Matthias Rief

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Single-molecule atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to investigate the mechanical properties of titin, the giant sarcomeric protein of striated muscle. Individual titin molecules were repeatedly stretched, and the applied force was recorded as a function of the elongation. At large extensions, the restoring force exhibited a sawtoothlike pattern, with a(More)
Class-V myosins, one of 15 known classes of actin-based molecular motors, have been implicated in several forms of organelle transport, perhaps working with microtubule-based motors such as kinesin. Such movements may require a motor with mechanochemical properties distinct from those of myosin-II, which operates in large ensembles to drive high-speed(More)
Myosin-V is a molecular motor that moves processively along its actin track. We have used a feedback-enhanced optical trap to examine the stepping kinetics of this movement. By analyzing the distribution of time periods separating discrete approximately 36-nm mechanical steps, we characterize the number and duration of rate-limiting biochemical transitions(More)
We present Monte Carlo simulations for the elasticity of biopolymers consisting of segments that can undergo conformational transitions. Based on the thermodynamics of an elastically coupled twolevel system, the probability for a transition and a related change in length of each segment was calculated. Good agreement between this model description and(More)
Atomic force microscope–based single-molecule force spectroscopy was employed to measure sequence-dependent mechanical properties of DNA by stretching individual DNA double strands attached between a gold surface and an AFM tip. We discovered that in λ-phage DNA the previously reported B-S transition, where 'S' represents an overstretched conformation, at(More)
Spectrin repeats fold into triple helical coiled-coils comprising approximately 106 amino acid residues. Using an AFM-related technique we measured the force required to mechanically unfold these repeats to be 25 to 35 pN. Under tension, individual spectrin repeats unfold independently and in an all-or-none process. The dependence of the unfolding forces on(More)
We use single-molecule force spectroscopy to drive single GFP molecules from the native state through their complex energy landscape into the completely unfolded state. Unlike many smaller proteins, mechanical GFP unfolding proceeds by means of two subsequent intermediate states. The transition from the native state to the first intermediate state occurs(More)
The domains of the giant muscle protein titin (connectin) provide interaction sites for other sarcomeric proteins and fulfill mechanical functions. In this paper we compare the unfolding forces of defined regions of different titin isoforms by single-molecule force spectroscopy. Constructs comprising six to eight immunoglobulin (Ig) domains located in the(More)
Using a modified atomic force microscope (AFM), individual double-stranded (ds) DNA molecules attached to an AFM tip and a gold surface were overstretched, and the mechanical stability of the DNA double helix was investigated. In lambda-phage DNA the previously reported B-S transition at 65 piconewtons (pN) is followed by a second conformational transition,(More)
Coiled-coils occur in a variety of proteins involved in mechanical and structural tasks in the cell. Their mechanical properties are important in various contexts ranging from hair elasticity to synaptic fusion. Beyond their importance in biology, coiled-coils have also attracted interest as programmable protein sequences for the design of novel hydrogels(More)