AFM as a Membrane Wounding Protocol

Simone Spuler, MD

Charite, University Medicine (Berlin, Germany)

Dr. Simone Spuler is a neurologist and full professor for myology at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center of the Charite, University Medicine Berlin and the Max-Delbruck Center of Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Past Projects

Objective: 
Investigate use of an AFM needle to reproducibly wound cells to investigate the effect of dysferlin on membrane repair.

This approach involved scratching the cell surface with a fine needle (the probe tip used in Atomic Force Microscopy) and then checking how quickly the scratch disappears. Because the needle size is known, this wounding protocol is intended to make a more reproducible and better defined wound in the cell membrane to assess membrane repair than other wounding methods.

Outcome: The AFM wounding was able to puncture cells, and differences in the cells’ behavior after wounding were apparent. . However, it could not be ascertained if the variability in scratch disappearance was due to differences in the cell‘s repair ability or because the needle was unable to properly scratch the cell.