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Role of Ca2+ for the mechanical properties of fibrillin

Authors

  • Tine A. Eriksen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cardiff School of Biosciences, Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Dairy and Food Science, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
    • Dept. of Dairy and Food Science, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 30, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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  • David M. Wright,

    1. Cardiff School of Biosciences, Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Dairy and Food Science, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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  • Peter P. Purslow,

    1. Department of Dairy and Food Science, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
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  • Victor C. Duance

    1. Cardiff School of Biosciences, Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Fibrillin-rich microfibrils are important structural elements widespread throughout connective tissues. Genetic defects identified in the Ca2+ binding sites of fibrillin have severe effects and in addition Ca2+ has a marked effect on the microfibrillar structure. We have studied the role of Ca2+ on the mechanical behavior of fibrillin-rich microfibrils using the micro-needle technique. We find that Ca2+-depletion results in a 50% decrease in rest length and reduces the stiffness of fibrillin-rich microfibrils. At high strain, irreversible damage occurs. This behavior is consistent with Ca2+ stabilization of interactions between consecutive EGF-like domains and breakdown in the quaternary structure upon over-extension. Proteins 2001;45:90–95. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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