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Several DNA-binding proteins, such as topoisomerases, helicases and sliding clamps, have a toroidal (i.e. ring) shape that topologically traps DNA, with this quality being essential to their function. Many DNA-binding proteins that function, for example, as transcription factors or enzymes were shown to be able to diffuse linearly (i.e. slide) along DNA during the search for their target binding sites. The protein's sliding properties and ability to search DNA, which often also involves hopping and dissociation, are expected to be different when it encircles the DNA. In this study, we explored the linear diffusion of four ring-shaped proteins of very similar structure: three sliding clamps (PCNA, β-clamp, and the gp45) and the 9-1-1 protein, with a particular focus on PCNA. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations were performed to decipher the sliding mechanism adopted by these ring-shaped proteins and to determine how the molecular properties of the inner and outer ring govern its search speed. We designed in silico variants to dissect the contributions of ring geometry and electrostatics to the sliding speed of ring-shaped proteins along DNA. We found that the toroidal proteins diffuse when they are tilted relative to the DNA axis and able to rotate during translocation, but that coupling between rotation and translocation is quite weak. Their diffusion speed is affected by the shape of the inner ring and, to a lesser extent, by its electrostatic properties. However, breaking the symmetry of the electrostatic potential can result in deviation of the DNA from the center of the ring and cause slower linear diffusion. The findings are discussed in light of earlier computational and experimental studies on the sliding of clamps.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Nucleic acids research
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The passive movement of molecules exceeding the rate expected by simple diffusion. No energy is expended in the process. It is achieved by the introduction of passively diffusing molecules to an enviroment or path that is more favorable to the movement of those molecules. Examples of facilitated diffusion are passive transport of hydrophilic substances across a lipid membrane through hydrophilic pores that traverse the membrane, and the sliding of a DNA BINDING PROTEIN along a strand of DNA.
A diagnostic technique that incorporates the measurement of molecular diffusion (such as water or metabolites) for tissue assessment by MRI. The degree of molecular movement can be measured by changes of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) with time, as reflected by tissue microstructure. Diffusion MRI has been used to study BRAIN ISCHEMIA and tumor response to treatment.
The use of diffusion ANISOTROPY data from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging results to construct images based on the direction of the faster diffusing molecules.
A method used to study the lateral movement of MEMBRANE PROTEINS and LIPIDS. A small area of a cell membrane is bleached by laser light and the amount of time necessary for unbleached fluorescent marker-tagged proteins to diffuse back into the bleached site is a measurement of the cell membrane's fluidity. The diffusion coefficient of a protein or lipid in the membrane can be calculated from the data. (From Segen, Current Med Talk, 1995).
The tendency of a gas or solute to pass from a point of higher pressure or concentration to a point of lower pressure or concentration and to distribute itself throughout the available space. Diffusion, especially FACILITATED DIFFUSION, is a major mechanism of BIOLOGICAL TRANSPORT.
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