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MUC5B mucin films under mechanical confinement: A combined neutron reflectometry and atomic force microscopy study

Gonzalez-Martinez, Juan F., Boyd, Hannah, Gutfreund, Philipp, Welbourn, Rebecca J.L., Robertsson, Carolina, Wickström, Claes, Arnebrant, Thomas, Richardson, Robert M., Prescott, Stuart W., Barker, Robert, and others. (2022) MUC5B mucin films under mechanical confinement: A combined neutron reflectometry and atomic force microscopy study. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 614 . pp. 120-129. ISSN 0021-9797. (doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2022.01.096) (KAR id:98218)


Hypothesis: Among other functions, mucins hydrate and protect biological interfaces from mechanical challenges. Mucins also attract interest as biocompatible coatings with excellent lubrication performance. Therefore, it is of high interest to understand the structural response of mucin films to mechanical challenges. We hypothesized that this could be done with Neutron Reflectometry using a novel sample environment where mechanical confinement is achieved by inflating a membrane against the films.

Experiments: Oral MUC5B mucin films were investigated by Force Microscopy/Spectroscopy and Neutron Reflectometry both at solid–liquid interfaces and under mechanical confinement.

Findings: NR indicated that MUC5B films were almost completely compressed and dehydrated when con- fined at 1 bar. This was supported by Force Microscopy/Spectroscopy investigations. Force Spectroscopy also indicated that MUC5B films could withstand mechanical confinement by means of steric interactions for pressures lower than ~0.5 bar i.e., mucins could protect interfaces from mechanical challenges of this magnitude while keeping them hydrated. To investigate mucin films under these pressures by means of the employed sample environment for NR, further technological developments are needed. The most crit- ical would be identifying or developing more flexible membranes that would still meet certain requirements like chemical homogeneity and very low roughness.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jcis.2022.01.096
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD473 Physical properties in relation to structure
Q Science > QD Chemistry > Analytical Chemistry
Q Science > QP Physiology (Living systems) > QP517 Biochemistry
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Chemistry and Forensics
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (
Royal Society (
Swedish Research Council (
NordForsk (
Depositing User: Robert Barker
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 02:12 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 11:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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