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A quick guide to light microscopy in cell biology.

Abstract

Light microscopy is a key tool in modern cell biology. Light microscopy has several features that make it ideally suited for imaging biology in living cells: the resolution is well-matched to the sizes of subcellular structures, a diverse range of available fluorescent probes makes it possible to mark proteins, organelles, and other structures for imaging, and the relatively nonperturbing nature of light means that living cells can be imaged for long periods of time to follow their dynamics. Here I provide a brief introduction to using light microscopy in cell biology, with particular emphasis on factors to be considered when starting microscopy experiments.

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