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Carnegie Mellon scientists develop fluorescent proteins for live cell imaging, biosensor design
Date:2/6/2008

PITTSBURGH Scientists at Carnegie Mellon Universitys Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center have developed new fluorogen activating proteins (FAPs) that will become a key component of novel molecular biosensor technology being created at Carnegie Mellon. The FAPs, which can be used to monitor biological activities of individual proteins and other biomolecules within living cells in real time, are described in the February issue of Nature Biotechnology.

Carnegie Mellon scientists designed the FAPs to emit fluorescent light only when bound to a fluorogen, an otherwise non-fluorescent dye added by the scientists. This feature will allow biologists to track proteins on the cell surface and within living cells in very simple and direct ways, eliminating cumbersome experimental steps.

Scientists say the fluorogen activating proteins are especially useful for developing molecular biosensors, because FAPs allow researchers to not only see where the target protein is within the space of the cell, but also to see color changes when it becomes fluorescent. Color changes may reflect changes in the local environment of the protein, and allow quantitative sensing in real time of the biological activity of proteins and biomolecules that are in close proximity to each other.

Biologists often have a difficult time locating a target biomolecule inside living cells using other dye technologies because of background light given off by any unbound dye molecules. This background light obscures the biomolecules glow and therefore must be removed to successfully carry out the experiment.

The new FAP technology gives off light only when and precisely where the target biomolecule is present, enabling scientists to activate the fluorescence when needed to see exactly where in the cell the biomolecule is located. Scientists also can design fluorogens that can enter the cell and fluorogens that cant. When used with fluorogens that are excluded from th
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Contact: Jocelyn Duffy
jhduffy@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-9982
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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