Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cellular communications visualized with a vibrant color palette

Date:
September 8, 2011
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Scientists have dramatically expanded the palette of fluorescent highlighters that can be used to track the movement of messengers inside of single cells.

A University of Alberta-led research team has dramatically expanded the palette of fluorescent highlighters that can be used to track the movement of messengers inside of single cells.

Until now, cellular imaging of the calcium ion, the key messenger for intracellular communication, required the use of a green fluorescent indicator. Accordingly, imaging of calcium ions produced monochromatic images and movies in shades of green. The addition of new red and blue fluorescent indicators now provides researchers with a vivid full colour view of calcium ions moving about in their role as the intracellular signaling messenger.

Imaging of the calcium ion is commonly used by researchers to monitor cellular activity such as the firing of neurons. However, since calcium ions are themselves colourless, it is necessary to introduce a coloured indicator protein into the cell. When these coloured indicator proteins bind to calcium ions they can either increase in fluorescent brightness or change the colour of their fluorescence. These changes in brightness or colour can be easily visualized by researchers using appropriate microscopy equipment.

The ability to examine the dynamics of calcium ions inside a single cell in more detail could help pharmaceutical researchers determine if a drug designed to affect a specific cell is hitting its target. They could also help researchers to better visualize neuronal activity in model organisms such as transgenic worms or mice.

The University of Alberta research team, led by chemistry PhD candidate Yongxin Zhao, engineered the new genetically encoded indicator proteins using bacterial cells.

The use of bacterial cells to engineer the new indicators was key to achieving this breakthrough. The indicator genes were programmed to be sent to the outside of the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. Once outside, the calcium ion concentration could be experimentally altered to find the indicator variants that had the desired colour and largest changes in brightness. Using this approach, the researchers performed directed laboratory evolution to ultimately provide the optimized indicator proteins.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yongxin Zhao, Satoko Araki, Jiahui Wu, Takayuki Teramoto, Yu-Fen Chang, Masahiro Nakano, Ahmed S. Abdelfattah, Manabi Fujiwara, Takeshi Ishihara, Takeharu Nagai, and Robert E. Campbell. An Expanded Palette of Genetically Encoded Ca2 Indicators. Science, 8 September 2011 DOI: 10.1126/science.1208592

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Cellular communications visualized with a vibrant color palette." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908145112.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2011, September 8). Cellular communications visualized with a vibrant color palette. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908145112.htm
University of Alberta. "Cellular communications visualized with a vibrant color palette." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908145112.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins