Resolving the molecular structure of microtubules under physiological conditions with scanning force microscopy

Iwan Schaap, Pedro J. de Pablo, Christoph F. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have imaged microtubules, essential structural elements of the cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells, in physiological conditions by scanning force microscopy. We have achieved molecular resolution without the use of cross-linking and chemical fixation methods. With tip forces below 0.3 nN, protofilaments with similar to6 nm separation could be clearly distinguished. Lattice defects in the microtubule wall were directly visible, including point defects and protofilament separations. Higher tip forces destroyed the top half of the microtubules, revealing the inner surface of the substrate-attached protofilaments. Monomers could be resolved on these inner surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-467
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Biophysics Journal
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • atomic force microscopy
  • microtubule
  • scanning force microscopy
  • ELECTRON-MICROSCOPY
  • LATTICE-DEFECTS
  • BETA-TUBULIN
  • IN-VITRO
  • PROTOFILAMENTS
  • INVITRO
  • KATANIN
  • NUMBER
  • MODEL
  • TAXOL

Cite this