Correlated confocal and super-resolution imaging by VividSTORM

Nat Protoc. 2016 Jan;11(1):163-83. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.002. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


Single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) is rapidly gaining popularity in the life sciences as an efficient approach to visualize molecular distribution with nanoscale precision. However, it has been challenging to obtain and analyze such data within a cellular context in tissue preparations. Here we describe a 5-d tissue processing and immunostaining procedure that is optimized for SMLM, and we provide example applications to fixed mouse brain, heart and kidney tissues. We then describe how to perform correlated confocal and 3D-superresolution imaging on these sections, which allows the visualization of nanoscale protein localization within labeled subcellular compartments of identified target cells in a few minutes. Finally, we describe the use of VividSTORM (, an open-source software for correlated confocal and SMLM image analysis, which facilitates the measurement of molecular abundance, clustering, internalization, surface density and intermolecular distances in a cell-specific and subcellular compartment-restricted manner. The protocol requires only basic skills in tissue staining and microscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Mice
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Software*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • User-Computer Interface