Background information: CLEM (correlative live cell and electron microscopy) seeks to bridge the data acquired with different imaging strategies, typically between light microscopy and electron microscopy. It has been successfully applied in cell cultures, although its use in multicellular systems is hampered by difficulties in locating the ROI (region of interest).
Results: We developed a CLEM technique that enables easy processing of small model animals and is adequate both for morphology and immunoelectron-microscopic specimen preparations. While this method has been initially developed for Caenorhabditis elegans samples, we found that it works equally well for Drosophila samples. It enables handling and observation of single animals of any complex genotype in real time, fixation by high-pressure freezing and flat embedding. Our major improvement has been the development of a precise mapping system that considerably simplifies and speeds up the retrospective location of the ROI within 1 mum distance. This method can be successfully used when correlative microscopy is required, as well as to facilitate the treatment of non-correlative TEM procedures. Our improvements open the possibility to treat statistically significant numbers of animals processed by electron microscopy and considerably simplifies electron-microscopic protocols, making them more accessible to a wider range of researchers.
Conclusions: We believe that this technique will contribute to correlative studies in multicellular models and will facilitate the time-demanding procedure of specimen preparation for any kind of TEM.