Part III: single-cell adhesion with FluidFM

Recollection of 2022 publications using FluidFM technology

The year 2022 featured a total of 19 FluidFM publications and 3 reviews! We've highlighted reviews (Part I) and nanoprinting publications (Part II) that employed FluidFM technology. Today, take a peek at publications using FluidFM technology to study single-cell adhesion and mechanobiology.

Discover 2022 publications using FluidFM for single-cell adhesion measurements and mechanobiology

Enabling real-time tracking of single-cell detachment events 

The group of Jurgen Groll at University Hospital Würzburg in Germany use FluidFM technology combined with fluorescence microscopy to study cell adhesion forces associated with mature cell contacts. Whilst other AFM-based approaches for adhesion measurements are limited to measuring the early stages of cell adhesion, this system allows the authors to achieve real-time simultaneous quantification of adhesion forces and visualization of late adhesion events, specifically single cell detachment. The use of FluidFM combined with optical microscopy paves the way towards real-time tracking of the forces associated with cell detachment events. 

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Investigating the link between surface area and bacterial adhesion forces

Patrick Doll and colleagues use FluidFM to study the impact of available surface area on the adhesion of clinically relevant bacterial strains with different membrane properties. To this aim, the authors use FluidFM-based single-cell force spectroscopy (SCFS) combined to confocal scanning laser microscopy to determine how bacterial adhesion strength is affected by available surface area as well as cell deformability and link this to subsequent biofilm formation on the different topographies.

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Investigating single-cell adhesion forces and cell cycle states at the population level

Robert Horvath and his team develop a novel FluidFM-based approach to simultaneously measure single-cell adhesion forces and monitor cell cycle states at the population level. This study shows that different single-cell parameters like cell area, cell elongation, cell adhesion force and strength, as well as cell detachment from the surface are dependent on the cell cycle state. The study also highlights how measuring adhesion of a low number of cells or treating populations as normally distributed can be misleading. Importantly, the use of FluidFM technology allows the authors to measure adhesion parameters of single cells in a high-throughput manner, making it possible for the first time to characterize population distributions (of single-cell adhesion) at various stages of the cell cycle.

FluidFM Adhesion Measurement of Preosteoblasts - Research Summary By Cytosurge

Figure showing (A) HeLa FUCCI cells and (B) their recorded force-distance curves averaged for cells in each different cell cycle phase, highlighting a difference in adhesion force for colorless cells (mitotic and early G1 phase cells). Figure taken from Nagy et al., Scientific Reports 2022 (License: CC-BY-4.0) 

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Study how substrate chemistry and composition impact cell adhesion forces

In this study, the group of Jurgen Groll at University Hospital Würzburg in Germany study how adhesion ligand density affects cell adhesion strength in mouse fibroblasts grown on surfaces of different chemistry and topography. The authors show that when comparing planar surfaces to fibrous substrates, consisting of biofunctionalized electrospun meshes, the latter lead to increased adhesion per area even at lower ligand density. The use of FluidFM technology in this study enables the authors to investigate, for the first time, the impact of fibrous vs planar surfaces on cell detachment during migration of the fibroblasts.

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Investigating the mechanics of fertilization 

Battistella et al use FluidFM technology to study the forces and beating frequencies associated with sperm cell motility. Using FluidFM allows the authors to trap single spermatozoa and investigate a key mechanical process for fertilization called capacitation, which enables sperm to cell tail motion to change from symmetric to a more asymmetric beating. This study may provide insight on male infertility and represents promising work for the field of reproductive medicine.

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Studying osteogenic differentiation 

Livia Angeloni and colleagues employ FluidFM to measure adhesion in preosteoblasts grown on 3D printed patterns, showing how pattern height affects single cell adhesion behaviour and differentiation of preosteoblasts. This study advances our understanding of osteogenic differentiation and provides important insight for rational design of osteogenic patterns.  

FluidFM Adhesion Measurement of Preosteoblasts - Research Summary By Cytosurge

Figure showing FluidFM experiments after 24h of preosteoblasts cell culture comparing force-distance curves (a,c,e) of cells grown on flat glass control surfaces (a-b), the P500 patterns (c-d) and P1000 patterns (e-f). Representative optical images of experiments on each surface are shown in (b,d,f). Figure taken from Angeloni et al., Small 2022(License: CC-BY-4.0) 

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