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Sliding tethered ligands add topological interactions to the toolbox of ligand–receptor design

Wednesday 28 October 2015, by mcube

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Adhesion in the biological realm is mediated by specific lock-and-key interactions between ligand–receptor pairs. These complementary moieties are ubiquitously anchored to sub- strates by tethers that control the interaction range and the mobility of the ligands and receptors, thus tuning the kinetics and strength of the binding events. Here we add sliding anchoring to the toolbox of ligand–receptor design by developing a family of tethered ligands for which the spacer can slide at the anchoring point. Our results show that this additional sliding degree of freedom changes the nature of the adhesive contact by extending the spatial range over which binding may sustain a significant force. By introducing sliding tethered ligands with self-regulating length, this work paves the way for the development of versatile and reusable bio-adhesive substrates with potential applications for drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Nature Communications volume 6, Article number: 8117 (2015)