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Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2010;119:47-61. doi: 10.1007/10_2008_41.

A review on: atomic force microscopy applied to nano-mechanics of the cell.

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Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama, 226-8501, Japan,


Since its introduction in 1986, AFM has been applied to biological studies along with its widespread use in physics, chemistry and engineering fields. Due to its dual capabilities of imaging nano-materials with an atomic level resolution and of directly manipulating samples with high precision, AFM is now considered an indispensable instrument for nano-technological researchers especially in physically oriented fields. In biology in general, however, and in biotechnology in particular, its usefulness must be critically examined and, if necessary as it certainly is, further explored from a practical point of view. In this review, a new trend of applying AFM based technology to elucidate the mechanical basis of the cellular structure and its interaction with the extracellular matrix including cell to cell interaction is reviewed. Some of the recent studies done by using other force measuring or force exerting methods are also covered in the hope that all the nano-mechanical work on the cellular level will eventually contribute to the emergence of the mechano-chemical view of the cell in a unified manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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