JPK Instruments has reported that the University of Leipzig has selected the Cellhesion 200 system for its Institute of Experimental Physics I research.
Cellhesion 200 is a dedicated standalone platform for cell adhesion and cytomechanics studies to be used with inverted optical or confocal microscopes.
It enables the quantification of single cell-cell and cell-surface interactions under physiological conditions.
This technique, known as single cell force spectroscopy (SCFS), measures the interaction forces between a living cell bound to a cantilever and a target cell, functionalised substrate or biomaterial.
In parallel, cytomechanical characteristics including stiffness and elasticity can be determined.
Data can be measured for a number of parameters involved in cellular adhesion, including maximum cell adhesion force, single unbinding events, tether characteristics, and work of removal.
The research of the Institute of Experimental Physics I is focused on soft condensed matter as bulk material, in interaction with surfaces and interfaces, and with single molecules.
The systems under study cover small tracer molecules, liquid crystals, polymers, polymer networks, proteins, and living biological cells.
The objective of the research is to explore the physical basis of structure-property relationships in these systems.
Prof Josef A Kas moved his group to Leipzig from the University of Texas in 2001.
At this time, he became one of the first users of the JPK Nanowizard series of atomic force microscopes.
Kas has recently added the JPK Cellhesion 200 system to provide the ability to study the interplay between compartmentalisation of cell and tumour spreading.
Compartmentalisation is the formation of cellular compartments (for example, tissues and organs).
It generates well-defined boundaries for various differentiated cell types.
Cells of the same type adhere better to each other, whereas mixtures of different migrating cell types segregate.
According to the differential adhesion hypothesis (Malcolm S Steinberg, 1960s), cell sorting and formation of cellular compartments result from different adhesiveness of participating cells.
The group tries to apply and verify the concept of compartmentalisation and differential adhesion hypothesis to tumour development and spreading.
It is known that young tumour cells are confined to their compartment of origin.
With rising malignancy up to metastasis, tumour cells become able to overcome compartment boundaries.
The goal is to clarify whether tumour stages can be characterised by cellular adhesiveness, which is why the researchers are measuring healthy and cancerous cells of different malignancy with the JPK Cellhesion 200.
A second project applying Cellhesion 200 is one studying biocompatibility.
Magnetic shape memory alloys are a class of smart materials that have a high potential for actuators in biomedical applications.
These are tested for their biocompatibility by coating those materials with different cell adhesion proteins and using the Cellhesion 200 for cell-substrate adhesion measurements.