Technique tracks both gene expression and movement

DECEMBER 19, 2008--According to a team of researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (UCLA), fruit flies expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in their retina cells or other tissues can be tracked by specially modified video cameras, creating a real-time computer record of movement and gene expression. The new technique, described in the open access journal BMC Biotechnology, promises detailed analyses of correlations between behavior, gene expression and aging.

When the flies are illuminated with blue light, the video tracking system allows tissue-specific GFP expression to be seen, then quantified and correlated with 3D animal movement in real time. According to John Tower, who led the research, "These methods allow specific temporal patterns of gene expression to be correlated with temporal patterns of animal activity, behavior and mortality."

The green fluorescent protein gene is isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and encodes a protein that absorbs blue light and emits green light. When a fly expressing GFP is illuminated by blue LEDs, filtered cameras can detect the green fluorescence that results and the fly's movement can be tracked at a rate of 60 frames per second. By linking the expression of GFP to the expression of other reporter genes, it is possible to determine when these genes are on or off, and how this is associated with a fly's behavior.

Tower said, "A large number of strains exist where GFP or some other auto-fluorescent protein is used as a reporter for specific gene expression in Drosophila and other organisms. -Our methods should be readily adaptable to such reagents, for example we have recently been successful in tracking DsRED fluorescent flies."

More information:
The article, Simultaneous tracking of fly movement and gene expression using GFP, at BMC Biotechnology.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com.

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

NANOTECHNOLOGY/LIGHT ACTIVATION: IR light method turns blood clotting on (like drugs) and off (like nothing else)

Gold nanoparticles, controlled by infrared (IR) light from a pulsed femtosecond laser, promise to promote wound healing and help doctors control blood clotting in patients undergoing surgery.

Microscopy helps discover potential new drug target for cystic fibrosis

An international team of scientists, using automated microscopy and genetics, have discovered a promising potential drug target for cystic fibrosis.

Next-gen DNA sequencing helps provide new genetic clue to anorexia

The largest next-generation DNA sequencing study of anorexia nervosa to date has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism.

Synchrotron light identifies RNA double helix structure

Scientists at McGill University have crystallized a short RNA sequence, poly (rA)11, and used data collected at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron to confirm th...

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World