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PloS one

Comprehensive characterization of molecular interactions based on nanomechanics.


PMID 18978938

Abstract

Molecular interaction is a key concept in our understanding of the biological mechanisms of life. Two physical properties change when one molecular partner binds to another. Firstly, the masses combine and secondly, the structure of at least one binding partner is altered, mechanically transducing the binding into subsequent biological reactions. Here we present a nanomechanical micro-array technique for bio-medical research, which not only monitors the binding of effector molecules to their target but also the subsequent effect on a biological system in vitro. This label-free and real-time method directly and simultaneously tracks mass and nanomechanical changes at the sensor interface using micro-cantilever technology. To prove the concept we measured lipid vesicle (approximately 748*10(6) Da) adsorption on the sensor interface followed by subsequent binding of the bee venom peptide melittin (2840 Da) to the vesicles. The results show the high dynamic range of the instrument and that measuring the mass and structural changes simultaneously allow a comprehensive discussion of molecular interactions.

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