Measuring fast gene dynamics in single cells with time-lapse luminescence microscopy.
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Time-lapse fluorescence microscopy is an important tool for measuring in vivo gene dynamics in single cells. However, fluorescent proteins are limited by slow chromophore maturation times and the cellular autofluorescence or phototoxicity that arises from light excitation. An alternative is luciferase, an enzyme that emits photons and is active upon folding. The photon flux per luciferase is significantly lower than that for fluorescent proteins. Thus time-lapse luminescence microscopy has been successfully used to track gene dynamics only in larger organisms and for slower processes, for which more total photons can be collected in one exposure. Here we tested green, yellow, and red beetle luciferases and optimized substrate conditions for in vivo luminescence. By combining time-lapse luminescence microscopy with a microfluidic device, we tracked the dynamics of cell cycle genes in single yeast with subminute exposure times over many generations. Our method was faster and in cells with much smaller volumes than previous work. Fluorescence of an optimized reporter (Venus) lagged luminescence by 15-20 min, which is consistent with its known rate of chromophore maturation in yeast. Our work demonstrates that luciferases are better than fluorescent proteins at faithfully tracking the underlying gene expression.
Cell Cycle Proteins
Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
Microfluidic Analytical Techniques
Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1091/mbc.E14-07-1187
Publication InfoMazo-Vargas, Anyimilehidi; Park, Heungwon; Aydin, Mert; & Buchler, Nicolas E (2014). Measuring fast gene dynamics in single cells with time-lapse luminescence microscopy. Mol Biol Cell, 25(22). pp. 3699-3708. 10.1091/mbc.E14-07-1187. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9353.
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Assistant Professor of Biology
Our lab is interested in the systems biology and evolution of epigenetic switches (bistability) and clocks (oscillators) in gene regulatory networks, two functions that are essential for patterning, cell proliferation, and differentiation in biological systems. We also study biochemical oscillators such as the cell cycle, metabolic rhythms, and circadian clocks, which co-exist in the same cells and interact with one another through shared resources.