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Analysis of ligand-receptor interactions in cells by atomic force microscopy.

Journal of Receptor and Signal Transduction Research

metabolism, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide, analysis, Receptors, Cell Surface, Osteoclasts, Oligopeptides, methods, Microscopy, Atomic Force, Ligands, Integrins, Humans, Calcitonin, Binding Sites, Animals

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      Atomic force microscopy (AFM) increasingly has been used to analyse "receptor" function, either by using purified proteins ("molecular recognition microscopy") or, more recently, in situ in living cells. The latter approach has been enabled by the use of a modified commercial AFM, linked to a confocal microscope, which has allowed adhesion forces between ligands and receptors in cells to be measured and mapped, and downstream cellular responses analysed. We review the application of AFM to cell biology and, in particular, to the study of ligand-receptor interactions and draw examples from our own work and that of others to show the utility of AFM, including for the exploration of cell surface functionalities. We also identify shortcomings of AFM in comparison to "standard" methods, such as receptor auto-radiography or immuno-detection, that are widely applied in cell biology and pharmacological analysis.

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