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Super-resolution microscopy writ large.

Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Sep 8;34(9):928-30. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3669.

Authors/Editors: Engerer P, Fecher C, Misgeld T.
Publication Date: 2016

2016_10_engerer

Seeing is believing, but many subcellular structures are simply too small and densely packed to be resolved with light microscopes. Over the past two decades, ever-more sophisticated techniques for 'super-resolution' microscopy have succeeded in surpassing the capabilities of conventional microscopy. And last year, a new technology called expansion microscopy1 achieved the precision of super-resolution imaging not by optical tricks but by a radically different approach in which the biological specimen is physically enlarged through chemical treatments. In this issue and in a recent issue of Nature Methods, three groups, Tillberg et al.2, Ku et al.3, and Chozinski et al.4, improve on this method with simplified protocols that use off-the-shelf chemicals and are compatible with standard immunofluorescence techniques and genetically encoded fluorophores. The new protocols should broaden the applications of expansion microscopy and bring it within reach of almost any laboratory.

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