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Issue 47, 2020

The microbial adhesive arsenal deciphered by atomic force microscopy

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Abstract

Microbes employ a variety of strategies to adhere to abiotic and biotic surfaces, as well as host cells. In addition to their surface physicochemical properties (e.g. charge, hydrophobic balance), microbes produce appendages (e.g. pili, fimbriae, flagella) and express adhesion proteins embedded in the cell wall or cell membrane, with adhesive domains targeting specific ligands or chemical properties. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is perfectly suited to deciphering the adhesive properties of microbial cells. Notably, AFM imaging has revealed the cell wall topographical organization of live cells at unprecedented resolution, and AFM has a dual capability to probe adhesion at the single-cell and single-molecule levels. AFM is thus a powerful tool for unravelling the molecular mechanisms of microbial adhesion at scales ranging from individual molecular interactions to the behaviours of entire cells. In this review, we cover some of the major breakthroughs facilitated by AFM in deciphering the microbial adhesive arsenal, including the exciting development of anti-adhesive strategies.

Graphical abstract: The microbial adhesive arsenal deciphered by atomic force microscopy

Article information


Submitted
19 Oct 2020
Accepted
26 Nov 2020
First published
07 Dec 2020

Nanoscale, 2020,12, 23885-23896
Article type
Review Article

The microbial adhesive arsenal deciphered by atomic force microscopy

A. Beaussart, C. Feuillie and S. El-Kirat-Chatel, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 23885 DOI: 10.1039/D0NR07492F

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