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Neuroimaging: Live from inside the cell
Date:4/22/2014

This news release is available in German.

Reactive oxygen species are important intracellular signaling molecules, but their mode of action is complex: In low concentrations they regulate key aspects of cellular function and behavior, while at high concentrations they can cause "oxidative stress", which damages organelles, membranes and DNA. To analyze how redox signaling unfolds in single cells and organelles in real-time, an innovative optical microscopy technique has been developed jointly by the teams of LMU Professor Martin Kerschensteiner and TUM Professor Thomas Misgeld, both investigators of the Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy).

"Our new optical approach allows us to visualize the redox state of important cellular organelles, mitochondria, in real time in living tissue" Kerschensteiner says. Mitochondria are the cell's power plants, which convert nutrients into usable energy. In earlier studies, Kerschensteiner and Misgeld had obtained evidence that oxidative damage of mitochondria might contribute to the destruction of axons in inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

The new method allows them to record the oxidation states of individual mitochondria with high spatial and temporal resolution. Kerschensteiner explains the motivation behind the development of the technique: "Redox signals have important physiological functions, but can also cause damage, for example when present in high concentrations around immune cells."

First surprises

Kerschensteiner and Misgeld used redox-sensitive variants of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as visualization tools. "By combining these with other biosensors and vital dyes, we were able to establish an approach that permits us to simultaneously monitor r
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Contact: Vera Siegler
vera.siegler@tum.de
49-892-892-2731
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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