Impact of Polymer Tether Length on Multiple Ligand-Receptor Bond Formation

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Science  20 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5529, pp. 465-468
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5529.465

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The promoters of cell adhesion are ligands, which are often attached to flexible tethers that bind to surface receptors on adjacent cells. Using a combination of Monte Carlo simulations, diffusion reaction theory, and direct experiments (surface force measurements) of the biotin-streptavidin system, we have quantified polymer chain dynamics and the kinetics and spatial range of tethered ligand-receptor binding. The results show that the efficiency of strong binding does not depend solely on the molecular architecture or binding energy of the receptor-ligand pair, nor on the equilibrium configuration of the polymer tether, but rather on its “rare” extended conformations.

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