Applying multiphoton imaging to the study of membrane dynamics in living cells

Traffic. 2001 Nov;2(11):775-80. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2001.21105.x.


The endomembrane system of a cell is a highly dynamic, ephemeral structure that is difficult to visualize. Reconstructions from sections of fixed material can provide high-resolution information on intercellular membrane architecture, but such techniques are fraught with artifacts and are of little help in understanding the dynamics of intracellular membrane traffic. Recently, the availability of fluorescent membrane probes and the development of techniques for optically sectioning intact specimens have allowed glimpses of membrane dynamics to be visualized in living tissue. In this review we discuss the potential of a new optical sectioning technique, multiphoton imaging, for visualizing membrane dynamics in living cells. Multiphoton microscopy offers an unparalleled ability to obtain images from deep within specimens while minimizing the effects of phototoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Photons*