Three-dimensional cellular ultrastructure resolved by X-ray microscopy

Nat Methods. 2010 Dec;7(12):985-7. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1533. Epub 2010 Nov 14.


We developed an X-ray microscope using partially coherent object illumination instead of previously used quasi-incoherent illumination. The design permitted the incorporation of a cryogenic tilt stage, enabling tomography of frozen-hydrated, intact adherent cells. We obtained three-dimensional reconstructions of mouse adenocarcinoma cells at ∼36-nm (Rayleigh) and ∼70-nm (Fourier ring correlation) resolution, which allowed us to visualize the double nuclear membrane, nuclear pores, nuclear membrane channels, mitochondrial cristae and lysosomal inclusions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / ultrastructure*
  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Light
  • Lysosomes / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Models, Structural
  • Nuclear Envelope / ultrastructure
  • Organelles / ultrastructure*
  • Tomography / methods
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • X-Rays