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Mechanical properties of living cells are important for cell shape, motility, and cellular responses to biochemical and biophysical signals. Although these properties are predominantly determined by the cytoskeleton, relatively little is known about the mechanical organization of cells at a subcellular level. We have studied the cell cortex of bovine(More)
Neurofilaments (NFs) have been proposed to interact with one another through mutual steric exclusion of their unstructured C-terminal "sidearm" domains, producing order in axonal NF distributions and conferring mechanical strength to the axon. Here we apply theory developed for polymer brushes to examine the relationship between the brush properties of the(More)
We describe the morphology and mechanical stability of the apical surface of MDCK monolayers by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Living cells could be imaged in physiological solution for several hours without noticeable deterioration. Cell boundaries appear as ridges that clearly demarcate neighboring cells. In some cases the nucleus of individual cells(More)
An atomic force microscope (AFM) was used to study the structure of isolated hepatic gap junctions in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). The thickness of these gap junctions appears to be 14.4 nanometers, close to the dimensions reported by electron microscopy (EM). When an increasing force is applied to the microscope tip, the top membrane of the gap(More)
Microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) are thought to control spacing between microtubules. We propose that the projection domain is largely unstructured and exerts a long-range repulsive force that is predominantly entropic in origin, providing a physical mechanism for maintaining spacing. To test this hypothesis, we developed an experimental system where(More)
The spatial and temporal changes of the mechanical properties of living cells reflect complex underlying physiological processes. Following these changes should provide valuable insight into the biological importance of cellular mechanics and their regulation. The tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) can be used to indent soft samples, and the force(More)
Intrinsically disordered proteins are an important class of proteins with unique functions and properties. Here, we have applied a support vector machine (SVM) trained on naturally occurring disordered and ordered proteins to examine the contribution of various parameters (vectors) to recognizing proteins that contain disordered regions. We find that a SVM(More)
Neurofilaments and microtubules are important components of the neuronal cytoskeleton. In axons or dendrites, these filaments are aligned in parallel arrays, and separated from one another by nonrandom distances. This distinctive organization has been attributed to cross bridges formed by NF side arms or microtubule-associated proteins. We recently proposed(More)
Atomic force microscopy has emerged as a powerful tool for characterizing single biological macromolecules, macromolecular assemblies, and whole cells in aqueous buffer, in real time, and at molecular-scale spatial and force resolution. Many of the central elements of intracellular transport are tens to hundreds of nanometers in size and highly dynamic.(More)
When the axon of a motor neuron is sectioned and visualized by electron microscopy, a two-dimensional distribution of neurofilaments (NFs) with nonrandom spacing is revealed; this ordered arrangement implies the presence of physical interactions between the NFs. To gain insight into the molecular basis of this organization, we characterized NF distributions(More)