Congratulations to Georgia Petrou in our group and Vaibhav Srivastav from the glycoscience division and our collaborators at TU Munich for this latest publication in Biomacromolecules: Mucin-inspired lubrication on hydrophobic surfaces, by Benjamin T. Käsdorf, Florian Weber, Georgia Petrou, Vaibhav Srivastava, Thomas Crouzier, and Oliver Lieleg


In this collaborative work with Prof. Oliver Lieleg from TU Munich and led by the efforts of Benjamin Käsdorf and co-workers, we have investigated the lubricity of mucins on hydrophobic surfaces. We found that enzymatic treatment of secreted mucins with the trypsin protease cleaves the non-glycosylated regions and alters the lubricity of the molecule. We found that the loss of lubricity is adsorption is at least in part due to their inability to anchor themselves to the hydrophobic surfaces.

We obtained similar results with dextran polysaccharides that did not lubricate surfaces because of their limited interactions with the surfaces. Adding hydrophobic anchors (phenyl groups) to the dextran molecules increased their adsorption, which led to increased lubricity. We finish this communication with a piece of mucin engineering. We functionalized the trypsin-treated mucins with the same phenyl hydrophobic anchor moieties and showed improved adsorption and lubrication. This emphasized the importance of surface anchoring for the lubricity of macromolecules.

The work is available via ACS website and will be made openly available on this website after an embargo period of one year is past.

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