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We demonstrate electron microscopy of fully hydrated eukaryotic cells with nanometer resolution. Living Schizosaccaromyces pombe cells were loaded in a microfluidic chamber and imaged in liquid with scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). The native intracellular (ultra)structures of wild-type cells and three different mutants were studied without prior labeling, fixation, or staining. The STEM images revealed various intracellular components that were identified on the basis of their shape, size, location, and mass density. The maximal achieved spatial resolution in this initial study was 32 ± 8 nm, an order of magnitude better than achievable with light microscopy on pristine cells. Light-microscopy images of the same samples were correlated with the corresponding electron-microscopy images. Achieving synergy between the capabilities of light and electron microscopy, we anticipate that liquid STEM will be broadly applied to explore the ultrastructure of live cells.
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Biophysical journal
Samples fully embedded in liquid can be studied at a nanoscale spatial resolution with Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) using a microfluidic chamber assembled in the specimen holder fo...
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Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.
Electron microscopy in which the ELECTRONS or their reaction products that pass down through the specimen are imaged below the plane of the specimen.
Electron microscopy involving rapid freezing of the samples. The imaging of frozen-hydrated molecules and organelles permits the best possible resolution closest to the living state, free of chemical fixatives or stains.
A type of TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY in which the object is examined directly by an extremely narrow electron beam scanning the specimen point-by-point and using the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen to create the image. It should not be confused with SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY.
Microscopy in which the object is examined directly by an electron beam scanning the specimen point-by-point. The image is constructed by detecting the products of specimen interactions that are projected above the plane of the sample, such as backscattered electrons. Although SCANNING TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY also scans the specimen point by point with the electron beam, the image is constructed by detecting the electrons, or their interaction products that are transmitted through the sample plane, so that is a form of TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY.