Eric Betzig, who just won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, have developed a new 3D microscopy technique that can provide high resolution videos of living cells, embryos, and even large molecules without disturbing their natural activity.
Lattice light sheet microscopy, as the technique is called, uses ultrathin sheets of light to sweep through an object being observed. As the light moves through the sample, it energizes everything in the plane to fluoresce. This radiation is captured through a camera and the slices produced by the light sheet are reconstructed to create a 3D image. This can be done for considerable time periods, providing fantastic videos like the ones below:
Volume rendering of GFP-PH domains (green) and mCherry-H2B (orange) in a C. elegans embryo at the three-fold stage, after the onset of muscle contractions. Bounding box, 41 x 39 x 60 μm.
Volume rendering and orthoslices of myosin II highlighting the myosin-rich purse string during dorsal closure in a D. melanogaster embryo, over 1000 time points at 6.0 sec intervals (cf., Fig. 6D). Bounding box, 80 x 80 x 26 μm.
Measured GFP-EB1 trajectories denoting growing microtubule endpoints, color coded by velocity, and TagRFP-H2B highlighting chromosomes, at five different stages during the division of a single HeLa cell.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute press release: New Microscope Collects Dynamic Images of the Molecules that Animate Life…