however, designing artificial polypeptide systems continues to be a great chal-lenge. Conversely, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) engineering is now routinely used to build a wide variety of two dimensional and three dimensional (3D) nanostructures from simple hybridization based rules, and their functional diversity can be significantly ex-panded through site specific incorporation of the appropriate guest molecules. This dis-sertation describes a gentle methodology for using short (8 nucleotide) peptide nucleic acid (PNA) linkers to assemble polypeptides within a 3D DNA nanocage, as a proof of concept for constructing artificial …

Contributors
Flory, Justin, Fromme, Petra, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2014

Spider dragline silk is well known for its outstanding mechanical properties - a combination of strength and extensibility that makes it one of the toughest materials known. Two proteins, major ampullate spidroin 1 (MaSp1) and 2 (MaSp2), comprise dragline silk fibers. There has been considerable focus placed on understanding the source of spider silk's unique mechanical properties by investigating the protein composition, molecular structure and dynamics. Chemical compositional heterogeneity of spider silk fiber is critical to understand as it provides important information for the interactions between MaSp1 and MaSp2. Here, the amino acid composition of dragline silk protein was precisely …

Contributors
Shi, Xiangyan, Yarger, Jeffery L, Holland, Gregory P, et al.
Created Date
2014

This study takes biophysics--a relatively new field with complex origins and contested definitions--as the research focus and investigates the history of disciplinary formation in twentieth-century China. The story of building a scientific discipline in modern China illustrates how a science specialty evolved from an ambiguous and amorphous field into a full-fledged academic discipline in specific socio-institutional contexts. It focuses on archival sources and historical writings concerning the constitution and definition of biophysics in order to examine the relationship between particular scientific styles, national priorities, and institutional opportunities in the People's Republic of China. It argues that Chinese biophysicists exhibited a …

Contributors
Luk, Christine Yi Lai, Koblitz, Ann Hibner, Maienschein, Jane A, et al.
Created Date
2014

ABSTRACT X-Ray crystallography and NMR are two major ways of achieving atomic resolution of structure determination for macro biomolecules such as proteins. Recently, new developments of hard X-ray pulsed free electron laser XFEL opened up new possibilities to break the dilemma of radiation dose and spatial resolution in diffraction imaging by outrunning radiation damage with ultra high brightness femtosecond X-ray pulses, which is so short in time that the pulse terminates before atomic motion starts. A variety of experimental techniques for structure determination of macro biomolecules is now available including imaging of protein nanocrystals, single particles such as viruses, pump-probe …

Contributors
Wang, Dingjie, Spence, John CH, Weierstall, Uwe, et al.
Created Date
2014

In disordered soft matter system, amorphous and crystalline components might be coexisted. The interaction between the two distinct structures and the correlation within the crystalline components are crucial to the macroscopic property of the such material. The spider dragline silk biopolymer, is one of such soft matter material that exhibits exceptional mechanical strength though its mass density is considerably small compare to structural metal. Through wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), the research community learned that the silk fiber is mainly composed of amorphous backbone and $\beta$-sheet nano-crystals. However, the morphology of the crystalline system within the fiber is still not clear. …

Contributors
Mou, Qiushi, Yarger, Jeffery, Benmore, Chris, et al.
Created Date
2015

Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in children. When TBI occurs in children it often results in severe cognitive and behavioral deficits. Post-injury, the pediatric brain may be sensitive to the effects of TBI while undergoing a number of age-dependent physiological and neurobiological changes. Due to the nature of the developing cortex, it is important to understand how a pediatric brain recovers from a severe TBI (sTBI) compared to an adult. Investigating major cortical and cellular changes after sTBI in a pediatric model can elucidate why pediatrics go on to suffer more neurological …

Contributors
Nichols, Joshua, Anderson, Trent, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2015

Photosystem II (PSII) is a large protein-cofactor complex. The first step in photosynthesis involves the harvesting of light energy from the sun by the antenna (made of pigments) of the PSII trans-membrane complex. The harvested excitation energy is transferred from the antenna complex to the reaction center of the PSII, which leads to a light-driven charge separation event, from water to plastoquinone. This phenomenal process has been producing the oxygen that maintains the oxygenic environment of our planet for the past 2.5 billion years. The oxygen molecule formation involves the light-driven extraction of 4 electrons and protons from two water …

Contributors
Basu, Shibom, Fromme, Petra, Spence, John C.H., et al.
Created Date
2015

Sample delivery is an essential component in biological imaging using serial diffraction from X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) and synchrotrons. Recent developments have made possible the near-atomic resolution structure determination of several important proteins, including one G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drug target, whose structure could not easily have been determined otherwise (Appendix A). In this thesis I describe new sample delivery developments that are paramount to advancing this field beyond what has been accomplished to date. Soft Lithography was used to implement sample conservation in the Gas Dynamic Virtual Nozzle (GDVN). A PDMS/glass composite microfluidic injector was created and given …

Contributors
Nelson, Garrett, Spence, John C, Weierstall, Uwe J, et al.
Created Date
2015

Biosensors aiming at detection of target analytes, such as proteins, microbes, virus, and toxins, are widely needed for various applications including detection of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents, biomedicine, environmental monitoring, and drug screening. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), as a surface-sensitive analytical tool, can very sensitively respond to minute changes of refractive index occurring adjacent to a metal film, offering detection limits up to a few ppt (pg/mL). Through SPR, the process of protein adsorption may be monitored in real-time, and transduced into an SPR angle shift. This unique technique bypasses the time-consuming, labor-intensive labeling processes, such as radioisotope …

Contributors
Wang, Ran, Chae, Junseok, Bakkaloglu, Bertan, et al.
Created Date
2015

Molecular docking serves as an important tool in modeling protein-ligand interactions. Most of the docking approaches treat the protein receptor as rigid and move the ligand in the binding pocket through an energy minimization, which is an incorrect approach as proteins are flexible and undergo conformational changes upon ligand binding. However, modeling receptor backbone flexibility in docking is challenging and computationally expensive due to the large conformational space that needs to be sampled. A novel flexible docking approach called BP-Dock (Backbone Perturbation docking) was developed to overcome this challenge. BP-Dock integrates both backbone and side chain conformational changes of a …

Contributors
Bolia, Ashini, Ozkan, Sefika Banu, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2015

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a class of complex biomolecules comprised of linear, sulfated polysaccharides whose presence on cell surfaces and in the extracellular matrix involve them in many physiological phenomena as well as in interactions with pathogenic microbes. Decorin binding protein A (DBPA), a Borrelia surface lipoprotein involved in the infectivity of Lyme disease, is responsible for binding GAGs found on decorin, a small proteoglycan present in the extracellular matrix. Different DBPA strains have notable sequence heterogeneity that results in varying levels of GAG-binding affinity. In this dissertation, the structures and GAG-binding mechanisms for three strains of DBPA (B31 and N40 …

Contributors
Morgan, Ashli, Wang, Xu, Allen, James, et al.
Created Date
2015

Scientists have used X-rays to study biological molecules for nearly a century. Now with the X-ray free electron laser (XFEL), new methods have been developed to advance structural biology. These new methods include serial femtosecond crystallography, single particle imaging, solution scattering, and time resolved techniques. The XFEL is characterized by high intensity pulses, which are only about 50 femtoseconds in duration. The intensity allows for scattering from microscopic particles, while the short pulses offer a way to outrun radiation damage. XFELs are powerful enough to obliterate most samples in a single pulse. While this allows for a “diffract and destroy” …

Contributors
James, Daniel, Spence, John, Weierstall, Uwe, et al.
Created Date
2015

The atomic force microscope (AFM) is capable of directly probing the mechanics of samples with length scales from single molecules to tissues and force scales from pico to micronewtons. In particular, AFM is widely used as a tool to measure the elastic modulus of soft biological samples by collecting force-indentation relationships and fitting these to classic elastic contact models. However, the analysis of raw force-indentation data may be complicated by mechanical heterogeneity present in biological systems. An analytical model of an elastic indentation on a bonded two-layer sample was solved. This may be used to account for substrate effects and …

Contributors
Doss, Bryant Lee, Ros, Robert, Lindsay, Stuart, et al.
Created Date
2015