Timothy F Cunningham

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

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Publications (3)12.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Building on our recently introduced library-based Monte Carlo (LBMC) approach, we describe a flexible protocol for mixed coarse-grained (CG)/all-atom (AA) simulation of proteins and ligands. In the present implementation of LBMC, protein side chain configurations are pre-calculated and stored in libraries, while bonded interactions along the backbone are treated explicitly. Because the AA side chain coordinates are maintained at minimal run-time cost, arbitrary sites and interaction terms can be turned on to create mixed-resolution models. For example, an AA region of interest such as a binding site can be coupled to a CG model for the rest of the protein. We have additionally developed a hybrid implementation of the generalized Born/surface area (GBSA) implicit solvent model suitable for mixed-resolution models, which in turn was ported to a graphics processing unit (GPU) for faster calculation. The new software was applied to study two systems: (i) the behavior of spin labels on the B1 domain of protein G (GB1) and (ii) docking of randomly initialized estradiol configurations to the ligand binding domain of the estrogen receptor (ERα). The performance of the GPU version of the code was also benchmarked in a number of additional systems.
    Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 08/2012; 8(8):2921-2929. · 5.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray crystallography has been a useful tool in the development of site-directed spin labeling by resolving rotamers of the nitroxide spin-label side chain in a variety of α-helical environments. In this work, the crystal structure of a doubly spin-labeled N8C/K28C mutant of the B1 immunoglobulin-binding domain of protein G (GB1) was solved. The double mutant formed a domain-swapped dimer under crystallization conditions. Two rotameric states of the spin-label were resolved at the solvent-exposed α-helical site, at residue 28; these are in good agreement with rotamers previously reported for helical structures. The second site, at residue 8 on an interior β-strand, shows the presence of three distinct solvent-exposed side-chain rotamers. One of these rotamers is rarely observed within crystal structures of R1 sites and suggests that the H(α) and S(δ) hydrogen bond that is common to α-helical sites is absent at this interior β-strand residue. Variable temperature continuous wave (CW) experiments of the β-strand site showed two distinct components that were correlated to the rotameric states observed in crystallography. Interestingly, the CW data at room temperature could be fit without the use of an order parameter, which is consistent with the lack of the H(α) and S(δ) interaction. Additionally, double electron electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy was performed on the GB1 double mutant in its monomeric form and yielded a most probable interspin distance of 25 ± 1 Å. In order to evaluate the accuracy of the measured DEER distance, the rotamers observed in the crystal structure of the domain-swapped GB1 dimer were modeled into a high-resolution structure of the wild type monomeric GB1. The distances generated in the resulting GB1 structural models match the most probable DEER distance within ~2 Å. The results are interesting as they indicate by direct experimental measurement that the rotameric states of R1 found in this crystal provide a very close match to the most probable distance measured by DEER.
    Biochemistry 07/2012; 51(32):6350-9. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herein, we identify the coordination environment of Cu²(+) in the human α1-glycine receptor (GlyR). GlyRs are members of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel superfamily (pLGIC) that mediate fast signaling at synapses. Metal ions like Zn²(+) and Cu²(+) significantly modulate the activity of pLGICs, and metal ion coordination is essential for proper physiological postsynaptic inhibition by GlyR in vivo. Zn²(+) can either potentiate or inhibit GlyR activity depending on its concentration, while Cu²(+) is inhibitory. To better understand the molecular basis of the inhibitory effect we have used electron spin resonance to directly examine Cu²(+) coordination and stoichiometry. We show that Cu²(+) has one binding site per α1 subunit, and that five Cu²(+) can be coordinated per GlyR. Cu²(+) binds to E192 and H215 in each subunit of GlyR with a 40 μM apparent dissociation constant, consistent with earlier functional measurements. However, the coordination site does not include several residues of the agonist/antagonist binding site that were previously suggested to have roles in Cu²(+) coordination by functional measurements. Intriguingly, the E192/H215 site has been proposed as the potentiating Zn²(+) site. The opposing modulatory actions of these cations at a shared binding site highlight the sensitive allosteric nature of GlyR.
    Biophysical Journal 10/2010; 99(8):2497-506. · 3.67 Impact Factor