Imaging and mechanical characterization of mammalian cells and their plasma membrane by atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Our group has developed high-velocity, high-resolution methods to perform imaging of the plasma membrane in eukaryotic cells. We performed imaging of the actin cytoskeleton at high temporal and spatial resolution in living cells and characterized the mechanical behavior of cells by microrheology at high frequency using novel AFM methods. The relation between cell mechanics and adhesion geometry was also studied in cells bound to an adhesive pattern of fixed geometry. Plasma membrane remodeling is studied using High-Speed AFM imaging, which enable acquisition of movies with nanometer resolution within timescales below 1 second. In particular, we attempt visualization of clathrin-mediated endocytosis as well as ESCRT-III mediated membrane budding in artificial, cell-free systems as well as in living cells. Pathological molecules altering the plasma membrane such as toxins are also studied.
In collaboration with other Labex teams we study caveolin pits on the plasma membrane and membrane tubules shaped by factors excreted by salmonella.