Large field-of-view scanning small-angle X-ray scattering of mammalian cells


Cassini C, Wittmeier A, Brehm G, Denz M, Burghammer M, Köster S


Journal of Synchrotron Radiation


J. Synchrotron Rad. (2020). 27, 1059–1068.


X-ray imaging is a complementary method to electron and fluorescence microscopy for studying biological cells. In particular, scanning small-angle X-ray scattering provides overview images of whole cells in real space as well as local, high-resolution reciprocal space information, rendering it suitable to investigate subcellular nanostructures in unsliced cells. One persisting challenge in cell studies is achieving high throughput in reasonable times. To this end, a fast scanning mode is used to image hundreds of cells in a single scan. A way of dealing with the vast amount of data thus collected is suggested, including a segmentation procedure and three complementary kinds of analysis, i.e. characterization of the cell population as a whole, of single cells and of different parts of the same cell. The results show that short exposure times, which enable faster scans and reduce radiation damage, still yield information in agreement with longer exposure times.


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