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  1. Ordered nanoscale patterns have been observed by atomic force microscopy at graphene–water and graphite–water interfaces. The two dominant explanations for these patterns are that (i) they consist of self-assembled organic contaminants or (ii) they are dense layers formed from atmospheric gases (especially nitrogen). Here we apply molecular dynamics simulations to study the behavior of dinitrogen and possible organic contaminants at the graphene–water interface. Despite the high concentration of N 2 in ambient air, we find that its expected occupancy at the graphene–water interface is quite low. Although dense (disordered) aggregates of dinitrogen have been observed in previous simulations, our results suggest that they are stable only in the presence of supersaturated aqueous N 2 solutions and dissipate rapidly when they coexist with nitrogen gas near atmospheric pressure. On the other hand, although heavy alkanes are present at only trace concentrations (micrograms per cubic meter) in typical indoor air, we predict that such concentrations can be sufficient to form ordered monolayers that cover the graphene–water interface. For octadecane, grand canonical Monte Carlo suggests nucleation and growth of monolayers above an ambient concentration near 6 μg m −3 , which is less than some literature values for indoor air. The thermodynamics ofmore »the formation of these alkane monolayers includes contributions from the hydration free-energy (unfavorable), the free-energy of adsorption to the graphene–water interface (highly favorable), and integration into the alkane monolayer phase (highly favorable). Furthermore, the peak-to-peak distances in AFM force profiles perpendicular to the interface (0.43–0.53 nm), agree with the distances calculated in simulations for overlayers of alkane-like molecules, but not for molecules such as N 2 , water, or aromatics. Taken together, these results suggest that ordered domains observed on graphene, graphite, and other hydrophobic materials in water are consistent with alkane-like molecules occupying the interface.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2023
  2. Hydrogen bonding plays a critical role in the self-assembly of peptide amphiphiles (PAs). Herein, we studied the effect of replacing the amide linkage between the peptide and lipid portions of the PA with a urea group, which possesses an additional hydrogen bond donor. We prepared three PAs with the peptide sequence Phe-Phe-Glu-Glu (FFEE): two are amide-linked with hydrophobic tails of different lengths and the other possesses an alkylated urea group. The differences in the self-assembled structures formed by these PAs were assessed using diverse microscopies, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and dichroism techniques. We found that the urea group influences the morphology and internal arrangement of the assemblies. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that there are about 50% more hydrogen bonds in nanostructures assembled from the urea-PA than those assembled from the other PAs. Furthermore, in silico studies suggest the presence of urea−π stacking interactions with the phenyl group of Phe, which results in distinct peptide conformations in comparison to the amide-linked PAs. We then studied the effect of the urea modification on the mechanical properties of PA hydrogels. We found that the hydrogel made of the urea-PA exhibits increased stability and self-healing ability. In addition, it allows cell adhesion, spreading, andmore »growth as a matrix. This study reveals that the inclusion of urea bonds might be useful in controlling the morphology, mechanical, and biological properties of self-assembled nanostructures and hydrogels formed by the PAs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2023
  3. Abstract
    <p>This data set provides files needed to run the simulations described in the manuscript entitled &#34;Organic contaminants and atmospheric nitrogen at the graphene–water interface: A simulation study&#34; using the molecular dynamics software NAMD and LAMMPS. The output of the simulations, as well as scripts used to analyze this output, are also included. The files are organized into directories corresponding to the figures of the main text and supplementary information. They include molecular model structure files (NAMD psf), force field parameter files (in CHARMM format), initial atomic coordinates (pdb format), NAMD or LAMMPS configuration files, Colvars configuration files, NAMD log files, and NAMD output including restart files (in binary NAMD format) and some trajectories in dcd format (downsampled). Analysis is controlled by shell scripts (Bash-compatible) that call VMD Tcl scripts. A modified LAMMPS C&#43;&#43; source file is also included.</p>
    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DMR-1945589. A majority of the computing for this project was performed on the Beocat Research Cluster at Kansas State University, which is funded in part by NSF grants CHE-1726332, CNS-1006860, EPS-1006860, and EPS-0919443. This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) andMore>>
  4. Abstract
    <p>This data set for the manuscript entitled &#34;Design of Peptides that Fold and Self-Assemble on Graphite&#34; includes all files needed to run and analyze the simulations described in the this manuscript in the molecular dynamics software NAMD, as well as the output of the simulations. The files are organized into directories corresponding to the figures of the main text and supporting information. They include molecular model structure files (NAMD psf or Amber prmtop format), force field parameter files (in CHARMM format), initial atomic coordinates (pdb format), NAMD configuration files, Colvars configuration files, NAMD log files, and NAMD output including restart files (in binary NAMD format) and trajectories in dcd format (downsampled to 10 ns per frame). Analysis is controlled by shell scripts (Bash-compatible) that call VMD Tcl scripts or python scripts. These scripts and their output are also included.</p> <p>Version: 2.0</p> <p>Changes versus version 1.0 are the addition of the free energy of folding, adsorption, and pairing calculations (Sim_Figure-7) and shifting of the figure numbers to accommodate this addition.</p> <p><br /> Conventions Used in These Files<br /> &#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;&#61;</p> <p>Structure Files<br /> ----------------<br /> - graph_*.psf or sol_*.psf (original NAMD (XPLOR?) format psf file including atom details (type, charge, mass),More>>
  5. The antitumor effects of a partially purified water extract from Euglena gracilis (EWE) and EWE treated by boiling (bEWE) were evaluated using orthotopic lung cancer syngeneic mouse models with Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells. Daily oral administration of either EWE or bEWE started three weeks prior to the inoculation of LLC cells significantly attenuated tumor growth as compared to the phosphate buffered saline (PBS) control, and the attenuation was further enhanced by bEWE. The intestinal microbiota compositions in both extract-treated groups were more diverse than that in the PBS group. Particularly, a decrease in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes and significant increases in Akkermansia and Muribaculum were observed in two types of EWE-treated groups. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) using bEWE-treated mouse feces attenuated tumor growth to an extent equivalent to bEWE treatment, while tumor growth attenuation by bEWE was abolished by treatment with an antibiotic cocktail. These studies strongly suggest that daily oral administration of partially purified water extracts from Euglena gracilis attenuates lung carcinoma growth via the alteration of the intestinal microbiota.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  7. Hydration layers are formed on hydrophilic crystalline surfaces immersed in water. Their existence has also been predicted for hydrophobic surfaces, yet the experimental evidence is controversial. Using 3D-AFM imaging, we probed the interfacial water structure of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces with atomic-scale spatial resolution. We demonstrate that the atomic-scale structure of interfacial water on crystalline surfaces presents two antagonistic arrangements. On mica, a common hydrophilic crystalline surface, the interface is characterized by the formation of 2 to 3 hydration layers separated by approximately 0.3 nm. On hydrophobic surfaces such as graphite or hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), the interface is characterized by the formation of 2 to 4 layers separated by about 0.5 nm. The latter interlayer distance indicates that water molecules are expelled from the vicinity of the surface and replaced by hydrocarbon molecules. This creates a new 1.5–2 nm thick interface between the hydrophobic surface and the bulk water. Molecular dynamics simulations reproduced the experimental data and confirmed the above interfacial water structures.
  8. Beta glucans are known to have immunomodulatory effects that mediated by a variety of mechanisms. In this article, we describe experiments and simulations suggesting that beta-1,3 glucans may promote activation of T cells by a previously unknown mechanism. First, we find that treatment of a T lymphoblast cell line with beta-1,3 oligoglucan significantly increases mRNA levels of T cell activation-associated cytokines, especially in the presence of the agonistic anti-CD3 antibody. This immunostimulatory activity was observed in the absence of dectin-1, a known receptor for beta-1,3 glucans. To clarify the molecular mechanism underlying this activity, we performed a series of molecular dynamics simulations and free-energy calculations to explore the interaction of beta-1,3 oligoglucans with potential immune receptors. While the simulations reveal little association between beta-1,3 oligoglucan and the immune receptor CD3, we find that beta-1,3 oligoglucans bind to CD28 near the region identified as the binding site for its natural ligands CD80 and CD86. Using a rigorous absolute binding free-energy technique, we calculate a dissociation constant in the low millimolar range for binding of 8-mer beta-1,3 oligoglucan to this site on CD28. The simulations show this binding to be specific, as no such association is computed for alpha-1,4 oligoglucan. This studymore »suggests that beta-1,3 glucans bind to CD28 and may stimulate T cell activation collaboratively with T cell receptor activation, thereby stimulating immune function.« less