Iterative expansion microscopy
Author(s)Chang, Jae-Byum; Chen, Fei; Yoon, Young-Gyu; Jung, Erica E; Babcock, Hazen; Kang, Jeong Seuk; Asano, Shoh; Suk, Ho-Jun; Pak, Nikita; Tillberg, Paul W; Wassie, Asmamaw T; Cai, Dawen; Boyden, Edward S; ... Show more Show less
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© 2017 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. We recently developed a method called expansion microscopy, in which preserved biological specimens are physically magnified by embedding them in a densely crosslinked polyelectrolyte gel, anchoring key labels or biomolecules to the gel, mechanically homogenizing the specimen, and then swelling the gel-specimen composite by ∼4.5× in linear dimension. Here we describe iterative expansion microscopy (iExM), in which a sample is expanded ∼20×. After preliminary expansion a second swellable polymer mesh is formed in the space newly opened up by the first expansion, and the sample is expanded again. iExM expands biological specimens ∼4.5 × 4.5, or ∼20×, and enables ∼25-nm-resolution imaging of cells and tissues on conventional microscopes. We used iExM to visualize synaptic proteins, as well as the detailed architecture of dendritic spines, in mouse brain circuitry.