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
A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science
Improving understanding of how the Solar System is formed
12.11.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.
Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
12.11.2018 | Life Sciences
12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy