Open Access Nano Review

Nanomicrobiology

David Alsteens, Etienne Dague, Claire Verbelen, Guillaume Andre, Grégory Francius and Yves F Dufrêne*

Author Affiliations

Unité de Chimie des Interfaces, Université Catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/18, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2007, 2:365-372  doi:10.1007/s11671-007-9077-1

Published: 19 July 2007

Abstract

Recent advances in atomic force microscopy (AFM) are revolutionizing our views of microbial surfaces. While AFM imaging is very useful for visualizing the surface of hydrated cells and membranes on the nanoscale, force spectroscopy enables researchers to locally probe biomolecular forces and physical properties. These unique capabilities allow us to address a number of questions that were inaccessible before, such as how does the surface architecture of microbes change as they grow or interact with drugs, and what are the molecular forces driving their interaction with antibiotics and host cells? Here, we provide a flavor of recent achievements brought by AFM imaging and single molecule force spectroscopy in microbiology.

Keywords:
AFM; Cells; Imaging; Force spectroscopy; Molecular recognition; Single molecule; Ultrastructure