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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10(9), 4009-4032; doi:10.3390/ijms10094009
Review

Experimental and Computational Characterization of Biological Liquid Crystals: A Review of Single-Molecule Bioassays

1,* , 2
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 and
5,*
1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 136-701, Korea 2 Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-752, Korea 3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Catholic University of Daegu, Kyeongbuk 712-702, Korea 4 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yonsei University, Kangwon-do 220-740, Korea 5 Research Institute of Engineering and Technology, Korea University, Seoul 136-701, Korea
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 August 2009 / Revised: 1 September 2009 / Accepted: 7 September 2009 / Published: 10 September 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystals)
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Abstract

Quantitative understanding of the mechanical behavior of biological liquid crystals such as proteins is essential for gaining insight into their biological functions, since some proteins perform notable mechanical functions. Recently, single-molecule experiments have allowed not only the quantitative characterization of the mechanical behavior of proteins such as protein unfolding mechanics, but also the exploration of the free energy landscape for protein folding. In this work, we have reviewed the current state-of-art in single-molecule bioassays that enable quantitative studies on protein unfolding mechanics and/or various molecular interactions. Specifically, single-molecule pulling experiments based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) have been overviewed. In addition, the computational simulations on single-molecule pulling experiments have been reviewed. We have also reviewed the AFM cantilever-based bioassay that provides insight into various molecular interactions. Our review highlights the AFM-based single-molecule bioassay for quantitative characterization of biological liquid crystals such as proteins.
Keywords: single-molecule experiments; atomic force microscope (AFM); coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation; coarse-grained model; in vitro molecular recognitions single-molecule experiments; atomic force microscope (AFM); coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation; coarse-grained model; in vitro molecular recognitions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Eom, K.; Yang, J.; Park, J.; Yoon, G.; Sohn, Y.S.; Park, S.; Yoon, D.S.; Na, S.; Kwon, T. Experimental and Computational Characterization of Biological Liquid Crystals: A Review of Single-Molecule Bioassays. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 4009-4032.

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