Researchers from the University of Buffalo have created a hybrid method of monitoring apoptosis. The technique should help us to understand the programmed cell death process and to perhaps aid in the development of techniques that will allow clinicians to program self annihilation of cancer cells.
More from U. of Buffalo press statement:
To capture the cellular images, the interdisciplinary UB team of biologists, chemists and physicists, led by Prasad [Paras N. Prasad, PhD, executive director of the UB Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB) and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the departments of Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering and Medicine], utilized an advanced biophotonic approach that combines three techniques: a nonlinear, optical imaging system (CARS or Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering), TPEF (two-photon excited fluorescence), which images living tissue and cells at deep penetration and Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching to measure dynamics of proteins.
The resulting composite image integrates in one picture the information on all four types of biomolecules, with each type of molecule represented by a different color: proteins in red, RNA in green, DNA in blue and lipids in grey, as shown on the PNAS cover.
Multiplex imaging provided new information on the rate at which proteins diffuse through the cell nucleus, the UB scientists say.
Before apoptosis was induced, the distribution of proteins was relatively uniform, but once apoptosis develops, nuclear structures disintegrate, the proteins become irregularly distributed and their diffusion rate slows down, says Artem Pliss, PhD, research assistant professor at the ILPB and co-author on the paper.