The cells in the different parts of this video are always the same, but, like actors using make-up to highlight different facial features, they have fluorescent labels that mark different cellular components in different colours: blue shows the nucleus, yellow shows tubulin (a component of the cell’s scaffolding), red shows mitochondria, cyan shows the membranes of vesicles called endosomes, and purple shows other membrane structures.
Instead of spending hours applying first one colour of make-up – or fluorescent label – and then another, scientists were able to create the equivalent of a make-up brush that is applied only once and highlights different features simultaneously.
The underlying technique was first developed by Imre Berger from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, as part of a method called MultiBac, for expressing protein complexes in insect cells. In work published today in Nature Communications, Imre Berger and Philipp Berger from the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Villigen, Switzerland, joined forces to adapt this technology concept to mammalian cells like our own for the first time. It essentially involves rapidly engineering a single vector to deliver a theoretically unlimited number of foreign genes, to a cell.
To date, the scientists have successfully delivered up to 15 genes in this way. The protein encoded by each of those genes can carry a fluorescent label, so this makes multiple labelling much more efficient than previous methods. The new labelling technique for mammalian cells, called MultiLabel, could help make drug development and screening considerably faster, since it allows scientists to precisely label many cellular components involved in a given disease process and follow them all at the same time.
Imre Berger’s work is supported by the EC FP7 project P-CUBE, which provides access to state-of-the-art technology platforms at EMBL in Grenoble, Heidelberg and Hamburg.
The video is also available on the EMBL YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Po7gyPWqps.
Image & Video Credits: P. Berger / PSI.
Published online in Nature Communications on 17th November 2010. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1120
Policy regarding use
EMBL press, picture and video releases including photographs, graphics and videos are copyrighted by EMBL. They may be freely reprinted and distributed for non-commercial use via print, broadcast and electronic media, provided that proper attribution to authors, photographers and designers is made.
Sonia Furtado | EMBL Research News
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences