Nanometer-scale identification of multiple targets is crucial to understand how biomolecules regulate life. Markers, or probes, of specific biomolecules help to visualize and to identify. Electron microscopy (EM), the highest resolution imaging modality, provides ultrastructural information where several subcellular structures can be readily identified. For precise tagging of (macro)molecules, electron-dense probes, distinguishable in gray-scale EM, are being used. However, practically these genetically-encoded or immune-targeted probes are limited to three targets. In correlated microscopy, fluorescent signals are overlaid on the EM image, but typically without the nanometer-scale resolution and limited to visualization of few targets. Recently, analytical methods have become more sensitive, which has led to a renewed interest to explore these for imaging of elements and molecules in cells and tissues in EM. Here, we present the current state of nanoscale imaging of cells and tissues using energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), cathodoluminescence (CL), and touch upon secondary ion mass spectroscopy at the nanoscale (NanoSIMS). ColorEM is the term encompassing these analytical techniques the results ofwhich are then displayed as false-color at the EM scale. We highlight how ColorEM will become a strong analytical nano-imaging tool in life science microscopy.
- SCANNING-TRANSMISSION ELECTRON
- ION MASS-SPECTROMETRY
- CATHODOLUMINESCENCE MICROSCOPY
- CORRELATIVE MICROSCOPY
- BIOLOGICAL SPECIMENS