Spectromicroscopic observation of a live single cell in a biocompatible liquid-enclosing graphene system†
On-the-spot visualization of biochemical responses of intact live cells is vital for a clear understanding of cell biology. The main obstacles for instant visualization of biochemical responses of living cells arise from the lack of a sophisticated detecting technique which can simultaneously provide chemical analysis tools and the biocompatible wet conditions. Here we introduce scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) combined with a liquid-enclosing graphene system (LGS), offering biocompatible conditions and improved X-ray absorption spectra to probe the chemical responses of live cells under wet conditions. This set-up enables us to probe a subtle change in absorption spectra depending on the oxidation state of a miniscule amount of oxygen in the functional groups present in each cell and its surroundings containing a minimal amount of liquid water. As an example of in situ biochemical responses of wet cells, chemical responses of a single Colo 205 cell are visualized and analyzed using X-ray absorption near the oxygen K-edge. This spectromicroscopic method using LGS can be applied to diverse biological samples under wet conditions for the analysis of their biochemical responses.