Protein unfolding under isometric tension-what force can integrins generate, and can it unfold FNIII domains?
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Extracellular matrix fibrils of fibronectin (FN) are highly elastic, and are typically stretched three to four times their relaxed length. The mechanism of stretching has been controversial, in particular whether it involves tension-induced unfolding of FNIII domains. Recent studies have found that ∼5pN is the threshold isometric force for unfolding various protein domains. FNIII domains should therefore not be unfolded until the tension approaches 5pN. Integrins have been reported to generate forces ranging from 1 to >50pN, but I argue that studies reporting 1-2pN are the most convincing. This is not enough to unfold FNIII domains. Even if domains were unfolded, 2pN would only extend the worm-like-chain to about twice the length of the folded domain. Overall I conclude that stretching FN matrix fibrils involves primarily the compact to extended conformational change of FN dimers, with minimal contribution from unfolding FNIII domains.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1016/j.sbi.2016.12.002
Publication InfoErickson, Harold Paul (2016). Protein unfolding under isometric tension-what force can integrins generate, and can it unfold FNIII domains?. Curr Opin Struct Biol, 42. pp. 98-105. 10.1016/j.sbi.2016.12.002. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/13916.
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James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology
Cytoskeleton: It is now clear that the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton originated in bacteria. Our major research is on FtsZ, the bacterial tubulin homolog, which assembles into a contractile ring that divides the bacterium. We have studied FtsZ assembly in vitro, and found that it assembles into thin protofilaments (pfs). Dozens of these pfs are further clustered to form the contractile Z-ring in vivo. Some important discoveries in the last ten years include: &bul