Langmuir, Vol.24, No.7, 2955-2959, 2008
Combined use of atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and secondary ion mass spectrometry for cell surface analysis
Understanding the surface properties of microbial cells is a major challenge of current microbiological research and a key to efficiently exploit them in biotechnology. Here, we used three advanced surface analysis techniques with different sensitivity, probing depth, and lateral resolution, that is, in situ atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and secondary ion mass spectrometry, to gain insight into the surface properties of the conidia of the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. We show that the native ultrastructure, surface protein and polysaccharide concentrations, and amino acid composition of three mutants affected in hydrophobin production are markedly different from those of the wild-type, thereby providing novel insight into the cell wall architecture of A. fumigatus. The results demonstrate the power of using multiple complementary techniques for probing microbial cell surfaces.