Modern Light Microscopy: How Cellular Structures Come to Glow
Cells-in-Motion Podcast | Episode 4
The most important tool in modern biology is clearly the microscope. Revolutionary technical improvements made it so efficient that it can help to detect structures from micrometer (1/1.000 mm) to nanometer (1/1.000.000 mm). Acting on the scale of nanometers, smallest components of cells can be visualized, e.g. synapses. Synapses are communication interfaces between nerve cells, that transfer signals. In order to do so, they need a pool of transmitters. Prof. Jürgen Klingauf, expert in cellular biophysics, investigates with light microscopy how cells re-fill this pool again and again. Therefore he uses fluorescent dyes.
Prof. Friedemann Kiefer uses fluorescent dyes as well. In the chemical laboratory, these dyes are generated in a way, that they bind to selected structures in the organism and glow from there. Sensitive cameras capture the fluorescent light and produce images of the glowing structures that can be assembled three dimensionally in the computer. In the area of micrometers, Prof. Kiefer investigates specimen of tumor tissue. In recent times, so-called intravital microscopy (lat. during life) allows to observe even living, unfixed organisms on the scale of centimeters.