Bacteria are able to attach themselves to tissue fibres with the aid of a ‘nano-adhesive’. Just how they achieve this was investigated a few years ago by Viola Vogel, Professor of Applied Mechanobiology at ETH Zurich, using computer simulations at CSCS. The researchers simulated how the bacterial nano-adhesive – a peptide thread with several binding sites strung together like pearls – adheres to what are called fibronectin fibres. These form part of the fibrous network in which cells are embedded. Where there is a lesion, the fibronectin fibres become severed.
Nano-sensor measures tension of tissue fibres