Adhesion forces between individual ligand-receptor pairs

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Science  15 Apr 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5157, pp. 415-417
DOI: 10.1126/science.8153628


The adhesion force between the tip of an atomic force microscope cantilever derivatized with avidin and agarose beads functionalized with biotin, desthiobiotin, or iminobiotin was measured. Under conditions that allowed only a limited number of molecular pairs to interact, the force required to separate tip and bead was found to be quantized in integer multiples of 160 +/- 20 piconewtons for biotin and 85 +/- 15 piconewtons for iminobiotin. The measured force quanta are interpreted as the unbinding forces of individual molecular pairs.

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