Soft Condensed Matter Group
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Biopolymers and Blood Proteins

Biopolymers have unique properties with respect to their self-assembly, conformational dynamics, transport and interactions with interfaces. Fluorescently labeled biopolymers and proteins can be studied by Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy (QFM) and Fluorescence Correlations Spectroscopy (FCS). We have studied the two-dimensional dynmaics of DNA on supported lipid membranes using QFM and the conformational polymer dynamics of DNA in solution using FCS.

One particular advantage of FCS is the fact that fluorescently labeled species can be followed in complex solution, e.g. solutions containing liposomes, blood proteins or full blood plasma. We used FCS to measure adsorption isotherms of peptides and proteins to liposomes.

Current research interest:


Size distribution of the mechanosensitive blood factor VWF

Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) is a key protein in the force sensing cascade triggering primary hemostasis as it mediates the binding between thrombocytes and the injured vessel wall. VWF exists as multimers with variable number of dimeric subunits. Due to its shear flow sensitive structure, VWF functionality highly depends on its size. Although in recent years a general understanding of VWF function has emerged, its dynamic size regulation remains rather unexplored. We investigate the size distribution of recombinant eGFP-VWF using Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS). Following the size distribution of VWF in blood, we measure the in vivo and in vitro size regulation of VWF by the protease ADAMTS13, its most important size regulator. A two-focus FCS combined with a microfluidic device is established as a fast flow-through setup to investigate shear-induced changes of the VWF functionality.

This project is part of the DFG research unit FOR 1543 SHENC (Shear flow regulation of HEmostasis -bridging the gap between Nanomechanics and Clinical presentation) which is a collaboration between laboratories covering variable disciplines from medical research to theoretical biophysics: www.shenc.de


Adsorption isotherms of peptides and proteins to liposomes

  • L. Rusu, A. Gambhir, S. McLaughlin and J. O. Rädler
    Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy Studies of Peptide and Protein Binding to Phospholipid Vesicles
    Biophysical Journal (2004), 87 (2), 1044 - 1053.
  • Engelke, H., Lippok, S., Dorn, I., Netz, R. R., & Rädler, J. O. (2011). FVIII Binding to PS Membranes Differs in the Activated and Non-Activated Form and Can Be Shielded by Annexin A5. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 115(44), 12963–12970.

Conformational polymer dynamics of DNA in solution measured by FCS

  • Winkler, R., Keller, S., & Rädler, J. (2006). Intramolecular dynamics of linear macromolecules by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Physical Review E, 73(4).
  • Lumma, D., Keller, S., Vilgis, T., & Rädler, J. (2003). Dynamics of large semiflexible chains probed by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Physical Review Letters, 90(21).

Two-dimensional dynamics of DNA on supported lipid membranes

  • Maier, B., & Rädler, J. (1999). Conformation and self-diffusion of single DNA molecules confined to two dimensions. Physical Review Letters, 82(9), 1911–1914.
  • Maier, B., & Rädler, J. (2000). DNA on fluid membranes: A model polymer in two dimensions. Macromolecules, 33(19), 7185–7194.
  • Maier, B., & Rädler, J. (2001). Shape of self-avoiding walks in two dimensions. Macromolecules, 34(16), 5723–5724.
  • Maier, B., Seifert, U., & Rädler, J. (2002). Elastic response of DNA to external electric fields in two dimensions. Europhysics Letters, 60(4), 622–628.