Total internal reflection fluorescence microscope
In cell and molecular biology, a large number of molecular events in cellular surfaces such as cell adhesion, binding of cells by hormones, secretion of neurotransmitters, and membrane dynamics have been studied with conventional fluorescence microscopes. However, fluorophores that are bound to the specimen surface and those in the surrounding medium exist in an equilibrium state. When these molecules are excited and detected with a conventional fluorescence microscope, the resulting fluorescence from those fluorophores bound to the surface is often overwhelmed by the background fluorescence due to the much larger population of non-bound molecules.
The idea of using total internal reflection to illuminate cells contacting the surface of glass was first described by E.J. Ambrose in 1956. This idea was then extended by Daniel Axelrod at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the early 1980s as TIRFM. A TIRFM uses an evanescent wave to selectively illuminate and excite fluorophores in a restricted region of the specimen immediately adjacent to the glass-water interface. The evanescent wave is generated only when the incident light is totally internally reflected at the glass-water interface. The evanescent electromagnetic field decays exponentially from the interface, and thus penetrates to a depth of only approximately 100 nm into the sample medium. Thus the TIRFM enables a selective visualization of surface regions such as the basal plasma membrane (which are about 7.5 nm thick) of cells as shown in the figure above. Note, however, that the region visualised is at least a few hundred nanometers wide, so the cytoplasmic zone immediately beneath the plasma membrane is necessarily visualised in addition to the plasma membrane during TIRF microscopy. The selective visualisation of the plasma membrane renders the features and events on the plasma membrane in living cells with high axial resolution.
- Ambrose, EJ (24 Nov 1956). "A surface contact microscope for the study of cell movements.". Nature. 178(4543) (4543): 1194. Bibcode:1956Natur.178.1194A. doi:10.1038/1781194a0.
- Axelrod, D. (1 April 1981). "Cell-substrate contacts illuminated by total internal reflection fluorescence". The Journal of Cell Biology 89 (1): 141–145. doi:10.1083/jcb.89.1.141. PMC 2111781. PMID 7014571. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
- Yanagida, Toshio; Sako, Yasushi, Minoghchi, Shigeru (10 February 2000). "Single-molecule imaging of EGFR signalling on the surface of living cells". Nature Cell Biology 2 (3): 168–172. doi:10.1038/35004044.
- Andre et al. Cross-correlated tirf/afm reveals asymmetric distribution of forcegenerating heads along self-assembled, synthetic myosin filaments. Biophysical Journal, 96:1952–1960, 2009.
- Axelrod, Daniel (1 November 2001). "Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy in Cell Biology". Traffic 2 (11): 764–774. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0854.2001.21104.x.
- Interactive Fluorescence Dye and Filter Database Carl Zeiss Interactive Fluorescence Dye and Filter Database.
- TIRF Microscopy: Introduction and Applications TIRF Tutorial from Microscopy U
- TIRF Microscopy: Overview TIRF Tutorial from Olympus Microscopy Resource Center
- Olympus TIRFM Microscopes commercial TIRF microscope systems
- Carl Zeiss Laser TIRF 3 commercial TIRF microscope systems
- Lightguide- and prism-based TIRF microscopy Commercial TIRF Microscopy, TIRF Spectroscopy, TIRF ElectroChemistry, and TIRF Dielectrophoresis systems
- TIRF FLIM microscopy Lambert Instruments TIRF - FLIM microscopy
- Schwartz Research Group, CU-Boulder Single Molecule Imaging Research Group