Abstract

Combining the noninterferometric wide-field optical profilometry technique with fluorescence microscopy, we observe the membrane activities of a living cell as well as the structures of its cytoskeletons. The membrane ripples of a lamellipodium are related to similar structures of the underlying actin filaments. However, we find the ripples appear prior to and disappear later than the corresponding actin filament structures, which supports the elastic Brownian ratchet model of cell motility. In addition, we measure the three-dimensional movement of a fibronectin-coated latex bead on the membrane. The bead motion is determined by the movement and branching of the actin molecules on the filament, as well as by the displacement of the filament itself.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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