Super-resolution "street view" microscopy hits the SPOT

November 18, 2020

The ability to "see" the inner workings of structures (organelles) within cells, in real time, offers the promise of advancements in disease diagnosis and treatment. Organelle dynamics drive the self-efficient micro-world of cells, but current super-resolution microscopy techniques used to track these interactions have limitations.

Now an advanced technique called SPOT (Spectrum and Polarization Optical Tomography) is giving researchers a "street view" of the vital lipid membranes surrounding organelles and by so doing opens up the opporutnies to study the sophisticated world of lipid dynamics.

The researchers say it's a significant development, building on earlier work on super-resolution polarization microscopy.

The research, published in Nature Communications was developed through a collaboration between University of Technology Sydney-Southern University of Science and Technology (UTS-SUStech) Joint Research Centre for Biomedical Materials & Devices, and Peking University.

Lead author Dr Karl Zhangao from UTS-SUSTech Joint Research Centre said that lipid membranes surround most organelles and play a significant role.

"Their shape, composition and phase synergistically regulate biophysical membrane properties, membrane protein function and lipid-protein interactions."

"However it is challenging to observe such a level of complexity due to their similar chemical composition," he said.

Simply using one dye that universally stains the lipid membranes, SPOT can simultaneously reveal lipid membrane morphology, polarity, and phase from measuring the intensity, spectrum, and polarization, respectively. Combined with lipophilic probes, the team successfully revealed more than ten types of organelles simultaneously, and their sophisticated lipid dynamics.

Using the new imaging platform established at SUStech, researchers observed the multi-organelle interactive activities of cell division, lipid dynamics during plasma membrane separation, tunneling nanotubules formation, and mitochondrial cristae dissociation.

"This is the first time researchers have been able to quantitatively study the lipid heterogeneity inside subcellular organelles," senior author Professor Dayong Jin says. Professor Jin is Director of UTS-SUStech Joint Research Centre and Director of UTS Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices.

"This is a very powerful tool for super-resolution imaging the inner working of each single cells, that will advance our knowledge in understanding how cells function, diagnose when a "factory" or a transportation doesn't work properly within the cell, and monitor the progression of disease," Professor Jin said

"With such information it isn't too big a leap to identify pathways for potential drug treatments, as well as examine their efficacy right on the SPOT" he said.
-end-
Wenhui Liu, a doctoral student in Tsinghua University, and Meiqi Li, a doctoral student in Peking University are also co-first authors of this work

University of Technology Sydney

Related Cell Division Articles from Brightsurf:

Cell division: Cleaning the nucleus without detergents
A team of researchers, spearheaded by the Gerlich lab at IMBA, has uncovered how cells remove unwanted components from the nucleus following mitosis.

Genetic signature boosts protein production during cell division
A research team has uncovered a genetic signature that enables cells to adapt their protein production according to their state.

Inner 'clockwork' sets the time for cell division in bacteria
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered a 'clockwork' mechanism that controls cell division in bacteria.

Scientists detail how chromosomes reorganize after cell division
Researchers have discovered key mechanisms and structural details of a fundamental biological process--how a cell nucleus and its chromosomal material reorganizes itself after cell division.

Targeting cell division in pancreatic cancer
Study provides new evidence of synergistic effects of drugs that inhibit cell division and support for further clinical trials.

Scientists gain new insights into the mechanisms of cell division
Mitosis is the process by which the genetic information encoded on chromosomes is equally distributed to two daughter cells, a fundamental feature of all life on earth.

Cell division at high speed
When two proteins work together, this worsens the prognosis for lung cancer patients: their chances of survival are particularly poor in this case.

Cell biology: The complexity of division by two
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.

Better together: Mitochondrial fusion supports cell division
New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that when cells divide rapidly, their mitochondria are fused together.

Seeing is believing: Monitoring real time changes during cell division
Scientist have cast new light on the behaviour of tiny hair-like structures called cilia found on almost every cell in the body.

Read More: Cell Division News and Cell Division Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.