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3 Janelia Publications

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    09/15/06 | Imaging intracellular fluorescent proteins at nanometer resolution. (With commentary)
    Betzig E, Patterson GH, Sougrat R, Lindwasser OW, Olenych S, Bonifacino JS, Davidson MW, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Hess HF
    Science. 2006 Sep 15;313:1642-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1127344

    We introduce a method for optically imaging intracellular proteins at nanometer spatial resolution. Numerous sparse subsets of photoactivatable fluorescent protein molecules were activated, localized (to approximately 2 to 25 nanometers), and then bleached. The aggregate position information from all subsets was then assembled into a superresolution image. We used this method–termed photoactivated localization microscopy–to image specific target proteins in thin sections of lysosomes and mitochondria; in fixed whole cells, we imaged vinculin at focal adhesions, actin within a lamellipodium, and the distribution of the retroviral protein Gag at the plasma membrane.

    Commentary: The original PALM paper by myself and my friend and co-inventor Harald Hess, spanning the before- and after-HHMI eras. Submitted and publicly presented months before other publications in the same year, the lessons of the paper remain widely misunderstood: 1) localization precision is not resolution; 2) the ability to resolve a few molecules by the Rayleigh criterion in a diffraction limited region (DLR) does not imply the ability to resolve structures of arbitrary complexity at the same scale; 3) true resolution well beyond the Abbe limit requires the ability to isolate and localize hundreds or thousands of molecules in one DLR; and 4) certain photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs) and caged dyes can be isolated and precisely localized at such densities; yielding true resolution down to  20 nm. The molecular densities we demonstrate (105 molecules/m2) are more than two orders of magnitude greater than in later papers that year (implying ten-fold better true resolution) – indeed, these papers demonstrate densities only comparable to earlier spectral or photobleaching based isolation methods. We validate our claims by correlative electron microscopy, and demonstrate the outstanding advantages of PA-FPs for superresolution microscopy: minimally perturbative sample preparation; high labeling densities; close binding to molecular targets; and zero non-specific background.

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    04/21/06 | Janelia Farm: an experiment in scientific culture.
    Rubin GM
    Cell. 2006 Apr 21;125(2):209-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.04.005

    Janelia Farm, the new research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is an ongoing experiment in the social engineering of research communities.

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    01/03/06 | Dendritic patch-clamp recording.
    Davie JT, Kole MH, Letzkus JJ, Rancz EA, Spruston N, Stuart GJ, Häusser M
    Nature Protocols. 2006;1(3):1235-47. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.164

    The patch-clamp technique allows investigation of the electrical excitability of neurons and the functional properties and densities of ion channels. Most patch-clamp recordings from neurons have been made from the soma, the largest structure of individual neurons, while their dendrites, which form the majority of the surface area and receive most of the synaptic input, have been relatively neglected. This protocol describes techniques for recording from the dendrites of neurons in brain slices under direct visual control. Although the basic technique is similar to that used for somatic patching, we describe refinements and optimizations of slice quality, microscope optics, setup stability and electrode approach that are required for maximizing the success rate for dendritic recordings. Using this approach, all configurations of the patch-clamp technique (cell-attached, inside-out, whole-cell, outside-out and perforated patch) can be achieved, even for relatively distal dendrites, and simultaneous multiple-electrode dendritic recordings are also possible. The protocol--from the beginning of slice preparation to the end of the first successful recording--can be completed in 3 h.

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