Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Protein Mechanics at the Single-Molecule Level

  • Mariano Carrión-Vázquez
  • Marek Cieplak
  • Andrés F. Oberhauser
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_420-6

Definition of the Subject

Proteins can be considered as machine-like devices that function through complex structural changes in their intra- or intermolecular bonding. Understanding the dynamics of the inner workings of proteins is still one of the major challenges in biology.

Many proteins are nanomachines that use mechanical forces to fulfill a variety of cellular functions from replication to cell adhesion to cell crawling. The nanomachinery involved in these processes (i.e., the internal parts of these bionanomachines) is still poorly understood. Protein mechanics has emerged as a new multidisciplinary field to directly apply and measure mechanical forces through an array of recently developed dynamic techniques for manipulating single molecules both in real time and under physiological conditions. After a decade, this field is still maturing fast, and exciting developments await just around the corner.

AFM (atomic force microscopy) single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) is one...


Mechanical Stability Mechanical Force Optical Tweezer Backbone Hydrogen Bond fnIII Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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This work was funded by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (BIO2007-67116), the Consejería de Educación of the Madrid Community (S-0505/MAT/0283), and the Spanish Research Council (200620 F00) to M.C.-V., from the NIH (R01DK073394), the John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund for Biomedical Research, and the Polycystic Kidney Foundation (116a2r) to A.F.O., and from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (N N202 0852 33) to M.C. We apologize to all researchers whose pioneering work was not cited due to limitations of space.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariano Carrión-Vázquez
    • 1
  • Marek Cieplak
    • 2
  • Andrés F. Oberhauser
    • 3
  1. 1.CSIC & CIBERNED (Network on Degenerative Diseases)Cajal InstituteMadridSpain
  2. 2.Institute of PhysicsPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular BiophysicsUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA