Wonpil Im

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States

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Publications (130)521.72 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: CHARMM-GUI Membrane Builder, http://www.charmm-gui.org/input/membrane, is a web-based user interface designed to interactively build all-atom protein/membrane or membrane-only systems for molecular dynamics simulations through an automated optimized process. In this work, we describe the new features and major improvements in Membrane Builder that allow users to robustly build realistic biological membrane systems, including (1) addition of new lipid types, such as phosphoinositides, cardiolipin (CL), sphingolipids, bacterial lipids, and ergosterol, yielding more than 180 lipid types, (2) enhanced building procedure for lipid packing around protein, (3) reliable algorithm to detect lipid tail penetration to ring structures and protein surface, (4) distance-based algorithm for faster initial ion displacement, (5) CHARMM inputs for P21 image transformation, and (6) NAMD equilibration and production inputs. The robustness of these new features is illustrated by building and simulating a membrane model of the polar and septal regions of E. coli membrane, which contains five lipid types: CL lipids with two types of acyl chains and phosphatidylethanolamine lipids with three types of acyl chains. It is our hope that CHARMM-GUI Membrane Builder becomes a useful tool for simulation studies to better understand the structure and dynamics of proteins and lipids in realistic biological membrane environments. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Computational Chemistry 08/2014; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacological chaperones are small molecules that bind to proteins and stabilize them against thermal denaturation or proteolytic degradation, as well as assist or prevent certain protein-protein assemblies. These activities are being exploited for the development of treatments for diseases caused by protein instability and/or aberrant protein-protein interactions, such as those found in certain forms of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. However, designing or discovering pharmacological chaperones for specific targets is challenging because of the relatively featureless protein target surfaces, the lack of suitable chemical libraries, and the shortage of efficient high-throughput screening methods. In this study, we attempted to address all these challenges by synthesizing a diverse library of small molecules that mimic protein α-helical secondary structures commonly found in protein-protein interaction surfaces. This was accompanied by establishing a facile "on-bead" high-throughput screening method that allows for rapid and efficient discovery of potential pharmacological chaperones and for identifying novel chaperones/inhibitors against a cancer-associated protein, myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1), and a Parkinson disease-associated protein, α-synuclein. Our data suggest that the compounds and methods described here will be useful tools for the development of pharmaceuticals for complex-disease targets that are traditionally deemed "undruggable."
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 07/2014;
  • Soohyung Park, Wonpil Im
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    ABSTRACT: We present a theory of adaptive optimization for umbrella sampling. With the analytical bias force constant obtained from the constrained thermodynamic length along the reaction coordinate, the windows are distributed to optimize the overlap between neighbors. Combining with the replica exchange method, we propose a method of adaptive window exchange umbrella sampling. The efficiency gain in sampling by the present method originates from the optimal window distribution, in which windows are concentrated to the region where the free energy is steep, as well as consequently improved random walk.
    Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 07/2014; · 5.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although lipid force fields (FFs) used in molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have proved to be accurate, there has not been a systematic study on their accuracy over a range of temperatures. Motivated by the x-ray and neutron scattering measurements of common phosphatidylcholine (PC) bilayers (Kučerka et al. BBA. 1808: 2761, 2011), the CHARMM36 (C36) FF accuracy is tested in this work with MD simulations of six common PC lipid bilayers over a wide range of temperatures. The calculated scattering form factors and deuterium order parameters from the C36 MD simulations agree well with the x-ray and neutron experimental data. There is excellent agreement between MD simulations and experimental estimates for the surface area per lipid, bilayer thickness (DB), hydrophobic thickness (DC), and lipid volume (VL). The only minor discrepancy between simulation and experiment is a measure of (DB-DHH)/2 where DHH is the distance between the maxima in the electron density profile along the bilayer normal. Additional MD simulations with pure water and heptane over a range of temperatures provide explanations of possible reasons causing the minor deviation. Overall, the C36 FF is accurate for use with liquid crystalline PC bilayers of varying chain types and over biologically relevant temperatures.
    Biochimica et biophysica acta. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria is a unique asymmetric lipid bilayer composed of phospholipids (PLs) in the inner leaflet and lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) in the outer leaflet. Its function as a selective barrier is crucial for the survival of bacteria in many distinct environments, and it also renders Gram-negative bacteria more resistant to antibiotics than their Gram-positive counterparts. Here, we report the structural properties of a model of the Escherichia coli outer membrane and its interaction with outer membrane phospholipase A (OmpLA) utilizing molecular dynamics simulations. Our results reveal that given the lipid composition used here, the hydrophobic thickness of the outer membrane is ∼3 Å thinner than the corresponding PL bilayer, mainly because of the thinner LPS leaflet. Further thinning in the vicinity of OmpLA is observed due to hydrophobic matching. The particular shape of the OmpLA barrel induces various interactions between LPS and PL leaflets, resulting in asymmetric thinning around the protein. The interaction between OmpLA extracellular loops and LPS (headgroups and core oligosaccharides) stabilizes the loop conformation with reduced dynamics, which leads to secondary structure variation and loop displacement compared to that in a DLPC bilayer. In addition, we demonstrate that the LPS/PL ratios in asymmetric bilayers can be reliably estimated by the per-lipid surface area of each lipid type, and there is no statistical difference in the overall membrane structure for the outer membranes with one more or less LPS in the outer leaflet, although individual lipid properties vary slightly.
    Biophysical journal. 06/2014; 106(11):2493-2502.
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphoinositides (PIPs), phosphorylated derivatives of phosphatidylinositol (PI), are essential regulatory lipids involved in various cellular processes, including signal transduction, membrane trafficking, and cytoskeletal remodeling. To gain insights into protein-PIPs recognition process, it is necessary to study the inositol ring orientation (with respect to the membrane) of PIPs with different phosphorylation states. In this study, 8 PIPs (3 PIP, 2 PIP2 and 3 PIP3) with different phosphorylation and protonation sites have been separately simulated in two mixed bilayers (one with 20% phosphatidylserine (PS) lipids and another with PS lipids switched to phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipids), which roughly correspond to yeast membranes. Uniformity of the bilayer properties including hydrophobic thickness, acyl chain order parameters, and heavy atom density profiles is observed in both PS-contained and PC-enriched membranes due to the same hydrophobic core composition. The relationship between the inositol ring orientation (tilt and rotation angles) and its solvent-accessible surface area indicates that the orientation is mainly determined by its solvation energy. Different PIPs exhibit a clear preference in the inositol ring rotation angle. Surprisingly, a larger proportion of PIPs inositol ring stay closer to the surface of PS-contained membranes compared to PC-enriched ones. Such difference is rationalized with the formation of more hydrogen bonds between the PS/PI head groups and the PIPs inositol rings in PS-contained membranes. This hydrogen bond network could be functionally important, thus the present results can potentially add important and detailed features into the existing protein-PIPs recognition mechanism.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 04/2014; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caveolin induces membrane curvature and drives the formation of caveolae that participate in many crucial cell functions such as endocytosis. The central portion of caveolin-1 contains two helices (H1 and H2) connected by a three-residue break with both N- and C-termini exposed to the cytoplasm. Although a U-shaped configuration is assumed based on its inaccessibility by extracellular matrix probes, caveolin structure in a bilayer remains elusive. This work aims to characterize the structure and dynamics of caveolin-1 (D82-S136; Cav182-136) in a DMPC bilayer using NMR, fluorescence emission measurements, and molecular dynamics simulations. The secondary structure of Cav182-136 from NMR chemical shift indexing analysis serves as a guideline for generating initial structural models. Fifty independent molecular dynamics simulations (100 ns each) are performed to identify its favorable conformation and orientation in the bilayer. A representative configuration was chosen from these multiple simulations and simulated for 1 μs to further explore its stability and dynamics. The results of these simulations mirror those from the tryptophan fluorescence measurements (i.e., Cav182-136 insertion depth in the bilayer), corroborate that Cav182-136 inserts in the membrane with U-shaped conformations, and show that the angle between H1 and H2 ranges from 35 to 69°, and the tilt angle of Cav182-136 is 27 ± 6°. The simulations also reveal that specific faces of H1 and H2 prefer to interact with each other and with lipid molecules, and these interactions stabilize the U-shaped conformation.
    Biophysical Journal 03/2014; 106(6):1371-80. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Coarse-grained (CG) and multiscale simulations are widely used to study large biological systems. However, preparing the simulation system is time-consuming when the system has multiple components, because each component must be arranged carefully as in protein/micelle or protein/bilayer systems. We have developed CHARMM-GUI PACE CG Builder for building solution, micelle, and bilayer systems using the PACE force field, a united-atom (UA) model for proteins, and the Martini CG force field for water, ions, and lipids. The robustness of PACE CG Builder is validated by simulations of various systems in solution (α3D, fibronectin, and lysozyme), micelles (Pf1, DAP12-NKG2C, OmpA, and DHPC-only micelle), and bilayers (GpA, OmpA, VDAC, MscL, OmpF, and lipid-only bilayers for six lipids). The micelle's radius of gyration, the bilayer thickness, and the per-lipid area in bilayers are comparable to the values from previous all-atom and CG simulations. Most tested proteins have root-mean squared deviations of less than 3 Å. We expect PACE CG Builder to be a useful tool for modeling/refining large, complex biological systems at the mixed UA/CG level.
    Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 03/2014; · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation has become one of the key tools to obtain deeper insights into biological systems using various levels of descriptions such as all-atom, united-atom, and coarse-grained models. Recent advances in computing resources and MD programs have significantly accelerated the simulation time and thus increased the amount of trajectory data. Although many laboratories routinely perform MD simulations, analyzing MD trajectories is still time consuming and often a difficult task. ST-analyzer, http://im.bioinformatics.ku.edu/st-analyzer, is a standalone graphical user interface (GUI) toolset to perform various trajectory analyses. ST-analyzer has several outstanding features compared to other existing analysis tools: (i) handling various formats of trajectory files from MD programs, such as CHARMM, NAMD, GROMACS, and Amber, (ii) intuitive web-based GUI environment—minimizing administrative load and reducing burdens on the user from adapting new software environments, (iii) platform independent design—working with any existing operating system, (iv) easy integration into job queuing systems—providing options of batch processing either on the cluster or in an interactive mode, and (v) providing independence between foreground GUI and background modules—making it easier to add personal modules or to recycle/integrate pre-existing scripts utilizing other analysis tools. The current ST-analyzer contains nine main analysis modules that together contain 18 options, including density profile, lipid deuterium order parameters, surface area per lipid, and membrane hydrophobic thickness. This article introduces ST-analyzer with its design, implementation, and features, and also illustrates practical analysis of lipid bilayer simulations. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Computational Chemistry 03/2014; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Structural information of a transmembrane (TM) helix dimer is useful in understanding molecular mechanisms of important biological phenomena such as signal transduction across the cell membrane. Here, we describe an umbrella sampling (US) scheme for predicting the structure of a TM helix dimer in implicit membrane using the interhelical crossing angle and the TM-TM relative rotation angles as the reaction coordinates. This scheme conducts an efficient conformational search on TM-TM contact interfaces, and its robustness is tested by predicting the structures of glycophorin A (GpA) and receptor tyrosine kinase EphA1 (EphA1) TM dimers. The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structures of both proteins correspond to the global free-energy minimum states in their free-energy landscapes. In addition, using the landscape of GpA as a reference, we also examine the protocols of temperature replica-exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations for structure prediction of TM helix dimers in implicit membrane. A wide temperature range in REMD simulations, for example, 250-1000 K, is required to efficiently obtain a free-energy landscape consistent with the US simulations. The interhelical crossing angle and the TM-TM relative rotation angles can be used as reaction coordinates in multidimensional US and be good measures for conformational sampling of REMD simulations. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Computational Chemistry 11/2013; · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of Gram-negative bacterial outer membranes, comprises three regions: lipid A, core oligosaccharide, and O-antigen polysaccharide. Using the CHARMM36 lipid and carbohydrate force fields, we have constructed a model of an Escherichia coli R1 (core) O6 (antigen) LPS molecule. Several all-atom bilayers are built and simulated with lipid A only (LIPA) and varying lengths of 0 (LPS0), 5 (LPS5), and 10 (LPS10) O6 antigen repeating units; a single unit of O6 antigen contains five sugar residues. From (1)H,(1)H-NOESY experiments, cross-relaxation rates are obtained from an O-antigen polysaccharide sample. Although some experimental deviations are due to spin-diffusion, the remaining effective proton-proton distances show generally very good agreement between NMR experiments and molecular dynamics simulations. The simulation results show that increasing the LPS molecular length has an impact on LPS structure and dynamics and also on LPS bilayer properties. Terminal residues in a LPS bilayer are more flexible and extended along the membrane normal. As the core and O-antigen are added, per-lipid area increases and lipid bilayer order decreases. In addition, results from mixed LPS0/5 and LPS0/10 bilayer simulations show that the LPS O-antigen conformations at a higher concentration of LPS5 and LPS10 are more orthogonal to the membrane and less flexible. The O-antigen concentration of mixed LPS bilayers does not have a significant effect on per-lipid area and hydrophobic thickness. Analysis of ion and water penetration shows that water molecules can penetrate inside the inner core region, and hydration is critical to maintain the integrity of the bilayer structure.
    Biophysical Journal 09/2013; 105(6):1444-55. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Hui Sun Lee, Wonpil Im
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate determination of potential ligand binding sites (BS) is a key step for protein function characterization and structure-based drug design. Despite promising results of template-based BS prediction methods using global structure alignment (GSA), there is a room to improve the performance by properly incorporating local structure alignment (LSA) because BS are local structures and often similar for proteins with dissimilar global folds. We present a template-based ligand BS prediction method using G-LoSA, our LSA tool. A large benchmark set validation shows that G-LoSA predicts drug-like ligands' positions in single-chain protein targets more precisely than TM-align, a GSA-based method, while the overall success rate of TM-align is better. G-LoSA is particularly efficient for accurate detection of local structures conserved across proteins with diverse global topologies. Recognizing the performance complementarity of G-LoSA to TM-align and a non-template geometry-based method, fpocket, a robust consensus scoring method, CMCS-BSP (Complementary Methods and Consensus Scoring for ligand Binding Site Prediction), is developed and shows improvement on prediction accuracy. The G-LoSA source code is freely available at http://im.bioinformatics.ku.edu/GLoSA.
    Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 08/2013; · 4.30 Impact Factor
  • Yifei Qi, Wonpil Im
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    ABSTRACT: Mutual correlation and cooperativity are commonly used to describe residue-residue interactions in protein folding/function. However, these metrics do not provide any information on the causality relationships between residues. Such drive-response relationships are poorly studied in protein folding/function and difficult to measure experimentally due to technical limitations. In this study, using the information theory transfer entropy (TE) that provides a direct measurement of causality between two times series, we have quantified the drive-response relationships between residues in the folding/unfolding processes of four small proteins generated by molecular dynamics simulations. Instead of using a time-averaged single TE value, the time-dependent TE is measured with the Q-scores based on residue-residue contacts and with the statistical significance analysis along the folding/unfolding processes. The TE analysis is able to identify the driving and responding residues that are different from the highly correlated residues revealed by the mutual information analysis. In general, the driving residues have more regular secondary structures, are more buried, and show greater effects on the protein stability as well as folding and unfolding rates. In addition, the dominant driving and responding residues from the TE analysis on the whole trajectory agree with those on a single folding event, demonstrating that the drive-response relationships are preserved in the non-equilibrium process. Our study provides detailed insights into the protein folding process and has potential applications in protein engineering and interpretation of time-dependent residue-based experimental observables for protein function.
    Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 08/2013; 9(8). · 5.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As time- and ensemble-averaged measures, NMR observables contain information about both protein structure and dynamics. This work represents a computational study to extract such information for membrane proteins from orientation-dependent NMR observables: solid-state NMR chemical shift anisotropy and dipolar coupling, and solution NMR residual dipolar coupling. We have performed NMR-restrained molecular dynamics simulations to refine the structure of the membrane-bound form of Pf1 coat protein in explicit lipid bilayers using the recently measured chemical shift anisotropy, dipolar coupling, and residual dipolar coupling data. From the simulations, we have characterized detailed protein-lipid interactions and explored the dynamics. All simulations are stable and the NMR restraints are well satisfied. The C-terminal transmembrane (TM) domain of Pf1 finds its optimal position in the membrane quickly (within 6 ns), illustrating efficient solvation of TM domains in explicit bilayer environments. Such rapid convergence also leads to well-converged interaction patterns between the TM helix and the membrane, which clearly show the interactions of interfacial membrane-anchoring residues with the lipids. For the N-terminal periplasmic helix of Pf1, we identify a stable, albeit dynamic, helix orientation parallel to the membrane surface that satisfies the amphiphatic nature of the helix in an explicit lipid bilayer. Such detailed information cannot be obtained solely from NMR observables. Therefore, the present simulations illustrate the usefulness of NMR-restrained MD refinement of membrane protein structure in explicit membranes.
    Biophysical Journal 08/2013; 105(3):691-8. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Micelle Builder in CHARMM-GUI, http://www.charmm-gui.org/input/micelle, is a web-based graphical user interface to build pure/mixed micelle and protein/micelle complex systems for molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The robustness of Micelle Builder is tested by simulating four detergent-only homogenous micelles of DHPC (dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine), DPC (dodecylphosphocholine), TPC (tetradecylphosphocholine), and SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate), and comparing the calculated micelle properties with experiments and previous simulations. As a representative protein/micelle model, Pf1 coat protein is modeled and simulated in DHPC micelles with three different numbers of DHPC molecules. While the number of DHPC molecules in direct contact with Pf1 protein converges during the simulation, distinct behavior and geometry of micelles lead to different protein structure in comparison to that in bilayers. It is our hope that the CHARMM-GUI Micelle Builder can be used for simulation studies of various protein/micelle systems to better understand the protein structure and dynamics in micelles as well as distribution of detergents and their dynamics around proteins.
    Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 07/2013; · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding glycan structure and dynamics is central to understanding protein-carbohydrate recognition and its role in protein-protein interactions. Given the difficulties in obtaining the glycan's crystal structure in glycoconjugates due to its flexibility and heterogeneity, computational modeling could play an important role in providing glycosylated protein structure models. To address if glycan structures available in the PDB can be used as templates or fragments for glycan modeling, we present a survey of the N-glycan structures of 35 different sequences in the PDB. Our statistical analysis shows that the N-glycan structures found on homologous glycoproteins are significantly conserved compared to the random background, suggesting that N-glycan chains can be confidently modeled with template glycan structures whose parent glycoproteins share sequence similarity. On the other hand, N-glycan structures found on non-homologous glycoproteins do not show significant global structural similarity. Nonetheless, the internal substructures of these N-glycans, particularly, the substructures that are closer to the protein, show significantly similar structures, suggesting that such substructures can be used as fragments in glycan modeling. Increased interactions with protein might be responsible for the restricted conformational space of N-glycan chains. Our results suggest that structure prediction/modeling of N-glycans of glycoconjugates using structure database could be effective and different modeling approaches would be needed depending on the availability of template structures.
    PLoS Computational Biology 03/2013; 9(3):e1002946. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For four decades, since W. Helfrich's pioneering study of smectic A liquid crystals in 1973, continuum elastic models (CEMs) have been employed as tools to understand the energetics of protein-induced lipid bilayer deformations. Among the assumptions underlying this use is that all relevant protein-lipid interactions can be included in the continuum representation of the protein-bilayer interactions through the physical parameters determined for protein-free bilayers and the choice of boundary conditions at the protein/bilayer interface. To better understand this assumption, we review the general structure of CEMs, examine how different choices of boundary conditions and physical moduli profiles alter the predicted bilayer thickness profiles around gramicidin A (gA) and mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channels (VDAC), respectively, and compare these profiles with those obtained from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the profiles differ qualitatively in the first lipid shell around the channels, indicating that the CEMs do not capture accurately the consequences of the local protein-induced changes in lipid bilayer dynamics. Therefore, one needs to be careful when interpreting the results of CEM-based analyses of lipid bilayer-membrane protein interactions.
    Chemistry and physics of lipids 01/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor
  • Soohyung Park, Wonpil Im
    Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):170-. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):586-. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):83-. · 3.67 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
521.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2014
    • University of Kansas
      • • Department of Molecular Biosciences
      • • Department of Chemistry
      Lawrence, Kansas, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
      College Park, MD, United States
  • 2010
    • East Carolina University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Greenville, NC, United States
  • 2003–2007
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
      La Jolla, CA, United States
  • 2001–2004
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • Department of Biochemistry
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2000–2004
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Ithaca, NY, United States
    • Université de Montréal
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada