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Issue 44, 2013
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Self-assembly and elasticity of hierarchical proteoglycan–hyaluronan brushes

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Abstract

Spatially confined yet strongly hydrated assemblies made from the proteoglycan aggrecan and the polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) are major, functionally important components of the pericellular space around chondrocytes, and in cartilage. To better understand, how mechanical properties arise from the supramolecular structure and dynamics of such assemblies, we have studied the effect of aggrecan on the physico-chemical properties of well-defined, planar HA brushes. From interaction studies by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring and spectroscopic ellipsometry, and compression studies by combined colloidal probe atomic force/reflection interference contrast microscopy, we find that aggrecan readily intercalates into HA brushes in a reversible manner. Aggrecan induces a drastic swelling of HA brushes, generating self-assembled films of several micrometers in thickness that are highly hydrated (>99%), elastic and very soft. The Young modulus in the linear compression regime is well below 100 Pa, and reaches several kPa at strong compression. The implications of these findings for biological function are discussed.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly and elasticity of hierarchical proteoglycan–hyaluronan brushes

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 May 2013, accepted on 27 Jun 2013 and first published on 02 Jul 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51213D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 10473-10483
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Self-assembly and elasticity of hierarchical proteoglycan–hyaluronan brushes

    S. Attili and R. P. Richter, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 10473
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51213D

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