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Determining the organization of key molecules on the surface of live cells in two dimensions and how this changes during biological processes, such as signalling, is a major challenge in cell biology and requires methods with nanoscale spatial resolution and high temporal resolution. Here, we review biophysical tools, based on scanning ion conductance microscopy and single-molecule fluorescence and the combination of both of these methods, which have recently been developed to address these issues. We then give examples of how these methods have been be applied to provide new insights into cell membrane organization and function, and discuss some of the issues that will need to be addressed to further exploit these methods in the future.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





Cell Biology, Cell Membrane, Cell Tracking, Clathrin, Clusterin, Endocytosis, Fluorescence, Humans, Macromolecular Substances, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Protein Interaction Mapping, Protein Transport, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell