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92 Janelia Publications

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    04/07/07 | Developing photo activated localization microscopy
    George H. Patterson , Eric Betzig , Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz , Harald F. Hess
    4th IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro. 2007 Apr 15:. doi: 10.1109/isbi.2007.357008

    In conventional biological imaging, diffraction places a limit on the minimal xy distance at which two marked objects can be discerned. Consequently, resolution of target molecules within cells is typically coarser by two orders of magnitude than the molecular scale at which the proteins are spatially distributed. Photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) optically resolves selected subsets of protect fluorescent probes within cells at mean separations of <25 nanometers. It involves serial photoactivation and subsequent photobleaching of numerous sparse subsets of photoactivated fluorescent protein molecules. Individual molecules are localized at near molecular resolution by determining their centers of fluorescent emission via a statistical fit of their point-spread-function. The position information from all subsets is then assembled into a super-resolution image, in which individual fluorescent molecules are isolated at high molecular densities. In this paper, some of the limitations for PALM imaging under current experimental conditions are discussed.

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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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