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The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 225, Issue 8–9, pp 1673–1682 | Cite as

Switch-like surface binding of competing multivalent particles

  • N.B. Tito
  • D. Frenkel
Open Access
Regular Article Specific Models to Tackle Fundamental Questions
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Modern Simulation Approaches in Soft Matter Science: From Fundamental Understanding to Industrial Applications

Abstract

Multivalent particles competing for binding on the same surface can exhibit switch-like behaviour, depending on the concentration of receptors on the surface. When the receptor concentration is low, energy dominates the free energy of binding, and particles having a small number of strongly-binding ligands preferentially bind to the surface. At higher receptor concentrations, multivalent effects become significant, and entropy dominates the binding free energy; particles having many weakly-binding ligands preferentially bind to the surface. Between these two regimes there is a “switch-point”, at which the surface binds the two species of particles equally strongly. We demonstrate that a simple theory can account for this switch-like behaviour and present numerical calculations that support the theoretical predictions. We argue that binding selectivity based on receptor density, rather than identity, may have practical applications.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CambridgeCambridge CB2 1EWUK

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