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Mascheroni L, Scherer KM, Manton JD, Ward EN, Dibben O, Kaminski CF. "Combining sample expansion and light sheet microscopy for the volumetric imaging of virus-infected cells with super-resolution" Biomed. Opt. Express 11, 5032-5044 (2020) DOI 


Expansion microscopy is a sample preparation technique that enables the optical imaging of biological specimens at super-resolution owing to their physical magnification, which is achieved through water-absorbing polymers. The technique uses readily available chemicals and does not require sophisticated equipment, thus offering super-resolution to laboratories that are not microscopy-specialised. Here we present a protocol combining sample expansion with light sheet microscopy to generate high-contrast, high-resolution 3D reconstructions of whole virus-infected cells. The results are superior to those achievable with comparable imaging modalities and reveal details of the infection cycle that are not discernible before expansion. An image resolution of approximately 95 nm could be achieved in samples labelled in 3 colours. We resolve that the viral nucleoprotein is accumulated at the membrane of vesicular structures within the cell cytoplasm and how these vesicles are positioned relative to cellular structures. We provide detailed guidance and a video protocol for the optimal application of the method and demonstrate its potential to study virus-host cell interactions.