Novel strategies for nanoindentation spectroscopy of cells

Grzegorz D. Brzezinka 1Jacek Szczerbinski 1Agnieszka M. Szczygiel 1Marta Targosz-Korecka 1Marc Richter 2Marek Szymonski 1

1. Jagiellonian University, Institute of Physics (IF UJ), Reymonta 4, Kraków 30-059, Poland
2. JPK Nanowizard AK (JPK), Haus 2, Berlin 12435, Germany


Various cell signalling pathways (i.e. mechanotransduction processes) and cytoskeletal rearrangements are triggered by changes in the physical stress and forces applied to the cells. In recent years, in addition to biochemical and physiological studies, research on mechanical properties of cells has been performed. Among those, a great potential of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and nanoindentation spectroscopy techniques was demonstrated for determination of cell shape, membrane structure its stiffness and adhesive properties. Recent achievements in the processing of large amounts of data and the optimization of AFM for biological applications, such as Quantitative Imaging mode provided by JPK Nanowizard 3, have offered methods for deeper insight of cell membrane structure.  Microfilaments are composed of actin fibers, which create a net below the cellular membrane. Thus, this structure directly responds to local cell membrane contraction. Both fluorescent staining and AFM contact mode topography allows for the visualization of the stress fibers structure. However, these techniques do not provide information about the mechanical properties of the microtubules. We demonstrate that the elasticity of the cell may be mapped with resolution sufficient to distinguish details of membrane structure. Furthermore, the features in topography and elasticity maps correlate spatially, which confirms the observation.

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Presentation: Oral at Nano-Biotechnologia PL, by Grzegorz D. Brzezinka
See On-line Journal of Nano-Biotechnologia PL

Submitted: 2012-07-01 23:49
Revised:   2012-09-16 10:40
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