CLAFEM: correlative light atomic force electron microscopy

Methods in Cell Biology,

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is becoming increasingly used in the biology field. It can give highly accurate topography and biomechanical quantitative data, such as adhesion, elasticity, and viscosity, on living samples. Nowadays, correlative light electron microscopy is a must-have tool in the biology field that combines different microscopy techniques to spatially and temporally analyze the structure and function of a single sample. Here, we describe the combination of AFM with superresolution light microscopy and electron microscopy. We named this technique correlative light atomic force electron microscopy (CLAFEM) in which AFM can be used on fixed and living cells in association with superresolution light microscopy and further processed for transmission or scanning electron microscopy. We herein illustrate this approach to observe cellular bacterial infection and cytoskeleton. We show that CLAFEM brings complementary information at the cellular level, from on the one hand protein distribution and topography at the nanometer scale and on the other hand elasticity at the piconewton scales to fine ultrastructural details.

Sébastien Janel, Elisabeth Werkmeister, Antonino Bongiovanni, Frank Lafont, Nicolas Barois

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