Single-Molecule Force Spectroscopy Reveals Self-Assembly Enhanced Surface Binding of Hydrophobins

Bing Li, Xin Wang, Ying Li, Arja Paananen, Géza R. Szilvay, Meng Qin, Wei Wang, Yi Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrophobins have raised lots of interest as powerful surface adhesives. However, it remains largely unexplored how their strong and versatile surface adhesion is linked to their unique amphiphilic structural features. Here, we develop an AFM-based single-molecule force spectroscopy assay to quantitatively measure the binding strength of hydrophobin to various types of surfaces both in isolation and in preformed protein films. We find that individual class II hydrophobins (HFBI) bind strongly to hydrophobic surfaces but weakly to hydrophilic ones. After self-assembly into protein films, they show much stronger binding strength to both surfaces due to the cooperativity of different interactions at nanoscale. Such self-assembly enhanced surface binding may serve as a general design principle for synthetic bioactive adhesives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9224-9228
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Force spectroscopy
  • Hydrophobin
  • Self-assembly
  • Single molecule
  • Surface adhesion

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