Mechanical properties of single living cells encapsulated in polyelectrolyte matrixes

Tiziana Svaldo Lanero, Ornella Cavalleri, Silke Krol, Ranieri Rolandi, Alessandra Gliozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the mechanical properties of encapsulated Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells by performing AFM force measurements. Single living cells have been coated through the alternate deposition of oppositely charged polyelectrolyte layers and mechanically trapped into a porous membrane. Coated and uncoated cells in presence/absence of bud scars, i.e. scars resulting from previous budding events, have been investigated. No significant differences between encapsulated and bare cells could be inferred from AFM topographs. On the other hand, investigation on the system elasticity through the acquisition and analysis of force curves allowed us to put in evidence the differences in the mechanical properties between the hybrid cell/polyelectrolyte system and the uncoated cells. Analysis of the curves contact region indicates that the polyelectrolyte coating increases the system rigidity. Quantitative evaluation of the cell rigidity through the Hertz-Sneddon model showed that coated cells are characterized by a Young's modulus higher than the value obtained for uncoated cells and similar to the value observed on the bud scar region of uncoated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-731
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 5 2006


  • AFM
  • Encapsulated cells
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Young's modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical properties of single living cells encapsulated in polyelectrolyte matrixes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this