Single cell adhesion strength assessed with variable-angle total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy
We propose a new strategy to evaluate adhesion strength at the single cell level. This approach involves variable-angle total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to monitor in real time the topography of cell membranes, i.e. a map of the membrane/substrate separation distance. According to the Boltzmann distribution, both potential energy profile and dissociation energy related to the interactions between the cell membrane and the substrate were determined from the membrane topography. We have highlighted on glass substrates coated with poly-L-lysine and fibronectin, that the dissociation energy is a reliable parameter to quantify the adhesion strength of MDA-MB-231 motile cells.