From surface to intracellular non-invasive nanoscale study of living cells impairments.

Research paper by M M Ewald, L L Tetard, C C Elie-Caille, L L Nicod, A A Passian, E E Bourillot, E E Lesniewska

Indexed on: 02 Jul '14Published on: 02 Jul '14Published in: Nanotechnology


Among the enduring challenges in nanoscience, subsurface characterization of living cells holds major stakes. Developments in nanometrology for soft matter thriving on the sensitivity and high resolution benefits of atomic force microscopy have enabled detection of subsurface structures at the nanoscale. However, measurements in liquid environments remain complex, in particular in the subsurface domain. Here we introduce liquid-mode synthesizing atomic force microscopy (l-MSAFM) to study both the inner structures and the chemically induced intracellular impairments of living cells. Specifically, we visualize the intracellular stress effects of glyphosate on living keratinocytes skin cells. This new approach, l-MSAFM, for nanoscale imaging of living cell in their physiological environment or in presence of a chemical stress agent could resolve the loss of inner structures induced by glyphosate, the main component of a well-known pesticide (RoundUp™). This firsthand ability to monitor the cell's inner response to external stimuli non-destructively and in liquid, has the potential to unveil critical nanoscale mechanisms of life science.