Journal article

High-Resolution Correlative Microscopy: Bridging the Gap between Single Molecule Localization Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy

Nanoscale characterization of living samples has become essential for modern biology. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) creates topological images of fragile biological structures from biomolecules to living cells in aqueous environments. However, correlating nanoscale structure to biological function of specific proteins can be challenging. To this end we have built and characterized a correlated single molecule localization microscope (SMLM)/AFM that allows localizing specific, labeled proteins within high-resolution AFM images in a biologically relevant context. Using direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM)/AFM, we directly correlate and quantify the density of localizations with the 3D topography using both imaging modalities along (F-)actin cytoskeletal filaments. In addition, using photo activated light microscopy (PALM)/AFM, we provide correlative images of bacterial cells in aqueous conditions. Moreover, we report the first correlated AFM/PALM imaging of live mammalian cells. The complementary information provided by the two techniques opens a new dimension for structural and functional nanoscale biology.

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