Open Access Research article

Live cell flattening — traditional and novel approaches

Christian Westendorf1, Albert J Bae12, Christoph Erlenkamper3, Edouard Galland4, Carl Franck2, Eberhard Bodenschatz125 and Carsten Beta16*

Author Affiliations

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

2 Laboratory of Atomic and Solid-State Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

3 Universität des Saarlandes, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany

4 Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France

5 Institut für Nichtlineare Dynamik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

6 Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

PMC Biophysics 2010, 3:9  doi:10.1186/1757-5036-3-9

Published: 19 April 2010

Abstract

Eukaryotic cell flattening is valuable for improving microscopic observations, ranging from bright field (BF) to total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. Fundamental processes, such as mitosis and in vivo actin polymerization, have been investigated using these techniques. Here, we review the well known agar overlayer protocol and the oil overlay method. In addition, we present more elaborate microfluidics-based techniques that provide us with a greater level of control. We demonstrate these techniques on the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

PACS Codes: 87.64.-t, 47.61.-k, 87.80.Ek