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0 Q&A 1972 Views Oct 5, 2021

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a powerful tool to image macromolecular complexes with nanometer resolution and exquisite single-molecule sensitivity. While AFM imaging is well-established to investigate DNA and nucleoprotein complexes, AFM studies are often limited by small datasets and manual image analysis that is slow and prone to user bias. Recently, we have shown that a combination of large scale AFM imaging and automated image analysis of nucleosomes can overcome these previous limitations of AFM nucleoprotein studies. Using our high-throughput imaging and analysis pipeline, we have resolved nucleosome wrapping intermediates with five base pair resolution and revealed how distinct nucleosome variants and environmental conditions affect the unwrapping pathways of nucleosomal DNA. Here, we provide a detailed protocol of our workflow to analyze DNA and nucleosome conformations focusing on practical aspects and experimental parameters. We expect our protocol to drastically enhance AFM analyses of DNA and nucleosomes and to be readily adaptable to a wide variety of other protein and protein-nucleic acid complexes.

0 Q&A 2357 Views Sep 5, 2021

Understanding the structure and dynamics of DNA-protein interactions during DNA replication is crucial for elucidating the origins of disorders arising from its dysfunction. In this study, we employed Atomic Force Microscopy as a single-molecule imaging tool to examine the mitochondrial DNA helicase Twinkle and its interactions with DNA. We used imaging in air and time-lapse imaging in liquids to observe the DNA binding and unwinding activities of Twinkle hexamers at the single-molecule level. These procedures helped us visualize Twinkle loading onto and unloading from the DNA in the open-ring conformation. Using traditional methods, it has been shown that Twinkle is capable of unwinding dsDNA up to 20-55 bps. We found that the addition of mitochondrial single-stranded DNA binding protein (mtSSB) facilitates a 5-fold increase in the DNA unwinding rate for the Twinkle helicase. The protocols developed in this study provide new platforms to examine DNA replication and to explore the mechanism driving DNA deletion and human diseases.


Graphic abstract:



Mitochondrial Twinkle Helicase Dynamics


0 Q&A 6476 Views Aug 20, 2021

The phenomenon of reversible liquid-liquid phase separation of proteins underlies the formation of membraneless organelles, which are crucial for cellular processes such as signalling and transport. In addition, it is also of great interest to uncover the mechanisms of further irreversible maturation of the functional dense liquid phase into aberrant insoluble assemblies due to its implication in human disease. Recent advances in methods based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) have made it possible to study protein condensates at the nanometer level, providing unprecedented information on the nature of the intermolecular interactions governing phase separation. Here, we provide an in-depth description of a protocol for the characterisation of the morphology, stiffness, and chemical properties of protein condensates using infrared nanospectroscopy (AFM-IR).

0 Q&A 3602 Views Mar 5, 2021

In bacteria, the restart of stalled DNA replication forks requires the DNA helicase PriA. PriA can recognize and remodel abandoned DNA replication forks, unwind DNA in the 3'-to-5' direction, and facilitate the loading of the helicase DnaB onto the DNA to restart replication. ssDNA-binding protein (SSB) is typically present at the abandoned forks, protecting the ssDNA from nucleases. Research that is based on the assays for junction dissociation, surface plasmon resonance, single-molecule FRET, and x-ray crystal structure has revealed the helicase activity of PriA, the SSB-PriA interaction, and structural information of PriA helicase. Here, we used Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to visualize the interaction between PriA and DNA substrates with or without SSB in the absence of ATP to delineate the substrate recognition pattern of PriA before its ATP-catalyzed DNA-unwinding reaction. The protocol describes the steps to obtain high-resolution AFM images and the details of data analysis and presentation.

0 Q&A 3172 Views Mar 20, 2020
Although many spherical and rod-shaped plant virus purification protocols are now available, only a few protocols on filamentous plant virus purification have been published. Here, we report a protocol for large-scale purification of Rice stripe virus (RSV) from RSV-infected rice tissues. RSV virions with high infectivity were first precipitated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) followed by pelleting through primary ultracentrifugation, ultracentrifugation in a glycerol cushion and ultracentrifugation in density gradient. The purified RSV virions can not only be viewed as filamentous particles under an electron microscope, but can also be acquired by insect vector through direct injection into insect body or through membrane feeding prior to transmission to rice plants.
0 Q&A 7203 Views Jan 20, 2020
Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) underlies the physiological assembly of many membrane-less organelles throughout the cell. However, dysregulation of LLPS may mediate the formation of pathological aggregates associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we present complementary experimental approaches to study protein aggregation within and outside the context of LLPS in order to ascertain the impact of LLPS on aggregation kinetics. Techniques described include imaging-based approaches [fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP)] as well as plate reader assays [Thioflavin-T (ThT) fluorescence intensity and turbidity]. Data and conclusions utilizing these approaches were recently reported for the low complexity domain (LCD) of the transactive response DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43).



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