Cryosectioning-enabled super-resolution microscopy for studying nuclear architecture at the single protein level

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DNA-PAINT combined with total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy enables the highest localization precisions, down to single nanometers in thin biological samples, due to TIRF’s unique method for optical sectioning and attaining high contrast. However, most cellular targets elude the accessible TIRF range close to the cover glass and thus require alternative imaging conditions, affecting resolution and image quality. Here, we address this limitation by applying ultrathin physical cryosectioning in combination with DNA-PAINT. With “tomographic & kinetically-enhanced” DNA-PAINT (tokPAINT), we demonstrate the imaging of nuclear proteins with sub-3 nanometer localization precision, advancing the quantitative study of nuclear organization within fixed cells and mouse tissues at the level of single antibodies. We believe that ultrathin sectioning combined with the versatility and multiplexing capabilities of DNA-PAINT will be a powerful addition to the toolbox of quantitative DNA-based super-resolution microscopy in intracellular structural analyses of proteins, RNA and DNA in situ .

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