FEI today announced a suite of solutions for correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM). New methods in correlative microscopy from FEI bring data from different imaging techniques together automatically in minutes, giving cell biologists the precise information they need, when they need it. Scientists believe that correlating information from the cellular down to the molecular level will lead to breakthrough discoveries that improve their understanding and treatment of diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson's.
"Light microscopy encompasses a broad and varied set of techniques and methodologies, each with its own requirements for correlation. One workflow does not fit all," said Dominique Hubert, vice president and general manager of FEI's Life Sciences Business Unit. "We have developed a set of workflows that are flexible enough to cover a significant share of the possible applications. And we are committed to extending that coverage as the science develops."
Electron microscopy (EM) offers extremely high image resolution—1,000 or more times better than light microscopes. Light microscopes (LM) offer a wide variety of specialized techniques, such as fluorescent labeling, that can identify a single molecule or structure within a large, complex environment like the interior of a living cell. Correlating between the two techniques allows scientists to use LM to find the target and EM to explore its form and function. Correlative microscopy allows investigators to find a feature of interest faster in the EM, gain additional information about its structure down to the molecular scale, and understand relationships between the feature and its larger scale context.
The correlative microscopy solution set from FEI includes:
- Tecnai™ with iCorr™—a fully-integrated workflow in which the light microscope is incorporated into a transmission electron microscope (TEM) column.
- CorrSight™— an advanced light microscope dedicated to the different steps of correlative experiments, enabling researchers to image live cell dynamics and quickly fix those cells for EM.
- MAPS—a software solution that allows correlation between the electron microscope image and an image from any other source through a simple alignment procedure.
Oregon Health and Science University's Professor Joe Gray, based in Portland, Ore., states, "Biologists want to understand the molecular events and interactions that constitute the larger scale processes we observe in cells and tissues. This will require integration of information from multiple resolution scales, for example, ultrastructural analysis of cells that reside in specific microenvironmental niches. The iCorr system allows us to quickly find fluorescently stained cells of interest using fluorescence microscopy and followed by detailed structural analysis using electron microscopy."
Roger Wepf, director of electron microscopy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), adds, "With CorrSight, sample preparation for the electron microscope is integrated with the light microscope, using on-board fixation. We identify the target structure and prepare the sample on the CorrSight light microscope platform, then transfer the sample to the electron microscope and, with a few clicks of the mouse, navigate directly the target. This is exactly what we have been missing since it allows us to reduce manual, tedious work and improve reproducibility. CorrSight and MAPS will open new applications in correlative microscopy that were not possible before."
Hubert added, "At this point, we have only glimpsed the potential of correlative microscopy. It promises to open whole new avenues of investigation into the relationships between structure and function in biological systems at the finest scale. FEI is committed to leading the expansion of this applications space by developing correlative workflow solutions for the broadest range of techniques and methodologies."