Sequential superresolution imaging of multiple targets using a single fluorophore

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Abstract

Fluorescence superresolution (SR) microscopy, or fluorescence nanoscopy, provides nanometer scale detail of cellular structures and allows for imaging of biological processes at the molecular level. Specific SR imaging methods, such as localization-based imaging, rely on stochastic transitions between on (fluorescent) and off (dark) states of fluorophores. Imaging multiple cellular structures using multi-color imaging is complicated and limited by the differing properties of various organic dyes including their fluorescent state duty cycle, photons per switching event, number of fluorescent cycles before irreversible photobleaching, and overall sensitivity to buffer conditions. In addition, multiple color imaging requires consideration of multiple optical paths or chromatic aberration that can lead to differential aberrations that are important at the nanometer scale. Here, we report a method for sequential labeling and imaging that allows for SR imaging of multiple targets using a single fluorophore with negligible cross-talk between images. Using brightfield image correlation to register and overlay multiple image acquisitions with ∼10 nm overlay precision in the x-y imaging plane, we have exploited the optimal properties of AlexaFluor647 for dSTORM to image four distinct cellular proteins. We also visualize the changes in co-localization of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor and clathrin upon EGF addition that are consistent with clathrin-mediated endocytosis. These results are the first to demonstrate sequential SR (s-SR) imaging using direct stochastic reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM), and this method for sequential imaging can be applied to any superresolution technique.

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Valley, C. C., Liu, S., Lidke, D. S., & Lidke, K. A. (2015). Sequential superresolution imaging of multiple targets using a single fluorophore. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123941

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