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Fluorescent proteins illuminating biomedical research
Date:1/25/2009

s, computers, and highly sensitive digital cameras, scientists have been able to surmount the barriers of optical imaging. The first generation of these new imaging devices, collectively known as super-resolution (SR) fluorescence microscopes, were able to capture images as small as 15 to 20 nanometers the scale of single molecules. But this could be done only in non-living cells. The addition of PAFPs, more versatile versions of FPs, made it possible to do real-time SR fluorescence microscopy in living cells. Last month, Nature Methods selected SR fluorescence microscopy as the 2008 Method of the Year.

Dr. Verkhusha has developed a variety of PAFPs and FPs for use in imaging mammalian cells, expanding the applications of fluorescence microscopy. Among these are PAFPs that can be turned on and off with a pulse of light, FPs that can fluoresce in different colors, and FPs that have better resolution for deep-tissue imaging.

Most recently, Dr. Verkhusha developed a red PAFP called PAmCherry1, which has faster photoactivation, improved contrast, and better stability compared to other PAFPs of its type. "PAmCherry1 will allow improvements in several imaging techniques, notably two-color SR fluorescence microscopy, in which two different molecules or two biological processes can be viewed simultaneously in a single cell," explains Dr. Verkhusha. The findings were published today in the online version of Nature Methods.

Several studies have employed Dr. Verkhusha's PAFPs, revealing new insights into a variety of biological processes. For example, one of his PAFPs was used to capture the first nanoscale images of the orientation of molecules within biological structures. "Such images could be useful in studying protein-protein interactions, the growth and collapse of intracellular structures, and many other biological questions," says Dr. Verkhusha. The results were published in November 2008 in Nature Methods.'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Heller
mheller@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-4186
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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