The atomic force microscope (AFM) was used for measuring force-distance curves on horse spleen ferritin crystals in liquid environment. In the region of the approach curve which corresponds to tip-surface contact, discrete jumps were recorded, as predicted by molecular dynamics simulations in the case of low tip-sample interaction. The observed jumps can be related to the removal of individual molecules from the surface by the AFM tip. A simple steric model, which takes into account tip and ferritin molecule size, can explain the displacements observed with excellent agreement. The elemental force jump resulting from the approach curves is a direct measure of the force required to remove a single molecule from the crystal face. We discuss the conditions under which the cantilever potential energy difference along the elemental force step provides the energy of extraction of a single molecule. The estimate of the intermolecular binding energy turns out to be in good agreement with the value calculated independently from the surface free energy of ferritin crystals.
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|Titolo:||Force probing of protein crystals: an atomic force microscopy study|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2000|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|