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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Oct;21(5):530-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Atomic force microscopy and its contribution to understanding the development of the nervous system.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, J. J. Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK. kf284@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

While our understanding of the influence of biochemical signaling on cell functioning is increasing rapidly, the consequences of mechanical signaling are currently poorly understood. However, cells of the nervous system respond to their mechanical environment; their mechanosensitivity has important implications for development and disease. Atomic force microscopy provides a powerful technique to investigate the mechanical interaction of cells with their environment with high resolution. This method can be used to obtain high-resolution surface topographies, stiffness maps, and apply well-defined forces to samples at different length scales. This review summarizes recent advances of atomic force microscopy, provides an overview about state-of-the-art measurements, and suggests directions for future applications to investigate the involvement of mechanics in the development of the nervous system.

PMID:
21840706
DOI:
10.1016/j.gde.2011.07.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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