skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1664218

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Cancer is a genetic disease that results from accumulation of unfavorable mutations. As soon as genetic and epigenetic modifications associated with these mutations become strong enough, the uncontrolled tumor cell growth is initiated, eventually spreading through healthy tissues. Clarifying the dynamics of cancer initiation is thus critically important for understanding the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis. Here we present a new theoretical method to evaluate the dynamic processes associated with the cancer initiation. It is based on a discrete-state stochastic description of the formation of tumors as a fixation of cancerous mutations in tissues. Using a first-passage analysis the probabilities for the cancer to appear and the times before it happens, which are viewed as fixation probabilities and fixation times, respectively, are explicitly calculated. It is predicted that the slowest cancer initiation dynamics is observed for neutral mutations, while it is fast for both advantageous and, surprisingly, disadvantageous mutations. The method is applied for estimating the cancer initiation times from experimentally available lifetime cancer risks for different types of cancer. It is found that the higher probability of the cancer to occur does not necessary lead to the faster times of starting the cancer. Our theoretical analysis helps to clarify microscopic aspects of cancer initiation processes.

    more » « less
  2. Many biological processes discriminate between correct and incorrect substrates through the kinetic proofreading mechanism that enables lower error at the cost of higher energy dissipation. Elucidating physico-chemical constraints for global minimization of dissipation and error is important for understanding enzyme evolution. Here, we identify theoretically a fundamental error–cost bound that tightly constrains the performance of proofreading networks under any parameter variations preserving the rate discrimination between substrates. The bound is kinetically controlled, i.e. completely determined by the difference between the transition state energies on the underlying free energy landscape. The importance of the bound is analysed for three biological processes. DNA replication by T7 DNA polymerase is shown to be nearly optimized, i.e. its kinetic parameters place it in the immediate proximity of the error–cost bound. The isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase (IleRS) of E. coli also operates close to the bound, but further optimization is prevented by the need for reaction speed. In contrast, E. coli ribosome operates in a high-dissipation regime, potentially in order to speed up protein production. Together, these findings establish a fundamental error–dissipation relation in biological proofreading networks and provide a theoretical framework for studying error–dissipation trade-off in other systems with biological discrimination. 
    more » « less
  3. Cytosine base editors (CBEs) enable efficient cytidine-to-thymidine (C-to-T) substitutions at targeted loci without double-stranded breaks. However, current CBEs edit all Cs within their activity windows, generating undesired bystander mutations. In the most challenging circumstance, when a bystander C is adjacent to the targeted C , existing base editors fail to discriminate them and edit both Cs. To improve the precision of CBE, we identified and engineered the human APOBEC3G (A3G) deaminase; when fused to the Cas9 nickase, the resulting A3G-BEs exhibit selective editing of the second C in the 5′-C C -3′ motif in human cells. Our A3G-BEs could install a single disease-associated C-to-T substitution with high precision. The percentage of perfectly modified alleles is more than 6000-fold for disease correction and more than 600-fold for disease modeling compared with BE4max. On the basis of the two-cell embryo injection method and RNA sequencing analysis, our A3G-BEs showed minimum genome- and transcriptome-wide off-target effects, achieving high targeting fidelity. 
    more » « less
  4. All natural phenomena are governed by energy landscapes. However, the direct measurement of this fundamental quantity remains challenging, particularly in complex systems involving intermediate states. Here, we uncover key details of the energy landscapes that underpin a range of experimental systems through quantitative analysis of first-passage time distributions. By combined study of colloidal dynamics in confinement, transport through a biological pore, and the folding kinetics of DNA hairpins, we demonstrate conclusively how a short-time, power-law regime of the first-passage time distribution reflects the number of intermediate states associated with each of these processes, despite their differing length scales, time scales, and interactions. We thereby establish a powerful method for investigating the underlying mechanisms of complex molecular processes. 
    more » « less
  5. One of the most intriguing features of biological systems is their ability to regulate the steady-state fluxes of the underlying biochemical reactions; however, the regulatory mechanisms and their physicochemical properties are not fully understood. Fundamentally, flux regulation can be explained with a chemical kinetic formalism describing the transitions between discrete states, with the reaction rates defined by an underlying free energy landscape. Which features of the energy landscape affect the flux distribution? Here we prove that the ratios of the steady-state fluxes of quasi–first-order biochemical processes are invariant to energy perturbations of the discrete states and are only affected by the energy barriers. In other words, the nonequilibrium flux distribution is under kinetic and not thermodynamic control. We illustrate the generality of this result for three biological processes. For the network describing protein folding along competing pathways, the probabilities of proceeding via these pathways are shown to be invariant to the stability of the intermediates or to the presence of additional misfolded states. For the network describing protein synthesis, the error rate and the energy expenditure per peptide bond is proven to be independent of the stability of the intermediate states. For molecular motors such as myosin-V, the ratio of forward to backward steps and the number of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) molecules hydrolyzed per step is demonstrated to be invariant to energy perturbations of the intermediate states. These findings place important constraints on the ability of mutations and drug perturbations to affect the steady-state flux distribution for a wide class of biological processes.

    more » « less