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Title: Communication: Does force spectroscopy of biomolecules probe their intrinsic dynamic properties?

In single-molecule pulling experiments, the molecule of interest is attached to a much larger object such as an atomic force microscope tip or a micrometer sized bead. The measured dynamics of molecular transitions is therefore affected by the hydrodynamic drag on the pulling instrument itself. By considering the transitions within the combined system (the molecule and the instrument), it is shown here that two distinct physical regimes exist: when the intrinsic stiffness of the molecule is greater than that of the linker connecting the molecule to the pulling setup then the pulling experiment probes the intrinsic dynamics of the molecule with only relatively small (and quantifiable) corrections resulting from the pulling setup. In contrast, when the stiffness of the linker exceeds that of the molecule, the molecular transition in question involves concerted motion of the molecule and the pulling setup and the hydrodynamic drag on the pulling instrument becomes the dominant source of friction along the molecular reaction coordinate. An analytical formula interpolating between these two cases is further derived. These results explain recent conflicting observations where some single-molecule pulling measurements report anomalously low diffusion coefficients along molecular reaction coordinates while others do not.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Chemistry and Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22415397
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 141; Journal Issue: 24; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY; COORDINATES; CORRECTIONS; DIFFUSION; FLEXIBILITY; FRICTION; HYDRODYNAMICS; MOLECULES; PROBES; SPECTROSCOPY