Each one teaches one: characterizing active forms of proteins by single molecule force spectroscopy

Sandal, Massimo (2008) Each one teaches one: characterizing active forms of proteins by single molecule force spectroscopy, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia funzionale dei sistemi cellulari e molecolari, 20 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/686.
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This Ph.D. candidate thesis collects the research work I conducted under the supervision of Prof.Bruno Samor´ı in 2005,2006 and 2007. Some parts of this work included in the Part III have been begun by myself during my undergraduate thesis in the same laboratory and then completed during the initial part of my Ph.D. thesis: the whole results have been included for the sake of understanding and completeness. During my graduate studies I worked on two very different protein systems. The theorical trait d’union between these studies, at the biological level, is the acknowledgement that protein biophysical and structural studies must, in many cases, take into account the dynamical states of protein conformational equilibria and of local physico-chemical conditions where the system studied actually performs its function. This is introducted in the introductory part in Chapter 2. Two different examples of this are presented: the structural significance deriving from the action of mechanical forces in vivo (Chapter 3) and the complexity of conformational equilibria in intrinsically unstructured proteins and amyloid formation (Chapter 4). My experimental work investigated both these examples by using in both cases the single molecule force spectroscopy technique (described in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6). The work conducted on angiostatin focused on the characterization of the relationships between the mechanochemical properties and the mechanism of action of the angiostatin protein, and most importantly their intertwining with the further layer of complexity due to disulfide redox equilibria (Part III). These studies were accompanied concurrently by the elaboration of a theorical model for a novel signalling pathway that may be relevant in the extracellular space, detailed in Chapter 7.2. The work conducted on -synuclein (Part IV) instead brought a whole new twist to the single molecule force spectroscopy methodology, applying it as a structural technique to elucidate the conformational equilibria present in intrinsically unstructured proteins. These equilibria are of utmost interest from a biophysical point of view, but most importantly because of their direct relationship with amyloid aggregation and, consequently, the aetiology of relevant pathologies like Parkinson’s disease. The work characterized, for the first time, conformational equilibria in an intrinsically unstructured protein at the single molecule level and, again for the first time, identified a monomeric folded conformation that is correlated with conditions leading to -synuclein and, ultimately, Parkinson’s disease. Also, during the research work, I found myself in the need of a generalpurpose data analysis application for single molecule force spectroscopy data analysis that could solve some common logistic and data analysis problems that are common in this technique. I developed an application that addresses some of these problems, herein presented (Part V), and that aims to be publicly released soon.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Sandal, Massimo
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
protein folding single molecule biophysics angiostatin synuclein
Data di discussione
3 Luglio 2008

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