Visualizing Adhesion Formation in Cells by Means of Advanced Spinning Disk-Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy.


UKE Microscopy Imaging Facility, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf; [Email]


In living cells, processes such as adhesion formation involve extensive structural changes in the plasma membrane and the cell interior. In order to visualize these highly dynamic events, two complementary light microscopy techniques that allow fast imaging of live samples were combined: spinning disk microscopy (SD) for fast and high-resolution volume recording and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy for precise localization and visualization of the plasma membrane. A comprehensive and complete imaging protocol will be shown for guiding through sample preparation, microscope calibration, image formation and acquisition, resulting in multi-color SD-TIRF live imaging series with high spatio-temporal resolution. All necessary image post-processing steps to generate multi-dimensional live imaging datasets, i.e. registration and combination of the individual channels, are provided in a self-written macro for the open source software ImageJ. The imaging of fluorescent proteins during initiation and maturation of adhesion complexes, as well as the formation of the actin cytoskeletal network, was used as a proof of principle for this novel approach. The combination of high resolution 3D microscopy and TIRF provided a detailed description of these complex processes within the cellular environment and, at the same time, precise localization of the membrane-associated molecules detected with a high signal-to-background ratio.