In this study, we present a new technique called correlative atomic force and transmission electron microscopy (correlative AFM/TEM) in which a targeted region of a sample can be observed under AFM and TEM. The ultimate goal of developing this new technique is to provide a technical platform to expand the fields of AFM application to complex biological systems such as cell extracts. Recent advances in the time resolution of AFM have enabled detailed observation of the dynamic nature of biomolecules. However, specifying molecular species, by AFM alone, remains a challenge. Here, we demonstrate correlative AFM/TEM, using actin filaments as a test sample, and further show that immuno-electron microscopy (immuno-EM), to specify molecules, can be integrated into this technique. Therefore, it is now possible to specify molecules, captured under AFM, by subsequent observation using immuno-EM. In conclusion, correlative AFM/TEM can be a versatile method to investigate complex biological systems at the molecular level.
2017 THE BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN