Nanoscale Imaging of Primary Cilia with Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy

Journal: Analytical Chemistry

Published: 2018-02-20

DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b05112

Affiliations: 6

Authors: 8

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Research Highlight

Scanning cell surfaces using ion currents and fluorescence



Scientists have distinguished the features of nanosized hair-like cellular protrusions by combining fluorescence imaging with a microscopic technique that scans cell surfaces. 

Yasufumi Takahashi of Kanazawa University, and colleagues in Japan, used scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) to take a closer look at cell cilia — non-motile, nanosized cellular antennae that sense biological and mechanical signals outside the cell. 

By combining SICM with fluorescence imaging, they were able to distinguish between cilia that protrude beyond the cell’s surface and those that are enclosed within. They were also able to see the nanoscale structure of the pocket from which cilia protrude; something other microscopes haven’t been very good at. Finally, the team determined the optimal setting that controls how closely the microscope’s pipette scans the cell’s surface to obtain the most accurate images of the cilia.

Their approach could improve understanding of cilia functions and add to the techniques used for investigating cell topography.

Supported content

  1. Analytical Chemistry 90, 2891–2895 (2018). doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b05112
Institutions Share
Kanazawa University (KU), Japan 0.50
Imperial College London (ICL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.25
Tohoku University, Japan 0.13
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.13
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Japan 0