We demonstrate electron microscopy of fully hydrated eukaryotic cells with nanometer resolution. Living Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells were loaded in a microfluidic chamber and imaged in liquid with scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). The native intracellular (ultra)structures of wild-type cells and three different mutants were studied without prior labeling, fixation, or staining. The STEM images revealed various intracellular components that were identified on the basis of their shape, size, location, and mass density. The maximal achieved spatial resolution in this initial study was 32 ± 8 nm, an order of magnitude better than achievable with light microscopy on pristine cells. Light-microscopy images of the same samples were correlated with the corresponding electron-microscopy images. Achieving synergy between the capabilities of light and electron microscopy, we anticipate that liquid STEM will be broadly applied to explore the ultrastructure of live cells.
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