Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 274, Issue 6, pp 513–519 | Cite as

Atomic force microscopy of human serum albumin (HSA) on poly(styrene/acrolein) microspheres

  • D. Kowalczyk
  • J. -P. Marsault
  • S. Slomkowski
Original Contribution


Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in the tapping mode was used for the observation of bare poly (styrene/acrolein) P(SA) microspheres and microspheres with attached HSA. Prior to the AFM observations the P(SA) microspheres were immobilized covalently on the surface of quartz slides modified with γ-aminopropyltriethoxysilane. Atomic Force Microscopy pictures were registered for the dry samples. The partial coalescence of the P(SA) microspheres connected to the quartz surface with amino groups has been observed. The AFM pictures of the single P(SA) microspheres revealed that the surface of these particles is smooth and that any irregularities, if present, do not exceed 1 nm. The surface of microspheres with attached HSA has very clearly different morphology with regular pattern of HSA macromolecules. Cracks on the surfaces of some microspheres with HSA revealed that protein macromolecules are attached to these particles in several layers. In the case of some other microspheres the defects in protein attachment allowed the observation of the border between the bare surface of the P(SA) microspheres and the surface covered with protein macromolecules. Comparison of the thickness of the HSA layers on the P(SA) microspheres with the dimensions of HSA macromolecules, determined earlier from the x-ray studies, suggests that the first layer, 3.0±0.2 nm thick, is formed of the HSA macromolecules arranged flatly on the surface whereas protein macromolecules in the subsequent layers, each 8.6±1 nm thick, are adsorbed protruding from the surface.

Key words

Atomic force microscopy human serum albumin poly (styrene/acrolein) microspheres 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Kowalczyk
    • 1
  • J. -P. Marsault
    • 2
  • S. Slomkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Center of Molecular and Macromolecular StudiesPolish Academy of SciencesLodzPoland
  2. 2.Denis Diderto Institute de Topologie et de Dynamique des SystèmesUniversité Paris 7ParisFrance

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