Total internal reflection microscopy studies on colloidal particle endocytosis by living cells
Byrne, Gerard (2009) Total internal reflection microscopy studies on colloidal particle endocytosis by living cells. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
The purpose of this study was to develop novel optical microscopy techniques in order to investigate colloidal drug particle endocytosis by mammalian cells. A total internal reflection microscope (TIRM) was initially developed for high resolution cellular imaging. TIRM is a non-fluorescent imaging technique based on the principle of ‘scattering’ of the evanescent field created when a light beam undergoes total internal reflection at an interface between two media with different refractive indices, such as glass and air. The key design considerations with respect to development of a TIRM instrument are discussed. The technique is also compared and contrasted to the more commonly known non-fluorescent RICM (Reflection Interference Contrast Microscopy) technique using computer simulations. Time-lapse video TIRM is applied to imaging the interaction between A549 and 3T3 cells, and a polylysine coated substrate. Real-time label-free visualisation of 0.5 and 1 m polystyrene particle endocytosis by living cells is then demonstrated. Modifications to the TIRM system to include a dual-colour fluorescent TIRF (Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence) microscope are described in detail. Results are shown which demonstrate the ability of a combined TIRM/TIRF instrument to selectively image the basal cell membrane both label-free and fluorescently. 3T3 fibroblast cells were genetically modified using standard molecular biology protocols to express the fluorescent fusion protein EGFP-Clathrin LCa (enhanced green fluorescent protein clathrin light chain a). Finally, colloidal particle endocytosis by the genetically modified cell was imaged using the TIRM/TIRF microscope. Direct visualisation of the internalisation of 500 nm particles via clathrin coated pits in 3T3 cells was shown for the first time.
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