Evidence that ?C region is origin of low modulus, high extensibility, and strain stiffening in fibrin fibers.
ABSTRACT: Fibrin fibers form the structural scaffold of blood clots and perform the mechanical task of stemming blood flow. Several decades of investigation of fibrin fiber networks using macroscopic techniques have revealed remarkable mechanical properties. More recently, the microscopic origins of fibrin's mechanics have been probed through direct measurements on single fibrin fibers and individual fibrinogen molecules. Using a nanomanipulation system, we investigated the mechanical properties of individual fibrin fibers. The fibers were stretched with the atomic force microscope, and stress-versus-strain data was collected for fibers formed with and without ligation by the activated transglutaminase factor XIII (FXIIIa). We observed that ligation with FXIIIa nearly doubled the stiffness of the fibers. The stress-versus-strain behavior indicates that fibrin fibers exhibit properties similar to other elastomeric biopolymers. We propose a mechanical model that fits our observed force extension data, is consistent with the results of the ligation data, and suggests that the large observed extensibility in fibrin fibers is mediated by the natively unfolded regions of the molecule. Although some models attribute fibrin's force-versus-extension behavior to unfolding of structured regions within the monomer, our analysis argues that these models are inconsistent with the measured extensibility and elastic modulus.
Project description:Blood clots perform an essential mechanical task, yet the mechanical behavior of fibrin fibers, which form the structural framework of a clot, is largely unknown. By using combined atomic force-fluorescence microscopy, we determined the elastic limit and extensibility of individual fibers. Fibrin fibers can be strained 180% (2.8-fold extension) without sustaining permanent lengthening, and they can be strained up to 525% (average 330%) before rupturing. This is the largest extensibility observed for protein fibers. The data imply that fibrin monomers must be able to undergo sizeable, reversible structural changes and that deformations in clots can be accommodated by individual fiber stretching.
Project description:Protein based polymers provide an exciting and complex landscape for tunable natural biomaterials through modulation of molecular level interactions. Here we demonstrate the ability to modify protein polymer structural and mechanical properties at multiple length scales by molecular 'interference' of fibrin's native polymerization mechanism. We have previously reported that engagement of fibrin's polymerization 'hole b', also known as 'b-pockets', through PEGylated complementary 'knob B' mimics can increase fibrin network porosity but also, somewhat paradoxically, increase network stiffness. Here, we explore the possible mechanistic underpinning of this phenomenon through characterization of the effects of knob B-fibrin interaction at multiple length scales from molecular to bulk polymer. Despite its weak monovalent binding affinity for fibrin, addition of both knob B and PEGylated knob B at concentrations near the binding coefficient, Kd, increased fibrin network porosity, consistent with the reported role of knob B-hole b interactions in promoting lateral growth of fibrin fibers. Addition of PEGylated knob B decreases the extensibility of single fibrin fibers at concentrations near its Kd but increases extensibility of fibers at concentrations above its Kd. The data suggest this bimodal behavior is due to the individual contributions knob B, which decreases fiber extensibility, and PEG, which increase fiber extensibility. Taken together with laser trap-based microrheological and bulk rheological analyses of fibrin polymers, our data strongly suggests that hole b engagement increases in single fiber stiffness that translates to higher storage moduli of fibrin polymers despite their increased porosity. These data point to possible strategies for tuning fibrin polymer mechanical properties through modulation of single fiber mechanics.
Project description:Fibrin fibers form the structural scaffold of blood clots. Thus, their mechanical properties are of central importance to understanding hemostasis and thrombotic disease. Recent studies have revealed that fibrin fibers are elastomeric despite their high degree of molecular ordering. These results have inspired a variety of molecular models for fibrin's elasticity, ranging from reversible protein unfolding to rubber-like elasticity. An important property that has not been explored is the timescale of elastic recoil, a parameter that is critical for fibrin's mechanical function and places a temporal constraint on molecular models of fiber elasticity. Using high-frame-rate imaging and atomic force microscopy-based nanomanipulation, we measured the recoil dynamics of individual fibrin fibers and found that the recoil was orders of magnitude faster than anticipated from models involving protein refolding. We also performed steered discrete molecular-dynamics simulations to investigate the molecular origins of the observed recoil. Our results point to the unstructured ?C regions of the otherwise structured fibrin molecule as being responsible for the elastic recoil of the fibers.
Project description:Blood clots and thrombi consist primarily of a mesh of branched fibers made of the protein fibrin. We propose a molecular basis for the marked extensibility and negative compressibility of fibrin gels based on the structural and mechanical properties of clots at the network, fiber, and molecular levels. The force required to stretch a clot initially rises linearly and is accompanied by a dramatic decrease in clot volume and a peak in compressibility. These macroscopic transitions are accompanied by fiber alignment and bundling after forced protein unfolding. Constitutive models are developed to integrate observations at spatial scales that span six orders of magnitude and indicate that gel extensibility and expulsion of water are both manifestations of protein unfolding, which is not apparent in other matrix proteins such as collagen.
Project description:Actin-myosin filament bundles (stress fibers) are critical for tension generation and cell shape, but their mechanical properties are difficult to access. Here we propose a novel approach to probe individual peripheral stress fibers in living cells through a microsurgically generated opening in the cytoplasm. By applying large deformations with a soft cantilever we were able to fully characterize the mechanical response of the fibers and evaluate their tension, extensibility, elastic and viscous properties.
Project description:The major structural component of a blood clot is a mesh of fibrin fibers. Our goal was to determine whether fibrinogen glycation and fibrin fiber diameter have an effect on the mechanical properties of single fibrin fibers. We used a combined atomic force microscopy/fluorescence microscopy technique to determine the mechanical properties of individual fibrin fibers formed from blood plasma. Blood samples were taken from uncontrolled diabetic patients as well as age-, gender-, and body-mass-index-matched healthy individuals. The patients then underwent treatment to control blood glucose levels before end blood samples were taken. The fibrinogen glycation of the diabetic patients was reduced from 8.8 to 5.0 mol glucose/mol fibrinogen, and the healthy individuals had a mean fibrinogen glycation of 4.0 mol glucose/mol fibrinogen. We found that fibrinogen glycation had no significant systematic effect on single-fiber modulus, extensibility, or stress relaxation times. However, we did find that the fiber modulus, Y, strongly decreases with increasing fiber diameter, D, as Y?D(-1.6). Thin fibers can be 100 times stiffer than thick fibers. This is unusual because the modulus is a material constant and should not depend on the sample dimensions (diameter) for homogeneous materials. Our finding, therefore, implies that fibrin fibers do not have a homogeneous cross section of uniformly connected protofibrils, as is commonly thought. Instead, the density of protofibril connections, ?Pb, strongly decreases with increasing diameter, as ?Pb?D(-1.6). Thin fibers are denser and/or have more strongly connected protofibrils than thick fibers. This implies that it is easier to dissolve clots that consist of fewer thick fibers than those that consist of many thin fibers, which is consistent with experimental and clinical observations.
Project description:Fibrin is a protein polymer that is essential for hemostasis and thrombosis, wound healing, and several other biological functions and pathological conditions that involve extracellular matrix. In addition to molecular and cellular interactions, fibrin mechanics has been recently shown to underlie clot behavior in the highly dynamic intra- and extravascular environments. Fibrin has both elastic and viscous properties. Perhaps the most remarkable rheological feature of the fibrin network is an extremely high elasticity and stability despite very low protein content. Another important mechanical property that is common to many filamentous protein polymers but not other polymers is stiffening occurring in response to shear, tension, or compression. New data has begun to provide a structural basis for the unique mechanical behavior of fibrin that originates from its complex multi-scale hierarchical structure. The mechanical behavior of the whole fibrin gel is governed largely by the properties of single fibers and their ensembles, including changes in fiber orientation, stretching, bending, and buckling. The properties of individual fibrin fibers are determined by the number and packing arrangements of double-stranded half-staggered protofibrils, which still remain poorly understood. It has also been proposed that forced unfolding of sub-molecular structures, including elongation of flexible and relatively unstructured portions of fibrin molecules, can contribute to fibrin deformations. In spite of a great increase in our knowledge of the structural mechanics of fibrin, much about the mechanisms of fibrin's biological functions remains unknown. Fibrin deformability is not only an essential part of the biomechanics of hemostasis and thrombosis, but also a rapidly developing field of bioengineering that uses fibrin as a versatile biomaterial with exceptional and tunable biochemical and mechanical properties.
Project description:Supramolecular hydrogels have the advantages of stimuli responsiveness and self-healing compared to covalently crosslinked hydrogels. However, the existing supramolecular hydrogels are usually poor in mechanical properties especially in extensibility. In addition, these supramolecular hydrogels need a long self-healing time and have low self-healing efficiency. In this manuscript, we report a novel strategy to develop highly extensible and fast self-healing supramolecular hydrogels by using pre-coordinated mussel-inspired catechol-Fe3+ complexes as dynamic crosslinkers. The hydrogel can be fabricated and cast into various shapes by one-step photo-crosslinking. Thus fabricated hydrogels can be stretched beyond 10 times their original lengths, and the high extensibility can completely recover within a very short time (less than 20 minutes) even after the hydrogels are entirely cut apart. Utilizing the dynamic nature of supramolecular hydrogels, we can realize different mechanical behaviors including strength, extensibility and recoverability by varying the loading conditions. In addition, the hydrogels respond to multiple stimuli including mechanical force, temperature and certain chemicals because of the dynamic catechol-Fe3+ bond.
Project description:The multiscale mechanical behavior of individual fibrin fibers and fibrin clots wasmodeled by coupling atomistic simulation data and microscopic experimental data. We propose anew protofibril element composed of a nonlinear spring network, and constructed this based onmolecular simulations and atomic force microscopy results to simulate the force extension behaviorof fibrin fibers. This new network model also accounts for the complex interaction of protofibrilswith one another, the effects of the presence of a solvent, Coulombic attraction, and other bindingforces. The network model was formulated to simulate the force-extension mechanical behavior ofsingle fibrin fibers from atomic force microscopy experiments, and shows good agreement. Thevalidated fibrin fiber network model was then combined with a modified version of the Arruda-Boyce eight-chain model to estimate the force extension behavior of the fibrin clot at the continuumlevel, which shows very good correlation. The results show that our network model is able to predictthe behavior of fibrin fibers as well as fibrin clots at small strains, large strains, and close to the breakstrain. We used the network model to explain why the mechanical response of fibrin clots and fibrinfibers deviates from worm-like chain behavior, and instead behaves like a nonlinear spring.
Project description:The structural proteins of the extracellular matrix (ECM) form fibers with finely tuned mechanical properties matched to the time scales of cell traction forces. Several proteins such as fibronectin (Fn) and fibrin undergo molecular conformational changes that extend the proteins and are believed to be a major contributor to the extensibility of bulk fibers. The dynamics of these conformational changes have been thoroughly explored since the advent of single molecule force spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations but remarkably, these data have not been rigorously applied to the understanding of the time dependent mechanics of bulk ECM fibers. Using measurements of protein density within fibers, we have examined the influence of dynamic molecular conformational changes and the intermolecular arrangement of Fn within fibers on the bulk mechanical properties of Fn fibers. Fibers were simulated as molecular strands with architectures that promote either equal or disparate molecular loading under conditions of constant extension rate. Measurements of protein concentration within micron scale fibers using deep ultraviolet transmission microscopy allowed the simulations to be scaled appropriately for comparison to in vitro measurements of fiber mechanics as well as providing estimates of fiber porosity and water content, suggesting Fn fibers are approximately 75% solute. Comparing the properties predicted by single molecule measurements to in vitro measurements of Fn fibers showed that domain unfolding is sufficient to predict the high extensibility and nonlinear stiffness of Fn fibers with surprising accuracy, with disparately loaded fibers providing the best fit to experiment. This work shows the promise of this microstructural modeling approach for understanding Fn fiber properties, which is generally applicable to other ECM fibers, and could be further expanded to tissue scale by incorporating these simulated fibers into three dimensional network models.