Video-Rate Far-Field Optical Nanoscopy Dissects Synaptic Vesicle Movement

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  11 Apr 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5873, pp. 246-249
DOI: 10.1126/science.1154228

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


We present video-rate (28 frames per second) far-field optical imaging with a focal spot size of 62 nanometers in living cells. Fluorescently labeled synaptic vesicles inside the axons of cultured neurons were recorded with stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy in a 2.5-micrometer by 1.8-micrometer field of view. By reducing the cross-sectional area of the focal spot by about a factor of 18 below the diffraction limit (260 nanometers), STED allowed us to map and describe the vesicle mobility within the highly confined space of synaptic boutons. Although restricted within boutons, the vesicle movement was substantially faster in nonbouton areas, consistent with the observation that a sizable vesicle pool continuously transits through the axons. Our study demonstrates the emerging ability of optical microscopy to investigate intracellular physiological processes on the nanoscale in real time.

    View Full Text

    Stay Connected to Science

    Editor's Blog