Editors' ChoiceTechniques

From Single Molecules to Embryos in Living Color

Sci. Signal.  28 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 349, pp. ec307
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa1061

Animation defines life, and the three-dimensional (3D) imaging of dynamic biological processes occurring within living specimens is essential to understand life. However, in vivo imaging, especially in 3D, involves inevitable tradeoffs of resolution, speed, and phototoxicity. Chen et al. describe a microscope that can address these concerns. They used a class of nondiffracting beams, known as 2D optical lattices, which spread the excitation energy across the entire field of view while simultaneously eliminating out-of-focus excitation. Lattice light sheets increase the speed of image acquisition and reduce phototoxicity, which expands the range of biological problems that can be investigated. The authors illustrate the power of their approach using 20 distinct biological systems ranging from single-molecule binding kinetics to cell migration and division, immunology, and embryonic development.

B.-C. Chen, W. R. Legant, K. Wang, L. Shao, D. E. Milkie, M. W. Davidson, C. Janetopoulos, X. S. Wu, J. A. Hammer III, Z. Liu, B. P. English, Y. Mimori-Kiyosue, D. P. Romero, A. T. Ritter, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, L. Fritz-Laylin, R. D. Mullins, D. M. Mitchell, J. N. Bembenek, A.-C. Reymann, R. Böhme, S. W. Grill, J. T. Wang, G. Seydoux, U. S. Tulu, D. P. Kiehart, E. Betzig, Lattice light-sheet microscopy: Imaging molecules to embryos at high spatiotemporal resolution. Science 346, 1257998 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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