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© Thierry Blisnick & Philippe Bastin, Institut Pasteur
Bloodstream Trypanosoma brucei cell
Publication : Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE

Preparation and Observation of Thick Biological Samples by Scanning Transmission Electron Tomography

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE - 12 Mar 2017

Trépout S, Bastin P, Marco S

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28362414

J Vis Exp 2017 Mar;(121)

This report describes a protocol for preparing thick biological specimens for further observation using a scanning transmission electron microscope. It also describes an imaging method for studying the 3D structure of thick biological specimens by scanning transmission electron tomography. The sample preparation protocol is based on conventional methods in which the sample is fixed using chemical agents, treated with a heavy atom salt contrasting agent, dehydrated in a series of ethanol baths, and embedded in resin. The specific imaging conditions for observing thick samples by scanning transmission electron microscopy are then described. Sections of the sample are observed using a through-focus method involving the collection of several images at various focal planes. This enables the recovery of in-focus information at various heights throughout the sample. This particular collection pattern is performed at each tilt angle during tomography data collection. A single image is then generated, merging the in-focus information from all the different focal planes. A classic tilt-series dataset is then generated. The advantage of the method is that the tilt-series alignment and reconstruction can be performed using standard tools. The collection of through-focal images allows the reconstruction of a 3D volume that contains all of the structural details of the sample in focus.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28362414