Whole-cell imaging of plasma membrane receptors by 3D lattice light-sheet dSTORM


The molecular organization of receptors in the plasma membrane of cells is paramount for their functionality. We combined lattice light-sheet (LLS) microscopy with three-dimensional (3D) single-molecule localization microscopy (dSTORM) and single-particle tracking to quantify the expression and distribution, and mobility of CD56 receptors on whole fixed and living cells, finding that CD56 accumulated at cell–cell interfaces. For comparison, we investigated two other receptors, CD2 and CD45, which showed different expression levels and distributions in the plasma membrane. Overall, 3D-LLS-dSTORM enabled imaging and single-particle tracking of plasma membrane receptors with single-molecule sensitivity unperturbed by surface effects. Our results demonstrate that receptor distribution and mobility are largely unaffected by contact to the coverslip but the measured localization densities are in general lower at the basal plasma membrane due to partial limited accessibility for antibodies.