Microtubules are a vital component of the cell's cytoskeleton and their organization is crucial for healthy cell functioning. The use of label-free SH imaging of microtubules remains limited, as sensitive detection is required and the true molecular origin and main determinants required to generate SH from microtubules are not fully understood. Using advanced correlative imaging techniques, we identified the determinants of the microtubule-dependent SH signal. Microtubule polarity, number and organization determine SH signal intensity in biological samples. At the molecular level, we show that the GTP-bound tubulin dimer conformation is fundamental for microtubules to generate detectable SH signals. We show that SH imaging can be used to study the effects of microtubule-targeting drugs and proteins and to detect changes in tubulin conformations during neuronal maturation. Our data provide a means to interpret and use SH imaging to monitor changes in the microtubule network in a label-free manner.
- POLARITY ORIENTATION
- DYNAMIC INSTABILITY