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Inferring structures, free energy differences, and kinetic rates of biological macromolecular assemblies by integrative modeling


Biological macromolecular assemblies play crucial roles in most cellular processes. The determination of their structures, thermodynamics, and kinetics is essential to understand their function, evolution, modulation, and design. Determining such models, however, remains challenging. One particularly powerful approach to constructing models in general is integrative modeling. Integrative modeling aims to maximize the accuracy, precision, and completeness of models, by simultaneously utilizing all available information, including experimental data, physical principles, statistical analyses, and other prior models. The goal of this thesis is to expand the scope of integrative modeling to the inference of spatial, thermodynamic, and kinetic aspects of macromolecular assemblies.

In Chapter I, I introduce the integrative modeling framework for spatiotemporal modeling of biological macromolecular assemblies. In Chapter II, I demonstrate how the synergy between multi-chemistry cross-linking mass spectrometry and integrative modeling can map the structural dynamics of macromolecular assemblies, by application to the human Cop9 signalosome complex. In Chapter III, I present a method for determining structures, free energy differences, and kinetic rates of macromolecular assemblies along their functional cycle, mainly from negative stain electron microscopy (EM). We apply the method to the yeast Hsp90 to estimate the free energy differences and kinetic parameters along its nucleotide hydrolysis cycle, which includes open and closed states of Hsp90. In Chapter IV, I describe a validation of stochastic sampling in integrative modeling. The remaining chapters describe applications of integrative modeling to assemblies of various sizes and scales, using various sources of information, thus illustrating the flexibility of the integrative modeling approach. Specifically, I apply integrative modeling to the human ECM29-Proteasome assembly under oxidative stress (Chapter V), the yeast nuclear pore complex (NPC) cytoplasmic mRNA export platform (Chapter VI), the major membrane ring component of the yeast NPC (Chapter VII), the entire yeast NPC (Chapter VIII), and the reconstruction of 3D structures of MET antibodies (Chapter IX).

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