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Issue 21, 2016
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Diffusing colloidal probes of cell surfaces

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Measurements and analyses are reported to quantify dynamic and equilibrium interactions between colloidal particles and live cell surfaces using dark field video microscopy. Two-dimensional trajectories of micron-sized polyethylene glycol (PEG)-coated silica colloids relative to adherent epithelial breast cancer cell perimeters are determined allowing measurement of position dependent diffusivities and interaction potentials. PEG was chosen as the material system of interest to assess non-specific interactions with cell surfaces and establishes a basis for investigation of specific interactions in future studies. Analysis of measured potential energies on cell surfaces reveals the spatial dependence in cell topography. With the measured cell topography and models for particle–cell surface hydrodynamic interactions, excellent agreement is obtained between theoretical and measured colloidal transport on cell surfaces. Quantitative analyses of association lifetimes showed that PEG coatings act to stabilize colloids above the cell surface through net repulsive, steric interactions. Our results demonstrate a self-consistent analysis of diffusing colloidal probe interactions due to conservative and non-conservative forces to characterize biophysical cell surface properties.

Graphical abstract: Diffusing colloidal probes of cell surfaces

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Article information

23 Oct 2015
19 Apr 2016
First published
21 Apr 2016

Soft Matter, 2016,12, 4731-4738
Article type
Author version available

Diffusing colloidal probes of cell surfaces

G. A. Duncan, D. H. Fairbrother and M. A. Bevan, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 4731
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM02637G

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