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Tracking Fast Cellular Membrane Dynamics with Sub-nm Accuracy in Normal Direction


Cellular membranes are important biomaterials with highly dynamic structures. Membrane dynamics plays an important role in numerous cellular processes, but precise tracking it is challenging due to the lack of tools with a highly sensitive and fast detection capability. Here we demonstrate a broad bandwidth optical imaging technique to measure cellular membrane displacements in normal direction at sub-nm level detection limit and 20 μs temporal resolution (1 Hz – 50 kHz). This capability allows us to study the intrinsic cellular membrane dynamics over a broad temporal and spatial spectrum. We measure the nanometer-scale stochastic fluctuations of plasma membrane of HEK-293 cells, and find them to be highly dependent on the cytoskeletal structure of the cells. By analyzing the fluctuations, we further determine the mechanical properties of the cellular membranes. We anticipate that the method will contribute to the understanding of the basic cellular processes, and applications, such as mechanical phenotyping of cells at the single-cell level.

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Dec 2017, accepted on 31 Jan 2018 and first published on 07 Feb 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09483C
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Tracking Fast Cellular Membrane Dynamics with Sub-nm Accuracy in Normal Direction

    H. Yu, Y. Yang, Y. Yang, F. Zhang, S. Wang and N. Tao, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR09483C

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