Expansion microscopy is a recently developed technique that allows nanoscale resolution imaging of specimens on fast, diffraction-limited microscopes. The method is based on the use of highly cross-linked, expandable polymers that bind biomolecules and labels. The expansion of the polymer pulls biomolecules and labels apart. As a result, molecules are moved away from each other but relative organization is preserved. The technique is easily carried out and only requires relatively inexpensive equipment, available in most laboratories. It offers numerous advantages:
1. Nanoscale resolution
2. No costly microscopy hardware is necessary
3. Specimens are optically transparent and free of optical aberration. In fact, after the expansion process, the specimen contains 99% water.
4. It allows decrowding of biomolecules facilitating signal amplification, antibody and reagents diffusion, and epitopes access.
The technique has been already successfully performed on numerous samples types, including cultured Mammalian Cells, E. Coli, different brain regions (i.e: mouse cortex, hippocampus, striatums) lung, spleen, skin, kidney, liver, and others from normal and disease-state tissues. CS-16 CS16-CultureWell™ Removable Chambered Coverglass has been indicated as the ideal tool to perform expansion microscopy as it allows cell culturing and imaging in the same device. The following paper presents an overview of the methods and a detailed protocol for expansion microscopy. Learn more here: