Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. II. Responses To object texture and weights.
Three monkeys were trained to lift and hold a test object within a 12- to 25-mm position window for 1 s. The activity of single neurons was recorded during performance of the task in which both the weight and surface texture of the object were systematically varied. Whenever possible, each cell was tested with three weights (15, 65, and 115 g) and three textures (smooth metal, fine 200 grit sandpaper, and rough 60 grit sandpaper). Of 386 cells recorded in 3 monkeys, 45 cells had cutaneous receptive fields on the index or thumb or part of the thenar eminence and were held long enough to be tested in all 9 combinations of texture and weight. Recordings were made for the entire anterior-posterior extent of the thumb and index finger areas in somatosensory cortex including area 7b. However, the statistical analysis required a selection of only those cells for which nine complete recording conditions were available limiting the sample to cells in areas 2, 5, and 7b. Significant differences in the grip force accompanied 98% of the changes in texture and 78% of the changes in weight. Increasing the object weight also increased the force tangential to the skin surface as measured by the load or lifting force. The peak discharge during lifting was judged to be the most sensitive index of cell activity and was analyzed with a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). In addition, peak cell discharge was normalized to allow comparisons among different combinations of texture and weight as well as comparisons among different neurons. Overall, the peak firing frequency of 87% of the cells was significantly modulated by changes in object texture, but changes in object weight affected the peak activity of only 58% of the cells. Almost all (17/18, 94%) of the static cells were influenced by the object texture, and 81% of the dynamic cells that were active only briefly at grip and lift onset were modulated by texture. For some cells, surface texture had a significant effect on neuronal discharge that was independent of the object weight. In contrast, weight-related responses were never simple main effects of the weight alone and appeared instead as significant interactions between texture and weight. Four neurons either increased or decreased activity in a graded fashion with surface structure (roughness) regardless of the object weight (P < 0.05). Ten other neurons showed increases or decreases in response to one or two textures, which might represent either a graded response or a tuning preference for a specific texture. The firing frequency of the majority (31/45) of neurons reflected an interaction of both texture and weight. The cells with texture-related but weight-independent activities were thought to encode surface characteristics that are largely independent of the grip and lifting forces used to manipulate the object. Such constancies could be used to construct internal representations or mental models for planning and controlling object manipulation. (+info)
The forward rate of binding of surface-tethered reactants: effect of relative motion between two surfaces.
The reaction of molecules confined to two dimensions is of interest in cell adhesion, specifically for the reaction between cell surface receptors and substrate-bound ligand. We have developed a model to describe the overall rate of reaction of species that are bound to surfaces under relative motion, such that the Peclet number is order one or greater. The encounter rate between reactive species is calculated from solution of the two-dimensional convection-diffusion equation. The probability that each encounter will lead to binding depends on the intrinsic rate of reaction and the encounter duration. The encounter duration is obtained from the theory of first passage times. We find that the binding rate increases with relative velocity between the two surfaces, then reaches a plateau. This plateau indicates that the increase in the encounter rate is counterbalanced by the decrease in the encounter duration as the relative velocity increases. The binding rate is fully described by two dimensionless parameters, the Peclet number and the Damkohler number. We use this model to explain data from the cell adhesion literature by incorporating these rate laws into "adhesive dynamics" simulations to model the binding of a cell to a surface under flow. Leukocytes are known to display a "shear threshold effect" when binding selectin-coated surfaces under shear flow, defined as an increase in bind rate with shear; this effect, as calculated here, is due to an increase in collisions between receptor and ligand with increasing shear. The model can be used to explain other published data on the effect of wall shear rate on the binding of cells to surfaces, specifically the mild decrease in binding within a fixed area with increasing shear rate. (+info)
Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of lipid translocation in biological membranes.
A theoretical analysis of the lipid translocation in cellular bilayer membranes is presented. We focus on an integrative model of active and passive transport processes determining the asymmetrical distribution of the major lipid components between the monolayers. The active translocation of the aminophospholipids phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylethanolamine is mathematically described by kinetic equations resulting from a realistic ATP-dependent transport mechanism. Concerning the passive transport of the aminophospholipids as well as of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, and cholesterol, two different approaches are used. The first treatment makes use of thermodynamic flux-force relationships. Relevant forces are transversal concentration differences of the lipids as well as differences in the mechanical states of the monolayers due to lateral compressions. Both forces, originating primarily from the operation of an aminophospholipid translocase, are expressed as functions of the lipid compositions of the two monolayers. In the case of mechanical forces, lipid-specific parameters such as different molecular surface areas and compression force constants are taken into account. Using invariance principles, it is shown how the phenomenological coefficients depend on the total lipid amounts. In a second approach, passive transport is analyzed in terms of kinetic mechanisms of carrier-mediated translocation, where mechanical effects are incorporated into the translocation rate constants. The thermodynamic as well as the kinetic approach are applied to simulate the time-dependent redistribution of the lipid components in human red blood cells. In the thermodynamic model the steady-state asymmetrical lipid distribution of erythrocyte membranes is simulated well under certain parameter restrictions: 1) the time scales of uncoupled passive transbilayer movement must be different among the lipid species; 2) positive cross-couplings of the passive lipid fluxes are needed, which, however, may be chosen lipid-unspecifically. A comparison of the thermodynamic and the kinetic approaches reveals that antiport mechanisms for passive lipid movements may be excluded. Simulations with kinetic symport mechanisms are in qualitative agreement with experimental data but show discrepancies in the asymmetrical distribution for sphingomyelin. (+info)
Surface-induced polymerization of actin.
Living cells contain a very large amount of membrane surface area, which potentially influences the direction, the kinetics, and the localization of biochemical reactions. This paper quantitatively evaluates the possibility that a lipid monolayer can adsorb actin from a nonpolymerizing solution, induce its polymerization, and form a 2D network of individual actin filaments, in conditions that forbid bulk polymerization. G- and F-actin solutions were studied beneath saturated Langmuir monolayers containing phosphatidylcholine (PC, neutral) and stearylamine (SA, a positively charged surfactant) at PC:SA = 3:1 molar ratio. Ellipsometry, tensiometry, shear elastic measurements, electron microscopy, and dark-field light microscopy were used to characterize the adsorption kinetics and the interfacial polymerization of actin. In all cases studied, actin follows a monoexponential reaction-limited adsorption with similar time constants (approximately 10(3) s). At a longer time scale the shear elasticity of the monomeric actin adsorbate increases only in the presence of lipids, to a 2D shear elastic modulus of mu approximately 30 mN/m, indicating the formation of a structure coupled to the monolayer. Electron microscopy shows the formation of a 2D network of actin filaments at the PC:SA surface, and several arguments strongly suggest that this network is indeed causing the observed elasticity. Adsorption of F-actin to PC:SA leads more quickly to a slightly more rigid interface with a modulus of mu approximately 50 mN/m. (+info)
Adhesion energy of receptor-mediated interaction measured by elastic deformation.
We investigated the role of receptor binding affinity in surface adhesion. A sensitive technique was developed to measure the surface energy of receptor-mediated adhesion. The experimental system involved a functionalized elastic agarose bead resting on a functionalized glass coverslip. Attractive intersurface forces pulled the two surfaces together, deforming the bead to produce an enlarged contact area. The Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (JKR) model was used to relate the surface energy of the interaction to the elasticity of the bead and the area of contact. The surface energies for different combinations of modified surfaces in solution were obtained from reflection interference contrast microscopy (RICM) measurements of the contact area formed by the bead and the coverslip. Studies with surfaces functionalized with ligand-receptor pairs showed that the relationship between surface energy and the association constant of the ligand binding has two regimes. At low binding affinity, surface energy increased linearly with the association constant, while surface energy increased logarithmically with the association constant in the high affinity regime. (+info)
Bacteriophage inactivation at the air-water-solid interface in dynamic batch systems.
Bacteriophages have been widely used as surrogates for human enteric viruses in many studies on virus transport and fate. In this investigation, the fates of three bacteriophages, MS2, R17, and phiX174, were studied in a series of dynamic batch experiments. Both MS2 and R17 readily underwent inactivation in batch experiments where solutions of each phage were percolated through tubes packed with varying ratios of glass and Teflon beads. MS2 and R17 inactivation was the result of exposure to destructive forces at the dynamic air-water-solid interface. phiX174, however, did not undergo inactivation in similar studies, suggesting that this phage does not accumulate at air-water interfaces or is not affected by interfacial forces in the same manner. Other batch experiments showed that MS2 and R17 were increasingly inactivated during mixing in polypropylene tubes as the ionic strength of the solution was raised (phiX174 was not affected). By the addition of Tween 80 to suspensions of MS2 and R17, phage inactivation was prevented. Our data suggest that viral inactivation in simple dynamic batch experiments is dependent upon (i) the presence of a dynamic air-water-solid interface (where the solid is a hydrophobic surface), (ii) the ionic strength of the solution, (iii) the concentration of surface active compounds in the solution, and (iv) the type of virus used. (+info)
Native display of complete foreign protein domains on the surface of hepatitis B virus capsids.
The nucleocapsid of hepatitis B virus (HBV), or HBcAg, is a highly symmetric structure formed by multiple dimers of a single core protein that contains potent T helper epitopes in its 183-aa sequence. Both factors make HBcAg an unusually strong immunogen and an attractive candidate as a carrier for foreign epitopes. The immunodominant c/e1 epitope on the capsid has been suggested as a superior location to convey high immunogenicity to a heterologous sequence. Because of its central position, however, any c/e1 insert disrupts the core protein's primary sequence; hence, only peptides, or rather small protein fragments seemed to be compatible with particle formation. According to recent structural data, the epitope is located at the tips of prominent surface spikes formed by the very stable dimer interfaces. We therefore reasoned that much larger inserts might be tolerated, provided the individual parts of a corresponding fusion protein could fold independently. Using the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a model insert, we show that the chimeric protein efficiently forms fluorescent particles; hence, all of its structurally important parts must be properly folded. We also demonstrate that the GFP domains are surface-exposed and that the chimeric particles elicit a potent humoral response against native GFP. Hence, proteins of at least up to 238 aa can be natively displayed on the surface of HBV core particles. Such chimeras may not only be useful as vaccines but may also open the way for high resolution structural analyses of nonassembling proteins by electron microscopy. (+info)
Affinity modulation of small-molecule ligands by borrowing endogenous protein surfaces.
A general strategy is described for improving the binding properties of small-molecule ligands to protein targets. A bifunctional molecule is created by chemically linking a ligand of interest to another small molecule that binds tightly to a second protein. When the ligand of interest is presented to the target protein by the second protein, additional protein-protein interactions outside of the ligand-binding sites serve either to increase or decrease the affinity of the binding event. We have applied this approach to an intractable target, the SH2 domain, and demonstrate a 3-fold enhancement over the natural peptide. This approach provides a way to modulate the potency and specificity of biologically active compounds. (+info)