Scientific article
Open access

Atomic-force microscopy imaging of plasma membranes purified from spinach leaves

Published inProtoplasma, vol. 212, no. 1-2, p. 46-55
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2000

Plasma membranes purified from spinach leaves by aqueous two-phase partitioning were examined by atomic-force microscopy (AFM) in phosphate buffer, and details on their structure were reported at nanometric scale. Examination of the fresh membrane preparation deposited on mica revealed a complex organization of the surface. It appeared composed of a first layer of material, about 8 nm in thickness, that practically covered all the mica surface and on which stand structures highly heterogeneous in shape and size. High-resolution imaging showed that the surface of the first layer appeared relatively smooth in some regions, whereas different characteristic features were observed in other regions. They consisted of globular-to-elliptical protruding particles of various sizes, from 4-5 nm x-y size for the smallest to 40-70 nm for the largest, and of channel-like structures 25-30 nm in diameter with a central hole. Macromolecular assemblies of protruding particles of various shapes were imaged. Addition of the proteolytic enzyme pronase led to a net roughness decrease in regions covered with particles, indicating their proteinaceous nature. The results open fascinating perspectives in the investigation of membrane surfaces in plant cells with the possibility to get structural information at the nanometric range.

  • Atomic-force microscopy
  • Plasmalemma
  • Phase partition
  • Leaf cells
  • Spinach
Citation (ISO format)
CRÈVECOEUR, Michèle et al. Atomic-force microscopy imaging of plasma membranes purified from spinach leaves. In: Protoplasma, 2000, vol. 212, n° 1-2, p. 46–55. doi: 10.1007/BF01279346
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1615-6102

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