Direct Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy of Extracellular Vesicles in Three Dimensions.

Journal of Visualized Experiments : JoVE
Meredith G ChambersDirk P Dittmer


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released by all cell types and play an important role in cell signaling and homeostasis. The visualization of EVs often require indirect methods due to their small diameter (40-250 nm), which is beneath the diffraction limit of typical light microscopy. We have developed a super-resolution microscopy-based visualization of EVs to bypass the diffraction limit in both two and three dimensions. Using this approach, we can resolve the three-dimensional shape of EVs to within +/- 20 nm resolution on the XY-axis and +/- 50 nm resolution along the Z-axis. In conclusion, we propose that super-resolution microscopy be considered as a characterization method of EVs, including exosomes, as well as enveloped viruses.

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