Monday, September 13, 2010
Studying cell signaling using single-molecule imaging: "Single-molecule imaging (SMI) is a powerful scientific tool for visualizing individual molecules. Among its wide range of potential uses, SMI is particularly promising for its ability to provide new insights into the molecular processes in living cells. With this technique, it is possible to count the number of proteins in a cell and observe their distribution, movement, reaction rates and even changes in conformation. Yasushi Sako, chief scientist in the Cellular Informatics Laboratory of the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute (ASI), is investigating the complex signaling mechanism in cells by studying the proteins involved, one by one, using SMI. His research has revealed that the reactions of individual proteins are more complex than previously thought, and that signaling is controlled by dynamic conformational changes and reaction memory."