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Friction force spectroscopy as a tool to study the strength and lateral diffusion of protein layers

, : Friction force spectroscopy as a tool to study the strength and lateral diffusion of protein layers. Langmuir 27(15): 9439-9448

We present a method to study the strength of layers of biological molecules in liquid medium. The method is based on the Friction Force Spectroscopy operation mode of the Atomic Force Microscope. It works by scratching the sample surface at different applied loads while registering the evolution of the sample topography and of the friction between probe and sample. Results are presented for BSA and β-casein monolayers on hydrophobic surfaces. We show how the simultaneous monitoring of topography and friction allows detecting differences not only between the strength of both types of layers, but also between the lateral diffusion of the proteins within these layers. Specifically, β-casein is shown to form stronger layers than BSA. The yield strengths calculated for both of these systems are in the range 50-70 MPa. Moreover, while no lateral diffusion is observed for BSA, we show that β-casein diffuses along the hydrophobic substrates at a rate higher than the scan velocity of the tip (16 μm s(-1) in our case).


PMID: 21702468

DOI: 10.1021/la201673r

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