‡Division of Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology and ⊥School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 790-784, Republic of Korea
§ Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2V4, Canada
∥ School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom
Abstract: Recent works on mussel adhesion have identified a load bearing matrix protein (PTMP1) containing von Willebrand factor (vWF) with collagen binding capability that contributes to the mussel holdfast by manipulating mussel collagens. Using a surface forces apparatus, we investigate for the first time, the nanomechanical properties of vWF-collagen interaction using homologous proteins of mussel byssus, PTMP1 and preCollagens (preCols), as collagen. Mimicking conditions similar to mussel byssus secretion (pH < 5.0) and seawater condition (pH 8.0), PTMP1 and preCol interact weakly in the “positioning” phase based on vWF-collagen binding and strengthen in “locked” phase due to the combined effects of electrostatic attraction, metal binding, and mechanical shearing. The progressive enhancement of binding between PTMP1 with porcine collagen under the aforementioned conditions is also observed. The binding mechanisms of PTMP1-preCols provide insights into the molecular interaction of the mammalian collagen system and the development of an artificial extracellular matrix based on collagens.