Proper brain function requires the precise localization of proteins and signaling molecules on a nanometer scale. The examination of molecular organization at this scale has been difficult in part because it is beyond the reach of conventional, diffraction-limited light microscopy. The recently developed method of superresolution, localization-based fluorescent microscopy (LBM), such as photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) and stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), has demonstrated a resolving power at a 10 nm scale and is poised to become a vital tool in modern neuroscience research. Indeed, LBM has revealed previously unknown cellular architectures and organizational principles in neurons. Here, we discuss the principles of LBM, its current applications in neuroscience, and the challenges that must be met before its full potential is achieved. We also present the unpublished results of our own experiments to establish a sample preparation procedure for applying LBM to study brain tissue.
- Light microscopy/EM image correlation
- Superresolution imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience