Condensed Matter Seminar: "Single-molecule force spectroscopy: Theory meets experiment"
Single-molecule biophysical tools are making it possible to measure the response of individual biomolecules to external force – in real time and with unprecedented resolution – revealing information that is typically lost when studied though traditional “bulk” methods. I will present a general analytical theory of force-induced molecular transitions. The theory is based on Kramers picture of diffusive barrier crossing and on a generalization of this picture to many dimensions. The theoretical procedure of interpreting experimental data will be illustrated with (i) unfolding of riboswitches and (ii) unbinding of a receptor-ligand complex involved in blood clot formation with optical tweezers, (iii) unzipping of individual DNA hairpins with nanopores, and (iv) unfolding of proteins with an atomic force microscope.