Research report 2004 - Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart site

Cellular life on the nanometer scale

Spatz, Joachim P.; Arnold, Marco; Blümmel, Jacques; Cavalcanti-Adam, Ada; Glass, Roman; Ulmer, Jens

Neue Materialien und Biosysteme (Prof. Dr. Joachim P. Spatz)
MPI für Metallforschung, Stuttgart

The formation of molecular clusters plays an essential role in many hierarchically organised processes. Especially in biology, cellular functions are often regulated by the association of single proteins into protein clusters of defined protein number. Proteins change their molecular conformation and thus their function through interaction with other proteins in close spatial proximity. Consequently, the formation of protein clusters is a functional tool of nature to switch system properties. Beside the spatial proximity of proteins the total number of proteins per cluster is often very important. Usually, this is a countable number of proteins which form such a cluster. In such systems, cooperativeness between proteins is basically of importance. In this context, nanotechnology can contribute significantly to cell biology by means of nanostructured and bio-functionalised interfaces. Here, this technology serves as a “nanoscopic tool” for regulating molecular interactions and for measuring molecular length scales in protein clusters.

For the full text, see the German version.

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