Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Cellular Spotlight
04 August 2015

Cellular Spotlight

Light microscopy and electron microscopy are powerful imaging techniques for the study of micro-molecular environments. While light microscopy will identify fluorescent regions of a sample, electron microscopy has much better resolution, with some electron microscopes being able to image individual atoms. Correlative light and electron microscopy combines the advantages of both, and is quickly gaining popularity. Previous studies using this technique have focused on the imaging of proteins – pictured are mVenus fluorescent proteins (yellow) embedded in a mammalian cell. The fluorescent proteins are contained within the cell membrane, but outside of the nucleus, providing ultrastructural information. Now researchers are looking to attach small fluorescent markers to molecules of interest using a novel bioorthogonal chemistry approach – the markers attach to living cells without affecting the innate biochemical processes. These fluorescent ‘tags’ are expected to survive certain reactions – tumours could be monitored in vivo during reaction with anti-cancer drugs such as doxorubicin.

Written by Helen Thomas

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