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HOME Activities Microscopic Anatomy

1.Research Summary

In the field of microscopic anatomy, we aim at visualizing and analyzing the structures and functions of cells and tissues by using various microscopic techniques. We also concurrently develop microscopic techniques for this purpose. In addition, we also attempt to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the cells and tissues by combining with techniques of molecular biology and gene engineering.

2.Three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction

We perform 3D structural analysis of tissues by reconstructing serial sections on computer software in three dimensions.

  • (1) 3D tissue analysis by reconstruction of paraffin serial sections
  • (2) 3D structural analysis on the cell level by reconstruction of epon serial sections

3.Scanning electron microscope

We perform 3D structural analysis of cells and tissues of each organ by using various scanning electron microscopic techniques.

  • (1) 3D micro functional structure analysis of cell organelles by the osmium maceration method
  • (2) 3D structural analysis of tissues and cells by the alkaline digestion method
  • (3) Analysis of vascular construction in tissues by the blood vessel molding manufacture method
  • (4) Development of a real-time stereo scanning electron microscope and its biological applications

4.Scanning probe microscope

An atomic force microscope is a new type of microscope which was invented in 1986. This microscope measures fine unevenness on the surface with a nanometer-scale resolution while tracing the surface of a sample with an extremely sharp needle (probe) and then creates a picture of the information.

  • (1) Analysis of biopolymers and their higher-order structures
  • (2) Chromosomes as higher-order structures of DNA
  • (3) Structural analysis of collagen fibrils as higher-order structures of collagen molecules
  • (4) Development of a scanning ion conductance microscope and its biological applications

[Area] Microscopic anatomy

[Research subject 1] 3D micro functional structure analysis of the Golgi apparatus by a scanning electron microscope

[Description]
From the analyses by transmission electron microscopes conducted to date, it is known that the Golgi apparatus is made up of stacked flat cisterns and has cis-trans polarity. However, it was difficult to analyze sterically complex structures such as the Golgi apparatus from planar observation employing a transmission electron microscope. Therefore, we analyze this complex 3D micro structure of the Golgi apparatus as well as cellular functions by using a scanning electron microscope with greater focal depth than a transmission electron microscope which can observe samples in three dimensions.

[Photographs]

Photographs

Golgi apparatus of spinal ganglion cells

[Area] Microscopic anatomy

[Research subject 2] Biological applications of a scanning ion conductance microscope

[Description]
A scanning probe microscope (SPM) obtains image information by using a sharp in-depth probe (probe) instead of a lens, by obtaining physicochemical information generated between the probe and the sample, and by scanning the surface of the sample while providing a form of control for it. A scanning ion conductance microscope (SICM) is a type of SPM the biological applications of which have been anticipated in recent years. SICM uses a micro-glass electrode for the probe, and makes a picture of the 3D shape of the surface without touching the sample by utilizing the change in the ion current generated by the change in the distance between the sample soaked in liquid and the probe. Therefore, SICM is expected to be suitable for observation of soft biological samples in liquid, which is more similar to the physiological environment of living things. In addition, since no specific treatment is required for observation of samples, living samples can also be observed. Currently, we are observing various biological samples including cultured cells and investigating the biological applications of SICM.

[Photographs]

Photographs


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