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Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2009 Oct;30(2):117-21. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2009-10514-7. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Adhesion and membrane tension of single vesicles and living cells using a micropipette-based technique.

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Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


The fundamental study of the adhesion of cells to each other or to a substrate is a key research topic in cellular biophysics because cell adhesion is important to many biological processes. We report on the adhesion of a model cell, a liposome, and a living HeLa cell to a substrate measured with a novel experimental technique. The cells are held at the end of a micropipette mounted on a micromanipulator and brought into contact with a surface. The adhesion energy and membrane tension are measured directly using the deflection of the micropipette when binding or unbinding the cell from the substrate. Since the force applied on the cells is known throughout the experiment, the technique presented enables the measurement of dynamics such as changes in the adhesion, elasticity, and membrane tension with time.

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