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Kidney Int. 1995 Oct;48(4):923-9.

Visualizing life on biomembranes by atomic force microscopy.

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  • 1University of W├╝rzburg, Department of Physiology, Germany.


Since its invention in 1986, the atomic force microscope (AFM) has become one of the most widely used near-field microscopes. Surfaces of hard samples are imaged routinely with atomic resolution. Soft biological samples, however, are still challenging. In this brief review, the AFM technique is introduced to the experimental biologist. We discuss recent data on imaging molecular structures of biomembranes, and give detailed information on the application of the AFM with two representative examples. One is imaging plasma membrane turnover of transformed renal epithelial cells during migration in vivo, and the other is visualizing macromolecular pore complexes of the nuclear envelope of aldosterone-sensitive kidney cells.

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