Bitesize Bio

3D Electron Microscopy for Life Sciences

January 04, 2023

Life science research increasingly demands multimodal imaging methods to obtain comprehensive data about dynamic events. Light microscopy (LM) provides cellular localization and distribution patterns of genetically labelled proteins, but lacks information about ultrastructural details.

A prospect in modern microscopy is the potential to augment live cell fluorescent imaging with direct high resolution ultrastructural information provided by electron microscopy. Such correlative light- and 3D electron microscopy techniques rely on different localization strategies.

Focused ion beam (FIB-SEM) and serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM) are arising techniques for three dimensional visualization of biological structures. The combination of ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging provides 3D datasets of whole cells with nanoscale resolution. The development of 3D electron microscopy correlative workflows combines both methods in a perfect way and enables scientists to correlate functional and ultrastructural information in a multidimensional context.