Antibody linking to atomic force microscope tips via disulfide bond formation.
ABSTRACT Covalent binding of bioligands to atomic force microscope (AFM) tips converts them into monomolecular biosensors by which cognate receptors can be localized on the sample surface and fine details of ligand-receptor interaction can be studied. Tethering of the bioligand to the AFM tip via a approximately 6 nm long, flexible poly(ethylene glycol) linker (PEG) allows the bioligand to freely reorient and to rapidly "scan" a large surface area while the tip is at or near the sample surface. In the standard coupling scheme, amino groups are first generated on the AFM tip. In the second step, these amino groups react with the amino-reactive ends of heterobifunctional PEG linkers. In the third step, the 2-pyridyl-S-S groups on the free ends of the PEG chains react with protein thiol groups to give stable disulfide bonds. In the present study, this standard coupling scheme has been critically examined, using biotinylated IgG with free thiols as the bioligand. AFM tips with PEG-tethered biotin-IgG were specifically recognized by avidin molecules that had been adsorbed to mica surfaces. The unbinding force distribution showed three maxima that reflected simultaneous unbinding of 1, 2, or 3 IgG-linked biotin residues from the avidin monolayer. The coupling scheme was well-reproduced on amino-functionalized silicon nitride chips, and the number of covalently bound biotin-IgG per microm2 was estimated by the amount of specifically bound ExtrAvidin-peroxidase conjugate. Coupling was evidently via disulfide bonds, since only biotin-IgG with free thiol groups was bound to the chips. The mechanism of protein thiol coupling to 2-pyridyl-S-S-PEG linkers on AFM tips was further examined by staging the coupling step in bulk solution and monitoring turnover by release of 2-pyridyl-SH which tautomerizes to 2-thiopyridone and absorbs light at 343 nm. These experiments predicted 10(3)-fold slower rates for the disulfide coupling step than actually observed on AFM tips and silicon nitride chips. The discrepancy was reconciled by assuming 10(3)-fold enrichment of protein on AFM tips via preadsorption, as is known to occur on comparable inorganic surfaces.
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ABSTRACT: The role of the collagen-platelet interaction is of crucial importance to the haemostatic response during both injury and pathogenesis of the blood vessel wall. Of particular interest is the high affinity interaction of the platelet transmembrane receptor, alpha 2 beta 1, responsible for firm attachment of platelets to collagen at and around injury sites. We employ single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) using the atomic force microscope (AFM) to study the interaction of the I-domain from integrin alpha 2 beta 1 with a synthetic collagen related triple-helical peptide containing the high-affinity integrin-binding GFOGER motif, and a control peptide lacking this sequence, referred to as GPP. By utilising synthetic peptides in this manner we are able to study at the molecular level subtleties that would otherwise be lost when considering cell-to-collagen matrix interactions using ensemble techniques. We demonstrate for the first time the complexity of this interaction as illustrated by the complex multi-peaked force spectra and confirm specificity using control blocking experiments. In addition we observe specific interaction of the GPP peptide sequence with the I-domain. We propose a model to explain these observations.International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2013; 14(2):2832-45. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The benefits of single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) clearly outweigh the challenges which include small sample sizes, tedious data collection and introduction of human bias during the subjective data selection. These difficulties can be partially eliminated through automation of the experimental data collection process for atomic force microscopy (AFM). Automation can be accomplished using an algorithm that triages usable force-extension recordings quickly with positive and negative selection. We implemented an algorithm based on the windowed fast Fourier transform of force-extension traces that identifies peaks using force-extension regimes to correctly identify usable recordings from proteins composed of repeated domains. This algorithm excels as a real-time diagnostic because it involves <30ms computational time, has high sensitivity and specificity, and efficiently detects weak unfolding events. We used the statistics provided by the automated procedure to clearly demonstrate the properties of molecular adhesion and how these properties change with differences in the cantilever tip and protein functional groups and protein age.Ultramicroscopy 08/2013; 136C:7-14. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: The therapeutic effects of medicinal drugs not only depend on their properties, but also on effective transport to the target receptor. Here we highlight recent developments in this discipline and show applications of atomic force microscopy (AFM) that enable us to track the effects of drugs and the effectiveness of nanoparticle delivery at the single molecule level. Areas covered: Physiological AFM imaging enables visualization of topographical changes to cells as a result of drug exposure and allows observation of cellular responses that yield morphological changes. When we upgrade the regular measuring tip to a molecular biosensor, it enables investigation of functional changes at the molecular level via single molecule force spectroscopy. Expert opinion: Biosensing AFM techniques have generated powerful tools to monitor drug delivery in (living) cells. While technical developments in actual AFM methods have simplified measurements at relevant physiological conditions, understanding both the biological and technical background is still a crucial factor. However, due to its potential impact, we expect the number of application-based biosensing AFM techniques to further increase in the near future.Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 05/2014; · 4.87 Impact Factor