Optimising correlative super resolution and atomic force microscopies for investigating the cellular cytoskeleton

Riley B. Hargreaves, Ashley M. Rozario, Thomas M. McCoy, Shane P. Meaney, Alison M. Funston, Rico F. Tabor, Donna R. Whelan, Toby D.M. Bell

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Correlative imaging methods can provide greater information for investigations of cellular ultra-structure, with separate analysis methods complementing each other's strengths and covering for deficiencies. Here we present a method for correlative applications of super resolution and atomic force microscopies, optimising the sample preparation for correlative imaging of the cellular cytoskeleton in COS-7 cells. This optimisation determined the order of permeabilisation and fixation, the concentration of Triton X-100 surfactant used and time required for sufficient removal of the cellular membrane while maintaining the microtubule network. Correlative SMLM/AFM imaging revealed the different information that can be obtained through each microscopy. The widths of microtubules and microtubule clusters were determined from both AFM height measurements and Gaussian fitting of SMLM intensity cross sections, these were then compared to determine the orientation of microtubules within larger microtubule bundles. The ordering of microtubules at intersections was determined from the AFM height profiles as each microtubule crosses the other. The combination of both microtubule diameter measurements enabled greater information on their structure to be found than either measurement could individually.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045005
Number of pages12
JournalMethods and Applications in Fluorescence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • cellular unroofing
  • fixation
  • membrane removal
  • microtubules
  • single molecule localisation microscopy
  • ultra-structure

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