Sub-diffraction Limit Localization of Proteins in Volumetric Space Using Bayesian Restoration of Fluorescence Images from Ultrathin Specimens

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Abstract

Photon diffraction limits the resolution of conventional light microscopy at the lateral focal plane to 0.61λ/NA (λ = wavelength of light, NA = numerical aperture of the objective) and at the axial plane to 1.4nλ/NA 2 (n = refractive index of the imaging medium, 1.51 for oil immersion), which with visible wavelengths and a 1.4NA oil immersion objective is ~220 nm and ~600 nm in the lateral plane and axial plane respectively. This volumetric resolution is too large for the proper localization of protein clustering in subcellular structures. Here we combine the newly developed proteomic imaging technique, Array Tomography (AT), with its native 50-100 nm axial resolution achieved by physical sectioning of resin embedded tissue, and a 2D maximum likelihood deconvolution method, based on Bayes' rule, which significantly improves the resolution of protein puncta in the lateral plane to allow accurate and fast computational segmentation and analysis of labeled proteins. The physical sectioning of AT allows tissue specimens to be imaged at the physical optimum of modern high NA plan-apochormatic objectives. This translates to images that have little out of focus light, minimal aberrations and wave-front distortions. Thus, AT is able to provide images with truly invariant point spread functions (PSF), a property critical for accurate deconvolution. We show that AT with deconvolution increases the volumetric analytical fidelity of protein localization by significantly improving the modulation of high spatial frequencies up to and potentially beyond the spatial frequency cut-off of the objective. Moreover, we are able to achieve this improvement with no noticeable introduction of noise or artifacts and arrive at object segmentation and localization accuracies on par with image volumes captured using commercial implementations of super-resolution microscopes. © 2012 Wang, Smith.

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Wang, G., & Smith, S. J. (2012). Sub-diffraction Limit Localization of Proteins in Volumetric Space Using Bayesian Restoration of Fluorescence Images from Ultrathin Specimens. PLoS Computational Biology, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002671

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