New tool opens up world of cells in greater detail

February 23rd, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by admin  


London, Feb 23 (IANS) A revolutionary new tool not only allows a better, brighter visualisation of two or more proteins but also helps differentiate young and old copies of a protein within the human cell. Developed by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, Switzerland, the procedure is the latest in a line of innovative tools relying on fluorescent molecules to view such biochemical processes.

This tool, called SNAP-tag, can be labelled in living cells using benzylguanine (BG) derivatives bearing a chemical probe.

The researchers modified SNAP-tag to generate a new AGT-based tag, named CLIP tag, which reacts specifically with benzylcytosine (BC) derivatives.

“Use of SNAP and CLIP tags permits simultaneous labelling of two proteins with different molecular probes for multi-parameter imaging of cellular functions in living cells,” said lead researcher Kai Johnsson.

The researchers demonstrated that these combined tags have some advantages over existing procedures for studying proteins within cells.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology.

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