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article imageSeeing into cells with super-res microscopy

By Tim Sandle     Dec 14, 2014 in Science
Philadelphia - New super-resolution microscopy allows scientists to see the make-up of cells in more detail than ever before. This allows the observation of many biological structures not resolvable in conventional fluorescence microscopy.
Live-cell images obtained through the use of super-resolution microscopy can be viewed in stunning detail and in ways far clearer than was possible a few years ago. The various applications were presented at the December meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) annual meeting held in Philadelphia.
Super-resolution microscopy is a form of light microscopy. Super-resolution techniques allow the capture of images with a higher resolution than the diffraction limit.
The most interesting applications of cell imaging were:
1. Sinem Saka from University Medical Center Göttingen in Germany described her team’s use of stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, among other approaches, to ascertain patterns of proteins within the plasma membrane.
2. Yale University School of Medicine’s Fang Huang discussed how he and his colleagues are applying a multiple-emitter fitting algorithm to localize molecules within live cells faster than previously possible.
3. Wesley Legant of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, described how he and his colleagues are using lattice light sheet microscopy to produce multicolor images to track multiple organelles throughout cell division. Legant’s advisor, Eric Betzig, was announced a winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with co-laureates Stefan Hell and William Moerner.
With the above, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for "the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy," which brings "optical microscopy into the nanodimension".
Advances in super-resolution microscopy have have helped biology significantly during the last few years.
In related news, bioengineers have put forward the idea that the size of cells is all due to gravity. Furthermore, gravity is necessary to support thousands of membrane-less compartments found inside the cellular nucleus.
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