Viewing Nanoscale Structures inside Whole Cells

May 18, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

Today’s Lab.Equipment Bio Technology news is sourced from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

Scientists at Purdue University and collaborators say they have developed a new technology that allows the visualization of nanoscale structures inside whole cells. The team’s technology is described in a paper “Three-dimensional nanoscopy of whole cells and tissues with in situ point spread function retrieval” in Nature Methods., and a video showing an animated 3D super-resolution.

“Single-molecule localization microscopy is a powerful tool for visualizing subcellular structures, interactions and protein functions in biological research. However, inhomogeneous refractive indices inside cells and tissues distort the fluorescent signal emitted from single-molecule probes, which rapidly degrades resolution with increasing depth. We propose a method that enables the construction of an in situ 3D response of single emitters directly from single-molecule blinking datasets, and therefore allows their locations to be pinpointed with precision that achieves the Cramér-Rao lower bound and uncompromised fidelity,” write the investigators.

“We demonstrate this method, named in situ PSF retrieval (INSPR), across a range of cellular and tissue architectures, from mitochondrial networks and nuclear pores in mammalian cells to amyloid-β plaques and dendrites in brain tissues and elastic fibers in developing cartilage of mice. This advancement expands the routine applicability of super-resolution microscopy from selected cellular targets near coverslips to intra- and extracellular targets deep inside tissues.”

“Our technology allows us to measure wavefront distortions induced by the specimen, either a cell or a tissue, directly from the signals generated by single molecules – tiny light sources attached to the cellular structures of interest,” said Fang Huang, PhD, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineer... Read more at the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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