Biological Electron Microscopy

Most importantly, methods are generally developed as part of intensively EM oriented internal research projects. We work with a wide range of samples including plant tissues, single molecules, polymers, all types of animal tissue and culture cells, which may be processed for surface imaging, thin sectioning and immuno-gold labelling. One particular research interest is to understand how nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) carry out the controlled transport of molecules such as proteins and RNAs to and from the cell nucleus. We look at NPC structure using SEM by isolating the nuclear envelope (which encloses the nucleus and contains the NPCs), critical point drying them and then coating with a 1.5 nm thick film of chromium (Figure 1). Such samples can be labelled with gold-tagged antibodies to determine the position of specific proteins (Figure 2).

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