Reducing uncertainties in energy dissipation measurements in atomic force spectroscopy of molecular networks and cell-adhesion studies

Atomic force microscope (AFM) based single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) is a valuable tool in biophysics to investigate the ligand-receptor interactions, cell adhesion and cell mechanics. However, the force spectroscopy data analysis needs to be done carefully to extract the required quantitative parameters correctly. Especially the large number of molecules, commonly involved in complex networks formation; leads to very complicated force spectroscopy curves. One therefore, generally characterizes the total dissipated energy over a whole pulling cycle, as it is difficult to decompose the complex force curves into individual single molecule events. However, calculating the energy dissipation directly from the transformed force spectroscopy curves can lead to a significant overestimation of the dissipated energy during a pulling experiment. The over-estimation of dissipated energy arises from the finite stiffness of the cantilever used for AFM based SMFS. Although this error can be significant, it is generally not compensated for. This can lead to significant misinterpretation of the energy dissipation (up to the order of 30%). In this paper, we show how in complex SMFS the excess dissipated energy caused by the stiffness of the cantilever can be identified and corrected using a high throughput algorithm. This algorithm is then applied to experimental results from molecular networks and cell-adhesion measurements to quantify the improvement in the estimation of the total energy dissipation.


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Scientific Reports, 8, 1
Year:
Jun 20 2018
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 Record created 2018-07-26, last modified 2019-05-07

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