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Max-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle Medizin

The Electron Microscopy Facility is performing ultrastructural research in collaboration with neuroscientists of the different departments within the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine. The EM unit is headed by Dr. Wiebke Möbius and assisted by Torben Ruhwedel. We are equipped with two electron microscopes: a Zeiss EM 900 and a LEO 912AB Omega which also allows EELS (electron energy loss spectrum) recording for element analysis.


For routine applications we use conventional EPON embedding. For studies on the intracellular distribution and transport of proteins we apply immunogold labeling on ultrathin cryosections obtained with a Leica Cryo-Ultramicrotome FC6.



Since transmission electron microscopy (TEM) offers a resolution of subcellular structures which is about two orders of magnitude higher than that of light microscopy, we are able to analyze vesicles, membrane structures or subdomains of organelles down to a resolution limit of 2-3 nm. This is important for the interpretation of the functional consequences of an altered protein expression or lipid composition in a pathological relevant mouse model as well as a cell biological application.


Our studies on myelinogenesis rely on ultrastructural information, since an imbalance in the expression of specific myelin proteins often results in characteristic morphological alterations of the myelin sheath. Electron microscopy is also required to investigate the formation and function of synapses. With this tool we can visualize synaptic vesicles and find out how proteins influence their docking and fusion at the active zone of a synapse.


In addition to the morphological characterization, immuno electron microscopy (IEM) on cryosections fills the gap between morphology and the molecular composition of a subcellular structure. This makes it possible to investigate the intracellular localization and transport of proteins in cell culture models and during development in mice.

Contact persons: 

Dr. Wiebke Möbius
Department of Neurogentics
Phone: +49-551-3899 736, or -734 (EM), -735 (EM-Labor)
Fax: +49-551-3899 753

Torben Ruhwedel
Department of Neurogenetics
Phone: +49-551-3899 736, or -734 (EM), -735 (EM-Labor)
Fax: +49-551-3899 753

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