Five challenges to bringing single-molecule force spectroscopy into living cells.

Universite catholique de Louvain, Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
Nature Methods (Impact Factor: 23.57). 02/2011; 8(2):123-7. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth0211-123
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In recent years, single-molecule force spectroscopy techniques have been used to study how inter- and intramolecular interactions control the assembly and functional state of biomolecular machinery in vitro. Here we discuss the problems and challenges that need to be addressed to bring these technologies into living cells and to learn how cellular machinery is controlled in vivo.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The therapeutic effects of medicinal drugs not only depend on their properties, but also on effective transport to the target receptor. Here we highlight recent developments in this discipline and show applications of atomic force microscopy (AFM) that enable us to track the effects of drugs and the effectiveness of nanoparticle delivery at the single molecule level. Areas covered: Physiological AFM imaging enables visualization of topographical changes to cells as a result of drug exposure and allows observation of cellular responses that yield morphological changes. When we upgrade the regular measuring tip to a molecular biosensor, it enables investigation of functional changes at the molecular level via single molecule force spectroscopy. Expert opinion: Biosensing AFM techniques have generated powerful tools to monitor drug delivery in (living) cells. While technical developments in actual AFM methods have simplified measurements at relevant physiological conditions, understanding both the biological and technical background is still a crucial factor. However, due to its potential impact, we expect the number of application-based biosensing AFM techniques to further increase in the near future.
    Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 05/2014; · 4.87 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Optical trapping supplies information on the structural, kinetic or rheological properties of inner constituents of the cell. However, the application of significant forces to intracellular objects is notoriously difficult due to a combination of factors, such as the small difference between the refractive indices of the target structures and the cytoplasm. Here we discuss the possibility of artificially inducing the formation of spherical organelles in the endoplasmic reticulum, which would contain densely packed engineered proteins, to be used as optimized targets for optical trapping experiments. The high index of refraction and large size of our organelles provide a firm grip for optical trapping and thereby allow us to exert large forces easily within safe irradiation limits. This has clear advantages over alternative probes, such as subcellular organelles or internalized synthetic beads.
    Biomedical Optics Express 07/2014; 5(7). · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microbial cells sense and respond to their environment using their surface constituents. Therefore, understanding the assembly and biophysical properties of cell surface molecules is an important research topic. With its ability to observe living microbial cells at nanometer resolution and to manipulate single-cell surface molecules, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has emerged as a powerful tool in microbiology. Here, we survey major breakthroughs made in cell surface microbiology using AFM techniques, emphasizing the most recent structural and functional insights.
    mBio 01/2014; 5(4). · 6.88 Impact Factor


Available from
Jun 3, 2014