A new technology for studying protein interactions within the brain

Despite the difficulties associated with measuring in-situ protein-protein interactions in neural networks, Dr. Akira Chiba of the University of Miami recently announced that his team has embarked on a project to develop a protein interaction map within brain cells. Why have these studies been so difficult to perform until now and what does Dr. Chiba have that will make him successful? The answer lies in the small size of neural proteins and the technical limitations associated with even the highest resolution microscope.

Using a a custom- built 3D FLIM (fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy), Chiba’s team has been able to spatially and temporally quantify fluorescently tagged protein-protein interactions in genetically modified fruit flies.

According to Chiba, “collaborating fluorescent chemistry, laser optics and artificial intelligence, my team is working in the ‘jungle’ of the molecules of life within the living cells. This is a new kind of ecology played out at the scale of nanometers—creating a sense of deja vu 80 years after the birth of modern ecology.”

Thanks to the University of Miami for this story.

Watch the video below, (already set to the appropriate frame…just press play), as Karl Svoboda of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute explains how FLIM works.

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