Small-angle neutron scattering and contrast variation: a powerful combination for studying biological structures
ABSTRACT The use of small-angle scattering (SAS) in the biological sciences continues to increase, driven as much by the need to study increasingly complex systems that are often resistant to crystallization or are too large for NMR as by the availability of user facilities and advancements in the modelling of biological structures from SAS data. SAS, whether with neutrons (SANS) or X-rays (SAXS), is a structural probe of length scales ranging from 10 to 10,000 Å. When applied to biological complexes in dilute solution, it provides size and shape information that can be used to produce structural models that can provide insight into function. SANS enables the use of contrast-variation methods through the unique interaction of neutrons with hydrogen and its isotope deuterium. SANS with contrast variation enables the visualization of components within multisubunit complexes, making it a powerful tool for probing protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid complexes, as well as the interaction of proteins with lipids and detergents.
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ABSTRACT: Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) is a powerful tool for characterizing complex disordered materials, including biological materials. The Bio-SANS instrument of the High Flux Isotope Reactor of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a high-flux low-background SANS instrument that is, uniquely among SANS instruments, dedicated to serving the needs of the structural biology and biomaterials communities as an open-access user facility. Here, the technical specifications and performance of the Bio-SANS are presented. Sample environments developed to address the needs of the user program of the instrument are also presented. Further, the isotopic labeling and sample preparation capabilities available in the Bio-Deuteration Laboratory for users of the Bio-SANS and other neutron scattering instruments at ORNL are described. Finally, a brief survey of research performed using the Bio-SANS is presented, which demonstrates the breadth of the research that the instrument's user community engages in.Journal of Applied Crystallography 08/2014; 47(4). DOI:10.1107/S1600576714011285 · 3.95 Impact Factor
Article: Alphavirus Entry into Host Cells.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Viruses have evolved to exploit the vast complexity of cellular processes for their success within the host cell. The entry mechanisms of enveloped viruses (viruses with a surrounding outer lipid bilayer membrane) are usually classified as being either endocytotic or fusogenic. Different mechanisms have been proposed for Alphavirus entry and genome delivery. Indirect observations led to a general belief that enveloped viruses can infect cells either by protein-assisted fusion with the plasma membrane in a pH-independent manner or by endocytosis and fusion with the endocytic vacuole in a low-pH environment. The mechanism of Alphavirus penetration has been recently revisited using direct observation of the processes by electron microscopy under conditions of different temperatures and time progression. Under conditions nonpermissive for endocytosis or any vesicular transport, events occur which allow the entry of the virus genome into the cells. When drug inhibitors of cellular functions are used to prevent entry, only ionophores are found to significantly inhibit RNA delivery. Arboviruses are agents of significant human and animal disease; therefore, strategies to control infections are needed and include development of compounds which will block critical steps in the early infection events. It appears that current evidence points to an entry mechanism, in which alphaviruses infect cells by direct penetration of cell plasma membranes through a pore structure formed by virus and, possibly, host proteins. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Progress in molecular biology and translational science 129C:33-62. DOI:10.1016/bs.pmbts.2014.10.002 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Arthropod borne viruses have developed a complex life cycle adapted to alternate between insect and vertebrate hosts. These arthropod-borne viruses belong mainly to the families Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, and Bunyaviridae. This group of viruses contains many pathogens that cause febrile, hemorrhagic, and encephalitic disease or arthritic symptoms which can be persistent. It has been appreciated for many years that these viruses were evolutionarily adapted to function in the highly divergent cellular environments of both insect and mammalian phyla. These viruses are hybrid in nature, containing viral-encoded RNA and proteins which are glycosylated by the host and encapsulate viral nucleocapsids in the context of a host-derived membrane. From a structural perspective, these virus particles are macromolecular machines adapted in design to assemble into a packaging and delivery system for the virus genome and, only when associated with the conditions appropriate for a productive infection, to disassemble and deliver the RNA cargo. It was initially assumed that the structures of the virus from both hosts were equivalent. New evidence that alphaviruses and flaviviruses can exist in more than one conformation postenvelopment will be discussed in this review. The data are limited but should refocus the field of structural biology on the metastable nature of these viruses.Advances in Virology 01/2014; 2014:259382. DOI:10.1155/2014/259382