Bio-based nano-mechano responsive films: A new step towards soft-mechanochemistry
The development of chemo-mechano-responsive systems, systems that respond chemically to a mechanical stimulus, is an emerging field in chemistry. Most of the systems developed so far are based on affecting internal chemical bonds when molecules are put under a mechanical stress. Nature on the other hand transforms a mechanical force into a chemical signal by using force induced conformational changes of proteins.
The goal of the project is to develop chemo-mechano-responsive systems relying on this simple idea: developing systems which respond chemically to stretching by modifying their conformation. This approach can be called Soft-Mechano-Chemistry. For this purpose we will design avidin monomer mutants. The mutations will allow to covalently anchor these proteins onto an elastomeric substrate and to weaken the avidin interaction with biotin upon stretching. This should allow modulating mechanically the avidin/biotin binding strength.
This project should result in the first system where the ligand/receptor interaction can be modulated by force-induced conformational changes. It should also constitute a new type of biointeraction platform for biosensing and tissue engineering which can be modulated mechanically.