Von Willebrand factor (vWF) adsorbs and immobilizes platelets at sites of injury under high-shear-rate conditions. It has been recently demonstrated that single vWF molecules only adsorb significantly to collagen above a threshold shear, and here we explain such counterintuitive behavior using a coarse-grained simulation and a phenomenological theory. We find that shear-induced adsorption only occurs if the vWF-surface bonds are slip-resistant such that force-induced unbinding is suppressed, which occurs in many biological bonds (i.e., catch bonds). Our results quantitatively match experimental observations and may be important to understand the activation and mechanical regulation of vWF activity during blood clotting.
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