Interfacial properties of two brush-with-anchor mucins, C-P55 and C-PSLex, have been investigated at the aqueous solution/poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) interface. Both are recombinant mucin-type fusion proteins, produced by fusing the glycosylated mucin part of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSLG-1) to the Fc part of a mouse immunoglobulin in two different cells. They are mainly expressed as dimers upon production. Analysis of the O-glycans shows that the C-PSLex mucin has the longer and more branched side chains, but C-P55 has slightly higher sialic acid content. The adsorption of the mucins to PMMA surfaces was studied by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation. The sensed mass, including the adsorbed mucin and water trapped in the layer, was found to be similar for these two mucin layers. Atomic force microscopy with colloidal probe was employed to study surface and friction forces between mucin-coated PMMA surfaces. Purely repulsive forces of steric origin were observed between mucin layers on compression, whereas a small adhesion was detected between both mucin layers on decompression. This was attributed to chain entanglement. The friction force between C-PSLex-coated PMMA is lower than that between C-P55-coated PMMA at low loads, but vice versa at high loads. We discuss our results in terms of the differences in the glycosylation composition of these two mucins.
The main objective of this thesis work was to gain understanding of the layer properties and polymer structures that were able to aid lubrication in aqueous media. To this end, three types of polyelectrolytes: a diblock copolymer, a train-of-brushes and two brush-with-anchor mucins have been utilized. Their lubrication ability in the boundary lubrication regime has been examined by Atomic Force Microscopy with colloidal probe.
The interfacial behavior of the thermoresponsive diblock copolymer, PIPOZ60-b-PAMPTAM17,on silica was studied in the temperature interval 25-50 ˚C. The main finding is that adsorption hysteresis, due to the presence of trapped states, is important when the adsorbed layers are in contact with a dilute polymer solution. The importance of trapped states was also demonstrated in the measured friction forces, where significantly lower friction forces, at a given temperature, were encountered on cooling than on the preceding heating stage, which was attributed to increased adsorbed amount. On the heating stage the friction force decreased with increasing temperature despite the worsening of the solvent condition, and the opposite trend was observed when using pre-adsorbed layers (constant adsorbed amount) as a consequence of increased segment-segment attraction.
The second part of the studies was devoted to the interfacial properties of mucins on PMMA. The strong affinity provided by the anchoring group of C-PSLex and C-P55 together with their more extended layer structure contribute to the superior lubrication of PMMA compared to BSM up to pressures of 8-9 MPa. This is a result of minor bridging and lateral motion of molecules along the surface during shearing. We further studied the influence of glycosylation on interfacial properties of mucin by utilizing the highly purified mucins, C-P55 and C-PSLex. Our data suggest that the longer and more branched carbohydrate side chains on C-PSLex provide lower interpenetration and better hydration lubrication at low loads compared to the shorter carbohydrate chains on C-P55. However, the longer carbohydrates appear to counteract disentanglement less efficiently, giving rise to a higher friction force at high loads.