To determine the ultrastructure of whole tissues and cells at ~2nm resolution by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Tissues or cells are chemically fixed, dehydrated, embedded in resin and stained. Thin slices are cut from the resin block using an ultramicrotome and imaged at room temperature by TEM. Immuno-EM is possible before the embedding or after the sectioning steps.
Specimens embedded in resin blocks as well as sections cut from the blocks can be stored long term (sometimes for years). Slices may be cut at later dates. Sections containing the cut specimens can be repeatedly imaged in the electron microscope without obvious damage. This is not the case with cryo-sections. Immuno-EM can be used to locate specific proteins within a tissue section.
The sample is treated chemically and dehydrated, which can lead to artifacts. The achievable resolution is usually limited by the staining techniques used.
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