Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Making a mark on mitochondria

19.02.2015

A fluorescent probe for labeling mitochondria helps scientists study fat-burning brown adipose tissue

A new cellular labeling strategy gives researchers an efficient tool for studying the development of tissue that could help prevent the onset of obesity and cardiovascular disease [1].


The fluorescent probe AIE-MitoGreen-1 reveals changes in mitochondrial organization in brown adipose cells as they mature over the course of a week.

Reproduced, with permission, from Ref. 1 © 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry

Most people think about fat in terms of the white adipose tissue that stores the body’s excess energy, and which steadily — and visibly — accumulates as one becomes out of shape or obese. However, there is another type of fat tissue that can prevent rather than promote weight gain.

“Brown adipose tissue not only stores fats, but also has the ability to burn fats to release energy as heat,” explains Bin Liu of the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering.

Liu sees this tissue as a promising target for anti-obesity drugs, and her group set about designing a fluorescent molecule that could help scientists visualize the development of brown adipose cells. These cells can be characterized based on the number and organization of their mitochondria, the organelles that drive cellular metabolism.

However, existing mitochondrial dyes tend to absorb each other’s fluorescence at high concentrations, resulting in a weaker overall signal as they accumulate.

In collaboration with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology researcher Ben Zhong Tang, Liu’s team devised a fluorescent dye that exhibits ‘aggregation-induced emission’. “This means that the probe does not emit fluorescence in dilute solutions,” explains Liu, “but it becomes highly fluorescent when it accumulates in mitochondria, without any self-quenching effects.”

After 20 minutes of treatment with their AIE-MitoGreen-1 probe, Liu’s group achieved bright labeling of mitochondria in brown adipose cells that lasted for more than a day. This labeling approach also left cultured cells largely unharmed, whereas only 10 per cent of cells survived prolonged treatment with a commercially available mitochondrial dye. The researchers subsequently used AIE-MitoGreen-1 to monitor the development of brown adipose tissue from precursor cells, observing changes in cell shape and mitochondrial organization over seven days (see image).

Since the basic stages of brown adipose development are well characterized, this probe could help identify treatments that stimulate or impede this process. “We hope to use our probe to monitor the activity of brown adipose cells in response to various stimuli, such as drug intervention or temperature changes,” says Liu. Her group aims to further improve their probe so that it shines longer and brighter. Ultimately, she hopes to develop variants that fluoresce at near-infrared wavelengths, which can be detected deeper within living tissue. “We would apply these probes to long-term monitoring of brown adipose cells in animal models.”

Reference

[1] Gao, M., Sim, C. K., Leung, C. W. T., Hu, Q., Feng, G. et al. A fluorescent light-up probe with AIE characteristics for specific mitochondrial imaging to identify differentiating brown adipose cells. Chemical Communications 50, 8312–8315 (2014).


Associated links
A*STAR article

A*STAR Research | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht OHIO professor Hla develops robust molecular propeller for unidirectional rotations
22.08.2019 | Ohio University

nachricht In cystic fibrosis, lungs feed deadly bacteria
22.08.2019 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

Im Focus: Vehicle Emissions: New sensor technology to improve air quality in cities

Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.

Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

OHIO professor Hla develops robust molecular propeller for unidirectional rotations

22.08.2019 | Life Sciences

127-year-old physics problem solved

22.08.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Physicists create world's smallest engine

22.08.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>