Long-term single-cell imaging of mammalian stem cells

Nat Methods. 2011 Apr;8(4 Suppl):S30-5. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1577. Epub 2011 Mar 30.


Continuous long-term single-cell observation provides insight into the molecular control of cell fate. This is particularly important for rare and heterogeneous populations of cells, such as mammalian stem cells. The current lack of usable off-the-shelf hardware and software for such experiments makes their implementation technically challenging. Here I discuss the need for continuous single-cell quantification to understand molecular cell fate control as well as organizational and technical solutions for long-term imaging and tracking of stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Computers
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Humans
  • Microscopy / instrumentation
  • Single-Cell Analysis / instrumentation
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Single-Cell Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Software
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Fluorescent Dyes