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  Coiled coils as molecular force sensors for the extracellular matrix

Göktas, M. (2019). Coiled coils as molecular force sensors for the extracellular matrix. PhD Thesis, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam. doi:10.25932/publishup-42749.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-5FF6-C Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-8786-A
Genre: Thesis
Other : Coiled coils als molekulare Kraftsensoren für die extrazelluläre Matrix

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 Creators:
Göktas, Melis1, Author              
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1Kerstin Blank, Mechano(bio)chemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society, ou_2301698              

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Free keywords: molecular force sensors, cell-ECM interactions, extracellular matrix (ECM), cellular forces, coiled coil, single molecule force spectroscopy, molekulare Kraftsensoren, Zell-Matrix-Wechselwirkung, extrazelluläre Matrix, zelluläre Kräfte, coiled coil, Einzelmolekül-Kraftspektroskopie
 Abstract: Kraft spielt eine fundamentale Rolle bei der Regulation von biologischen Prozessen. Zellen messen mechanische Eigenschaften der extrazellulären Matrix und benutzen diese Information zur Regulierung ihrer Funktion. Dazu werden im Zytoskelett Kräfte generiert und auf extrazelluläre Rezeptor-Ligand Wechselwirkungen übertragen. Obwohl der grundlegende Einfluss von mechanischen Signalen für das Zellschicksal eindeutig belegt ist, sind die auf molekularer Ebene wirkenden Kräfte kaum bekannt. Zur Messung dieser Kräfte wurden verschiedene molekulare Kraftsensoren entwickelt, die ein mechanisches Inputsignal aufnehmen und in einen optischen Output (Fluoreszenz) umwandeln. Diese Arbeit etabliert einen neuen Kraftsensor-Baustein, der die mechanischen Eigenschaften der extrazellulären Matrix nachbildet. Dieser Baustein basiert auf natürlichen Matrixproteinen, sogenannten coiled coils (CCs), die α-helikale Strukturen im Zytoskelett und der Matrix formen. Eine Serie an CC-Heterodimeren wurde konzipiert und mittels Einzelmolekül-Kraftspektroskopie und Molekulardynamik-Simulationen charakterisiert. Es wurde gezeigt, dass eine anliegende Scherkraft die Entfaltung der helikalen Struktur induziert. Die mechanische Stabilität (Separation der CC Helices) wird von der CC Länge und der Zuggeschwindigkeit bestimmt. Im Folgenden wurden 2 CCs unterschiedlicher Länge als Kraftsensoren verwendet, um die Adhäsionskräfte von Fibroblasten und Endothelzellen zu untersuchen. Diese Kraftsensoren deuten an, dass diese Zelltypen unterschiedlich starke Kräften generieren und mittels Integrin-Rezeptoren auf einen extrazellulären Liganden (RGD-Peptid) übertragen. Dieses neue CC-basierte Sensordesign ist ein leistungsstarkes Werkzeug zur Betrachtung zellulärer Kraftwahrnehmungsprozesse auf molekularer Ebene, das neue Erkenntnisse über die involvierten Mechanismen und Kräfte an der Zell-Matrix-Schnittstelle ermöglicht. Darüber hinaus wird dieses Sensordesign auch Anwendung bei der Entwicklung mechanisch kontrollierter Biomaterialien finden. Dazu können mechanisch charakterisierte, und mit einem Fluoreszenzreporter versehene, CCs in Hydrogele eingefügt werden. Dies erlaubt die Untersuchung der Zusammenhänge zwischen molekularer und makroskopischer Mechanik und eröffnet neue Möglichkeiten zur Diskriminierung von lokalen und globalen Faktoren, die die zelluläre Antwort auf mechanische Signale bestimmen. Force plays a fundamental role in the regulation of biological processes. Cells can sense the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by applying forces and transmitting mechanical signals. They further use mechanical information for regulating a wide range of cellular functions, including adhesion, migration, proliferation, as well as differentiation and apoptosis. Even though it is well understood that mechanical signals play a crucial role in directing cell fate, surprisingly little is known about the range of forces that define cell-ECM interactions at the molecular level. Recently, synthetic molecular force sensor (MFS) designs have been established for measuring the molecular forces acting at the cell-ECM interface. MFSs detect the traction forces generated by cells and convert this mechanical input into an optical readout. They are composed of calibrated mechanoresponsive building blocks and are usually equipped with a fluorescence reporter system. Up to date, many different MFS designs have been introduced and successfully used for measuring forces involved in the adhesion of mammalian cells. These MFSs utilize different molecular building blocks, such as double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (dsDNA) molecules, DNA hairpins and synthetic polymers like polyethylene glycol (PEG). These currently available MFS designs lack ECM mimicking properties. In this work, I introduce a new MFS building block for cell biology applications, derived from the natural ECM. It combines mechanical tunability with the ability to mimic the native cellular microenvironment. Inspired by structural ECM proteins with load bearing function, this new MFS design utilizes coiled coil (CC)-forming peptides. CCs are involved in structural and mechanical tasks in the cellular microenvironment and many of the key protein components of the cytoskeleton and the ECM contain CC structures. The well-known folding motif of CC structures, an easy synthesis via solid phase methods and the many roles CCs play in biological processes have inspired studies to use CCs as tunable model systems for protein design and assembly. All these properties make CCs ideal candidates as building blocks for MFSs. In this work, a series of heterodimeric CCs were designed, characterized and further used as molecular building blocks for establishing a novel, next-generation MFS prototype. A mechanistic molecular understanding of their structural response to mechanical load is essential for revealing the sequence-structure-mechanics relationships of CCs. Here, synthetic heterodimeric CCs of different length were loaded in shear geometry and their mechanical response was investigated using a combination of atomic force microscope (AFM)-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) and steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations. SMFS showed that the rupture forces of short heterodimeric CCs (3-5 heptads) lie in the range of 20-50 pN, depending on CC length, pulling geometry and the applied loading rate (dF/dt). Upon shearing, an initial rise in the force, followed by a force plateau and ultimately strand separation was observed in SMD simulations. A detailed structural analysis revealed that CC response to shear load depends on the loading rate and involves helix uncoiling, uncoiling-assisted sliding in the direction of the applied force and uncoiling-assisted dissociation perpendicular to the force axis. The application potential of these mechanically characterized CCs as building blocks for MFSs has been tested in 2D cell culture applications with the goal of determining the threshold force for cell adhesion. Fully calibrated, 4- to 5-heptad long, CC motifs (CC-A4B4 and CC-A5B5) were used for functionalizing glass surfaces with MFSs. 3T3 fibroblasts and endothelial cells carrying mutations in a signaling pathway linked to cell adhesion and mechanotransduction processes were used as model systems for time-dependent adhesion experiments. A5B5-MFS efficiently supported cell attachment to the functionalized surfaces for both cell types, while A4B4-MFS failed to maintain attachment of 3T3 fibroblasts after the first 2 hours of initial cell adhesion. This difference in cell adhesion behavior demonstrates that the magnitude of cell-ECM forces varies depending on the cell type and further supports the application potential of CCs as mechanoresponsive and tunable molecular building blocks for the development of next-generation protein-based MFSs.This novel CC-based MFS design is expected to provide a powerful new tool for observing cellular mechanosensing processes at the molecular level and to deliver new insights into the mechanisms and forces involved. This MFS design, utilizing mechanically tunable CC building blocks, will not only allow for measuring the molecular forces acting at the cell-ECM interface, but also yield a new platform for the development of mechanically controlled materials for a large number of biological and medical applications.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-01-302019-04-172019
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: xiv, 124
 Publishing info: Potsdam : Universität Potsdam
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: -
 Degree: PhD

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