Micromagnetic-DEP Tweezers for Studying Fibronectin Fragment Mechanics - Lizhi Cao
From Katie Gentilello
A variety of tools are available for studies of single molecule biophysics, these include: atomic force microscopy (AFM), optical and magnetic tweezers, biomembrane force probe (BFP), among other techniques. However, few techniques exist for parallel high throughput analysis, and to our knowledge none have been coupled to microfluidic systems for coupled biochemical assays. We have developed a microfabricated system using opposing magnetic and dielectrophoresis (DEP) forces to study the conformational changes and unfolding behavior of magnetic bead-coupled engineered fibronectin protein fragments. Specifically, our system may allow for the study of forced unfolding of fibronectin type III repeats on a massively parallel scale, and offers the potential for integration with biochemical assays to assess the functional consequences of forced unfolding. More broadly, the micromagnetic-DEP system developed here can be extended to study antibody-antigen interactions, as well as other protein-protein interactions.