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Keywords:

  • fluorescence;
  • superresolution;
  • STED AFM;
  • correlative microscopy;
  • STORM AFM

In this article, we describe and show the application of some of the most advanced fluorescence superresolution techniques, STED AFM and STORM AFM microscopy towards imaging of cytoskeletal structures, such as microtubule filaments. Mechanical and structural properties can play a relevant role in the investigation of cytoskeletal structures of interest, such as microtubules, that provide support to the cell structure. In fact, the mechanical properties, such as the local stiffness and the elasticity, can be investigated by AFM force spectroscopy with tens of nanometers resolution. Force curves can be analyzed in order to obtain the local elasticity (and the Young's modulus calculation by fitting the force curves from every pixel of interest), and the combination with STED/STORM microscopy integrates the measurement with high specificity and yields superresolution structural information. This hybrid modality of superresolution-AFM working is a clear example of correlative multimodal microscopy. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.