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Methods. 2003 Jan;29(1):86-96.

The application of atomic force microscopy to the study of living vertebrate cells in culture.

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Biophysical and Biochemical Parasitology Section, Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 20892, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Atomic force microscopy (AFM), a relatively new variant of scanning probe microscopy developed for the material sciences, is becoming an increasingly important tool in other disciplines. In this review I describe in nontechnical terms some of the basic aspects of using AFM to study living vertebrate cells. Although AFM has some unusual attributes such as an ability to be used with living cells, AFM also has attributes that make its use in cell biology a real challenge. This review was written to encourage researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences to consider AFM as a potential (and potent) tool for their cell biological research.

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