A NON-INVASIVE METHOD FOR THE TIGHT ANCHORING OF CELLS FOR SCANNING FORCE MICROSCOPY

Authors


To whom correspondence should be addressed: H. Schindler, Institute for Biophysics, University of Linz, Altenbergerstr. 69, A-4040 Linz, Austria.

Abstract

Use of scanning force microscopy (SFM) for high resolution imaging of cell surfaces requires the cells to be tightly attached to substrates. Imaging of loosely adhered RBL-2H3 cells enabled determination of the cell size and investigation of larger structures and pseudopodia but failed in resolving more detail. Immobilization under non-invasive conditions via flexible crosslinkers containing a hydrophobic anchoring group enhanced resolution enormously. The cells were tightly attached to the substrates and were not removed by shear forces up to 80nN as determined in a flow through apparatus. Morphological structures and dynamic processes on cell surfaces were observed as well as structural changes after cell stimulation upon ionomycin treatment. Molecular or atomic resolution, however, was not attainable which is attributed to the displacement of the flexible cell surface due to shear forces arising from the scanning tip during contact mode.

Ancillary