Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used extensively to characterize the surface structure and mechanical properties of bacterial cells. Extraction of the cell wall peptidoglycan sacculus enables AFM analysis exclusively of peptidoglycan architecture and mechanical properties, unobscured by other cell wall components. This has led to discoveries of new architectural features within the cell wall, and new insights into the level of long range order in peptidoglycan (Turner et al. Mol Microbiol 91:862-874, 2014). Such information has great relevance to the development of models of bacterial growth and division, where peptidoglycan structure is frequently invoked as a means of guiding the activities of the proteins that execute these processes.
Turner, R. D., Hobbs, J. K., & Foster, S. J. (2016). Atomic force microscopy analysis of bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan architecture. In Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 1440, pp. 3–9). Humana Press Inc. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-3676-2_1