Visualization of the Immunological Synapse by Dual Color Time-gated Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) Nanoscopy

March 28, 2014

Natural killer cells form tightly regulated, finely tuned immunological synapses (IS) in order to lyse virally infected or tumorigenic cells. Dynamic actin reorganization is critical to the function of NK cells and the formation of the IS. Imaging of F-actin at the synapse has traditionally utilized confocal microscopy, however the diffraction limit of light restricts resolution of fluorescence microscopy, including confocal, to approximately 200 nm. Recent advances in imaging technology have enabled the development of subdiffraction limited super-resolution imaging. In order to visualize F-actin architecture at the IS we recapitulate the NK cell cytotoxic synapse by adhering NK cells to activating receptor on glass. We then image proteins of interest using two-color stimulated emission depletion microscopy (STED). This results in <80 nm resolution at the synapse. Herein we describe the steps of sample preparation and the acquisition of images using dual color STED nanoscopy to visualize F-actin at the NK IS. We also illustrate optimization of sample acquisition using Leica SP8 software and time-gated STED. Finally, we utilize Huygens software for post-processing deconvolution of images.

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Mace EM and Orange JS:
Visualization of the Immunological Synapse by Dual Color Time-gated Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) Nanoscopy

J. Vis. Exp. (85): e51100 (2014), doi: 10.3791/51100

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