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Thomas D.G.,Knowledge Discovery and Informatics Group | Jaramillo-Riveri S.,Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Group | Baxter D.J.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Cannon W.R.,Knowledge Discovery and Informatics Group | Cannon W.R.,Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Group
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2014

We have applied a new stochastic simulation approach to predict the metabolite levels, material flux, and thermodynamic profiles of the oxidative TCA cycles found in E. coli and Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, and in the reductive TCA cycle typical of chemolithoautotrophs and phototrophic green sulfur bacteria such as Chlorobaculum tepidum. The simulation approach is based on modeling states using statistical thermodynamics and employs an assumption similar to that used in transition state theory. The ability to evaluate the thermodynamics of metabolic pathways allows one to understand the relationship between coupling of energy and material gradients in the environment and the self-organization of stable biological systems, and it is shown that each cycle operates in the direction expected due to its environmental niche. The simulations predict changes in metabolite levels and flux in response to changes in cofactor concentrations that would be hard to predict without an elaborate model based on the law of mass action. In fact, we show that a thermodynamically unfavorable reaction can still have flux in the forward direction when it is part of a reaction network. The ability to predict metabolite levels, energy flow, and material flux should be significant for understanding the dynamics of natural systems and for understanding principles for engineering organisms for production of specialty chemicals. (Figure Presented). © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Ghattyvenkatakrishna P.K.,Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Group | Ghattyvenkatakrishna P.K.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Alekozai E.M.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Alekozai E.M.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | And 10 more authors.
Biophysical Journal | Year: 2013

Cellobiohydrolases processively hydrolyze glycosidic linkages in individual polymer chains of cellulose microfibrils, and typically exhibit specificity for either the reducing or nonreducing end of cellulose. Here, we conduct molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations to examine the initial binding of a cellulose chain into the catalytic tunnel of the reducing-end-specific Family 7 cellobiohydrolase (Cel7A) from Hypocrea jecorina. In unrestrained simulations, the cellulose diffuses into the tunnel from the -7 to the -5 positions, and the associated free energy profiles exhibit no barriers for initial processivity. The comparison of the free energy profiles for different cellulose chain orientations show a thermodynamic preference for the reducing end, suggesting that the preferential initial binding may affect the directional specificity of the enzyme by impeding nonproductive (nonreducing end) binding. Finally, the Trp-40 at the tunnel entrance is shown with free energy calculations to have a significant effect on initial chain complexation in Cel7A. © 2013 Biophysical Society.

Tal T.L.,Oregon State University | Tal T.L.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Franzosa J.A.,Oregon State University | Tilton S.C.,Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Group | And 5 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2012

microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as regulators of a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental processes, including brain morphogenesis, neuronal differentiation, and survival. While the role of miRNAs in establishing and maintaining the developing nervous system is widely appreciated, the developmental neurobehavioral role of miRNAs has yet to be defined. Here we show that transient disruption of brain morphogenesis by ethanol exposure results in behavioral hyperactivity in larval zebrafish challenged with changes in lighting conditions. Aberrations in swimming activity persist in juveniles that were developmentally exposed to ethanol. During early neurogenesis, multiple gene expression profiling studies revealed widespread changes in mRNA and miRNA abundance in ethanolexposed embryos. Consistent with a role for miRNAs in neurobehavioral development, target prediction analyses identified multiple miRNAs misexpressed in the ethanol-exposed cohorts that were also predicted to target inversely expressed transcripts known to influence brain morphogenesis. In vivo knockdown of miR- 9/9*or miR-153c persistently phenocopied the effect of ethanol on larval and juvenile swimming behavior. Structural analyses performed on adults showed that repression of miR-153c during development impacts craniofacial skeletal development. Together, these data support an integral role for miRNAs in the establishment of vertebrate neurobehavioral and skeletal systems. © FASEB.

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