Microbial nanoscopy: a closer look at microbial cell surfaces.

Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Université Catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/18, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
Trends in Microbiology (Impact Factor: 9.81). 09/2010; 18(9):397-405. DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2010.06.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT How cell envelope constituents are spatially organised and how they interact with the environment are key questions in microbiology. Unlike other bioimaging tools, atomic force microscopy (AFM) provides information about the nanoscale surface architecture of living cells and about the localization and interactions of their individual constituents. These past years have witnessed remarkable advances in our use of the AFM molecular toolbox to observe and force probe microbial cells. Recent milestones include the real-time imaging of the nanoscale organization of cell walls, the quantification of subcellular chemical heterogeneities, the mapping and functional analysis of individual cell wall constituents and the analysis of the mechanical properties of single receptors and sensors.

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