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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (13)
- The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B
- Journal of the American Chemical Society
- IUBMB Life
- The Journal of Chemical Physics
- The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B
- Methods (San Diego, Calif.)
- Biophysical Journal
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
- BMC Cancer
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Articles by Wenfei Li in JoVE
Elektrisk felt-styret Instrueret Migration af neurale stamceller i 2D-og 3D-miljøer
Xiaoting Meng*1, Wenfei Li*2,3, Fraser Young1, Runchi Gao3, Laura Chalmers3, Min Zhao3, Bing Song1
1School of Dentistry, Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering & Repair, Cardiff University, 2Shandong Qianfoshan Hospital, Shandong University School of Medicine, 3Dermatology and Ophthalmology Research, Institute for Regenerative Cures, University of California at Davis
Denne protokol viser metoder, der anvendes til at etablere 2D-og 3D-miljøer i specialdesignede electrotactic kamre, som kan spore celler
Other articles by Wenfei Li on PubMed
Understanding the Folding and Stability of a Zinc Finger-based Full Sequence Design Protein with Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Proteins. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17285627
Full sequence design protein FSD-1 is a designed protein based on the motif of zinc finger protein. In this work, its folding mechanism and thermal stability are investigated using the replica exchange molecular dynamics model with the water molecules being treated explicitly. The results show that the folding of the FSD-1 is initiated by the hydrophobic collapse, which is accompanied with the formation of the C-terminal alpha-helix. Then the folding proceeds with the formation of the beta-hairpin and the further package of the hydrophobic core. Compared with the beta-hairpin, the alpha-helix has much higher stability. It is also found that the N-capping motif adopted by the FSD-1 contributes to the stability of the alpha-helix dramatically. The hydrophobic contacts made by the side chain of Tyr3 in the native state are essential for the stabilization of the beta-hairpin. It is also found that the folding of the N-terminal beta-hairpin and the C-terminal alpha-helix exhibits weak cooperativity, which is consistent with the experimental data. Meanwhile, the folding pathway is compared between the FSD-1 and the target zinc finger peptide, and the possible role of the zinc ion on the folding pathway of zinc finger is proposed. Proteins 2007. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Effects of Zinc Binding on the Conformational Distribution of the Amyloid-beta Peptide Based on Molecular Dynamics Simulations
The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B. Dec, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18001084
A number of experiments suggested that metal binding can promote the aggregation of the amyloid-beta peptide. In this work, the effects of the zinc binding on the conformational distributions of the full length amyloid-beta peptide are investigated on the basis of extensive molecular dynamics simulations. By comparing the conformational distributions of the apo-peptide and the holo-peptide, we show that the zinc binding can affect the conformational distribution of the amyloid-beta monomer dramatically. Compared with the apo-peptide, the holo-peptide samples more beta-strand conformation for the central hydrophobic cluster 17-21. Meanwhile, the formation probabilities of the salt bridge Asp23-Lys28 and the turn comprising 23-28 are also increased significantly at room temperature. Since these local structures are essential for the amyloid-beta aggregation, the observed effects of the zinc binding indicate that the metal induced conformational change of the monomer is one of the possible mechanisms for the metal promoted aggregation of the amyloid-beta peptide.
Journal of the American Chemical Society. Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18163620
Zinc-fingers, which widely exist in eukaryotic cell and play crucial roles in life processes, depend on the binding of zinc ion for their proper folding. To computationally study the zinc-coupled folding of the zinc-fingers, charge transfer and metal induced protonation/deprotonation effects have to be considered. Here, by attempting to implicitly account for such effects in classical molecular dynamics and performing intensive simulations with explicit solvent for the peptides with and without zinc binding, we investigate the folding of the Cys2His2-type zinc-finger motif and the coupling between the peptide folding and zinc binding. We find that zinc ion not only stabilizes the native structure but also participates in the whole folding process. It binds to the peptide at an early stage of folding and directs or modulates the folding and stabilizations of the component beta-hairpin and alpha-helix. Such a crucial role of zinc binding is mediated by the packing of the conserved hydrophobic residues. We also find that the packing of the hydrophobic residues and the coordination of the native ligands are coupled. Meanwhile, the processes of zinc binding, mis-ligation, ligand exchange, and zinc induced secondary structure conversion as well as the water behavior due to the involvement of zinc ion are characterized. Our results are in good agreement with related experimental observations and provide significant insight into the general mechanisms of the metal cofactor dependent protein folding and other metal-induced conformational changes of biological importance.
Proteins. Aug, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18320591
Downhill folding is one of the most important predictions of energy landscape theory. Recently, the Escherichia coli 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase PSBD was described as a first example of global downhill folding (Garcia-Mira et al., Science 2002;298:2191), classification that has been later subject of significant controversy. To help resolve this problem, by using intensive all-atom simulation with explicit water model and the replica exchange method, we sample the phase space of protein BBL and depict the free energy landscape. We give an estimate of the free energy barrier height of 1-2 k(B)T, dependent on the way the energy landscape is projected. We also study the conformational distribution of the transition region and find that the three helices generally take the similar positions as that in the native states whereas their spatial orientations show large variability. We further detect the inconsistency between different signals by individually fitting the thermal denaturation curves of five structural features using two-state model, which gives a wide spread melting temperature of 19 K. All of these features are consistent with a picture of folding with very low cooperativities. Compared with the experimental data (Sadqi et al., Nature 2006; 442:317), our results indicate that the Naf-BBL (pH5.3) may have an even lower barrier height and cooperativity.
IUBMB Life. Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19472192
Protein folding is an important and challenging problem in molecular biology. During the last two decades, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation has proved to be a paramount tool and was widely used to study protein structures, folding kinetics and thermodynamics, and structure-stability-function relationship. It was also used to help engineering and designing new proteins, and to answer even more general questions such as the minimal number of amino acid or the evolution principle of protein families. Nowadays, the MD simulation is still undergoing rapid developments. The first trend is to toward developing new coarse-grained models and studying larger and more complex molecular systems such as protein-protein complex and their assembling process, amyloid related aggregations, and structure and motion of chaperons, motors, channels and virus capsides; the second trend is toward building high resolution models and explore more detailed and accurate pictures of protein folding and the associated processes, such as the coordination bond or disulfide bond involved folding, the polarization, charge transfer and protonate/deprotonate process involved in metal coupled folding, and the ion permeation and its coupling with the kinetics of channels. On these new territories, MD simulations have given many promising results and will continue to offer exciting views. Here, we review several new subjects investigated by using MD simulations as well as the corresponding developments of appropriate protein models. These include but are not limited to the attempt to go beyond the topology based Gō-like model and characterize the energetic factors in protein structures and dynamics, the study of the thermodynamics and kinetics of disulfide bond involved protein folding, the modeling of the interactions between chaperonin and the encapsulated protein and the protein folding under this circumstance, the effort to clarify the important yet still elusive folding mechanism of protein BBL, the development of discrete MD and its application in studying the alpha-beta conformational conversion and oligomer assembling process, and the modeling of metal ion involved protein folding.
The Journal of Chemical Physics. Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19508057
Biomolecular systems are inherently hierarchic and many simulation methods that try to integrate atomistic and coarse-grained (CG) models have been proposed, which are called multiscale simulations. Here, we propose a new multiscale molecular dynamics simulation method which can achieve high accuracy and high sampling efficiency simultaneously without aforehand knowledge on the CG potential and test it for a biomolecular system. In our method, a self-learning strategy is introduced to progressively improve the CG potential by an iterative way. (1) A CG model, coupled with the atomistic model, is used for obtaining CG structural ensemble, (2) which is mapped to the atomistic models. (3) The resulting atomistic ensemble is used for deriving the next-generation CG model. Two tests show that this method can rapidly improve the CG potential and achieve efficient sampling even starting from an unrealistic CG potential. The resulting free energy agreed well with the exact result and the convergence by the method was much faster than that by the replica exchange method. The method is generic and can be applied to many biological as well as nonbiological problems.
A Simple and Effective Approach Towards Biomimetic Replication of Photonic Structures from Butterfly Wings
Nanotechnology. Aug, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19597248
A general sonochemical process is reported for the replication of photonic structures from Morpho butterfly wings in several hours. By selecting appropriate precursors, we can achieve exact replications of photonic structures in a variety of transparent metal oxides, such as titania, tin oxide and silica. The exact replications at the micro- and nanoscales were characterized by a combination of FE-SEM, TEM, EDX and Raman measurements. The optical properties of the replicas were investigated by using reflectance spectroscopy, and it was found that the interesting chromaticity of the reflected light could be adjusted simply by tuning the replica materials. An ultrasensitive SnO(2)-based chemical sensor was prepared from the SnO(2) replica. The sensor has a sensitivity of 35.3-50 ppm ethanol at 300 degrees C, accompanied by a rapid response and recovery (around 8-15 s), owing to its large surface area and photonic structure. Thus, this process could be developed to produce photonic structural ceramics which could be used in many passive and active infrared devices, especially high performance optical components and sensors.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B. May, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20392088
The folding of a small RNA tetraloop hairpin is studied based on intensive molecular dynamics simulation, aiming to understand the folding mechanism of this small and fast RNA folder. Our results showed that this RNA hairpin has very complicated folding behavior in spite of its small size. It is found that the folding transition has low cooperativity. Instead of a two-state folding, four major states are observed, including the native state, the intermediate, the unfolded state, and the misfolded state. The misfolded state is mainly stabilized by the non-native hydrogen bonds, and is more compact. Two potential folding pathways, in which two basepairs formed with different order, are observed, and the pathway with the inboard basepair formed before the terminal one is much more favorable, and dominates the folding of the RNA hairpin.
Methods (San Diego, Calif.). Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20434561
Inherently hierarchic nature of proteins makes multiscale computational methods especially useful in the studies of folding and other functional dynamics. With the multiscale strategies, one can achieve improved accuracy and efficiency by coupling the atomistic and the coarse grained simulations. Depending on the problems studied, very different implementation protocols can be used to realize the multiscale idea. Here, we give detailed introductions to the currently used multiscale protocols, together with some recent applications to the protein folding simulations in our group. The advantages and weakness, as well as the application scopes of these multiscale protocols are discussed. The directions for the future developments are also proposed.
Characterizing Protein Energy Landscape by Self-learning Multiscale Simulations: Application to a Designed β-hairpin
Biophysical Journal. Nov, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21044601
Characterizing the energy landscape of proteins at atomic resolution is still a very challenging problem, since it simultaneously requires high accuracy in estimating specific interactions and high efficiency in conformational sampling. Here, for these two requirements to meet, we extended the self-learning multiscale simulation (SLMS) method developed recently and applied it to the designed β-hairpin CLN025. The SLMS integrates all-atom and coarse-grained (CG) models in an iterative way such that the conformational sampling is performed by the CG model, the AA energy is used to calibrate the energy landscape, and the CG model is improved by the calibrated energy landscape. We extended the SLMS in two aspects, use of the energy decomposition for self-learning of the CG potential and a two-bead/residue CG model. The results show that the self-learning greatly improved the CG potential, and with the derived CG potential, the β-hairpin CLN025 robustly folded to the native structure. The self-learning iteration progressively enhanced the context dependence in the CG potential and increased the energy gap between the native and the denatured states of the CG model, leading to a funnel-like energy landscape. By using the SLMS method, without prior knowledge of the native structure but with the help of the AA energy, we can obtain a tailor-made CG potential specific to the target protein. The method can be useful for de novo structure prediction as well.
Frustration, Specific Sequence Dependence, and Nonlinearity in Large-amplitude Fluctuations of Allosteric Proteins
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Mar, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21307307
Proteins have often evolved sequences so as to acquire the ability for regulation via allosteric conformational change. Here we investigate how allosteric dynamics is designed through sequences with nonlinear interaction features. First, for 71 allosteric proteins of which two, open and closed, structures are available, a statistical survey of interactions using an all-atom model with effective solvation shows that those residue contact interactions specific to one of the two states are significantly weaker than are the contact interactions shared by the two states. This interaction feature indicates there is underlying sequence design to facilitate conformational change. Second, based on the energy landscape theory, we implement these interaction features into a new atomic-interaction-based coarse-grained model via a multiscale simulation protocol (AICG). The AICG model outperforms standard coarse-grained models for predictions of the native-state mean fluctuations and of the conformational change direction. Third, using the new model for adenylate kinase, we show that intrinsic fluctuations in one state contain rare and large-amplitude motions nearly reaching the other state. Such large-amplitude motions are realized partly by sequence specificity and partly by the nonlinear nature of contact interactions, leading to cracking. Both features enhance conformational transition rates.
Physical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22181201
We investigated the effects of solvents on the intrinsic propensity of peptide backbone conformations based on molecular dynamics simulations. The results show that compared with pure water, aqueous urea decreases the helix propensity. In comparison, methanol decreases the polyproline II (PPII) propensity. Such a solvent dependence of the intrinsic propensity of the backbone conformation is correlated with the solvent dependence of the hydration of the backbone groups and the formation probability of the local intrapeptide hydrogen bonds. Aqueous urea which has low ability to stabilize the local intrapeptide hydrogen bonds disfavors the helical conformation. Whereas, methanol which has low ability to hydrate the backbone groups disfavors the polyproline II conformation. In addition, the solvent effects can be further modulated by the side chains of the peptides. The solvent effects of the intrinsic propensity of peptide backbone conformations observed in this work suggest that changing the intrinsic propensity of the protein backbone conformations can partly contribute to the solvent-induced protein structure and dynamics variations. These results will be useful in understanding the solvent dependence of the conformational distributions of the unfolded proteins or peptides (or intrinsically disordered proteins) in which the global tertiary interactions are less important than that in the well-folded proteins.
Promising Treatment Outcomes of Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients with N0 Disease According to the Seventh Edition of the AJCC Staging System
BMC Cancer. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22336097
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) provides excellent locoregional control for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), and has gradually replaced two-dimensional conventional radiotherapy as the first-line radiotherapy technique. Furthermore, in the new seventh edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system, retropharyngeal lymph nodes were upgraded from N0 to N1 disease as a result of their negative impact on the distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) rates of NPC. This retrospective study was conducted in order to review the treatment outcomes and patterns of failure in NPC patients with N0 disease after IMRT in order to effectively guide treatment in the future. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed data from 506 biopsy-proven nonmetastatic NPC patients. There were 191 patients with negative cervical lymph node involvement. According to the seventh edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system, 110 patients (21.7%) were staged with N0 disease, and 81 patients (16.0%) were reclassified with N1 disease due to the presence of RLN metastasis. All patients received IMRT as the primary treatment. RESULTS: In patients with negative cervical lymph node involvement, distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) was significantly higher in patients without retropharyngeal lymph node (RLN) metastasis than those with RLN metastasis (95.9% vs. 88.1% respectively, P = 0.04). For N0 disease, the 5-year overall survival (OS), local relapse-free survival (LRFS), nodal relapse-free survival (NRFS) and DMFS rates were 93.8%, 97.1%, 99.1% and 95.9%, respectively. For T1N0, T2N0, T3N0 and T4N0, OS was 97.8%, 100%, 93.8% and 76.9%, LRFS was 100%, 92.9%, 100% and 88.9% and DMFS was 96.6%, 90.9%, 100% and 93.3%, respectively. OS and LRFS were higher in T1-3 N0 patients than T4N0 patients (P < 0.01 and P = 0.01, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The seventh edition of the AJCC N-staging system improves prognostic accuracy by upgrading RLN metastasis to N1 disease. IMRT produces excellent survival rates in T1-3 N0 disease; however, T4N0 disease remains a challenge and additional improvements are required to achieve a favorable prognosis for these NPC patients.