National Natural Science Foundation of China [61503372, 61522312, 61327014, 61433017]
; Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Robotics [2014-Z07]
; CAS FEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams
Understanding the physicochemical properties of cell surface signalling molecules is important for us to uncover the underlying mechanisms that guide the cellular behaviors. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has become a powerful tool for detecting the molecular interactions on individual cells with nanometer resolution. In this paper, AFM peak force tapping (PFT) imaging mode was applied to rapidly locate and visually map the CD20 molecules on human lymphoma cells using biochemically sensitive tips. First, avidin-biotin system was used to test the effectiveness of using PFT imaging mode to probe the specific molecular interactions. The adhesion images obtained on avidin-coated mica using biotin-tethered tips obviously showed the recognition spots which corresponded to the avidins in the simultaneously obtained topography images. The experiments confirmed the specificity and reproducibility of the recognition results. Then, the established procedure was applied to visualize the nanoscale organization of CD20s on the surface of human lymphoma Raji cells using rituximab (a monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody)-tethered tips. The experiments showed that the recognition spots in the adhesion images corresponded to the specific CD20-rituximab interactions. The cluster sizes of CD2Os on lymphoma Raji cells were quantitatively analyzed from the recognition images. Finally, under the guidance of fluorescence recognition, the established procedure was applied to cancer cells from a clinical lymphoma patient The results showed that there were significant differences between the adhesion images obtained on cancer cells and on normal cells (red blood cell). The CD20 distributions on ten cancer cells from the patient were quantified according to the adhesion images. The experimental results demonstrate the capability of applying PFT imaging to rapidly investigate the nanoscale biophysical properties of native membrane proteins on the cell surface, which is of potential significance in developing novel biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and drug development (C) 2016 Published by Elsevier B.V.