Multi-step assembly of individual protein building blocks is key to the formation of essential higher-order structures inside and outside of cells. Optical tweezers is a technique well suited to investigate the mechanics and dynamics of these structures at a variety of size scales. In this mini-review, we highlight experiments that have used optical tweezers to investigate protein assembly and mechanics, with a focus on the extracellular matrix protein collagen. These examples demonstrate how optical tweezers can be used to study mechanics across length scales, ranging from the single-molecule level to fibrils to protein networks. We discuss challenges in experimental design and interpretation, opportunities for integration with other experimental modalities, and applications of optical tweezers to current questions in protein mechanics and assembly.
Lehmann, K., Shayegan, M., Blab, G. A., & Forde, N. R. (2020). Optical Tweezers Approaches for Probing Multiscale Protein Mechanics and Assembly. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 7, 259. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2020.577314
Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Optical Tweezers Approaches for Probing Multiscale Protein Mechanics and Assembly
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