High-Resolution Imaging of Microtubules and Cytoskeleton Structures by Atomic Force Microscopy

Abstract : Atomic force microscopy (AFM), which combines a nanometer-scale resolution and a unique capacity to image biomolecular interactions in liquid environment, is a promising tool for the investigation of biological samples. In contrast with nucleic acids and nucleoprotein complexes, for which AFM is now of common use and participates in the recent advances in the knowledge of DNA-related biomolecular processes, AFM investigations of cytoskeleton structures and especially microtubules remain rare. The most critical step to observe biomolecules using AFM is the spreading of the biological material on a flat surface. This issue is now better documented concerning DNA but a lot remains to be done concerning microtubules. This is a prerequisite to further document this issue for a proper and large use of AFM to study cytoskeleton structures. We present here an overview of the various procedures previously used to spread microtubules on a flat surface and advance an easy-to-use and efficient experimental protocol for microtubule imaging by AFM in air. We show application of this protocol to observe intermediate structures of microtubule assembly without using any stabilizing agent and the observation of more complex systems like proteins or messenger ribonucleoprotein particles in interaction with microtubules.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 23, 2019 - 3:49:59 PM
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Loic Hamon, Patrick Curmi, David Pastre. High-Resolution Imaging of Microtubules and Cytoskeleton Structures by Atomic Force Microscopy. Methods in Cell Biology, pp.157-174, 2010, ⟨10.1016/S0091-679X(10)95009-7⟩. ⟨hal-02294611⟩

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