Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Imaging Method Lets Scientists 'See' Cell Molecules More Clearly

Date:
January 21, 2009
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have developed a unique new imaging tool. The new technique allows for imaging whole cells in liquid with a scanning transmission electron microscope.

(a) The principle of liquid scanning transmission electron microscopy (liquid STEM). A whole cell in liquid is enclosed between two electron-transparent windows of silicon nitride. Images are obtained by scanning a focused electron beam over the sample and detecting the elastically scattered electrons with an annular dark field detector. (b) Liquid STEM images of COS7 fibroblast cells incubated with 10 nm gold nanoparticles conjugated with epidermal growth factor (EGF-Au). The labels are visible as bright spots and the cellular material is shown as light-grey matter. Sharp-edged gold labels are visible in the cluster at arrow #1, while the labels in the cluster at arrow #2 appear blurred and can not be distinguished as individual labels, indicating that cluster #2 is out of the vertical plane of focus. (c) The flow cell is placed in the vacuum of the microscope using the fluid specimen holder.
Credit: courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS

Scientists have always wanted to take a closer look at biological systems and materials. From the magnifying glass to the electron microscope, they have developed ever-increasingly sophisticated imaging devices.

Related Articles


Now, Niels de Jonge, Ph.D., and colleagues at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), add a new tool to the biology-watcher's box. In the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they describe a technique for imaging whole cells in liquid with a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM).

"Electron microscopy is the most important tool for imaging objects at the nano-scale – the size of molecules and objects in cells," said de Jonge, who is an assistant professor of Molecular Biology & Biophysics at Vanderbilt and a staff scientist at ORNL. But electron microscopy requires a high vacuum, which has prevented imaging of samples in liquid, such as biological cells.

The new technique – liquid STEM – uses a micro-fluidic device with electron transparent windows to enable the imaging of cells in liquid. In the PNAS article, the investigators demonstrate imaging of individual molecules in a cell, with significantly improved resolution (the fineness of detail in the image) and speed compared to existing imaging methods.

"Liquid STEM has the potential to become a versatile tool for imaging cellular processes on the nanometer scale," de Jonge said. "It will potentially be of great relevance for the development of molecular probes and for the understanding of the interaction of viruses with cells."

The technique will also become a resource for energy science, as researchers use it to visualize processes that occur at liquid: solid interfaces, for example in lithium ion batteries, fuel cells, or catalytic reactions.

"Our key innovation with respect to other techniques for imaging in liquid is the combination of a large volume that will accommodate whole cells, a resolution of a few nanometers, and fast imaging of a few seconds per image," de Jonge said.

The research was supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program of ORNL, the SHaRE User Facility at ORNL, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. de Jonge, N., et al. Electron microscopy of whole cells in liquid with nanometer resolution. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2009; Early Edition, January 21-23

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "New Imaging Method Lets Scientists 'See' Cell Molecules More Clearly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210535.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2009, January 21). New Imaging Method Lets Scientists 'See' Cell Molecules More Clearly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210535.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "New Imaging Method Lets Scientists 'See' Cell Molecules More Clearly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210535.htm (accessed April 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) — Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — A British inventor says his Babel bike is the safest bicycle ever produced. Crispin Sinclair - son of famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - hopes the bike&apos;s safety cage, double seatbelt, and host of other measures will inspire non-cyclists to get in the saddle. Jim Drury went to see it in action. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — The bat-wing U.S. Navy drone that became the first autonomous airplane to take off and land on an aircraft carrier accomplished yet another milestone on Wednesday, becoming the first unmanned aircraft to undergo aerial refueling. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Human or Robot You Decide

Human or Robot You Decide

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — An ultra-realistic humanoid robot called &apos;Han&apos; recognises and interprets people&apos;s facial expressions and can even hold simple conversations. Developers Hanson Robotics hope androids like Han could have uses in hospitality and health care industries where face-to-face communication is vital. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins