Nonresonant Raman imaging of protein distribution in single human cells

N. Uzunbajakava, A. Lenferink, Y. Kraan, B. Willekens, G. Vrensen, J. Greve, C. Otto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


A confocal Raman microscope is used to study the protein distribution inside biological cells. It is shown that high quality Raman imaging of the protein distribution can be obtained using confocal nonresonant Raman imaging (λexc = 647.1 nm). The results are shown for two different human cell types. Perpheral blood lymphocytes are used as an example of the fully maturated cells with a low level of nuclear transcription. Human eye lens epithelial cells are used as an example of cells with a high level of nuclear activity. The protein distribution in both cell types is completely different. The nuclear distribution of the protein largely varies in the peripheral blood lymphocyte cells, while proteins are more homogenously distributed over the nuclear space in the eye lens epithelial cells. The imaging time is ∼20 min for a field of view of 10 ± 10 μm2. The size of the sampling volume is 1.4 fL using a full width at half-maximum criterion along the z axis and a 1/e2 criterion in the xy plane. The results presented here indicate that Raman imaging is particularly of interest in the study of cellular processes, like phagocytosis, apoptosis, chromatin compaction, and cellular differentiation, which are accompanied by relatively large-scale redistributions of the materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBiopolymers - Biospectroscopy Section
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Confocal Raman imaging
  • Nonresonance Raman imaging
  • Nuclear organization
  • Protein distribution
  • Single cell
  • Transcription level


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