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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The arrangement of nucleosomes inside chromatin is of extensive interest. While in vitro experiments have revealed the formation of 30 nm fibers, most in vivo studies have failed to confirm their presence in cell nuclei. To reconcile the diverging experimental findings, we characterized chromatin organization using a residue-level coarse-grained model. The computed force–extension curve matches well with measurements from single-molecule experiments. Notably, we found that a dodeca-nucleosome in the two-helix zigzag conformation breaks into structures with nucleosome clutches and a mix of trimers and tetramers under tension. Such unfolded configurations can also be stabilized through trans interactions with other chromatin chains. Our study suggests that unfolding from chromatin fibers could contribute to the irregularity of in vivo chromatin configurations. We further revealed that chromatin segments with fibril or clutch structures engaged in distinct binding modes and discussed the implications of these inter-chain interactions for a potential sol–gel phase transition.

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    The phase problem in X-ray crystallography arises from the fact that only the intensities, and not the phases, of the diffracting electromagnetic waves are measured directly. Molecular replacement can often estimate the relative phases of reflections starting with those derived from a template structure, which is usually a previously solved structure of a similar protein. The key factor in the success of molecular replacement is finding a good template structure. When no good solved template exists, predicted structures based partially on templates can sometimes be used to generate models for molecular replacement, thereby extending the lower bound of structural and sequence similarity required for successful structure determination. Here, the effectiveness is examined of structures predicted by a state-of-the-art prediction algorithm, the Associative memory, Water-mediated, Structure and Energy Model Suite ( AWSEM-Suite ), which has been shown to perform well in predicting protein structures in CASP13 when there is no significant sequence similarity to a solved protein or only very low sequence similarity to known templates. The performance of AWSEM-Suite structures in molecular replacement is discussed and the results show that AWSEM-Suite performs well in providing useful phase information, often performing better than I-TASSER-MR and the previous algorithm AWSEM-Template . 
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  8. Abstract

    Current efforts in the proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) field mostly focus on choosing an appropriate E3 ligase for the target protein, improving the binding affinities towards the target protein and the E3 ligase, and optimizing the PROTAC linker. However, due to the large molecular weights of PROTACs, their cellular uptake remains an issue. Through comparing how different warhead chemistry, reversible noncovalent (RNC), reversible covalent (RC), and irreversible covalent (IRC) binders, affects the degradation of Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK), we serendipitously discover that cyano-acrylamide-based reversible covalent chemistry can significantly enhance the intracellular accumulation and target engagement of PROTACs and develop RC-1 as a reversible covalent BTK PROTAC with a high target occupancy as its corresponding kinase inhibitor and effectiveness as a dual functional inhibitor and degrader, a different mechanism-of-action for PROTACs. Importantly, this reversible covalent strategy is generalizable to improve other PROTACs, opening a path to enhance PROTAC efficacy.

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