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Atomic Force Microscopy of Viruses

  • P. J. de PabloEmail author
  • I. A. T. Schaap
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1215)

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy employs a nanometric tip located at the end of a micro-cantilever to probe surface-mounted samples at nanometer resolution. Because the technique can also work in a liquid environment it offers unique possibilities to study individual viruses under conditions that mimic their natural milieu. Here, we review how AFM imaging can be used to study the surface structure of viruses including that of viruses lacking a well-defined symmetry. Beyond imaging, AFM enables the manipulation of single viruses by force spectroscopy experiments. Pulling experiments can provide information about the early events of virus–host interaction between the viral fibers and the cell membrane receptors. Pushing experiments measure the mechanical response of the viral capsid and its contents and can be used to show how virus maturation and exposure to different pH values change the mechanical response of the viruses and the interaction between the capsid and genome. Finally, we discuss how studying capsid rupture and self-healing events offers insight in virus uncoating pathways.

Keywords

Protein Shell Cage Capsid Virus Atomic force microscopy Stiffness Spring constant Force curve Nano-indentation Tip Cantilever Topography Rupture Breaking Fatigue Elasticity 

Abbreviations

AFM

Atomic Force Microscopy

Fl

Lateral Force

Fn

Normal Force

FZ

Force vs. Distance

HAdV

human Adenovirus

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

HOPG

Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite

JM

Jumping Mode

nN

nanoNewton

pN

picoNewton

TIRFM

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy

TMV

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Notes

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge our students, former students, collaborators, and projects FIS2014-59562-R, FIS2015-71108-REDT, FIS2017-89549-R. Fundación BBVA and “María de Maeztu” Program for Units of Excellence in R&D (MDM-2014-0377).

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Solid Condensed Matter Institute IFIMACUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.SmarAct GmbHOldenburgGermany

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