skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 2028902

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. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Fixed-charge (non-polarizable) forcefields are accurate and computationally efficient tools for modeling the molecular dynamics of nucleic acid polymers, particularly DNA, well into the µs timescale. The continued utility of these forcefields depends in part on expanding the residue set in step with advancing nucleic acid chemistry and biology. A key step in parameterizing new residues is charge derivation which is self-consistent with the existing residues. As atomic charges are derived by fitting against molecular electrostatic potentials, appropriate structural models are critical. Benchmarking against the existing charge set used in current AMBER nucleic acid forcefields, we report that quantum mechanical models of deoxynucleosides, even at a high level of theory, are not optimal structures for charge derivation. Instead, structures from molecular mechanics minimization yield charges with up to 6-fold lower RMS deviation from the published values, due to the choice of such an approach in the derivation of the original charge set. We present a contemporary protocol for rendering self-consistent charges as well as optimized charges for a panel of nine non-canonical residues that will permit comparison with literature as well as studying the dynamics of novel DNA polymers.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. DNA base damage arises frequently in living cells and needs to be removed by base excision repair (BER) to prevent mutagenesis and genome instability. Both the formation and repair of base damage occur in chromatin and are conceivably affected by DNA-binding proteins such as transcription factors (TFs). However, to what extent TF binding affects base damage distribution and BER in cells is unclear. Here, we used a genome-wide damage mapping method, N -methylpurine-sequencing (NMP-seq), and characterized alkylation damage distribution and BER at TF binding sites in yeast cells treated with the alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). Our data show that alkylation damage formation was mainly suppressed at the binding sites of yeast TFs ARS binding factor 1 (Abf1) and rDNA enhancer binding protein 1 (Reb1), but individual hotspots with elevated damage levels were also found. Additionally, Abf1 and Reb1 binding strongly inhibits BER in vivo and in vitro, causing slow repair both within the core motif and its adjacent DNA. Repair of ultraviolet (UV) damage by nucleotide excision repair (NER) was also inhibited by TF binding. Interestingly, TF binding inhibits a larger DNA region for NER relative to BER. The observed effects are caused by the TF–DNA interaction, because damagemore »formation and BER can be restored by depletion of Abf1 or Reb1 protein from the nucleus. Thus, our data reveal that TF binding significantly modulates alkylation base damage formation and inhibits repair by the BER pathway. The interplay between base damage formation and BER may play an important role in affecting mutation frequency in gene regulatory regions.« less
  4. The pioneer transcription factor (TF) PU.1 controls hematopoietic cell fate by decompacting stem cell heterochromatin and allowing nonpioneer TFs to enter otherwise inaccessible genomic sites. PU.1 deficiency fatally arrests lymphopoiesis and myelopoiesis in mice, but human congenital PU.1 disorders have not previously been described. We studied six unrelated agammaglobulinemic patients, each harboring a heterozygous mutation (four de novo, two unphased) of SPI1, the gene encoding PU.1. Affected patients lacked circulating B cells and possessed few conventional dendritic cells. Introducing disease-similar SPI1 mutations into human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells impaired early in vitro B cell and myeloid cell differentiation. Patient SPI1 mutations encoded destabilized PU.1 proteins unable to nuclear localize or bind target DNA. In PU.1-haploinsufficient pro–B cell lines, euchromatin was less accessible to nonpioneer TFs critical for B cell development, and gene expression patterns associated with the pro– to pre–B cell transition were undermined. Our findings molecularly describe a novel form of agammaglobulinemia and underscore PU.1’s critical, dose-dependent role as a hematopoietic euchromatin gatekeeper.

  5. Electrostatic protein/DNA interactions arise from the neutralization of the DNA phosphodiester backbone as well as coupled exchanges by charged protein residues as salt bridges or with mobile ions. Much focus has been and continues to be paid to interfacial ion pairs with DNA. The role of extra-interfacial ionic interactions, particularly as dynamic drivers of DNA sequence selectivity, remain poorly known. The ETS family of transcription factors represents an attractive model for addressing this knowledge gap given their diverse ionic composition in primary structures that fold to a tightly conserved DNA-binding motif. To probe the importance of extra-interfacial salt bridges in DNA recognition, we compared the salt-dependent binding by Elk1 with ETV6, two ETS homologs differing markedly in ionic composition. While both proteins exhibit salt-dependent binding with cognate DNA that corresponds to interfacial phosphate contacts, their nonspecific binding diverges from cognate binding as well as each other. Molecular dynamics simulations in explicit solvent, which generated ionic interactions in agreement with the experimental binding data, revealed distinct salt-bridge dynamics in the nonspecific complexes formed by the two proteins. Impaired DNA contact by ETV6 resulted in fewer backbone contacts in the nonspecific complex, while Elk1 exhibited a redistribution of extra-interfacial salt bridges viamore »residues that are non-conserved between the two ETS relatives. Thus, primary structure variation in ionic residues can encode highly differentiated specificity mechanisms in a highly conserved DNA-binding motif.« less