Streamlined embedding of cell monolayers on gridded glass-bottom imaging dishes for correlative light and electron microscopy

Microsc Microanal. 2010 Dec;16(6):747-54. doi: 10.1017/S1431927610094092. Epub 2010 Oct 20.


Correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) has facilitated study of intracellular trafficking. Routine application of CLEM would be advantageous for many laboratories but previously described techniques are particularly demanding, even for those with access to laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We describe streamlined methods for TEM of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled organelles after imaging by LSCM using gridded glass bottom imaging dishes. GFP-MAP 1A/1B LC3 (GFP-LC3) transfected cells were treated with rapamycin, fixed and imaged by LSCM. Confocal image stacks were acquired enabling full visualization of each GFP-LC3 labeled organelle. After LSCM, cells were embedded for TEM using a simplified two step method that stabilizes the glass bottom such that the block can be separated from the glass by mild heating. All imaging and TEM processing are performed in the same dish. The LSCM imaged cells were relocated on the block and serial sectioned. Correlation of LSCM, DIC, and TEM images was facilitated by cellular landmarks. All GFP labeled structures were successfully reidentified and imaged by serial section TEM. This method could make CLEM more accessible to nonspecialized laboratories with basic electron microscopy expertise and could be used routinely to confirm organelle localization of fluorescent puncta.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line
  • Cells / cytology*
  • Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins