2008 News Articles-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Professor Alan Waggoner and Scientists at the Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center Develop Novel Fluorescent Proteins for Live Cell Imaging, Biosensor Design

February 6, 2008

Contact:
Jocelyn Duffy
412-268-9982
jhduffy@andrew.cmu.edu

Amy Pavlak
412-268-8619
apavlak@andrew.cmu.edu

Professor Alan Waggoner and Scientists at the Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center Develop Novel Fluorescent Proteins for Live Cell Imaging, Biosensor DesignScientists at Carnegie Mellon University's Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC) have developed new "fluorogen activating proteins" (FAPs) that will become a key component of novel molecular biosensor technology being created at Carnegie Mellon. The FAPs, which can be used to monitor biological activities of individual proteins and other biomolecules within living cells in real time, are described in the February issue of Nature Biotechnology.

FAP photoCarnegie Mellon scientists designed the FAPs to emit fluorescent light only when bound to a fluorogen, an otherwise non-fluorescent dye added by the scientists. This feature will allow biologists to track proteins on the cell surface and within living cells in very simple and direct ways, eliminating cumbersome experimental steps.

Scientists say the fluorogen activating proteins are especially useful for developing molecular biosensors, because FAPs allow researchers to not only see where the target protein is within the space of the cell, but also to see color changes when it becomes fluorescent. Color changes may reflect changes in the local environment of the protein, and allow quantitative sensing in real time of the biological activity of proteins and biomolecules that are in close proximity to each other.

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