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Probing cytoskeleton organisation of neuroblastoma cells with single-cell force spectroscopy


  • This article is published as part of the AFM BioMed Conference on Life Sciences and Medicine, Paris 2011 of the Journal of Molecular Recognition, edited by Simon Scheuring, Pierre Parot and Jean-Luc Pellequer.

Massimo Vassalli, Institute of Biophysics, National Research Council, Genova, Italy.



Single-cell force spectroscopy is an emerging technique in the field of biomedicine because it has proved to be a unique tool to obtain mechanical and functional information on living cells, with force resolution up to single molecular bonds. This technique was applied to the study of the cytoskeleton organisation of neuroblastoma cells, a life-threatening cancer typically developing during childhood, and the results were interpreted on the basis of reference experiments on human embryonic kidney cell line. An intimate connection emerges among cellular state, cytoskeleton organisation and experimental outcome that can be potentially exploited towards a new method for cancer stadiation of neuroblastoma cells. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.