Nanoscopic subcellular imaging enabled by ion beam tomography.

Coskun AF, Han G, Ganesh S, Chen SY, Clavé XR, Harmsen S, Jiang S, Schürch CM, Bai Y, Hitzman C, Nolan GP.


Multiplexed ion beam imaging (MIBI) has been previously used to profile multiple parameters in two dimensions in single cells within tissue slices. Here, a mathematical and technical framework for three-dimensional (3D) subcellular MIBI is presented. Ion-beam tomography (IBT) compiles ion beam images that are acquired iteratively across successive, multiple scans, and later assembled into a 3D format without loss of depth resolution. Algorithmic deconvolution, tailored for ion beams, is then applied to the transformed ion image series, yielding 4-fold enhanced ion beam data cubes. To further generate 3D sub-ion-beam-width precision visuals, isolated ion molecules are localized in the raw ion beam images, creating an approach coined as SILM, secondary ion beam localization microscopy, providing sub-25 nm accuracy in original ion images. Using deep learning, a parameter-free reconstruction method for ion beam tomograms with high accuracy is developed for low-density targets. In cultured cancer cells and tissues, IBT enables accessible visualization of 3D volumetric distributions of genomic regions, RNA transcripts, and protein factors with 5 nm axial resolution using isotope-enrichments and label-free elemental analyses. Multiparameter imaging of subcellular features at near macromolecular resolution is implemented by the IBT tools as a general biocomputation pipeline for imaging mass spectrometry.