Study of Chromatin Structure Using Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy in Living Mammalian Cells
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CitationBasu, Srinjan. 2012. Study of Chromatin Structure Using Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy in Living Mammalian Cells. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractDNA is packaged into the nucleus of a mammalian cell as a nucleoprotein complex called chromatin. Changes in chromatin structure occur during processes that are critical to an understanding of mammalian cell biology such as cell division. Existing fixed-cell techniques have provided insight into chromatin organization in the mammalian nucleus. In addition, fluorescence microscopy techniques have allowed us to study changes in chromatin structure in living cells. However, most of these fluorescence techniques cannot be used for tissue imaging or long-term imaging due to photobleaching. In this thesis, we demonstrate that a label-free technique called Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) microscopy can be used to solve these problems and study chromatin structure in living mammalian cells both in culture and in tissue. SRS is a vibrational microscopy technique that takes advantage of intrinsic contrast arising from specific chemical bonds in a molecule. Nucleic acids have specifc phosphate and CH vibrations that can be used to determine their cellular distributions. Imaging at specific phosphate peaks using fingerprint SRS microscopy allows the detection of polytene chromosomes in Drosophila salivary gland cells and condensed chromatin in metaphase mammalian cells. In addition, we develop a technique called multicolor SRS microscopy, in which we image at several wavelengths across the CH vibrational band, and then use linear combination to simultaneously determine the nucleic acid, lipid and protein distributions in living mammalian cells. This technique achieves greater contrast than imaging at the phosphate vibrational peak due to the stronger SRS signal in the high wavenumber CH band and so allows us to determine chromatin structure in interphase mammalian cells. This technique also allows long-term imaging of living mammalian cells and the imaging of tissue such as mouse skin. The technique is used to monitor mammalian cell division in culture and paves the way for similar studies in living tissue. This technique will provide insight into cell division, differentiation and apoptosis during development and in disease models such as cancer.
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