One-touch make-up -- for our cells (w/ Video)

Nov 23, 2010

The cells in the different parts of this video are always the same (grey), 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.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

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 , called MultiLabel, could help make drug development and screening considerably faster, since it allows scientists to precisely label many involved in a given disease process and follow them all at the same time.

Explore further: 'K-to-M' histone mutations: How repressing the repressors may drive tissue-specific cancers

More information: Kriz, A., Schmid, K., Baumgartner, N., Ziegler, U., Berger, I., Ballmer-Hofer, K. & Berger, P. A plasmid-based multigene expression system for mammalian cells. Nature Communications, Advanced Online Publication 16 November 2010. DOI:10.1038/ncomms1120

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One-touch make-up -- for our cells

Nov 17, 2010

A new technique developed by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France and collaborators enables them to introduce up to 15 fluorescent markers to a mammalian cell in one go, and could help ...

Researchers make cell biology quantitative

Oct 20, 2005

Yale researchers have reported a method to count the absolute number of individual protein molecules inside a living cell, and to measure accurately where they are located, two basic hurdles for studying biology ...

Recommended for you

Hydrogen powers important nitrogen-transforming bacteria

16 hours ago

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria are key players in the natural nitrogen cycle on Earth and in biological wastewater treatment plants. For decades, these specialist bacteria were thought to depend on nitrite as ...

New tool aids stem cell engineering for medical research

Aug 28, 2014

A Mayo Clinic researcher and his collaborators have developed an online analytic tool that will speed up and enhance the process of re-engineering cells for biomedical investigation. CellNet is a free-use Internet platform ...

User comments : 0