Imaging technologies & equipment
At the MPIPZ, each department is equipped with a range of widefield light and epifluorescence microscopes & stereomicroscopes fitted with digital cameras allowing for highly versatile routine inspection of all kinds of samples. This commonly-used equipment is supervised and maintained by CeMic.
The confocal laser scanning microscopes provide, at high sensitivity and resolution, four-dimensional information of fluorescently labelled specimens. Employment of fluorescent dyes and genetically encoded fluorescent markers enable investigations on the dynamic behaviour of cells, subcellular compartments, organelles, macromolecular complexes and individual proteins within living tissue. Currently, the MPIPZ is equipped with four commonly used confocal systems. Specific modules allow for multiphoton microscopy, fluorescent lifetime imaging (FLIM) and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). An automated confocal microplate imaging reader is also available. This robot combines high speed and high resolution confocal imaging with high throughput, high-content image processing and analysis.
A broad range of sample preparation equipment for both widefield microscopy as well as confocal scanning laser microscopy is available at the Institute. These include a tissue processor for paraffin wax embedding as well as a cryotome, a vibratome and rotary microtomes for sectioning.
Scanning electron microscopy provides surface imaging with high resolution and three-dimensional appearance. Our SEM is equipped with a field emission cathode for high resolution imaging. This perfectly suits morphological characterization of plant tissue and organs. Cryopreparation and transfer equipment, critical point dryer and sputter coaters serve straightforward probe preparation.
Transmission electron microscopy remains the only way to obtain highest magnification and resolution information on cells, organelles and smaller cell constituents down to individual molecules. Using immunogold labelling, specific gene products can be precisely localized within their subcellular microenvironment, which provides important clues to gene function. Our TEM is fitted with additional hard- and software allowing for electron tomography, a versatile method for obtaining 3D reconstructions from a tilt series of images. In addition to standard equipment for TEM sample preparation by chemical fixation, a high pressure freezer and a freeze-substitution machine are available to ensure the preservation of biological samples as close to their native state as possible. Other TEM accessories include an evaporation-controlled automated embedding and polymerisation machine for improved resin infiltration and polymerisation, a small cryo chamber for resin polymerisation at cold temperatures under UV irradiation and two Reichert-Jung ultramicrotomes.