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Proceedings Paper

Optical tweezers for single molecule force spectroscopy on bacterial adhesion organelles
Author(s): Magnus Andersson; Ove Axner; Bernt Eric Uhlin; Erik Fällman
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Paper Abstract

Instrumentation and methodologies for single molecule force spectroscopy on bacterial adhesion organelles by the use of force measuring optical tweezers have been developed. A thorough study of the biomechanical properties of fimbrial adhesion organelles expressed by uropathogenic E. coli, so-called pili, is presented. Steady-state as well as dynamic force measurements on P pili, expressed by E. coli causing pyelonephritis, have revealed, among other things, various unfolding and refolding properties of the helical structure of P pili, the PapA rod. Based on these properties an energy landscape model has been constructed by which specific biophysical properties of the PapA rod have been extracted, e.g. the number of subunits, the length of a single pilus, bond lengths and activation energies for bond opening and closure. Moreover, long time repetitive measurements have shown that the rod can be unfolded and refolded repetitive times without losing its intrinsic properties. These properties are believed to be of importance for the bacteria's ability to maintain close contact with host cells during initial infections. The results presented are considered to be of importance for the field of biopolymers in general and the development of new pharmaceuticals towards urinary tract infections in particular. The results show furthermore that the methodology can be used to gain knowledge of the intrinsic biomechanical function of adhesion organelles. The instrumentation is currently used for characterization of type 1 pili, expressed by E. coli causing cystitis, i.e. infections in the bladder. The first force spectrometry investigations of these pili will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6326, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III, 632620 (11 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.683796
Show Author Affiliations
Magnus Andersson, Umeå Univ. (Sweden)
Ove Axner, Umeå Univ. (Sweden)
Bernt Eric Uhlin, Umeå Univ. (Sweden)
Erik Fällman, Umeå Univ. (Sweden)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6326:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation III
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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