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Label-free imaging of mammalian cell nucleoli by Raman microspectroscopy

TitleLabel-free imaging of mammalian cell nucleoli by Raman microspectroscopy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsH. Schulze, G, Konorov, SO, Piret, JM, Blades, MW, Turner, RFB
JournalANALYST
Volume138
Issue12
Start Page3416
Pagination3423
KeywordsEMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS; RIBOSOME BIOGENESIS; GENE-EXPRESSION; CANCER-CELLS; RNA; SPECTROSCOPY; QUANTIFICATION; MICROSCOPY; DIFFERENTIATION; ORGANIZATION
Abstract

The nucleolus is a prominent subnuclear structure whose major function is the transcription and assembly of ribosome subunits. The size of the nucleolus varies with the cell cycle, proliferation rate and stress. Changes in nucleolar size, number, chemical composition, and shape can be used to characterize malignant cells. We used spontaneous Raman microscopy as a label-free technique to examine nucleolar spatial and chemical features. Raman images of the 1003 cm(-1) phenylalanine band revealed large, well-defined subnuclear protein structures in MFC-7 breast cancer cells. The 783 cm(-1) images showed that nucleic acids were similarly distributed, but varied more in intensity, forming observable high-intensity regions. High subnuclear RNA concentrations were observed within some of these regions as shown by 809 cm(-1) Raman band images. Principal component analyses of sub-images and library spectra validated the subnuclear presence of RNA. They also revealed that an actin-like protein covaried with DNA within the nucleolus, a combination that accounted for 64% or more of the spectral variance. Embryonic stem cells are another rapidly proliferating cell type, but their nucleoli were not as large or well defined. Estimating the size of the larger MCF-7 nucleolus was used to show the utility of Raman microscopy for morphometric analyses. It was concluded that imaging based on Raman microscopy provides a promising new method for the study of nucleolar function and organization, in the evaluation of drug and experimental effects on the nucleolus, and in clinical diagnostics and prognostics.

DOI10.1039/c3an00118k