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Cell Motility

An overview of Andor's solutions for Cell Motility

Cell motility is required for many important physiological processes during cell development, such as cell migration during gastrulation, axon guidance, tissue regeneration and embryological development. Unregulated cell migration can be the cause for progression of cancer, e.g during metastasis. The challenge to perform rapid, multi-dimensional imaging of motile cells is fundamental to our understanding of the processes discussed. At the level of single cell visualization, cell motility envelopes a broad area of study including the mechanisms of cell migration, chemotaxis, axon guidance and motility of dendritic spines. Of interest are whole cell movement, cell polarity, adhesion, membrane ruffles, protrusion of lamellipodia and filopodia, morphogenesis and also the involvement of the cytoskeleton, particularly at the leading and trailing edges of locomotion. Historically the microscopy of motile cells has, from the instrument standpoint, been marred by the need for greater speed and sensitivity at high resolution. For example, it can be desirable to image rapid protrusion of lamellipodia and filopodia. It can also be fundamental to visualize the cytoskeletal dynamics and membrane morphology of moving cells with high resolution and sensitivity, such that the underlying mechanisms of protrusion and retraction can be understood in the context of the interactions and growth of actin (e.g. stress fibers), microtubule and intermediate filament cytoskeletons. Underlying all direct imaging studies of living cells or organisms, is the desire to preserve the living subject for as long as possible, through minimization of both phototoxic cell/tissue damage and photobleaching of the incorporated fluorophores.

For such experiments, a high sensitivity camera is required so that the low level signals can be distinguished from the background noise, often at the short exposures required to capture cell motility effectively. Andor have a range of camera solutions that are used for cell motility experiments.

When working at high magnification e.g. 100x, Andor’s iXon Life EMCCD and Sona 4.2B-11 are two solutions that will suit such applications.

  • For the most challenging light limited experiments - the iXon Life 888 EMCCD offers unsurpassed sensitivity. To capture highly dynamic events it is possible to use cropped sensor mode to significantly increase frame rates. For example, at a region of interest of 256x256 251 frames per second is possible. With the highest sensitivity and ability to provide exceptional temporal resolution the iXon Life is perfectly suited to the needs of cell motility studies.
  • When the widest field of view is needed - the Sona 4.2B-11 back-illuminated sCMOS camera provides a very large 32 mm diagonal sensor. For some applications the ability to track cell motility over relatively larger distances may be required. With the large sensor area coupled to the high sensitivity that the Sona provides, this means more on sample area can be viewed enabling you to see more of the processes under study.

When working at 60x magnification the Zyla 4.2PLUS has 6.5 µm pixel which allows high spatial resolution so that the subtle details of for example cell adhesion can be determined. Camera Link interface provides a high data transfer capability making it possible to run at up to 100 frames per second at 2048x2048.

 

Date: N/A

Author: Andor

Category: Application Note

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