High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) is a powerful tool for studying the dynamics of biomolecules in vitro because of its high temporal and spatial resolution. However, multi-functionalization, such as combination with complementary measurement methods, environment control, and large-scale mechanical manipulation of samples, is still a complex endeavor due to the inherent design and the compact sample scanning stage. Emerging tip-scan HS-AFM overcame this design hindrance and opened a door for additional functionalities. In this study, we designed a motor-driven stretching device to manipulate elastic substrates for HS-AFM imaging of biomolecules under controllable mechanical stimulation. To demonstrate the applicability of the substrate stretching device, we observed a microtubule buckling by straining the substrate and actin filaments linked by α-actinin on a curved surface. In addition, a BAR domain protein BIN1 that senses substrate curvature was observed while dynamically controlling the surface curvature. Our results clearly prove that large-scale mechanical manipulation can be coupled with nanometer-scale imaging to observe biophysical effects otherwise obscured.
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