Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Computational Studies on Biomolecular Diffusion and Electrostatics
by Wang, Nuo, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2015, 117; 3731932
Abstract (Summary)

As human understandings of physics, chemistry and biology converge and the development of computers proceeds, computational chemistry or computational biophysics has become a substantial field of research. It serves to explore the fundamentals of life and also has extended applications in the field of medicine. Among the many aspects of computational chemistry, this Ph. D. work focuses on the numerical methods for studying diffusion and electrostatics of biomolecules at the nanoscale. Diffusion and electrostatics are two independent subjects in terms of their physics, but closely related in applications. In living cells, the mechanism of diffusion powers a ligand to move towards its binding target. And electrostatic forces between the ligand and the target or the ligand and the environment guide the direction of the diffusion, the correct binding orientation and, together with other molecular forces, ensure the stability of the bound complex. More abstractly, diffusion describes the stochastic manner biomolecules move on their energy landscape and electrostatic forces are a major contributor to the shape of the energy landscape. This Ph. D. work aims to acquire a good understanding of both biomolecular diffusion and electrostatics and how the two are used together in numerical calculations. Three projects are presented. The first project is a proof of concept of the bead-model approach to calculate the diffusion tensor. The second project is the benchmark for a new electrostatics method, the size-modified Poisson-Boltzmann equation. The third project is an application that combines diffusion and electrostatics to calculate the substrate channeling efficiency between the human thymidylate synthase and dihydrofolate reductase.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McCammon, James A.
Commitee: Dudko, Olga K., Galperin, Michael, Komives, Elizabeth A., Weare, John H.
School: University of California, San Diego
Department: Chemistry
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical chemistry, Biophysics
Keywords: Brownian dynamics, Diffusion, Electrostatics, Poisson-boltzmann
Publication Number: 3731932
ISBN: 9781339185163