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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2003 Jun;6(3):317-23.

Recent progress in the application of atomic force microscopy imaging and force spectroscopy to microbiology.

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  • 1Unité de chimie des interfaces, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/18, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Atomic force microscopy imaging and force spectroscopy have recently opened a range of novel applications in microbiology. During the past two years, rapid advances have been made using atomic force microscopy to visualize the surface structure of two-dimensional bacterial protein crystals, biofilms and individual cells in physiological conditions. There has also been remarkable progress in using force spectroscopy to measure biomolecular interactions and physical properties of microbial surfaces. Specific highlights include the imaging and manipulation of membrane proteins at the subnanometer level, the observation of the surface of living cells at high resolution, the mapping of local properties such as surface charges, the measurement of elastic properties of cell-surface constituents and the probing of cellular interactions using functionalized probes.

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