Applications of Atomic Force Microscopy for Adhesion Force Measurements in Mechanotransduction. Chapter uri icon


  • Adhesive interactions between living cells or ligand-receptor interactions can be studied at the molecular level using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Adhesion force measurements are performed with functionalized AFM probes. In order to measure single ligand-receptor interactions, a cantilever with a pyramidal tip is functionalized with a bio-recognized ligand (e.g., extracellular matrix protein). The ligand-functionalized probe is then brought into contact with a cell in culture to investigate adhesion between the respective probe-bound ligand and endogenously expressed cell surface receptors (e.g., integrins or other adhesion receptor). For experiments designed to examine cell-cell adhesions, a single cell is attached to a tipless cantilever which is then brought into contact with other cultured cells. Force curves are recorded to determine the forces necessary to rupture discrete adhesions between the probe-bound ligand and receptor, or to determine total adhesion force at cell-cell contacts. Here, we describe the procedures formeasuring adhesions between (a) fibronectin and 51 integrin, and (b) breast cancer cells and bone marrow endothelial cells.

author list (cited authors)

  • Trache, A., Xie, L., Huang, H., Glinsky, V. V., & Meininger, G. A.

Book Title

  • Methods in Molecular Biology

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM