First movie of gene expression in live cells shows proteins being made in small bursts
Chemists at Harvard University have developed the first technique providing a real-time, molecule-by-molecule "movie" of protein production in live cells. Their direct observation of fluorescently tagged molecules in single cells -- providing striking real-time footage of the birth of individual new protein molecules inside -- greatly increases scientists precision in probing genetic activity.
Using the new assay, described this week in the journal Science, researchers led by Harvards X. Sunney Xie counted, one by one, protein molecules generated in small bursts within cells as multiple ribosomes bound to single copies of mRNA complete the process by which DNA, an organisms long-term genetic repository, yields its crop of proteins. These random, or stochastic, bursts of protein expression are described in detail in a separate paper Xie and colleagues present this week in Nature.
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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