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Biophys J. 2019 Jun 4;116(11):2092-2102. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.04.025. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Shear-Induced Extensional Response Behaviors of Tethered von Willebrand Factor.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Department of Bioengineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Electronic address: xiz310@lehigh.edu.
4
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Department of Bioengineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Electronic address: xuc207@lehigh.edu.

Abstract

We perform single-molecule flow experiments using confocal microscopy and a microfluidic device for shear rates up to 20,000 s-1 and present results for the shear-induced unraveling and elongation of tethered von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers. Further, we employ companion Brownian dynamics simulations to help explain details of our experimental observations using a parameterized coarse-grained model of VWF. We show that global conformational changes of tethered VWF can be accurately captured using a relatively simple mechanical model. Good agreement is found between experimental results and computational predictions for the threshold shear rate of extension, existence of nonhomogenous fluorescence distributions along unraveled multimer contours, and large variations in extensional response behaviors. Brownian dynamics simulations reveal the strong influence of varying chain length, tethering point location, and number of tethering locations on the underlying unraveling response. Through a complex molecule like VWF that naturally adopts a wide distribution of molecular size and has multiple binding sites within each molecule, this work demonstrates the power of tandem experiment and simulation for understanding flow-induced changes in biomechanical state and global conformation of macromolecules.

PMID:
31103230
PMCID:
PMC6554656
[Available on 2020-06-04]
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2019.04.025

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