Nav: Home

Understanding differences in streptavidin-biotin binding

March 25, 2020

Recent research by
"This interaction has been a key tool in nearly 15,000 published manuscripts," said Bernardi, a research scientist at the

The principle of using the binding of two molecules as a research tool is not limited to streptavidin/biotin systems. "This analysis can also be used in other experiments such as therapeutics and cancer treatments where, depending on the position of the antibody, the stability of a complex is affected," Bernardi said. "The technique is also being used in the work that is being done on the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The technique we are improving is a very common tool used by the labs that are trying to understand the molecular basis of COVID-19."

Bernardi conducted the research in collaboration with Hermann Gaub, a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.The paper "
Science Advances.

Researchers have been using the interaction between streptavidin and biotin for the last 25 years to study, for instance, the folding and unfolding of proteins. In single-molecule folding studies, the protein is usually attached to a surface on one end and to biotin on the other. The streptavidin is then attached to the tip of an atomic force microscope, working as a handle to pull on the protein through the streptavidin/biotin interaction. The researchers measure this effect to understand how the protein folds and unfolds.

"Over the years we have noticed that the numbers associated with the strength of the interaction between streptavidin and biotin varies in different research papers," Bernardi said. "If you're measuring just this interaction, why aren't the numbers always the same? Researchers didn't think about it too much because, for most of them, biotinylation is just a tool."

The researchers used computational analysis to show that the several streptavidin's reactive groups, called reactive amines, can influence how streptavidin and biotin interact under mechanical stress. "Even with the controlled environments we used in our experiments, we got completely different results. You're forcing biotin to take on a different path depending on where the streptavidin attachment takes place," Bernardi said.

The biggest challenge the researchers faced was doing the computational analysis. "We need a lot of computer power to get these results. We were only able to do this because of Blue Waters," Bernardi said, referring to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications' supercomputer on the Illinois campus. To analyze the results, Bernardi employed NAMD, a widely used software for Molecular Dynamics, which was developed by the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group at the Beckman Institute.
-end-
Editor's note:

The paper "Streptavidin/Biotin: Tethering Geometry Defines Unbinding Mechanics" can be found online at
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/13/eaay5999.

For more information, contact Rafael C. Bernardi, 217-244-0177, rbernar@illinois.edu.

Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Related Recent Research Articles:

Recent research points the way toward a practical nutraceutical strategy for coping with RNA virus infections including influenza and coronavirus
In a compelling article in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, published by Elsevier, Mark McCarty of the Catalytic Longevity Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA, and James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO, USA, propose that certain nutraceuticals may help provide relief to people infected with encapsulated RNA viruses such as influenza and coronavirus.
Understanding recent US mumps outbreaks
A single strain of mumps virus has dominated the US since 2006, and is responsible for many of the large numbers of cases seen across the country in the widespread 2016-17 outbreaks.
Recent screening rose among people under 50 after release of new colorectal guidelines
Recent colorectal cancer screening rates more than doubled among people ages 45 to 49 in the months after the release of updated American Cancer Society guidelines recommending screening in that age group.
One-third of recent global methane increase comes from tropical Africa
One-third of recent global methane increase comes from tropical Africa.
Widespread drying of European peatlands in recent centuries
Researchers led by the University of Leeds examined 31 peatlands across Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and continental Europe to assess changes in peatland surface wetness during the last 2,000 years.
Using recent gene flow to define microbe populations
Identifying species among plants and animals has been a full-time occupation for some biologists, but the task is even more daunting for the myriad microbes that inhabit the planet.
Monsoon rains have become more intense in the southwest in recent decades
Monsoon rain storms have become more intense in the southwestern United States in recent decades, according to a study recently published by Agricultural Research Service scientists.
New light into the recent evolution of the African rift valley
Continental rift valleys are huge fractures on the surface of the Earth that break continental plates with the eventual development of new oceans.
Alien species are primary cause of recent global extinctions
Alien species are the main driver of recent extinctions in both animals and plants, according to a new study by UCL researchers.
Recent National Academies report puts research participants' rights at risk, say law scholars
In a Policy Forum article appearing in the Oct. 12, 2018 issue of Science, leading bioethics and legal scholars sound the alarm about a recent report from National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
More Recent Research News and Recent Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.