Alignment of filamentous proteins and associated molecules through confinement in microchannels

Bouxsein, Nathan F.; Hirst, Linda S.; Youli Li; Safinya, Cyrus R.; Abu Samah, Zuruzi; MacDonald, Noel C.; Pynn, Roger
December 2004
Applied Physics Letters;12/6/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 23, p5775
Academic Journal
A technique has been developed to study the structure and interaction of aligned filamentous proteins by confining them in surface-treated silicon microchannels. The micron-size channels induce the semiflexible biopolymers with comparable or larger persistence lengths than the channel width to naturally align parallel to the channel in solution, which facilitates structural studies by x-ray diffraction and optical imaging techniques. As a model system, we investigated the cross-linking of filamentous actin (F-actin) with the bundling protein α-actinin in the microchannels. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction and fluorescence microscopy were used to confirm that F-actin, when bundled in the device, conforms to the alignment of the channel geometry.


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