Title page for ETD etd-04062011-003404

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Allen, William Joseph
Author's Email Address wjallen@vt.edu
URN etd-04062011-003404
Title Practical Applications of Molecular Modeling Pertaining to Oxidative Damage and Disease
Degree PhD
Department Biochemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bevan, David R. Committee Chair
Helm, Richard Frederick Committee Member
Li, Jianyong Committee Member
Smith, Edward J. Committee Member
Tanko, James M. Committee Member
  • Arachis Ara h 2 protein
  • molecular modeling
  • monoamine oxidase B
  • p53 C-terminal domain
  • B2 suppressor of RNA silencing
  • lipid bilayer analysis
Date of Defense 2011-03-23
Availability unrestricted
Molecular modeling is a term referring to the study of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and other bio- or macro- or small molecules at the atomistic level using a combination of computational methods, physico-chemical principles, and mathematical functions. It can be generally sub-divided into two areas: molecular mechanics, which is the treatment of atoms and bonds as Newtonian particles and springs, and quantum mechanics, which models electronic behaviors using the Schrödinger equation and wavefunctions. Each technique is a powerful tool that, when used alone or in combination with wet lab experiments, can yield useful results, the products of which have broad applications in studying human disease models, oxidative damage, and other biomolecular processes that are otherwise not easily observed by experiment alone. Within this document, we study seven different such systems. This includes the mode of inhibitor binding to the enzyme monoamine oxidase B, the active site mechanism of that same enzyme, the dynamics of the unstructured p53 C-terminal domain in complex with globular, structured proteins, the process of the viral protein B2 unbinding from double-stranded RNA, and a focus on the dynamics of a variable loop in the antigenic peanut protein Ara h 2. In addition to those conventional molecular modeling studies, several of which were done in tandem with wet lab experiment, we also discuss the validation of charges and charge group parameters for small molecules used in molecular mechanics, and the development of software for the analysis of lipid bilayer systems in molecular mechanics simulations. As computational resources continue to evolve, and as more structural information becomes available, these methods are becoming an integral part of the study of biomolecules in the context of disease.
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