A new theory for the breaking of (bio-)chemical bonds under load may help to predict the strength and performance of synthetic nanostructures and proteins, on a molecular level. Theoretical physicists from Leipzig University have published their findings in „Nature Communications“.
The fundamental question how a molecular bond breaks is of interest in many fields of science and has been studied extensively. Yet, now writing in Nature Communications, a group of theoretical physicists from the University of Leipzig, Germany, has put forward a more powerful analytical formula for forcible bond breaking than previously available.
It predicts how likely a bond will break at a given load, if probed with a prescribed loading protocol. This so-called rupture force distribution is the most informative and most commonly measured quantity in modern single-molecule force spectroscopy experiments (which may roughly be thought of as nanoscopic versions of the conventional crash- or breaking tests employed in materials science and engineering).
Such experiments are nowadays performed in large numbers in molecular biology and biophysics labs to probe the mechanical strength of individual macromolecular bonds.
Recent methodological advances have pushed force spectroscopy assays to ever higher loading rates (the equivalent of the speed employed in the macroscopic crash-test). This provided a strong incentive for the Leipzig team to improve on current state-of-the-art theories for forcible bond breaking, which are limited to comparatively low speeds.
Moreover, the new equation solves another problem that has bothered experts in the field for many years. Force spectroscopy experiments are often simulated with sophisticated all-atom computer models to supplement the experimental data with information on internal molecular details that cannot be resolved in a laboratory setting.
However, because of their enormous complexity, such computer simulations operate at extremely high loading rates to cut down on the runtime. As a consequence, simulation and experiment were so far two essentially distinct branches of force spectroscopy.
The new equation, which gives exact results for both low and high loading rates, will thus suit both experimentalists and computer scientists, and help them to systematically analyze and compare their results.
This should eventually improve our microscopic understanding of the strength of synthetic materials and of how proteins attain and maintain their three-dimensional structure and perform conformational changes, which are core features determining the function and dysfunction of these amazing engines of life.
Article in „Nature Communications”:
„Theory of rapid force spectroscopy“,
by Jakob T. Bullerjahn, Sebastian Sturm and Klaus Kroy
Prof. Dr. Klaus Kroy
Phone: +49 341 97 32436
Carsten Heckmann | Universität Leipzig
Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
29.04.2016 | University of Cambridge
Possible Extragalactic Source of High-Energy Neutrinos
28.04.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.
Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine
29.04.2016 | Life Sciences