The Garcia-Manyes group
Our main interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms that confer mechanical stability to well-defined biological systems, such as single proteins and supported lipid bilayers, at the single molecule level.
The primary goal of our research agenda is to decipher the molecular mechanisms by which individual proteins equilibrate under the effect of a constant stretching force. We use the newly developed single molecule force-clamp spectroscopy technique to elucidate the conformational dynamics of a single refolding protein during its individual folding trajectory from highly extended states.
Furthermore, we use our AFM-based force-clamp assay to examine, at the single bond level, the effect of a mechanical force on the potential energy surface of a chemical reaction, such as the reduction of a protein-embedded disulfide bond. These experiments will allow experimental characterization of the transition state structure of a chemical reaction under force.
Finally, we aim at underpinning the atomic origin of the mechanical resistance of cell lipid membranes, which remains largely unknown. Using force-spectroscopy AFM, we can decipher the molecular determinants that provide supported lipid bilayers with unexpectedly high mechanical stabilities.
Within a cross-disciplinary approach, spanning the boundaries of molecular biology, chemistry and physics, our research represents a new single molecule approach to understand the effect of a mechanical force on biological systems, of common occurrence in nature.
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