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Compressive Force Spectroscopy: From Living Cells to Single Proteins

Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 960;
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atomic Force Microscopy for Biological Applications)
One of the most successful applications of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in biology involves monitoring the effect of force on single biological molecules, often referred to as force spectroscopy. Such studies generally entail the application of pulling forces of different magnitudes and velocities upon individual molecules to resolve individualistic unfolding/separation pathways and the quantification of the force-dependent rate constants. However, a less recognized variation of this method, the application of compressive force, actually pre-dates many of these “tensile” force spectroscopic studies. Further, beyond being limited to the study of single molecules, these compressive force spectroscopic investigations have spanned samples as large as living cells to smaller, multi-molecular complexes such as viruses down to single protein molecules. Correspondingly, these studies have enabled the detailed characterization of individual cell states, subtle differences between seemingly identical viral structures, as well as the quantification of rate constants of functionally important, structural transitions in single proteins. Here, we briefly review some of the recent achievements that have been obtained with compressive force spectroscopy using AFM and highlight exciting areas of its future development. View Full-Text
Keywords: Atomic Force Microscopy; AFM; cellular elasticity; single molecule Atomic Force Microscopy; AFM; cellular elasticity; single molecule
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, J.; Liu, M.; Shen, Y.; Sun, J.; Shao, Z.; Czajkowsky, D.M. Compressive Force Spectroscopy: From Living Cells to Single Proteins. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 960.

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