Kinesin-1 is a kind of motor protein responsible for intracellular transportation and has been studied in a variety of tissues. However, its roles in cartilage development are not clear. In this study, a kinesin-1 heavy chain (Kif5b) knockout mouse model is used to study the functions of kinesin-1 in the cartilage development. We developed a multimodal nonlinear optical (NLO) microscope system integrating stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), second harmonic generation (SHG) and two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) to investigate the morphological and biomedical characteristics of fresh tibial cartilage from normal and mutant mice at different developmental stages. The combined forward and backward SHG imaging resolved the fine structure of collagen fibrils in the extracellular matrix of cartilage. Meanwhile, the chondrocyte morphology in different zones of cartilage was visualized by label-free SRS and TPEF images. The results show that the fibrillar collagen in the superficial zone of cartilage in postnatal day 10 and 15 (P10 and P15) knockout mice was significantly less than that of control mice. Moreover, we observed distorted morphology and disorganization of columnar arrangement of chondrocytes in the growth plate cartilage of mutant mice. This study reveals the significant roles of kinesin-1 in collagen formation and chondrocyte morphogenesis.
The primary goal of this study is to demonstrate that stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) as a new imaging modality can be integrated into a femtosecond (fs) nonlinear optical (NLO) microscope system. The fs sources of high pulse peak power are routinely used in multimodal nonlinear microscopy to enable efficient excitation of multiple NLO signals. However, with fs excitations, the SRS imaging of subcellular lipid and vesicular structures encounters significant interference from proteins due to poor spectral resolution and a lack of chemical specificity, respectively. We developed a unique NLO microscope of fs excitation that enables rapid acquisition of SRS and multiple two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) signals. In the in vivo imaging of transgenic C. elegans animals, we discovered that by cross-filtering false positive lipid signals based on the TPEF signals from tryptophan-bearing endogenous proteins and lysosome-related organelles, the imaging system produced highly accurate assignment of SRS signals to lipid. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the multimodal NLO microscope system could sequentially image lipid structure/content and organelles, such as mitochondria, lysosomes, and the endoplasmic reticulum, which are intricately linked to lipid metabolism.