“A cross-disciplinary team of researchers from Colorado State University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have added a new tool to the arsenal of antibody-based probes, but with a powerful distinction: Their genetically encoded probe works in living cells. The work, led by CSU Monfort Professor Tim Stasevich and Tokyo Tech Professor Hiroshi Kimura, is described July 3 in the journal Nature Communications.
“We’re interested in intracellular antibodies because you can use them as imaging reagents in a live cell,” said Stasevich, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at CSU. “You don’t need a tag, like a Green Fluorescent Protein, because instead you have this fluorescent antibody that will bind to your protein that you want to visualize.”
The new probe would be a useful complement to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), a widespread biochemistry tool and subject of a Nobel Prize that involves genetically fusing a light-up green tag to a protein of interest. However, the GFP is limited by its relatively large size and the time it takes to fluoresce; with the CSU researchers’ new probe, the tag is smaller and becomes fluorescent faster, so the “birth” of a protein of interest can be captured in real time.”