Super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) microcopy provides optical resolution beyond the diffraction limit. The resolution can be increased laterally (xy) or axially (z). Two-dimensional STED has been extensively used to elucidate the nanoscale membrane structure and dynamics via imaging or combined with spectroscopy techniques such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and spectral imaging. On the contrary, z-STED has not been used in this context. Here, we show that a combination of z-STED with FCS or spectral imaging enables us to see previously unobservable aspects of cellular membranes. We show that thanks to an axial resolution of ∼100 nm, z-STED can be used to distinguish axially close-by membranes, early endocytic vesicles, or tubular membrane structures. Combination of z-STED with FCS and spectral imaging showed diffusion dynamics and lipid organization in these structures, respectively.
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