Protein of the squid has allowed human cells to be painted on the team

American scientists have taught the cells of the human kidney to produce the protein of squid. It gives the cells new properties: now they are able to signal (which is saline) from transparent to become opaque. This is a new method of intravital staining of the cells, which can replace traditional fluorescent proteins. And along with it, we can learn more about what other mechanisms used by the squid to intimidate or disguise. Work published in the journal Nature Communications.

Although people in General are opaque, most of our cells themselves are not painted. And for work with cell cultures or organelles (microscopic analogs of the bodies) is a problem: to distinguish between cell types, we have to force them to Express any foreign proteins or treated with dyes. Unfortunately, most methods of staining kills the cell, and for many tasks it is useful to see how the cells are distributed on the living and working culture or authority.

A group of researchers led by Professor Alon Gorodetsky (Alon Gorodetsky) from the University of California decided to borrow the mechanism of staining at a female squid Doryteuthis opalescens. Besides the fact that she is able to change skin color in a wide range, it carries on its body a transparent strip which in case of danger becomes white and scares the enemy.

How this mechanism works, strictly speaking, is still unknown. But we know that responsible for a layer of cells leucovorin, which is located between the surface layer of the skin and muscles. These cells are filled with organelles-leucosome, in which proteins are packaged reflective. Lacovara react to different stimuli — including changing the salt concentration and the introduction of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. While reflective alter their structure and start to reflect more light and the cell and followed her all the stripes on the body of the squid becomes opaque.

As a test of culture cells Gorodetsky and colleagues chose the cells of the human kidney, because they readily Express foreign proteins. They have built a vector containing the gene for a protein reflectin A1. Despite the fact that the squid reflectin is located in special organelles, it is prone to self-Assembly. Therefore, in human cells the day after transfection, the authors found characteristic granules — clusters reflecting. This property is to clump together — were unique to this type of protein: when the same cells are forced to produce red fluorescently protein, it is distributed uniformly throughout the cell.

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