Nanoscale 3D cellular imaging by axial scanning transmission electron tomography

Nat Methods. 2009 Oct;6(10):729-31. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1367. Epub 2009 Aug 30.


Electron tomography provides three-dimensional structural information about supramolecular assemblies and organelles in a cellular context, but image degradation, caused by scattering of transmitted electrons, limits applicability in specimens thicker than 300 nm. We found that scanning transmission electron tomography of 1,000-nm-thick samples using axial detection provided resolution comparable to that of conventional electron tomography. We demonstrated the method by reconstructing a human erythrocyte infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electron Microscope Tomography / methods*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Erythrocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / ultrastructure*