NSTI BioNano 2010

Biomimetic polymer materials for controlled self-healing applications

C.E. Sing, A. Alexander-Katz
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

Keywords: Von Willebrand factor, force-induced activation, responsive materials, polymer


Blood clotting is a unique process in which our organism is able to self-heal the wounded vessels directly from the interior of the flow. It is achieve by a combination of biochemical and physcochemical factors that work at unison to achieve the desired outcome.In recent years, it has been shown that parts of the blood clotting cascade are highly regulated by the mechanical stresses arising in the flow. Here we present our theoretical and simulation results on the unfolding and activation of the globular polymer von Willebrand Factor (VWF), which is crucial during the initial processes of blood clotting. In particular, we find that the globule-stretch transition of this protein varies considerably depending on the type of flow, with elongational flow being much more effective at unfolding the polymer. Our results are in excellent agreement with recent experimental investigations on VWF activation, function, and regulation.
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