Our lab uses a MFP (Molecular Force Probe from Asylum Research) to measure the forces to rupture single noncovalent protein bonds.
Force spectroscoy measurements are used to investigate structure/function relationships of cell surface adhesion proteins. Projects include studies of structural determinants of bond strengths, physical chemical basis of binding recognition, and allosteric regulation of binding in multidomain adhesion proteins. We complement these single molecule investigations with molecular dynamics simulations, to identify critical amino acids in adhesion and binding selectivity. Measurements of single proteins on cell surfaces further determine how the membrane context, inside out signaling, and connections to the cytoskeleton regulate cell adhesion.