Super-Resolution-Chip: an in-vitro platform that enables super-resolution microscopy of co-cultures and 3D systems

Ofir Sade, Ronja Boneberg, Yifat Weiss, Megane Beldjilali-Labro, Yael Leichtmann-Bardoogo, Itay Talpir, Irit Gottfried, Uri Ashery, Rossana Rauti, Ben M. Maoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of organs-on-a-chip platforms has revolutionized in-vitro cellular culture by allowing cells to be grown in an environment that better mimics human physiology. However, there is still a challenge in integrating those platforms with advanced imaging technology. This is extremely important when we want to study molecular changes and subcellular processes on the level of a single molecule using super-resolution microscopy (SRM), which has a resolution beyond the diffraction limit of light. Currently, existing platforms that include SRM have certain limitations, either as they only support 2D monocultures, without flow or as they demand a lot of production and handling. In this study, we developed a Super-Res-Chip platform, consisting of a 3D-printed chip and a porous membrane, that could be used to co-culture cells in close proximity either in 2D or in 3D while allowing SRM on both sides of the membrane. To demonstrate the functionality of the device, we co-cultured in endothelial and epithelial cells and used direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM) to investigate how glioblastoma cells affect the expression of the gap-junction protein Connexin43 in endothelial cells grown in 2D and in 3D. Cluster analysis of Connexin43 distribution revealed no difference in the number of clusters, their size, or radii, but did identify differences in their density. Furthermore, the spatial resolution was high also when the cells were imaged through the membrane (20-30 nm for x-y) and 10-20 nm when imaged directly both for 2D and 3D conditions. Overall, this chip allows to characterize of complex cellular processes on a molecular scale in an easy manner and improved the capacity for imaging in a single molecule resolution complex cellular organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5223-5237
Number of pages15
JournalBiomedical Optics Express
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


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