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Cellular landscaping: Predicting how, and how fast, cells will change
Date:11/1/2012

rotein involved in building the extracellular support matrix in tissuesby adding a snippet that codes for a small fluorescent molecule. The more a given cell activates or expresses the gene, the brighter it glows under appropriate light. The team then monitored the cell culture under a microscope, taking an image every 15 minutes for over 40 hours to record the fluctuations in cell behavior, the cells waxing and waning in the degree to which they express the fluorescent gene.

Custom software developed at NIST was used to analyze each image. Both time-lapse data from individual cells and time-independent data from the entire population of cells went into a statistical model. The resulting graph of peaks and valleys, called a landscape, says Plant, "mathematically describes the range of possible cell responses and how likely it is for cells to exhibit these responses." In addition, she says, the time analysis provides kinetic information: how much will a cell likely fluctuate between states, and how quickly?

The combination makes it possible to predict the time it will take for a given percentage of cells to change their characteristics. For biomanufacturing, it means a finer control over cell-based processes. If applied to stem cells, the technique could be useful in predicting how quickly the cells differentiate and the probability of having undifferentiated cells present at any point in time.


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Contact: Michael Baum
michael.baum@nist.gov
301-975-2763
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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