Background: In cell biology, the study of proteins and organelles requires the combination of different imaging approaches, from live recordings with light microscopy (LM) to electron microscopy (EM).
Methodology: To correlate dynamic events in adherent cells with both ultrastructural and 3D information, we developed a method for cultured cells that combines confocal time-lapse images of GFP-tagged proteins with electron microscopy. With laser micro-patterned culture substrate, we created coordinates that were conserved at every step of the sample preparation and visualization processes. Specifically designed for cryo-fixation, this method allowed a fast freezing of dynamic events within seconds and their ultrastructural characterization. We provide examples of the dynamic oligomerization of GFP-tagged myotubularin (MTM1) phosphoinositides phosphatase induced by osmotic stress, and of the ultrastructure of membrane tubules dependent on amphiphysin 2 (BIN1) expression.
Conclusion: Accessible and versatile, we show that this approach is efficient to routinely correlate functional and dynamic LM with high resolution morphology by EM, with immuno-EM labeling, with 3D reconstruction using serial immuno-EM or tomography, and with scanning-EM.