Bacterial cell wall nanoimaging by autoblinking microscopy.
ABSTRACT: Spurious blinking fluorescent spots are often seen in bacteria during single-molecule localization microscopy experiments. Although this 'autoblinking' phenomenon is widespread, its origin remains unclear. In Deinococcus strains, we observed particularly strong autoblinking at the periphery of the bacteria, facilitating its comprehensive characterization. A systematic evaluation of the contributions of different components of the sample environment to autoblinking levels and the in-depth analysis of the photophysical properties of autoblinking molecules indicate that the phenomenon results from transient binding of fluorophores originating mostly from the growth medium to the bacterial cell wall, which produces single-molecule fluorescence through a Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography (PAINT) mechanism. Our data suggest that the autoblinking molecules preferentially bind to the plasma membrane of bacterial cells. Autoblinking microscopy was used to acquire nanoscale images of live, unlabeled D. radiodurans and could be combined with PALM imaging of PAmCherry-labeled bacteria in two-color experiments. Autoblinking-based super-resolved images provided insight into the formation of septa in dividing bacteria and revealed heterogeneities in the distribution and dynamics of autoblinking molecules within the cell wall.
Project description:Holography has paved the way for phase imaging in a variety of wide-field techniques, including electron, X-ray and optical microscopy. In scanning optical microscopy, however, the serial fashion of image acquisition seems to challenge a direct implementation of traditional holography. Here we introduce synthetic optical holography (SOH) for quantitative phase-resolved imaging in scanning optical microscopy. It uniquely combines fast phase imaging, technical simplicity and simultaneous operation at visible and infrared frequencies with a single reference arm. We demonstrate SOH with a scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope (s-SNOM) where it enables reliable quantitative phase-resolved near-field imaging with unprecedented speed. We apply these capabilities to nanoscale, non-invasive and rapid screening of grain boundaries in CVD-grown graphene, by recording 65 kilopixel near-field images in 26?s and 2.3 megapixel images in 13?min. Beyond s-SNOM, the SOH concept could boost the implementation of holography in other scanning imaging applications such as confocal microscopy.
Project description:The secretory signal elicited by membrane depolarization traverses from the Ca2+-bound ?11.2 pore-forming subunit of the L-type Ca2+-channel (Cav1.2) to syntaxin 1?A (Sx1A) via an intra-membrane signaling mechanism. Here, we report the use of two-color Photo-Activated-Localization-Microscopy (PALM) to determine the relation between Cav1.2 and Sx1A in single-molecule detail. We observed nanoscale co-clusters of PAmCherry-tagged Sx1A and Dronpa-tagged ?11.2 at a ~1:1 ratio. PAmCherry-tagged Sx1AC145A, or PAmCherry-tagged Sx2, an inactive Cav1.2 modulator, in which Cys145 is a Ser residue, showed no co-clustering. These results are consistent with the crucial role of the single cytosolic Sx1ACys145 in clustering with Cav1.2. Cav1.2 and the functionally inactive transmembrane-domain double mutant Sx1AC271V/C272V engendered clusters with a ~2:1 ratio. A higher extent of co-clustering, which coincides with compromised depolarization-evoked transmitter-release, was observed also by oxidation of Sx1ACys271 and Cys272. Our super-resolution-imaging results set the stage for studying co-clustering of the channel with other exocytotic proteins at a single-molecule level.
Project description:Molecular solids and polymers can form low-symmetry crystal structures that exhibit anisotropic electron and ion mobility in engineered devices or biological systems. The distribution of molecular orientation and disorder then controls the macroscopic material response, yet it is difficult to image with conventional techniques on the nanoscale. We demonstrated a new form of optical nanocrystallography that combines scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy with both optical antenna and tip-selective infrared vibrational spectroscopy. From the symmetry-selective probing of molecular bond orientation with nanometer spatial resolution, we determined crystalline phases and orientation in aggregates and films of the organic electronic material perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydride. Mapping disorder within and between individual nanoscale domains, the correlative hybrid imaging of nanoscale heterogeneity provides insight into defect formation and propagation during growth in functional molecular solids.
Project description:Quantitative approaches for characterizing molecular organization of cell membrane molecules under physiological and pathological conditions profit from recently developed super-resolution imaging techniques. Current tools employ statistical algorithms to determine clusters of molecules based on single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) data. These approaches are limited by the ability of SMLM techniques to identify and localize molecules in densely populated areas and experimental conditions of sample preparation and image acquisition. We have developed a robust, model-free, quantitative clustering analysis to determine the distribution of membrane molecules that excels in densely labeled areas and is tolerant to various experimental conditions, i.e. multiple-blinking or high blinking rates. The method is based on a TIRF microscope followed by a super-resolution optical fluctuation imaging (SOFI) analysis. The effectiveness and robustness of the method is validated using simulated and experimental data investigating nanoscale distribution of CD4 glycoprotein mutants in the plasma membrane of T cells.
Project description:Drug resistance is a challenge that can be addressed using nanotechnology. We focused on the resistance of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and investigated, using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), the behavior of a reference strain and of a multidrug resistant clinical strain, submitted to two antibiotics and to an innovative antibacterial drug (CX1). We measured the morphology, surface roughness and elasticity of the bacteria under physiological conditions and exposed to the antibacterial molecules. To go further in the molecules action mechanism, we explored the bacterial cell wall nanoscale organization using functionalized AFM tips. We have demonstrated that affected cells have a molecularly disorganized cell wall; surprisingly long molecules being pulled off from the cell wall by a lectin probe. Finally, we have elucidated the mechanism of action of CX1: it destroys the outer membrane of the bacteria as demonstrated by the results on artificial phospholipidic membranes and on the resistant strain.
Project description:In situ visualization of molecular assemblies near their macromolecular scale is a powerful tool to investigate fundamental cellular processes. Super-resolution light microscopies (SRM) overcome the diffraction limit and allow researchers to investigate molecular arrangements at the nanoscale. However, in bacterial cells, visualization of these assemblies can be challenging because of their small size and the presence of the cell wall. Thus, although conceptually promising, successful application of SRM techniques requires careful optimization in labeling biochemistry, fluorescent dye choice, bacterial biology and microscopy to gain biological insights. Here, we apply Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy to visualize cell division proteins in bacterial cells, specifically E. coli and B. subtilis. We applied nanobodies that specifically recognize fluorescent proteins, such as GFP, mCherry2 and PAmCherry, fused to targets for STED imaging and evaluated the effect of various organic fluorescent dyes on the performance of STED in bacterial cells. We expect this research to guide scientists for in situ macromolecular visualization using STED in bacterial systems.
Project description:Single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) depends on sequential detection and localization of individual molecular blinking events. Due to the stochasticity of single-molecule blinking and the desire to improve SMLM's temporal resolution, algorithms capable of analyzing frames with a high density (HD) of active molecules, or molecules whose images overlap, are a prerequisite for accurate location measurements. Thus far, HD algorithms are evaluated using scalar metrics, such as root-mean-square error, that fail to quantify the structure of errors caused by the structure of the sample. Here, we show that the spatial distribution of localization errors within super-resolved images of biological structures are vectorial in nature, leading to systematic structural biases that severely degrade image resolution. We further demonstrate that the shape of the microscope's point-spread function (PSF) fundamentally affects the characteristics of imaging artifacts. We built a Robust Statistical Estimation algorithm (RoSE) to minimize these biases for arbitrary structures and PSFs. RoSE accomplishes this minimization by estimating the likelihood of blinking events to localize molecules more accurately and eliminate false localizations. Using RoSE, we measure the distance between crossing microtubules, quantify the morphology of and separation between vesicles, and obtain robust recovery using diverse 3D PSFs with unmatched accuracy compared to state-of-the-art algorithms.
Project description:Superresolution imaging techniques based on the precise localization of single molecules, such as photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) and stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), achieve high resolution by fitting images of single fluorescent molecules with a theoretical Gaussian to localize them with a precision on the order of tens of nanometers. PALM/STORM rely on photoactivated proteins or photoswitching dyes, respectively, which makes them technically challenging. We present a simple and practical way of producing point localization-based superresolution images that does not require photoactivatable or photoswitching probes. Called bleaching/blinking assisted localization microscopy (BaLM), the technique relies on the intrinsic bleaching and blinking behaviors characteristic of all commonly used fluorescent probes. To detect single fluorophores, we simply acquire a stream of fluorescence images. Fluorophore bleach or blink-off events are detected by subtracting from each image of the series the subsequent image. Similarly, blink-on events are detected by subtracting from each frame the previous one. After image subtractions, fluorescence emission signals from single fluorophores are identified and the localizations are determined by fitting the fluorescence intensity distribution with a theoretical Gaussian. We also show that BaLM works with a spectrum of fluorescent molecules in the same sample. Thus, BaLM extends single molecule-based superresolution localization to samples labeled with multiple conventional fluorescent probes.
Project description:Cell function requires formation of molecular clusters localized to discrete subdomains. The composition of these interactomes, and their spatial organization, cannot be discerned by conventional microscopy given the resolution constraints imposed by the diffraction limit of light (?200-300 nm). Our aims were (i) Implement single-molecule imaging and analysis tools to resolve the nano-scale architecture of cardiac myocytes. (ii) Using these tools, to map two molecules classically defined as components 'of the desmosome' and 'of the gap junction', and defined their spatial organization.We built a set-up on a conventional inverted microscope using commercially available optics. Laser illumination, reducing, and oxygen scavenging conditions were used to manipulate the blinking behaviour of individual fluorescent reporters. Movies of blinking fluorophores were reconstructed to generate subdiffraction images at ?20 nm resolution. With this method, we characterized clusters of connexin43 (Cx43) and of 'the desmosomal protein' plakophilin-2 (PKP2). In about half of Cx43 clusters, we observed overlay of Cx43 and PKP2 at the Cx43 plaque edge. SiRNA-mediated loss of Ankyrin-G expression yielded larger Cx43 clusters, of less regular shape, and larger Cx43-PKP2 subdomains. The Cx43-PKP2 subdomain was validated by a proximity ligation assay (PLA) and by Monte-Carlo simulations indicating an attraction between PKP2 and Cx43.(i) Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, complemented with Monte-Carlo simulations and PLAs, allows the study of the nanoscale organization of an interactome in cardiomyocytes. (ii) PKP2 and Cx43 share a common hub that permits direct physical interaction. Its relevance to excitability, electrical coupling, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, is discussed.
Project description:Due to their exceptional optical and magnetic properties, negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV-) centers in nanodiamonds (NDs) have been identified as an indispensable tool for imaging, sensing and quantum bit manipulation. The investigation of the emission behaviors of single NV- centers at the nanoscale is of paramount importance and underpins their use in applications ranging from quantum computation to super-resolution imaging. Here, we report on a spin-manipulated nanoscopy method for nanoscale resolutions of the collectively blinking NV- centers confined within the diffraction-limited region. Using wide-field localization microscopy combined with nanoscale spin manipulation and the assistance of a microwave source tuned to the optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) frequency, we discovered that two collectively blinking NV- centers can be resolved. Furthermore, when the collective emitters possess the same ground state spin transition frequency, the proposed method allows the resolving of each single NV- center via an external magnetic field used to split the resonant dips. In spin manipulation, the three-level blinking dynamics provide the means to resolve two NV- centers separated by distances of 23?nm. The method presented here offers a new platform for studying and imaging spin-related quantum interactions at the nanoscale with super-resolution techniques.