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Creators/Authors contains: "Zhang, Haitao"

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  1. Abstract

    Telomeres protect chromosome ends and are distinguished from DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by means of a specialized chromatin composed of DNA repeats bound by a multiprotein complex called shelterin. We investigated the role of telomere-associated proteins in establishing end-protection by studying viable mutants lacking these proteins. Mutants were studied using a Schizosaccharomyces pombe model system that induces cutting of a ‘proto-telomere’ bearing telomere repeats to rapidly form a new stable chromosomal end, in contrast to the rapid degradation of a control DSB. Cells lacking the telomere-associated proteins Taz1, Rap1, Poz1 or Rif1 formed a chromosome end that was stable. Surprisingly, cells lacking Ccq1, or impaired for recruiting Ccq1 to the telomere, converted the cleaved proto-telomere to a rapidly degraded DSB. Ccq1 recruits telomerase, establishes heterochromatin and affects DNA damage checkpoint activation; however, these functions were separable from protection of the new telomere by Ccq1. In cells lacking Ccq1, telomere degradation was greatly reduced by eliminating the nuclease activity of Mre11 (part of the Mre11–Rad50–Nbs1/Xrs2 DSB processing complex), and higher amounts of nuclease-deficient Mre11 associated with the new telomere. These results demonstrate a novel function for S. pombe Ccq1 to effect end-protection by restraining Mre11-dependent degradation of the DNA end.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. Abstract 167 Er 3+ doped solids are a promising platform for quantum technology due to erbium’s telecom C-band optical transition and its long hyperfine coherence times. We experimentally study the spin Hamiltonian and dynamics of 167 Er 3+ spins in Y 2 O 3 using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. The anisotropic electron Zeeman, hyperfine and nuclear quadrupole matrices are fitted using data obtained by X-band (9.5 GHz) EPR spectroscopy. We perform pulsed EPR spectroscopy to measure spin relaxation time T 1 and coherence time T 2 for the 3 principal axes of an anisotropic g tensor. Long electronic spin coherence time up to 24.4 μ s is measured for lowest g transition at 4 K, exceeding previously reported values at much lower temperatures. Measurements of decoherence mechanism indicates T 2 limited by spectral diffusion and instantaneous diffusion. Long spin coherence times, along with a strong anisotropic hyperfine interaction makes 167 Er 3+ :Y 2 O 3 a rich system and an excellent candidate for spin-based quantum technologies. 
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  4. Abstract Arrayed libraries of defined mutants have been used to elucidate gene function in the post-genomic era. Yeast haploid gene deletion libraries have pioneered this effort, but are costly to construct, do not reveal phenotypes that may occur with partial gene function and lack essential genes required for growth. We therefore devised an efficient method to construct a library of barcoded insertion mutants with a wider range of phenotypes that can be generalized to other organisms or collections of DNA samples. We developed a novel but simple three-dimensional pooling and multiplexed sequencing approach that leveraged sequence information to reduce the number of required sequencing reactions by orders of magnitude, and were able to identify the barcode sequences and DNA insertion sites of 4391 Schizosaccharomyces pombe insertion mutations with only 40 sequencing preparations. The insertion mutations are in the genes and untranslated regions of nonessential, essential and noncoding RNA genes, and produced a wider range of phenotypes compared to the cognate deletion mutants, including novel phenotypes. This mutant library represents both a proof of principle for an efficient method to produce novel mutant libraries and a valuable resource for the S. pombe research community. 
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  5. Abstract

    Calorimetry has long been used to probe the physical state of a system by measuring the heat exchanged with the environment as a result of chemical reactions or phase transitions. Application of calorimetry to microscale biological samples, however, is hampered by insufficient sensitivity and the difficulty of handling liquid samples at this scale. Here, a micromachined calorimeter sensor that is capable of resolving picowatt levels of power is described. The sensor consists of low‐noise thermopiles on a thin silicon nitride membrane that allow direct differential temperature measurements between a sample and four coplanar references, which significantly reduces thermal drift. The partial pressure of water in the ambient around the sample is maintained at saturation level using a small hydrogel‐lined enclosure. The materials used in the sensor and its geometry are optimized to minimize the noise equivalent power generated by the sensor in response to the temperature field that develops around a typical sample. The experimental response of the sensor is characterized as a function of thermopile dimensions and sample volume, and its capability is demonstrated by measuring the heat dissipated during an enzymatically catalyzed biochemical reaction in a microliter‐sized liquid droplet. The sensor offers particular promise for quantitative measurements on biological systems.

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