Mapping Mechanical Force Propagation through Biomolecular Complexes

Constantin Schoeler, Rafael C. Bernardi, Klara H. Malinowska, Ellis Durner, Wolfgang Ott, Edward A. Bayer, Klaus Schulten, Michael A. Nash, Hermann E. Gaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Here we employ single-molecule force spectroscopy with an atomic force microscope (AFM) and steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations to reveal force propagation pathways through a mechanically ultrastable multidomain cellulosome protein complex. We demonstrate a new combination of network-based correlation analysis supported by AFM directional pulling experiments, which allowed us to visualize stiff paths through the protein complex along which force is transmitted. The results implicate specific force-propagation routes nonparallel to the pulling axis that are advantageous for achieving high dissociation forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7370-7376
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 11 2015


  • Force propagation
  • cohesin-dockerin
  • network analysis
  • single molecule force spectroscopy
  • steered molecular dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Schoeler, C., Bernardi, R. C., Malinowska, K. H., Durner, E., Ott, W., Bayer, E. A., Schulten, K., Nash, M. A., & Gaub, H. E. (2015). Mapping Mechanical Force Propagation through Biomolecular Complexes. Nano letters, 15(11), 7370-7376.