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Accurate automated quantitative analysis of living cells based on fluorescence microscopy images can be very useful for fast evaluation of experimental outcomes and cell culture protocols. In this work, an algorithm is developed for fast differentiation of normal and apoptotic viable Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. For effective segmentation of cell images, a stochastic segmentation algorithm is developed by combining a generalized polynomial chaos expansion with a level set function-based segmentation algorithm. This approach provides a probabilistic description of the segmented cellular regions along the boundary, from which it is possible to calculate morphological changes related to apoptosis, i.e., the curvature and length of a cell’s boundary. These features are then used as inputs to a support vector machine (SVM) classifier that is trained to distinguish between normal and apoptotic viable states of CHO cell images. The use of morphological features obtained from the stochastic level set segmentation of cell images in combination with the trained SVM classifier is more efficient in terms of differentiation accuracy as compared with the original deterministic level set method.
Scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectrometry has been applied to the analysis of various materials at low-incident beam energies, E0≤5 keV, using peak fitting and following the measured standards/matrix corrections protocol embedded in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Desktop Spectrum Analyzer-II analytical software engine. Low beam energy analysis provides improved spatial resolution laterally and in-depth. The lower beam energy restricts the atomic shells that can be ionized, reducing the number of X-ray peak families available to the analyst. At E0=5 keV, all elements of the periodic table except H and He can be measured. As the beam energy is reduced below 5 keV, elements become inaccessible due to lack of excitation of useful characteristic X-ray peaks. The shallow sampling depth of low beam energy microanalysis makes the technique more sensitive to surface compositional modification due to formation of oxides and other reaction layers. Accurate and precise analysis is possible with the use of appropriate standards and by accumulating high count spectra of unknowns and standards (>1 million counts integrated from 0.1 keV to E0).
A test of the qualities of polarizing filters was performed for a set of specimens including a bulk Nicol prism, standard polaroids, and special polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-iodine thin-film filters coated on both sides by vertically oriented carbon nanotubes. The residual transmission of polarizing filters depending on the incidence angle of polarized light was examined in detail. The superior quality of polarizing film filters treated with carbon nanotubes was found. This fact allows us to propose a new application for polarizing films with carbon nanotubes for a polarizing cover glass. In such a way the cover glass may serve as an analyzer in a light polarizing microscope. Some features of optical scheme arrangement for the polarizing technique are discussed. The polarizing cover glass allows elimination of depolarization of light, which is inserted in a microscope objective. Test results of the proposed polarizing technique attest to the efficiency of using the polarizing cover glass. The new scheme for polaroid arrangement shows image-contrast enhancement by several percent in comparison with the standard layout.
Retrograde transport is a process in which proteins are trafficked from the plasma membrane and endosomes to biosynthetic and secretory organelles, namely the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). A number of plant and bacterial toxins, including cholera toxin and ricin toxin, exploit retrograde transport to gain entry into host cells, although the specifics of this process have remained difficult to probe by laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM). Here we demonstrate the use of super-resolution and live-cell imaging [stimulated emission depletion (STED)] to visualize exogenously applied ricin toxin within the ER. The improved resolution obtained by STED, as compared with LSCM (0.09 versus 0.19 μm), provides a more accurate determination of the amount of ricin that had trafficked to the ER.
Introduction to Special Issue on Imaging Plant Biology
Mg-based implants have promising applications as biodegradable materials in medicine for orthopedic, dental, and cardiovascular therapies. During wear and degradation microdebris are released. Time-lapse multidimensional microscopy (MM) is proposed here as a suitable tool to follow, in fixed intervals over 24-h periods, the interaction between cells and particles. Results of MM show interactions of macrophages (J774) with the magnesium particles (MgPa) that led to modifications of cell size and morphology, a decrease in duplication rate, and cell damage. Corrosion products were progressively formed on the surface of the particles and turbulence was generated due to hydrogen development. Changes were more significant after treating MgPa with potassium fluoride. In order to complement MM observations, membrane damage as detected by a lactase dehydrogenase (LDH) assay and mitochondrial activity as detected by a WST-1 assay with macrophages and osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1) were compared. A more significant concentration-dependent effect was detected for macrophages exposed to MgPa than for osteoblasts. Accordingly, complementary data showed that viability and cell cycle seem to be more altered in macrophages. In addition, protein profiles and expression of proteins associated with the adhesion process changed in the presence of MgPa. These studies revealed that time-lapse MM is a helpful tool for monitoring changes of biodegradable materials and the biological surrounding in real time and in situ. This information is useful in studies related to biodegradable biomaterials.
The development of the helium ion microscope (HIM) enables the imaging of both hard, inorganic materials and soft, organic or biological materials. Advantages include outstanding topographical contrast, superior resolution down to <0.5 nm at high magnification, high depth of field, and no need for conductive coatings. The instrument relies on helium atom adsorption and ionization at a cryogenically cooled tip that is atomically sharp. Under ideal conditions this arrangement provides a beam of ions that is stable for days to weeks, with beam currents in the order of picoamperes. Over time, however, this stability is lost as gaseous contamination builds up in the source region, leading to adsorbed atoms of species other than helium, which ultimately results in beam current fluctuations. This manifests itself as horizontal stripe artifacts in HIM images. We investigate post-processing methods to remove these artifacts from HIM images, such as median filtering, Gaussian blurring, fast Fourier transforms, and principal component analysis. We arrive at a simple method for completely removing beam current fluctuation effects from HIM images while maintaining the full integrity of the information within the image.
A long-standing goal of electron microscopy has been the high-resolution characterization of specimens in their native environment. However, electron optics require high vacuum to maintain an unscattered and focused probe, a challenge for specimens requiring atmospheric or liquid environments. Here, we use an electron-transparent window at the base of a scanning electron microscope’s objective lens to separate column vacuum from the specimen, enabling imaging under ambient conditions, without a specimen vacuum chamber. We demonstrate in-air imaging of specimens at nanoscale resolution using backscattered scanning electron microscopy (airSEM) and scanning transmission electron microscopy. We explore resolution and contrast using Monte Carlo simulations and analytical models. We find that nanometer-scale resolution can be obtained at gas path lengths up to 400 μm, although contrast drops with increasing gas path length. As the electron-transparent window scatters considerably more than gas at our operating conditions, we observe that the densities and thicknesses of the electron-transparent window are the dominant limiting factors for image contrast at lower operating voltages. By enabling a variety of detector configurations, the airSEM is applicable to a wide range of environmental experiments including the imaging of hydrated biological specimens and in situ chemical and electrochemical processes.
In this work, fluorescent Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) cells were developed as probes for imaging applications and to explore behaviorial interaction between B. subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). A novel biological strategy of coupling intracellular biochemical reactions for controllable biosynthesis of CdSe quantum dots by living B. subtilis cells was demonstrated, through which highly luminant and photostable fluorescent B. subtilis cells were achieved with good uniformity. With the help of the obtained fluorescent B. subtilis cells probes, S. aureus cells responded to co-cultured B. subtilis and to aggregate. The degree of aggregation was calculated and nonlinearly fitted to a polynomial model. Systematic investigations of their interactions implied that B. subtilis cells inhibit the growth of neighboring S. aureus cells, and this inhibition was affected by both the growth stage and the amount of surrounding B. subtilis cells. Compared to traditional methods of studying bacterial interaction between two species, such as solid culture medium colony observation and imaging mass spectrometry detection, the procedures were more simple, vivid, and photostable due to the efficient fluorescence intralabeling with less influence on the cells’ surface, which might provide a new paradigm for future visualization of microbial behavior.
Photosynthesis research employs several biophysical methods, including the detection of fluorescence. Even though fluorescence is a key method to detect photosynthetic efficiency, it has not been applied/adapted to single-cell confocal microscopy measurements to examine photosynthetic microorganisms. Experiments with photosynthetic cells may require automation to perform a large number of measurements with different parameters, especially concerning light conditions. However, commercial microscopes support custom protocols (through Time Controller offered by Olympus or Experiment Designer offered by Zeiss) that are often unable to provide special set-ups and connection to external devices (e.g., for irradiation). Our new system combining an Arduino microcontroller with the Cell⊕Finder software was developed for controlling Olympus FV1000 and FV1200 confocal microscopes and the attached hardware modules. Our software/hardware solution offers (1) a text file-based macro language to control the imaging functions of the microscope; (2) programmable control of several external hardware devices (light sources, thermal controllers, actuators) during imaging via the Arduino microcontroller; (3) the Cell⊕Finder software with ergonomic user environment, a fast selection method for the biologically important cells and precise positioning feature that reduces unwanted bleaching of the cells by the scanning laser. Cell⊕Finder can be downloaded from http://www.alga.cz/cellfinder. The system was applied to study changes in fluorescence intensity in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 cells under long-term illumination. Thus, we were able to describe the kinetics of phycobilisome decoupling. Microscopy data showed that phycobilisome decoupling appears slowly after long-term (>1 h) exposure to high light.
Although acknowledged to be variable and subjective, manual annotation of cryo-electron tomography data is commonly used to answer structural questions and to create a “ground truth” for evaluation of automated segmentation algorithms. Validation of such annotation is lacking, but is critical for understanding the reproducibility of manual annotations. Here, we used voxel-based similarity scores for a variety of specimens, ranging in complexity and segmented by several annotators, to quantify the variation among their annotations. In addition, we have identified procedures for merging annotations to reduce variability, thereby increasing the reliability of manual annotation. Based on our analyses, we find that it is necessary to combine multiple manual annotations to increase the confidence level for answering structural questions. We also make recommendations to guide algorithm development for automated annotation of features of interest.
Despite previous research efforts in the fields of histology and cell physiology, the relationship between chromatin structural organization and nuclear shape remains unclear. The aim of this research was to test the existence and strength of correlations between mathematical parameters of chromatin microarchitecture and roundness of the nuclear envelope. On a sample of 240 nuclei of adrenal zona fasciculata cells stained using the DNA-specific Feulgen method, we quantified fractal parameters such as fractal dimension and lacunarity, as well as textural parameters such as angular second moment (ASM), entropy, inverse difference moment, contrast, and variance. Circularity of the nuclear envelope was determined from the nuclear area and perimeter. The results indicate that there is a statistically significant negative correlation between chromatin ASM and circularity. Moreover, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between chromatin fractal dimension and envelope circularity. This is the first study to demonstrate these relationships in adrenal tissue, and also one of the first studies to test the connection between circularity and fractal and gray-level co-occurrence matrix parameters in DNA-specific Feulgen stain. The results could be useful both as an addition to the current knowledge on chromatin/nuclear envelope interactions, and for design of future computer-assisted research software for evaluation of nuclear morphology.