The increase in protein contour length depends on mechanical unfolding conditions

Many proteins in alive organisms have a domain structure providing them the possibility to reversible unfolding, which seems to play an essential role in those processes occurring in tissues which are controlled by mechanical cellular tension. In this work the atomic force microscopy was applied to investigate the mechanical properties of the single molecules of fibronectin, a protein participating in the important mechanical processes in extracellular matrix. The results showed that the conditions of mechanical stretching influence not only the force required to unfolding of a domain but also the increase in protein contour length induced by such unfolding event. Two mean values of the increase in length (called shortly the unfolding length) L-1 and L-2, were obtained and ascribed to unfolding of either the whole fibronectin domain of type III (L-2) or its fragment (L-1). Both unfolding lengths revealed similar dependence on the stretching conditions. This experimental observation of increase in unfolding length with increasing loading rate was successfully described with a combination of two theoretical models (Bell model and the worm-like-chain model), previously used separately in the analysis of protein unfolding. The general mechanical property of fibronectin domains was emphasized and proposed as a potential determinant of the cellular adhesion

Published in:
ACTA PHYSICA POLONICA A, 113, 2, 753-762

 Record created 2008-05-21, last modified 2018-01-28

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