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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Dec;1818(12):3141-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2012.08.001. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Scale-independent roughness value of cell membranes studied by means of AFM technique.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Universit√† di Foggia, Viale Pinto, Italy.


The roughness of cell membrane is a very interesting indicator of cell's health state. Atomic Force Microscopy allows us to investigate the roughness of cell membrane in great detail, but the obtained roughness value is scale-dependent, i.e. it strongly depends on measurement parameters, as scanning area and step size. The scale-dependence of the roughness value can be reduced by means of data filtration techniques, that are not standardized at nanometric scale, especially as far as biological data are concerned. In this work, a new method, based on the changes of values of some roughness parameter (root mean square roughness and skewness) as a function of filtration frequencies, has been implemented to optimize data filtering procedure in the calculation of cell membrane roughness. In this way, a root mean square roughness value independent of cell shape, membrane micro-irregularities and measurement parameters can be obtained. Moreover, different filtration frequencies selected with this method allow us to discriminate different surface regimes (nominal form, waviness and roughness) belonging to the raw cell profile, each one related to different features of the cell surface.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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