Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Seeing it All

New microscopy technology allows 3D live-cell imaging with ultrastructural analysis

23 December 2019

Seeing it All

Do you enjoy staring at every brushstroke of a painting or being gripped by a live-action film? In the world of microscopy, one technique combines the best of both worlds – correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM). Living cells are 3D-imaged in real-time using light microscopy and then processed to capture detailed images using electron microscopy. The respective pictures are matched up with the help of markings on the dishes in which the cells were grown. This works well for collections of separate cells but when cells fill the dish, the markings are obscured. Researchers now overcome this by growing the cells on gold mesh grids. The grids remain visible during light and electron microscopy, even when cells are overgrown. This has enabled them to capture live-cell and electron microscopy images (pictured) of tightly-packed epithelial cells infected with Salmonella (red), revealing a cell extending a ring-like structure in response to infection.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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