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Is the mechanical unraveling of protein domains by atomic force microscopy (AFM) just a technological feat or a true measurement of their unfolding? By engineering a protein made of tandem repeats of identical Ig modules, we were able to get explicit AFM data on the unfolding rate of a single protein domain that can be accurately extrapolated to zero force.(More)
Through the study of single molecules it has become possible to explain the function of many of the complex molecular assemblies found in cells. The protein titin provides muscle with its passive elasticity. Each titin molecule extends over half a sarcomere, and its extensibility has been studied both in situ and at the level of single molecules. These(More)
Extracellular matrix proteins are thought to provide a rigid mechanical anchor that supports and guides migrating and rolling cells. Here we examine the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix protein tenascin by using atomic-force-microscopy techniques. Our results indicate that tenascin is an elastic protein. Single molecules of tenascin could(More)
The modular protein titin, which is responsible for the passive elasticity of muscle, is subjected to stretching forces. Previous work on the experimental elongation of single titin molecules has suggested that force causes consecutive unfolding of each domain in an all-or-none fashion. To avoid problems associated with the heterogeneity of the modular,(More)
Immunoglobulin-like modules are common components of proteins that play mechanical roles in cells such as muscle elasticity and cell adhesion. Mutations in these proteins may affect their mechanical stability and thus may compromise their function. Using single molecule atomic force microscopy (AFM) and protein engineering, we demonstrate that point(More)
The unfolding and folding of single protein molecules can be studied with an atomic force microscope (AFM). Many proteins with mechanical functions contain multiple, individually folded domains with similar structures. Protein engineering techniques have enabled the construction and expression of recombinant proteins that contain multiple copies of(More)
Many common, biologically important polysaccharides contain pyranose rings made of five carbon atoms and one oxygen atom. They occur in a variety of cellular structures, where they are often subjected to considerable tensile stress. The polysaccharides are thought to respond to this stress by elastic deformation, but the underlying molecular rearrangements(More)
We use single-protein atomic force microscopy techniques to detect length phenotypes in an Ig module. To gain amino acid resolution, we amplify the mechanical features of a single module by engineering polyproteins composed of up to 12 identical repeats. We show that on mechanical unfolding, mutant polyproteins containing five extra glycine residues added(More)
We measured the efflux of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) from an intact secretory granule extracted from the mast cell of the beige mouse. The efflux was measured with amperometry after rupture of the granule membrane was triggered by electroporation. We determined the diffusivity of 5-HT within the secretory granule to be 2.0 x 10(-8) cm2 s(-1) when(More)
Mechanical unfolding and refolding may regulate the molecular elasticity of modular proteins with mechanical functions. The development of the atomic force microscopy (AFM) has recently enabled the dynamic measurement of these processes at the single-molecule level. Protein engineering techniques allow the construction of homomeric polyproteins for the(More)