Color coding molecular mirror images

Enantiomers are molecules that are each other’s mirror image—like one’s left and right hand. They are said to be chiral, chirality being the term for ‘displaying handedness.” Although a pair of enantiomers have totally the same chemical and physical properties, they often exhibit different physiological activity towards biological molecules. Being able to distinguish between enantiomers and detect chirality is important for pharmaceutical purposes—often, only one of … Continue reading Color coding molecular mirror images

A scalable workflow to characterize the human exposome

Complementing the genome with an understanding of the human exposome is an important challenge for contemporary science and technology. Tens of thousands of chemicals are used in commerce, yet cost for targeted environmental chemical analysis limits surveillance to a few hundred known hazards. To overcome limitations which prevent scaling to thousands of chemicals, we develop a single-step express liquid extraction and gas chromatography high-resolution mass … Continue reading A scalable workflow to characterize the human exposome

Liquid condensation of reprogramming factor KLF4 with DNA

FIG: KLF4 forms a condensed liquid phase in HEK 293T cells and BJ fibroblasts Expression of a few master transcription factors can reprogram the epigenetic landscape and three-dimensional chromatin topology of differentiated cells and achieve pluripotency. During reprogramming, thousands of long-range chromatin contacts are altered, and changes in promoter association with enhancers dramatically influence transcription. Molecular participants at these sites have been identified, but how this … Continue reading Liquid condensation of reprogramming factor KLF4 with DNA

Epistasis shapes the fitness landscape of an allosteric specificity switch

Epistasis is a major determinant in the emergence of novel protein function. In allosteric proteins, direct interactions between inducer-binding mutations propagate through the allosteric network, manifesting as epistasis at the level of biological function. Elucidating this relationship between local interactions and their global effects is essential to understanding evolution of allosteric proteins. We integrate computational design, structural and biophysical analysis to characterize the emergence of … Continue reading Epistasis shapes the fitness landscape of an allosteric specificity switch

Using radicalized NOₓ derivatives supported on metal oxides

NOX (X=1 or 2) emitted from stationery/mobile sources are conventionally deemed as notorious, anthropogenic precursors of ultrafine particulate matters (PM2.5) because NOX can undergo a series of SO2-assisted photochemical transformative stages to finally evolve PM2.5 functioning as an air pollutant. Recently, a research group in South Korea rectifies the general notion of NOX (vide supra) by proposing an interesting means to exploit NOX in creative fashion. Aqueous recalcitrant compounds … Continue reading Using radicalized NOₓ derivatives supported on metal oxides

EndoBind detects endogenous protein-protein interactions in real time

Fig: Real-time detection of protein interactions in cells on the example of the Nrf2-Keap1 interaction Cell signaling is a highly flexible and transient process that relies on a careful balance between inhibitory and activating signals mediated by protein–protein interactions. A variety of methods for monitoring cellular protein–protein interactions have been described that suffer enormous limitations to capture those highly dynamic signaling events in cells. (i) … Continue reading EndoBind detects endogenous protein-protein interactions in real time

Fatal attraction of Caenorhabditis elegans to predatory fungi

Salicylic acid is a phenolic phytohormone which controls plant growth and development. A methyl ester (MSA) derivative thereof is volatile and involved in plant-insect or plant-plant communication. Here we show that the nematode-trapping fungus Duddingtonia flagrans uses a methyl-salicylic acid isomer, 6-MSA as morphogen for spatiotemporal control of trap formation and as chemoattractant to lure Caenorhabditis elegans into fungal colonies. 6-MSA is the product of a polyketide synthase and … Continue reading Fatal attraction of Caenorhabditis elegans to predatory fungi

The pathway for producing ethylene

Ethylene is so important in the manufacturing industry for making plastics, solvents and textiles, it is one of the most abundantly produced compounds on Earth. Currently, petroleum is our main source of ethylene for these uses. However, plants and some microbes produce ethylene naturally. Understanding the step-by-step chemical process used by these plants and microbes could help us move away from petroleum-based ethylene production. The aptly named … Continue reading The pathway for producing ethylene

Phosphopantetheinyl transferase binding and inhibition by amidino-urea

Owing to their role in activating enzymes essential for bacterial viability and pathogenicity, phosphopantetheinyl transferases represent novel and attractive drug targets. In this work, we examined the inhibitory effect of the aminido-urea 8918 compound against the phosphopantetheinyl transferases PptAb from Mycobacterium abscessus and PcpS fromPseudomonas aeruginosa, two pathogenic bacteria associated with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis, respectively. Compound 8918 exhibits inhibitory activity against PptAb but displays no activity against … Continue reading Phosphopantetheinyl transferase binding and inhibition by amidino-urea

The making of a potent L-lactate transport inhibitor

L-lactate is an important metabolite, energy source, and signaling molecule in health and disease. In mammals, its transport across biological membranes is mediated by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) of the solute carrier 16 (SLC16) family. Malfunction, overexpression or absence of transporters of this family are associated with diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, lactate acts as a signaling molecule and virulence factor in … Continue reading The making of a potent L-lactate transport inhibitor