Fast Homogeneous En Bloc Staining of Large Tissue Samples for Volume Electron Microscopy.
ABSTRACT: Fixation and staining of large tissue samples are critical for the acquisition of volumetric electron microscopic image datasets and the subsequent reconstruction of neuronal circuits. Efficient protocols exist for the staining of small samples, but uniform contrast is often difficult to achieve when the sample diameter exceeds a few hundred micrometers. Recently, a protocol (BROPA, brain-wide reduced-osmium staining with pyrogallol-mediated amplification) was developed that achieves homogeneous staining of the entire mouse brain but requires very long sample preparation times. By exploring modifications of this protocol we developed a substantially faster procedure, fBROPA, that allows for reliable high-quality staining of tissue blocks on the millimeter scale. Modifications of the original BROPA protocol include drastically reduced incubation times and a lead aspartate incubation to increase sample conductivity. Using this procedure, whole brains from adult zebrafish were stained within 4 days. Homogenous high-contrast staining was achieved throughout the brain. High-quality image stacks with voxel sizes of 10 × 10 × 25 nm3 were obtained by serial block-face imaging using an electron dose of ~15 e-/nm2. No obvious reduction in staining quality was observed in comparison to smaller samples stained by other state-of-the-art procedures. Furthermore, high-quality images with minimal charging artifacts were obtained from non-neural tissues with low membrane density. fBROPA is therefore likely to be a versatile and efficient sample preparation protocol for a wide range of applications in volume electron microscopy.
Project description:Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used to evaluate potential chromosome preparations and staining methods for application in high-resolution three-dimensional X-ray imaging. Our starting point is optical fluorescence microscopy, the standard method for chromosomes, which only gives structural detail at the 200?nm scale. In principle, with suitable sample preparation protocols, including contrast enhancing staining, the surface structure of the chromosomes can be viewed at the 1?nm level by SEM. Here, we evaluate a heavy metal nucleic-acid-specific stain, which gives strong contrast in the backscattered electron signal. This study uses SEM to examine chromosomes prepared in different ways to establish a sample preparation protocol for X-rays. Secondary electron and backscattered electron signals are compared to evaluate the effectiveness of platinum-based stains used to enhance the contrast.
Project description:Formaldehyde (FA) fixation of infectious samples is a well-established protocol in diagnostic electron microscopy of viruses. However, published experimental data that demonstrate virus inactivation by these fixation procedures are lacking. Usually, fixation is performed immediately before the sample preparation for microscopy. The fixation procedure should transform viruses in a non-infectious but nonetheless structurally intact form in order to allow a proper diagnosis based on morphology. FA provides an essential advantage in comparison to other disinfectants, because it preserves the ultrastructure of biological material without interfering significantly with the preparation (i.e., the negative staining) and the detection of viruses. To examine the efficiency of FA inactivation, we used Vaccinia virus, Human adenovirus and Murine norovirus as models and treated them with FA under various conditions. Critical parameters for the inactivation efficiency were the temperature, the duration of the FA treatment, and the resistance of the virus in question. Our results show that FA inactivation at low temperature (4 °C) bears a high risk of incomplete inactivation. Higher temperatures (25 °C) are more efficient, although they still require rather long incubation times to fully inactivate a complex and highly robust virus like Vaccinia. A protocol, which applied 2% buffered FA for 60 min and a temperature-shift from 25 to 37 °C after 30 min was efficient for the complete inactivation of all test viruses, and therefore has the potential to improve both biosafety and speed of diagnostic electron microscopy.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The identification of proteins by mass spectrometry is a standard method in biopharmaceutical quality control and biochemical research. Prior to identification by mass spectrometry, proteins are usually pre-separated by electrophoresis. However, current protein staining and de-staining protocols are tedious and time consuming, and therefore prolong the sample preparation time for mass spectrometry. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We developed a 1-minute covalent pre-gel staining protocol for proteins, which does not require de-staining before the mass spectrometry analysis. We investigated the electrophoretic properties of derivatized proteins and peptides and studied their behavior in mass spectrometry. Further, we elucidated the preferred reaction of proteins with Uniblue A and demonstrate the integration of the peptide derivatization into typical informatics tools. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The Uniblue A staining method drastically speeds up the sample preparation for the mass spectrometry based identification of proteins. The application of this chemo-proteomic strategy will be advantageous for routine quality control of proteins and for time-critical tasks in protein analysis.
Project description:Background:Plant development is controlled by the action of many, often connected gene regulatory networks. Differential gene expression controlled by internal and external cues is a major driver of growth and time specific differentiation in plants. Transcriptome analysis is the state-of-the-art method to detect spatio-temporal changes in gene expression during development. Monitoring changes in gene expression at early stages or in small plant organs and tissues requires an accurate technique of tissue isolation, which subsequently results in RNA of sufficient quality and quantity. Laser-microdissection enables such accurate dissection and collection of desired tissue from sectioned material at a microscopic level for RNA extraction and subsequent downstream analyses, such as transcriptome, proteome, genome or miRNA. Results:A protocol for laser-microdissection, RNA extraction and RNA-seq was optimized and verified for three distant angiosperm species: Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae), Oryza sativa (Poaceae) and Eschscholzia californica (Papaveraceae). Previously published protocols were improved in processing speed by reducing the vacuum intensity and incubation time during tissue fixation and incubation time and cryoprotection and by applying adhesive tape. The sample preparation and sectioning of complex and heterogenous flowers produced adequate histological quality and subsequent RNA extraction from micro-dissected gynoecia reliably generated samples of sufficient quality and quantity on all species for RNA-seq. Expression analysis of growth stage specific A. thaliana and O. sativa transcriptomes showed distinct patterns of expression of chromatin remodelers on different time points of gynoecium morphogenesis from the initiation of development to post-meiotic stages. Conclusion:Here we describe a protocol for plant tissue preparation, cryoprotection, cryo-sectioning, laser microdissection and RNA sample preparation for Illumina sequencing of complex plant organs from three phyletically distant plant species. We are confident that this approach is widely applicable to other plant species to enable transcriptome analysis with high spatial resolution in non-model plant species. The protocol is rapid, produces high quality sections of complex organs and results in RNA of adequate quality well suited for RNA-seq approaches. We provide detailed description of each stage of sample preparation with the quality and quantity measurements as well as an analysis of generated transcriptomes.
Project description:Automated tape-collecting ultramicrotomy in conjunction with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a powerful approach for volume electron microscopy and three-dimensional neuronal circuit analysis. Current tapes are limited by section wrinkle formation, surface scratches and sample charging during imaging. Here we show that a plasma-hydrophilized carbon nanotube (CNT)-coated polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tape effectively resolves these issues and produces SEM images of comparable quality to those from transmission electron microscopy. CNT tape can withstand multiple rounds of imaging, offer low surface resistance across the entire tape length and generate no wrinkles during the collection of ultrathin sections. When combined with an enhanced en bloc staining protocol, CNT tape-processed brain sections reveal detailed synaptic ultrastructure. In addition, CNT tape is compatible with post-embedding immunostaining for light and electron microscopy. We conclude that CNT tape can enable high-resolution volume electron microscopy for brain ultrastructure analysis.
Project description:Low inherent contrast in soft tissues has been limiting the use of X-ray absorption micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) to access high-resolution structural information of animal organs. The staining agents used in micro-CT to improve the contrast fail in providing high-quality images of whole organs of animals due to diffusion problems of the staining agent into the sample. We demonstrate a staining protocol that incorporates a biochemical conditioning step prior to exposure to the staining agent that succeeds in overcoming the diffusion problems, thus quickly providing high-quality micro-CT images of whole organs of mammals. Besides of yielding non-distorted three-dimensional information at the same spatial resolution accessible in histological sections, micro-CT images of whole organs stained by our method enable easy screening of slices along any direction of the volume thus demonstrating new possibilities of structural analysis in biomedical science.
Project description:Here we present a detailed protocol for molecular profiling of individual cultured mammalian cells using multicolor multicycle immunofluorescence with quantum dot probes. It includes instructions for cell culture growth and processing (2 h + 48-72 h for cell growth), preparation and characterization of universal quantum dot probes (4.5 h + overnight incubation), cyclic cell staining (?4.5 h per cycle) and image analysis (varies by application). The use of quantum dot fluorescent probes enables highly multiplexed, robust quantitative molecular imaging with a conventional fluorescence microscopy setup, whereas the probe preparation methodology, using a self-assembly between protein A-decorated universal quantum dots and intact primary antibodies, offers a fast, simple and purification-free route for an on-demand preparation of antibody-functionalized quantum dot libraries. As a result, this protocol can be used by biomedical researchers for a variety of cell staining applications, and, with further optimization, for staining of other biological specimens (e.g., clinical tissue sections).
Project description:Despite their low concentration, proteins can influence several key enological parameters such as foam stability or haze formation in (sparkling) wine. Most studies focus on white (sparkling) wine since the higher content of phenolic compounds in red wines impairs proteomic research. The aim of the study was the development of a method for the preparation of red (sparkling) wine proteins for proteomic analysis. Three methods of sample preparation were assessed on silver stained SDS-PAGE gels and with MALDI-TOF MS. Our new method was highly suitable for the preparation of proteins for the aforementioned applications. The results showed a substantial increase in signal intensity with a simultaneous decrease in background noise. The preparation protocol consists of (i) dialysis and freeze drying of the sample, (ii) removal of phenolic compounds by water-saturated phenol and (iii) protein precipitation by addition of ammonium acetate. Employment of this method followed by SDS-PAGE analysis allowed for silver stained gels with diminished background or streaking and clearly resolved protein bands. Analysis of spectra obtained from samples prepared according to the proposed protocol showed increased intensity and signal-to-noise ratio in MALDI-TOF MS. Furthermore it was demonstrated that this method can be applied to various kinds of grape products.
Project description:Analysis of neuronal arborization and connections is a powerful tool in fundamental and clinical neuroscience. Changes in neuronal morphology are central to brain development and plasticity and are associated with numerous diseases. Golgi staining is a classical technique based on a deposition of metal precipitate in a random set of neurons. Despite their versatility, Golgi methods have limitations that largely precluded their use in advanced microscopy. We combined Golgi staining with fluorescent labeling and tissue clearing techniques in an Alzheimer's disease model. We further applied 3D electron microscopy to visualize entire Golgi-stained neurons, while preserving ultrastructural details of stained cells, optimized Golgi staining for use with block-face scanning electron microscopy, and developed an algorithm for semi-automated neuronal tracing of cells displaying complex staining patterns. Our method will find use in fundamental neuroscience and the study of neuronal morphology in disease.
Project description:Using a deep neural network, we demonstrate a digital staining technique, which we term PhaseStain, to transform the quantitative phase images (QPI) of label-free tissue sections into images that are equivalent to the brightfield microscopy images of the same samples that are histologically stained. Through pairs of image data (QPI and the corresponding brightfield images, acquired after staining), we train a generative adversarial network and demonstrate the effectiveness of this virtual-staining approach using sections of human skin, kidney, and liver tissue, matching the brightfield microscopy images of the same samples stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin, Jones' stain, and Masson's trichrome stain, respectively. This digital-staining framework may further strengthen various uses of label-free QPI techniques in pathology applications and biomedical research in general, by eliminating the need for histological staining, reducing sample preparation related costs and saving time. Our results provide a powerful example of some of the unique opportunities created by data-driven image transformations enabled by deep learning.