© 2017 American Chemical Society. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), an important paracrine growth factor, binds electrostatically with low micromolar affinity to heparan sulfates present on extracellular matrix proteins. A single molecular analysis served as a basis to decipher the nanomechanical mechanism of the interaction between FGF-2 and the heparan sulfate surrogate, heparin, with a modular atomic force microscope (AFM) design combining magnetic actuators with force measurements at the low force regime (1 × 101 to 1 × 104 pN/s). Unbinding events between FGF-2-heparin complexes were specific and short-lived. Binding between FGF-2 and heparin had strong slip bond characteristics as demonstrated by a decrease of lifetime with tensile force on the complex. Unbinding forces between FGF-2 and heparin were further detailed at different pH as relevant for (patho-) physiological conditions. An acidic pH environment (5.5) modulated FGF-2-heparin binding as demonstrated by enhanced rupture forces needed to release FGF-2 from the heparin-FGF-2 complex as compared to physiological conditions. This study provides a mechanistic and hypothesis driven model on how molecular forces may impact FGF-2 release and storage during tissue remodeling and repair.
- atomic force spectroscopy
- extracellular matrix
- isothermal titration calorimetry
- magnetic actuation