Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help you find the papers being discussed in your field. Currently indexing 57,441 bioRxiv papers from 264,501 authors.
Most downloaded bioRxiv papers, since beginning of last month
in category biophysics
2,376 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.
2,182 downloads biophysics
Photobleaching limits extended imaging of fluorescent biological samples. Here, we developed DNA origami-based Fluorocubes that are similar in size to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), have single-point attachment to proteins, have a 50-fold higher photobleaching lifetime and emit 40-fold more photons than single organic dyes. We demonstrate that DNA Fluorocubes provide outstanding tools for single-molecule imaging, allowing the tracking of single motor proteins for >800 steps with nanometer precision.
1,181 downloads biophysics
HIV-1 Gag protein self-assembles at the plasma membrane of infected cells for viral particle formation. Gag targets lipids, mainly the phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphate, at the inner leaflet of this membrane. Here, we address the question whether Gag is able to trap specifically PI(4,5)P2 or other lipids during HIV-1 assembly in the host CD4+ T lymphocytes. Lipid dynamics within and away from HIV-1 assembly sites was determined using super-resolution STED microscopy coupled with scanning Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy in living T cells. Analysis of HIV-1 infected cells revealed that, upon assembly, HIV-1 is able to specifically trap PI(4,5)P2, and cholesterol, but not phosphatidylethanolamine or sphingomyelin. Furthermore, our data show that Gag is the main driving force to restrict PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol mobility at the cell plasma membrane. This is first direct evidence showing that HIV-1 creates its own specific lipid environment by selectively recruiting PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol, as a membrane nano-platform for virus assembly.
906 downloads biophysics
Single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) promises to provide truly molecular scale images of biological specimens. However, mechanical instabilities in the instrument, readout errors and sample drift constitute significant challenges and severely limit both the useable data acquisition length and the localization accuracy of single molecule emitters. Here, we developed an actively stabilized total internal fluorescence (TIRF) microscope that performs 3D real-time drift corrections and achieves a stability of ≤1 nm. Self-alignment of the emission light path and corrections of readout errors of the camera automate channel alignment and ensure localization precisions of 1-4 nm in DNA origami structures and cells for different labels. We used Feedback SMLM to measure the separation distance of signaling receptors and phosphatases in T cells. Thus, an improved SMLM enables direct distance measurements between molecules in intact cells on the scale between 1-20 nm, potentially replacing Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) to quantify molecular interactions. In summary, by overcoming the major bottlenecks in SMLM imaging, it is possible to generate molecular images with nanometer accuracy and conduct distance measurements on the biological relevant length scales.
893 downloads biophysics
Bacteria have evolved adaptive immune systems encoded by Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and the CRISPR-associated (Cas) genes to maintain genomic integrity in the face of relentless assault from pathogens and mobile genetic elements. Type I CRISPR-Cas systems canonically target foreign DNA for degradation via the joint action of the ribonucleoprotein complex Cascade and the helicase-nuclease Cas3, but nuclease-deficient Type I systems lacking Cas3 have been repurposed for RNA-guided transposition by bacterial Tn7-like transposons. How CRISPR -and transposon-associated machineries collaborate during DNA targeting and insertion has remained elusive. Here we determined structures of a novel TniQ-Cascade complex encoded by the Vibrio cholerae Tn6677 transposon using single particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM), revealing the mechanistic basis of this functional coupling. The quality of the cryo-EM maps allowed for de novo modeling and refinement of the transposition protein TniQ, which binds to the Cascade complex as a dimer in a head-to-tail configuration, at the interface formed by Cas6 and Cas7 near the 3' end of the crRNA. The natural Cas8-Cas5 fusion protein binds the 5' crRNA handle and contacts the TniQ dimer via a flexible insertion domain. A target DNA-bound structure reveals critical interactions necessary for protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) recognition and R-loop formation. The present work lays the foundation for a structural understanding of how DNA targeting by TniQ-Cascade leads to downstream recruitment of additional transposon-associated proteins, and will guide protein engineering efforts to leverage this system for programmable DNA insertions in genome engineering applications.
718 downloads biophysics
Here, we describe the third major release of RELION. CPU-based vector acceleration has been added in addition to GPU support, which provides flexibility in use of resources and avoids memory limitations. Reference-free autopicking with Laplacian-of-Gaussian filtering and execution of jobs from python allows non-interactive processing during acquisition, including 2D-classification, de novo model generation and 3D-classification. Per-particle refinement of CTF parameters and correction of estimated beam tilt provides higher-resolution reconstructions when particles are at different heights in the ice, and/or coma-free alignment has not been optimal. Ewald sphere curvature correction improves resolution for large particles. We illustrate these developments with publicly available data sets: together with a Bayesian approach to beam-induced motion correction it leads to resolution improvements of 0.2-0.7 Å compared to previous RELION versions.
587 downloads biophysics
Alan M. Szalai, Bruno Siarry, Jeronimo Lukin, David J Williamson, Nicolas Unsain, Raquel Becerra, Damian Refojo, Alfredo Caceres, Mauricio Pilo-Pais, Guillermo Acuna, Dylan M Owen, Sabrina Simoncelli, Fernando D. Stefani
Here, we present a single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) analysis method that delivers sub-10 nm z-resolution when combined with 2D total internal reflection (TIR) fluorescence imaging via DNA point accumulation for imaging nanoscale topography (DNA-PAINT). Axial resolution is obtained from a precise measurement of the emission intensity of single molecules under evanescent field excitation. This method can be implemented on any conventional TIR wide-field microscope without modifications. We validate this approach by resolving the periodicity of alpha-tubulin assembly in microtubules, demonstrating isotropic resolution below 8 nm.
475 downloads biophysics
We investigate the influence of different accuracy-detection rate trade-offs on image reconstruction in single molecule localization microscopy. Our main focus is the investigation of image artifacts experienced when using low localization accuracy, especially in the presence of sample drift and inhomogeneous background. In this context we present a newly developed SMLM software termed FIRESTORM which is optimized for high accuracy reconstruction. For our analysis we used in silico SMLM data and compared the reconstructed images to the ground truth data. We observe two discriminable reconstruction populations of which only one shows the desired localization behavior.
449 downloads biophysics
High resolution fluorescence microscopy is a key tool in the elucidation of biological fine-structure, providing insights into the distribution and interactions of biomolecular systems down to the nanometer scale. Expansion microscopy is a recently developed approach to achieving nanoscale resolution in optical imaging. In the experiment, biological samples are embedded in a hydrogel, which is isotropicaly swollen. This physically pulls labels apart, allowing more of them to be resolved. However, in the gelation and swelling process, two factors combine to reduce the signal in the final image; signal dilution and the polymerization reaction, which can damage some fluorophores. Here, we show a chemical linking approach that allows covalent grafting of biomolecular target and reporter in expansion microscopy. Through the combination of a targeting ligand, a reporter moiety and a polymerizable group in a single linker, complex constructs can be prepared in a single, labelling step. We show application of this new series of molecules in the targeting of the cell cytoskeleton, a first example of lipid membranes in expansion microscopy; direct immunostaining with primary and secondary antibodies, and direct grafting of ISH probes and signal amplification initiators (HCR and RollFISH). Our probes allow direct, multiplexed targeting of the cellular blueprint and enable a range of novel imaging approaches in combination with expansion microscopy.
433 downloads biophysics
The discovery and design of biologically important RNA molecules is dramatically outpacing three-dimensional structural characterization. To address this challenge, we present Ribosolve, a hybrid method integrating moderate-resolution cryo-EM maps, chemical mapping, and Rosetta computational modeling, and demonstrate its application to thirteen previously unknown 119- to 338-nucleotide protein-free RNA-only structures: full-length Tetrahymena ribozyme, hc16 ligase with and without substrate, full-length V. cholerae and F. nucleatum glycine riboswitch aptamers with and without glycine, Mycobacterium SAM-IV riboswitch with and without S-adenosylmethionine, and computer-designed spinach-TTR-3, eterna3D-JR_1, and ATP-TTR-3 with and without AMP. Blind challenges, prospective compensatory mutagenesis, internal controls, and simulation benchmarks validate the Ribosolve models and establish that modeling convergence is quantitatively predictive of model accuracy. These results demonstrate that RNA-only 3D structure determination can be rapid and routine.
418 downloads biophysics
Mrinal Shekhar, Genki Terashi, Chitrak Gupta, Gaspard Debussche, Nicholas Sisco, Jonathan Nguyen, James Zook, John Vant, Daipayan Sarkar, Petra Fromme, Wade D van Horn, Ken Dill, Daisuke Kihara, Emad Tajkhorshid, Alberto Perez, Abhishek Singharoy
Cryo-EM is a powerful method for determining biomolecular structures. But, unlike Xray crystallography or solution-state NMR, which are data-rich, cryo-EM can be data-poor. Cryo-EM routinely gives electron density information to about 3-5 Å and the resolution often varies across the structure. So, it has been challenging to develop an automated computer algorithm that converts the experimental density maps to complete molecular structures. We address this challenge with CryoFold, a computational method that finds the chain trace from the density maps using MAINMAST, then performs molecular dynamics simulations using ReMDFF, a resolution-exchange flexible fitting protocol, accelerated by MELD, which uses low-information data to broaden the relevant conformational searching of secondary and tertiary structures. We describe four successes of structure determinations, including for membrane proteins and large molecules. CryoFold handles input data that is heterogeneous, and even sparse. The software is automated, and is available to the public via a python-based graphical user interface.
412 downloads biophysics
Condensin, a key member of the Structure Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) protein complexes, has recently been shown to be a motor that extrudes loops of DNA. It remains unclear, however, how condensin complexes work together to collectively package DNA into the chromosomal architecture. Here, we use time-lapse single-molecule visualization to study mutual interactions between two DNA-loop-extruding yeast condensins. We find that these one-side-pulling motor proteins are able to dynamically change each other's DNA loop sizes, even when located large distances apart. When coming into close proximity upon forming a loop within a loop, condensin complexes are, surprisingly, able to traverse each other and form a new type of loop structure, which we term Z loop, three double-stranded DNA helices aligned in parallel with one condensin at each edge. These Z-loops can fill gaps left by single loops and can form symmetric dimer motors that reel in DNA from both sides. These new findings indicate that condensin may achieve chromosomal compaction using a variety of looping structures.
392 downloads biophysics
Transcription-factor (TF) proteins recognize specific genomic sequences, despite an overwhelming excess of non-specific DNA, to regulate complex gene expression programs. While there have been significant advances in understanding how DNA sequence and shape contribute to recognition, some fundamental aspects of protein-DNA binding remain poorly understood. Many DNA-binding proteins induce changes in the DNA structure outside the intrinsic B-DNA envelope. How the energetic cost associated with distorting DNA contributes to recognition has proven difficult to study and measure experimentally because the distorted DNA structures exist as low-abundance conformations in the naked B-DNA ensemble. Here, we use a novel high-throughput assay called SaMBA (Saturation Mismatch-Binding Assay) to investigate the role of DNA conformational penalties in TF-DNA recognition. The approach introduces mismatched base-pairs (i.e. mispairs) within TF binding sites to pre-induce a variety of DNA structural distortions much larger than those induced by changes in Watson-Crick sequence. Strikingly, while most mismatches either weakened TF binding (~70%) or had negligible effects (~20%), approximately 10% of mismatches increased binding and at least one mismatch was found that increased the binding affinity for each of 21 examined TFs. Mismatches also converted sites from the non-specific affinity range into specific sites, and high-affinity sites into 'super-sites' stronger than any known canonical binding site. These findings reveal a complex binding landscape that cannot be explained based on DNA sequence alone. Analysis of crystal structures together with NMR and molecular dynamics simulations revealed that many of the mismatches that increase binding induce distortions similar to those induced by TF binding, thus pre-paying some of the energetic cost to deform the DNA. Our work indicates that conformational penalties are a major determinant of protein-DNA recognition, and reveals mechanisms by which mismatches can recruit TFs and thus modulate replication and repair activities in the cell.
373 downloads biophysics
ClpXP is an ATP-dependent protease in which the ClpX AAA+ motor binds, unfolds, and translocates specific protein substrates into the degradation chamber of ClpP. We present cryo-EM studies that show how asymmetric hexameric rings of ClpX bind symmetric heptameric rings of ClpP and interact with protein substrates. Subunits in the ClpX hexamer assume a spiral conformation and interact with two-residue segments of substrate in the axial channel. Other AAA+ proteases and protein-remodeling machines have similar structures, and strictly sequential models of ATP hydrolysis and a power stroke that moves two residues of the substrate per translocation step have been inferred from these structural features. However, biochemical and single-molecule biophysical studies indicate that ClpXP operates by a probabilistic mechanism in which 5 to 8 residues are translocated for each ATP hydrolyzed. Thus, our results suggest that structurally similar AAA+ machines operate by a ClpX-like mechanism.
349 downloads biophysics
The plasma membrane of cells exhibits phase behavior that allows transient concentration of specific proteins and lipids, giving rise to functionally dynamic and diverse nanoscopic domains. This phase behavior is observable in giant plasma membrane-derived vesicles, in which microscopically visible, liquid-ordered (Lo) and liquid-disordered (Ld) lipid domains form upon a shift to low temperatures. The extent such phase behavior exists in the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of cells remains unclear. To explore the phase behavior of the ER membrane in cells, we used hypotonic cell swelling to generate Large Intra-Cellular Vesicles (LICVs) from the ER in cells. ER LICVs retained their lumenal protein content, could be retubulated into an ER network, and maintained stable inter-organelle contacts, where protein tethers are concentrated at these contacts. Notably, upon temperature reduction, ER LICVs underwent reversible phase separation into microscopically-visible Lo and Ld lipid domains. The Lo lipid domains marked ER contact sites with other organelles. These findings demonstrate that LICVs provide an important model system for studying the biophysical properties of intracellular organelles in cells.
348 downloads biophysics
Genomic DNA is highly compacted in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells as a nucleoprotein assembly called chromatin. The basic unit of chromatin is the nucleosome, where ~146 base pair increments of the genome are wrapped and compacted around the core histone proteins. Further genomic organization and compaction occur through higher order assembly of nucleosomes. This organization regulates many nuclear processes, and is controlled in part by histone post-transtranslational modifications and chromatin-binding proteins. Mechanisms that regulate the assembly and compaction of the genome remain unclear. Here we show that in the presence of physiologic concentrations of mono- and divalent salts, histone tail-driven interactions drive liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of nucleosome arrays, resulting in substantial condensation. Phase separation of nucleosomal arrays is inhibited by histone acetylation, whereas histone H1 promotes phase separation, further compaction, and decreased dynamics within droplets, mirroring the relationship between these modulators and the accessibility of the genome in cells. These results indicate that under physiologically relevant conditions, LLPS is an intrinsic behavior of the chromatin polymer, and suggest a model in which the condensed phase reflects a genomic 'ground state' that can produce chromatin organization and compaction in vivo. The dynamic nature of this state could enable known modulators of chromatin structure, such as post-translational modifications and chromatin binding proteins, to act upon it and consequently control nuclear processes such as transcription and DNA repair. Our data suggest an important role for LLPS of chromatin in the organization of the eukaryotic genome.
335 downloads biophysics
The acquisition of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) data from biological specimens is currently largely uncoupled from subsequent data evaluation, correction and processing. Therefore, the acquisition strategy is difficult to optimize during data collection, often leading to suboptimal microscope usage and disappointing results. Here we provide Warp, a software for real-time evaluation, correction, and processing of cryo-EM data during their acquisition. Warp evaluates and monitors key parameters for each recorded micrograph or tomographic tilt series in real time. Warp also rapidly corrects micrographs for global and local motion, and estimates the local defocus with the use of novel algorithms. The software further includes a deep learning-based particle picking algorithm that rivals human accuracy to make the pre-processing pipeline truly automated. The output from Warp can be directly fed into established tools for particle classification and 3D image reconstruction. In a benchmarking study we show that Warp automatically processed a published cryo-EM data set for influenza virus hemagglutinin, leading to an improvement of the nominal resolution from 3.9 Å to 3.2 Å. Warp is easy to install, computationally inexpensive, and has an intuitive and streamlined user interface.
326 downloads biophysics
Biomolecular simulations are intrinsically high dimensional and generate noisy datasets of ever-increasing size. Extracting important features in the data is crucial for understanding the biophysical properties of molecular processes, but remains a big challenge. Machine learning (ML) provides powerful dimensionality reduction tools. However, such methods are often criticized to resemble black boxes with limited human-interpretable insight. We use methods from supervised and unsupervised ML to efficiently create interpretable maps of important features from molecular simulations. We benchmark the performance of several methods including neural networks, random forests and principal component analysis, using a toy model with properties reminiscent of macromolecular behavior. We then analyze three diverse biological processes: conformational changes within the soluble protein calmodulin, ligand binding to a G protein-coupled receptor and activation of an ion channel voltage-sensor domain, unravelling features critical for signal transduction, ligand binding and voltage sensing. This work demonstrates the usefulness of ML in understanding biomolecular states and demystifying complex simulations.
320 downloads biophysics
Many bacteria express flexible protein filaments on their surface that enable a variety of important cellular functions. Type IV pili are examples of such filaments and are comprised of a helical assembly of repeating pilin subunits. Type IV pili are involved in motility (twitching), surface adhesion, biofilm formation and DNA uptake (natural transformation). They are therefore powerful structures that enable bacterial proliferation and genetic adaptation, potentially leading to the development of pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance. They are also targets for drug development. By a complement of experimental approaches, we show that the bacterium Thermus thermophilus produces two different forms of type IV pilus. We have determined the structures of both and built atomic models. The structures answer key unresolved questions regarding the molecular architecture of type IV pili and identify a new type of pilin. We also delineate the roles of the two filaments in promoting twitching and natural transformation.
318 downloads biophysics
Here we show that single particle charge-detection mass spectrometry (CD-MS) can be performed on a ubiquitous Orbitrap mass analyser and applied to the analysis of high-mass (megadalton) heterogeneous biomolecular assemblies. We demonstrate that single particle high-mass ions can survive in the Orbitrap for seconds, whereby their measured signal amplitudes scale linearly with charge state over the entire m/z range. Orbitrap based single particle CD-MS can be used to resolve mixed ion populations, accurately predict charge states, and consequently also the mass of the ions. We successfully applied CD-MS to challenging natural and biotherapeutic protein assemblies, such as IgM oligomers, designed protein nano-cages, ribosome particles and intact, empty- and genome-loaded Adeno-associated virus particles. Single particle CD-MS combined with native MS on existing Orbitrap platforms will greatly expand its application, especially in the mass analysis of megadalton heterogeneous biomolecular assemblies.
301 downloads biophysics
Cells maintain membrane fluidity by regulating lipid saturation, but the molecular mechanisms of this homeoviscous adaptation remain poorly understood. Here, we have reconstituted the core machinery for sensing and regulating lipid saturation in baker's yeast to directly characterize its response to defined membrane environments. Using spectroscopic techniques and in vitro ubiquitylation, we uncover a unique sensitivity of the transcriptional regulator Mga2 to the abundance, position, and configuration of double bonds in lipid acyl chains and provide unprecedented insight into the molecular rules of membrane adaptivity. Our data challenge the prevailing hypothesis that membrane viscosity serves as the measured variable for regulating lipid saturation. Rather, we show that the signaling output of Mga2 correlates with the size of a single sensor residue in the transmembrane helix, which senses the lateral pressure and/or compressibility profile in a defined region of the membrane. Our findings suggest that membrane property sensors have evolved remarkable sensitivities to highly specific aspects of membrane structure and dynamics, thus paving the way toward the development of genetically encoded reporters for such membrane properties in the future.
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