Positional correlative anatomy of invertebrate model organisms increases efficiency of TEM data production

Microsc Microanal. 2014 Oct;20(5):1392-403. doi: 10.1017/S1431927614012999. Epub 2014 Sep 2.


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is an important tool for studies in cell biology, and is essential to address research questions from bacteria to animals. Recent technological innovations have advanced the entire field of TEM, yet classical techniques still prevail for most present-day studies. Indeed, the majority of cell and developmental biology studies that use TEM do not require cutting-edge methodologies, but rather fast and efficient data generation. Although access to state-of-the-art equipment is frequently problematic, standard TEM microscopes are typically available, even in modest research facilities. However, a major unmet need in standard TEM is the ability to quickly prepare and orient a sample to identify a region of interest. Here, I provide a detailed step-by-step method for a positional correlative anatomy approach to flat-embedded samples. These modifications make the TEM preparation and analytic procedures faster and more straightforward, supporting a higher sampling rate. To illustrate the modified procedures, I provide numerous examples addressing research questions in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila. This method can be equally applied to address questions of cell and developmental biology in other small multicellular model organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / ultrastructure*
  • Drosophila / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods*