Antibody recognition imaging by force microscopy

Anneliese Raab, Wenhai Han, Dirk Badt, Sandra J. Smith-Gill, Stuart Lindsay, Hansgeorg Schindler, Peter Hinterdorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Scopus citations


We have developed a method that combines dynamic force microscopy with the simultaneous molecular recognition of an antigen by an antibody, during imaging. A magnetically oscillated atomic force microscopy tip carrying a tethered antibody was scanned over a surface to which lysozyme was bound. By oscillating the probe at an amplitude of only a few nanometers, the antibody was kept in close proximity to the surface, allowing fast and efficient antigen recognition and gentle interaction between tip and sample. Antigenic sites were evident from reduction of the oscillation amplitude, as a result of antibody– antigen recognition during the lateral scan. Lysozyme molecules bound to the surface were recognized by the antibody on the scanning tip with a few nanometers lateral resolution. In principle, any ligand can be tethered to the tip; thus, this technique could potentially be used for nanometer-scale epitope mapping of biomolecules and localizing receptor sites during biological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-905
Number of pages4
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1999


  • Antibody-antigen
  • Force microscopy
  • Lysozyme
  • Molecular recognition
  • Receptor-ligand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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