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26 February 2014 Ultra-fast optical manipulation of single proteins binding to the actin cytoskeleton
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In the last decade, forces and mechanical stresses acting on biological systems are emerging as regulatory factors essential for cell life. Emerging evidences indicate that factors such as applied forces or the rigidity of the extracellular matrix (ECM) determine the shape and function of cells and organisms1. Classically, the regulation of biological systems is described through a series of biochemical signals and enzymatic reactions, which direct the processes and cell fate. However, mechanotransduction, i.e. the conversion of mechanical forces into biochemical and biomolecular signals, is at the basis of many biological processes fundamental for the development and differentiation of cells, for their correct function and for the development of pathologies. We recently developed an in vitro system that allows the investigation of force-dependence of the interaction of proteins binding the actin cytoskeleton, at the single molecule level. Our system displays a delay of only ~10 μs between formation of the molecular bond and application of the force and is capable of detecting interactions as short as 100 μs. Our assay allows direct measurements of load-dependence of lifetimes of single molecular bonds and conformational changes of single proteins and molecular motors. We demonstrate our technique on molecular motors, using myosin II from fast skeletal muscle and on protein-DNA interaction, specifically on Lactose repressor (LacI). The apparatus is stabilized to less than 1 nm with both passive and active stabilization, allowing resolving specific binding regions along the actin filament and DNA molecule. Our technique extends single-molecule force-clamp spectroscopy to molecular complexes that have been inaccessible up to now, opening new perspectives for the investigation of the effects of forces on biological processes.
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Marco Capitanio, Lucia Gardini, and Francesco Saverio Pavone "Ultra-fast optical manipulation of single proteins binding to the actin cytoskeleton", Proc. SPIE 8946, Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics, 89460K (26 February 2014);

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