Using confocal microscopy, which had been used for years to observe protein distribution in a cell, scientists have now seen the structure of proteins between cells.
To create the image above, Meininger and his colleague Michael Hill used fluorescent tags to label different components of an arteriole wall; cells are labeled in green, whereas elastin—a stretchy protein that holds the vascular cells together—is labeled in red. By taking a series of images with a confocal microscope, which relies on point illumination to eliminate out-of-focus areas, the researchers were able to construct a 3-D view of the blood vessel’s architecture.
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