Photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) of adhesion complexes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Key to understanding a protein's biological function is the accurate determination of its spatial distribution inside a cell. Although fluorescent protein markers allow the targeting of specific proteins with molecular precision, much of this information is lost when the resultant fusion proteins are imaged with conventional, diffraction-limited optics. In response, several imaging modalities that are capable of resolution below the diffraction limit (approximately 200 nm) have emerged. Here, both single- and dual-color superresolution imaging of biological structures using photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) are described. The examples discussed focus on adhesion complexes: dense, protein-filled assemblies that form at the interface between cells and their substrata. A particular emphasis is placed on the instrumentation and photoactivatable fluorescent protein (PA-FP) tags necessary to achieve PALM images at approximately 20 nm resolution in 5 to 30 min in fixed cells.

publication date

  • December 2008