· Live-Cell Studies
Live-cell studies have become a requirement for biologists researching cellular function to understand basic cell biology, disease causes and cures, and reproductive and developmental processes. Live-cell imaging is now a standard technique used in live-cell studies.
Live-cell imaging has its origins in the early 20th century with micro-cinematography, and the extension to video microscopy by pioneers such as Shinye Inoue in the 1980s. The development of fluorescent proteins in the mid-1990s drove the expansion of live-cell microscopy imaging that continues today.
The ability to genetically encode expression of fluorescent markers to target specific cellular structures and compartments for the study of cellular function continues to draw increasing numbers of scientists to the methodology. The use of fluorescent markers for live-cell imaging also has been a driver in live-cell confocal instrumentation development.
Multipoint Confocal Microscopy
Imaging with a live-cell microscope and fluorescence probes is subject to the “iron triangle” of resolution, speed and sensitivity. This iron triangle illustrates the immutable balance of speed, intensity, and spatial resolution. To improve performance for one facet requires that some degree of performance in one or more of the other facets be sacrificed.
For example, if more spatial resolution is needed, some speed and/or intensity must be forfeited. In most confocal live-cell imaging systems, such as spinning disk, the imaging settings in terms of aperture selection are fixed and these three essential parameters cannot be adjusted. As a result, the imaging cannot be customized to meet specific experimental needs. The newest technology in live-cell microscopy, such as that available with Bruker’s Opterra II system, with its selectable apertures, has the ability to adjust speed, resolution, and intensity as needed to accommodate varying experimental conditions across an array of life science research areas.