Authors: W. Travis Johnson
Affilation: Agilent Technologies, United States
Pages: 882 - 884
Keywords: AFM, molecular recognition, nanoscale bioconjugation
Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is an important tool for nanoscale molecular recognition studies. A strong suit of AFM is its ability to measure hardness/elasticity, nonspecific adhesion, or ligand-receptor interactions at the picoNewton scale. Molecular interactions are critical factors in a variety of biological phenomenon; such as initiation, modulation, and termination of DNA replication, transcription, enzyme activity, infection, immune responses, tissue generation, wound healing, cell differentiation, apotopsis, and physiological responses from drugs, hormones, or toxic agents. Using AFM, scientists can probe and quantify these interactions in their native, liquid environments at physiological pH or perform dynamic experiments in situ by removing or adding ions, solutes, and reagents to the sample environment. Nanoscale bioconjugation chemistry and surface chemistry are crucial in these studies because selective ligands must be immobilized on the tip of an AFM probe so that the AFM can resolve the mechanical force that is required to separate a ligand from its target. The resulting information can be used to calculate forces of unbinding and infer structural information about the binding interaction.