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Alonso-Sarduy L.,Institute of Physics of Biological Systems | De Rios P.L.,Institute of Theoretical Physics | Benedetti F.,Institute of Physics of Biological Systems | Vobornik D.,Institute of Physics of Biological Systems | And 4 more authors.

Proteins can switch between different conformations in response to stimuli, such as pH or temperature variations, or to the binding of ligands. Such plasticity and its kinetics can have a crucial functional role, and their characterization has taken center stage in protein research. As an example, Topoisomerases are particularly interesting enzymes capable of managing tangled and supercoiled double-stranded DNA, thus facilitating many physiological processes. In this work, we describe the use of a cantilever-based nanomotion sensor to characterize the dynamics of human topoisomerase II (Topo II) enzymes and their response to different kinds of ligands, such as ATP, which enhance the conformational dynamics. The sensitivity and time resolution of this sensor allow determining quantitatively the correlation between the ATP concentration and the rate of Topo II conformational changes. Furthermore, we show how to rationalize the experimental results in a comprehensive model that takes into account both the physics of the cantilever and the dynamics of the ATPase cycle of the enzyme, shedding light on the kinetics of the process. Finally, we study the effect of aclarubicin, an anticancer drug, demonstrating that it affects directly the Topo II molecule inhibiting its conformational changes. These results pave the way to a new way of studying the intrinsic dynamics of proteins and of protein complexes allowing new applications ranging from fundamental proteomics to drug discovery and development and possibly to clinical practice. © 2014 Alonso-Sarduy et al. Source

Arnal L.,National University of La Plata | Longo G.,Institute of Physics of Biological Systems | Stupar P.,Institute of Physics of Biological Systems | Castez M.F.,National University of La Plata | And 5 more authors.

Bacterial adhesion is the first and a significant step in establishing infection. This adhesion normally occurs in the presence of flow of fluids. Therefore, bacterial adhesins must be able to provide high strength interactions with their target surface in order to maintain the adhered bacteria under hydromechanical stressing conditions. In the case of B. pertussis, a Gram-negative bacterium responsible for pertussis, a highly contagious human respiratory tract infection, an important protein participating in the adhesion process is a 220 kDa adhesin named filamentous haemagglutinin (FHA), an outer membrane and also secreted protein that contains recognition domains to adhere to ciliated respiratory epithelial cells and macrophages. In this work, we obtained information on the cell-surface localization and distribution of the B. pertussis adhesin FHA using an antibody-functionalized AFM tip. Through the analysis of specific molecular recognition events we built a map of the spatial distribution of the adhesin which revealed a non-homogeneous pattern. Moreover, our experiments showed a force induced reorganization of the adhesin on the surface of the cells, which could explain a reinforced adhesive response under external forces. This single-molecule information contributes to the understanding of basic molecular mechanisms used by bacterial pathogens to cause infectious disease and to gain insights into the structural features by which adhesins can act as force sensors under mechanical shear conditions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015. Source

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