Peter Fratzl How Does the Interaction of Water with Collagen Lead to Pretension in Our Connective Tissues?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck Society
"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces was founded in 1992. Research in Colloid and Interface Science is widely covered by the following Departments: Biomaterials, Biomolecular Systems, Colloid Chemistry and Theory & Bio-Systems, the Max Planck Research Group Mechano(bio)chemistry and the Emeritus Group (Interfaces). Current research topics are polymeric films, membranes, microcapsules, organic and inorganic nanostructures, biomineralization, nano- and microreactors, molecular motors and filaments as well as chemistry and biology of carbohydrates. Biomimetic research is at the core of the Institute’s activity. Common goal is to learn from nature how to build hierarchical materials or active systems with new functionalities, with adaptive, self-healing or self-assembling properties. (Source)
The connective tissues in our body – such as skin, tendon, or bones – all contain a molecule called collagen. When you cut your skin, it springs open. This shows that the tissues in our body are under pretension. The research presented in this video is interested in the question of whether the interaction of collagen with water causes this tension. The researchers found, as PETER FRATZL explains, that the pretension comes from the contraction of the collagen molecules which is due to a competition for water between collagen and the sugar-rich molecules that surround them. By using synchrotron diffraction, the group managed to show that this leads to a conformational change of this helix; it shortens and creates enormous stresses. These findings are relevant for research in regenerative medicine as well as research into the uses of osmotic pressure for complex movements and force generation more generally.
LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10399
Water-mediated Collagen and Mineral Nanoparticle Interactions Guide Functional Deformation of Human Tooth Dentin
- Jean-Baptiste Forien, Ivo Zizak, Claudia Fleck, Ansgar Petersen, Peter Fratzl, Emil Zolotoyabko and Paul Zaslansky
- Chemistry of Materials
- Published in 2016