Studying Cell Mechanical Properties with BioAFM

The PeakForce QNM images shown here are of live MDCK cells obtained on the BioScope Resolve – with the topography image on the left and the corresponding modulus image on the right. The colorscale in the modulus image corresponds to increasing modulus values – with darker colors having lower modulus and lighter colors having higher modulus. Keeping this in mind, when looking at the modulus image we see long, thin structures corresponding to actin fibers appear to have higher modulus – being lighter in color - while cell surface features, which we believe to be microvilli, appear softer - or darker in color - than the cell membrane itself.

Living MDCK cells of topography and modulus
PeakForce QNM topography image (left) and corresponding modulus image (right) of living MDCK cells. Cell structures corresponding to actin fibers show higher modulus (lighter) while cell surface features, believed to be microvilli, appear softer (darker)

The BioScope Resolve comes with the PeakForce QNM Live Cell probe which has a soft cantilever with a spring constant of ~0.08N/m and a very long 17 micron long tip. The tall tip extends the probe cantilever away from the sample surface and improves the background subtraction used to remove the effects of viscous dampening on PeakForce QNM force curves. The 17 micron tip is much longer than typical 3-4micron tall tips offered by competitors.  The PeakForce QNM Live Cell probe tip height makes imaging of cells that are several microns tall, and often have steep edges where they are not as well attached or spread on the substrate surface, much easier while eliminating common tip artifacts.

PeakForce Tapping topography image of live MDCK cells

BioAFM Webinars Related to Cell Mechanics