The Combination of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Laser-Based Microdissection as a Tool for Molecular Biology

Stefan Thalhammer, Marc Hennemeyer, and Wolfgang M. Heckl

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Institute of Crystallography and Applied Mineralogy, and Center of NanoScience, Theresienstr. 41, D-80333 Munich, Germany




The combination of high resolution microscopy, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), and laser-based microdissection provides a direct approach for the investigation and isolation of biological specimen. We present a non-contact isolation method, laser pressure catapulting (LPC), in combination with AFM for the isolation of cell clusters and single cells from tissue sections, cell compartments, metaphase chromosomes and chromosomal parts. We show the results on different biological applications: a) isolation of single chloroplasts for evolutionary studies in botany; b) detection of virus particles in infected tissue sections; c) "donut-isolation" for the isolation of a single nucleus with subsequent isolation of the remaining cytoplasm; d) isolation of single metaphase chromosomes and chromosomal parts for studies in molecular cytogenetics. Besides the isolation of fixed material we present the possibility to isolate single living cells to establish homogeneous tissue cultures.