The Detection of Nanoscale Membrane Bending with Polarized Localization Microscopy
The curvature of biological membranes at the nanometer scale is critically important for vesicle trafficking, organelle morphology, and disease propagation. The initiation of membrane bending occurs at a length scale that is irresolvable by most superresolution optical microscopy methods. Here, we report the development of polarized localization microscopy (PLM), a pointillist optical imaging technique for the detection of nanoscale membrane curvature in correlation with single-molecule dynamics and molecular sorting. PLM combines polarized total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and single-molecule localization microscopy to reveal membrane orientation with subdiffraction-limited resolution without reducing localization precision by point spread function manipulation. Membrane curvature detection with PLM requires fewer localization events to detect curvature than three-dimensional single-molecule localization microscopy (e.g., photoactivated localization microscopy or stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy), which enables curvature detection 10× faster via PLM. With rotationally confined lipophilic fluorophores and the polarized incident fluorescence excitation, membrane-bending events are revealed with superresolution. Engineered hemispherical membrane curvature with a radius ≥24 nm was detected with PLM, and individual fluorophore localization precision was 13 ± 5 nm. Further, deciphering molecular mobility as a function of membrane topology was enabled. The diffusion coefficient of individual DiI molecules was 25 ± 5× higher in planar supported lipid bilayers than within nanoscale membrane curvature. Through the theoretical foundation and experimental demonstration provided here, PLM is poised to become a powerful technique for revealing the underlying biophysical mechanisms of membrane bending at physiological length scales.
Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(17)30924-4
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