High resolution microscopy
Super-resolution imaging prompts re-thinking of cell biology mechanisms
Selected cases using stimulated emission depletion microscopy
Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Special Issue: Light Microscopy
Volume 34, Issue 5, pages 386–395, May 2012
How to Cite
Saka, S. and Rizzoli, S. O. (2012), Super-resolution imaging prompts re-thinking of cell biology mechanisms. Bioessays, 34: 386–395. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100080
- Issue published online: 16 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 MAR 2012
- image interpretation;
- protein cluster;
- STED microscopy;
The use of super-resolution imaging techniques in cell biology has yielded a wealth of information regarding cellular elements and processes that were invisible to conventional imaging. Focusing on images obtained by stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, we discuss how the new high-resolution data influence the ways in which we use and interpret images in cell biology. Super-resolution images have lent support to some of our current hypotheses. But, more significantly, they have revealed unexpectedly complex processes that cannot be accounted for by the simpler models based on diffraction-limited imaging. The super-resolution imaging data challenge cell biologists to change their theoretical framework, by including, for instance, interpretations that describe multiple functions, functional errors or lack of function for cellular elements. In this context, we argue that descriptive research using super-resolution microscopy is now as necessary as hypothesis-driven research.