Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy

17.12.2018

Does expansion microscopy deliver true-to-life images of cellular structures? That was not sure yet. A new publication in "Nature Methods" shows for the first time that the method actually works reliably.

Immersing deeper and deeper into cells with the microscope. Imaging the nucleus and other structures more and more accurately. Getting the most detailed views of cellular multi-protein complexes.


On the left, an expanded human cell with microtubules (blue) and a pair of centrioles (yellow-red) in the middle. On the right the detailed structure of two expanded pairs of centrioles.

Picture: Fabian Zwettler / University of Würzburg

All of these are goals pursued by the microscopy expert Markus Sauer at the Biocenter of Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany. Together with researchers from Geneva and Lausanne in Switzerland, he has now shown that a hitherto doubted method of super-resolution microscopy is reliable.

We are talking about ultrastructural expansion microscopy (U-ExM). In a nutshell, it works like this: The cell structures to be imaged, in this case multi-protein complexes, are anchored in a polymer – just like decorating a Christmas tree.

Cell structures are not distorted

Then the interactions between the proteins are destroyed and the polymer is swelled with liquid. "The polymer then expands uniformly in all spatial directions by a factor of four. The antigens are retained and can subsequently be stained with dye-labeled antibodies," says Professor Sauer.

So far, many scientists have been of the opinion that the expansion of the polymer does not proceed uniformly and one gets a distorted representation in the end.

"With U-ExM, we can really depict ultrastructural details, the method is reliable," says Sauer. "And it delivers a picture that is four times higher resolved than with standard methods of microscopy."

Centrioles made the start

The research team is currently proving this in the journal "Nature Methods" using the example of the centrioles. These cylindrical protein structures play an important role in cell division; the Würzburg biologist Theodor Boveri first described it in 1888.

The centrioles were chosen for the experiment because their structure is already well known. "This enabled us to see, in comparison to electron micrographs, that U-ExM works reliably and even preserves the chirality of the microtubule triplets that make up the centrioles," explains Sauer.

Next, the JMU researchers want to use this method of microscopy to analyze cell structures of which one has not yet had such a precise picture.

"These are, for example, substructures of the centrioles, the nuclear pore complexes or synaptonemal complexes. All of them are now accessible for the first time with molecular resolution by light microscopy, "said Sauer.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Markus Sauer, Chair of Biotechnology and Biophysics, Biocenter, JMU, T +49 931 31-88687, m.sauer@uni-wuerzburg.de

Originalpublikation:

“Imaging cellular ultrastructures using expansion microscopy (U-ExM)”, Nature Methods, 17 December 2018, DOI 10.1038/s41592-018-0238-1

Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>