Cell & Tissue morphology

Cell membrane functions as a protection layer of the intracellular environment and together with cytoskeleton defines the outer shape of a cell.
In addition to its structural role, the membrane is also a place, where many important events occur, such as cell differentiation, signalling and interactions with extracellular space. Changes in the morphology of the outer membrane can be an evidence of altered cellular functions, such as tumour formation, cell-pathogen interactions and stem cell differentiation. Typical applications involve observing shape changes of grooves, pores, blebs or microvilli on the cellular in response to the changes in the extracellular environment. Delicate samples can be observed in non-dehydrating conditions in under elevated pressure and increased humidity using the UniVac mode and the Water Vapor Inlet.
  • TESCAN MIRA3 and MAIA3 FEG-SEMs are ideal instruments for investigating cellular and tissue structure with high resolution.
  • The MAIA3 is specifically designed for ultra-high resolution imaging at low accelerating voltages, thus providing the best topographic contrast and detail.
Cell & Tissue morphology
Fibroblast culture

Related Application Notes

Cryo FIB-SEM-A leap into the ultrastructure of biological specimens
Cryo-electron tomography (Cryo-ET) is an established method with increasing popularity to study molecules, macromolecular complexes and cellular ultrastructure. The principal limitation of the technique is the quality and thickness of the specimen. Introducing artefacts during the cryo sample preparation strongly influences the obtained results. To overcome the disadvantages of cryo-ultramicrotomy, a cryo FIB-SEM is used as a powerful tool for preparation of fine cryo-TEM samples. Using cryo FIB-SEM as a part of the whole cryo-TEM workflow, subcellular structure of the cells can be revealed in a form of a planar lamella (on-grid lamella). The cryo on-grid lamella is prepared without cutting artefacts and is thin enough for transmitted electrons. One of the key advantages of the cryo-FIB is the ability to prepare site-specific lamellas based on correlation with the data from light microscopic methods. By bringing the functional and ultrastructural data together dramatically helps us better understand the complexity of the biological systems.
Q-PHASE Live Cell Imaging
Q-PHASE, the multimodal holographic microscope, is a unique instrument for quantitative phase imaging (QPI). The main application of this technique is in live cell imaging where advantages such as no need for labeling, low phototoxicity, easy segmentation, cell dry mass interpretation of measured signal and suitability for long term experiments are used. Q-PHASE is built as a transmitted light microscope in an inverted configuration for easy handling with biological samples. Appropriate conditions for live cells are ensured by the microscope incubator heated to 37°C and low exposures of light for QPI. Moreover, there is no need for specific sample preparation. The cells are just seeded into a suitable observation chamber and examined.
pdf – 1.7 MB
Serial Block Face Imaging – 3D approach to cell biology
The facility of integrated Gatan 3View2XP ultra-microtome in the TESCAN microscope offers robust solution to the Serial Block Face Imaging (SBFI). We have performed the structural study of the human stem cell colonies and mouse liver tissues, resulting in their 3D reconstruction.
pdf – 668 kB
STEM detector in life science applications
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) has become a highly effective, easy-to-use technique for imaging biological thin sections (lamellae) in SEM. Multiple sample observation, automated stage navigation, and ultra-high resolution imaging make this technique an attractive solution for high-contrast observation of TEM sections with excellent results, and minimal operator’s time.
pdf – 2.4 MB
Quantitative Phase Imaging (QPI) provided by Q-PHASE – TESCAN multimodal holographic microscope – allows observation of cells reactions to different treatments without any other added dyes. Combination of QPI with fluorescence provides the possibility to observe cell processes with low phototoxicity and simultaneously verify observed processes using a single instrument. This innovative approach opens interesting opportunities in cancer research. Through experiments, researchers look at how cancer cells behave and try to understand cancer at its deepest levels. Understanding the basic processes of these cells can help researchers figure out what controls cell division and cell death; find out what makes cancer cells spread or metastasize, identify unique characteristics of cancer cells to design newtherapeutic strategies, and, find out why certain cancer cells become resistant to therapy. In some of these experiments, cells taken from tumors of people with cancer are studied.
pdf – 1.3 MB
SEM observation of sperm entering the oocyte
Assisted reproductive technologies are commonly used for treating human infertility, and require handling with gametes. SEM can be used for observing whole oocyte and its surface structures – zona pellucida and plasma membrane – as well for a detailed investigation of gamete interaction during fertilisation (sperm attachment and penetration).
pdf – 2.1 MB
Low temperature scanning electron microscopy for Life Sciences
Low temperature scanning electron microscopy (Cryo-SEM) has become an established technique for capturing and observing biological samples close to their natural state. It is a method of choice, where the traditional sample preparation (e.g. critical point drying) causes unwanted changes in the sample structure. A Cryo-SEM workflow typically involves sample fixation using either flash-freezing in a liquid nitrogen slush or high-pressure freezing. The frozen samples are then transferred under vacuum to a cryo sputter coater, where they are coated with a conductive layer of metals or carbon. Finally, the samples are inserted into a SEM chamber equipped with a cryo-stage and observed in high vacuum environment.
pdf – 4.8 MB
Visualization of the QD- immunostained somatostatin hormone using an ultra-high resolution TESCAN MAIA3 FE-SEM
Somatostatinoma is a type of a neuroendocrine tumor that typically develops in the region of the duodenum or pancreas. This kind of tumor is characterized by an excessive somatostatin hormone secretion. These elevated levels of somatostatin can be used for investigation of the somatostatin tumor cells, typically by the positive immunohistochemical staining. Correlative light-electron microscopy imaging has become a very popular approach due to the usage of quantum-dotbased immunoprobes, which can be inherently detected by both techniques.
pdf – 1.2 MB
High resolution analysis of thin foils using the STEM Detector with HADF
Performing scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a popular technique for laboratories without transmission electron microscopy (TEM) capabilities. The new option for TESCAN STEM detector extends the imaging capabilities by simultaneous acquisition of multiple signals from transmitted and diffracted electrons including bright field, dark field and high angle dark field. The STEM analysis can be further supplemented with transmission EDX or EBSD microanalysis for receiving higher resolution, utilizing the available analytical techniques of the SEM.
pdf – 1.7 MB