To flag neurons that have experienced genotoxic stress, researchers developed an in vivo sensor using an adeno-associated viral vector, called PRISM. Because a cell’s DNA damage response (DDR)—which activates in response to stressors such as environmental toxins or the buildup of misfolded proteins—also responds to invading pathogens, PRISM has an easier time transfecting cells whose damage response mechanisms are preoccupied with existing DNA damage. Once inside, the virus hijacks the neuron’s DNA replication machinery, which reverts an engineered frameshift mutation in the virus and thereby prompts the production of a fluorescent protein that can be observed via microscopy.
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
Infographic: DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity

A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.

A new genetic sensor called PRISM makes use of a host cell’s DNA replication machinery to trigger fluorescence in neurons with damaged DNA.

fluorescence
Broken DNA
DNA Damage Viewed with Unprecedented Clarity
Amanda Heidt | Aug 15, 2022
A new tool called PRISM draws on virus-host interactions and a DNA repair pathway to help researchers visualize how cellular stress may contribute to neurodegenerative disease.
Microscopic image of nerves in the eye, a pathogen, and t cells
Science Snapshot: Eye Immunity
Lisa Winter | May 26, 2022
Researchers find that tissue-resident memory T cells in the corneas of mice engender a lasting immune response.
Discover how flow cytometry accelerates drug screening
Adapting Flow Cytometry for Drug Discovery Workflows
The Scientist Creative Services Team and Bio-Rad Laboratories
Explore how flow cytometry innovations expand and accelerate cell profiling.
An illustration showing a scale weighing two double-stranded pieces of DNA that has a big question mark in the center.
Mouse Foraging Behavior Shaped by Opposite-Sex Parent’s Genes
Dan Robitzski | Apr 12, 2022
A study in mice finds that for certain genes, one parent’s allele can dominate expression and shape behavior—and which parent’s allele does so varies throughout the body.
Close up photo of a wing
Unearthing the Evolutionary Origins of Insect Wings
Jef Akst | Apr 4, 2022
A handful of new studies moves the needle toward a consensus on the long-disputed question of whether insect wings evolved from legs or from the body wall, but the devil is in the details.
An Improved Way to Detect CAR T Cells and SARS-CoV-2-Binding Cells
Technique Talk: An Improved Way to Detect CAR T Cells and SARS-CoV-2-Binding Cells
The Scientist Creative Services Team and Bio-Techne
Jody Bonnevier will discuss the advantages of Fluorokines™ for detecting and investigating CAR T cells and other key drivers of the immune system.
Miscellaneous diatoms, appearing as translucent blue and brownish circles and rhomboid shapes, are imaged in front of a black background.
Q&A: Fluorescence Lets Diatoms Communicate, Coordinate Behavior
Dan Robitzski | Dec 16, 2021
The Scientist spoke with physicist and microbial ecologist Idan Tuval, whose recent paper challenges the assumption that these single-celled organisms only communicate via chemical signals.
Ibrahim Cissé’s Tools Provide a Lens to Watch RNA Production
Jef Akst | Sep 1, 2020
The MIT physicist has demonstrated the importance of clusters of RNA polymerase and other transcription mediators in regulating RNA production.
Discover how to scale up cellular assays during drug discovery
High-Throughput Solutions for Lead Candidate Discovery
The Scientist Creative Services Team and Thermo Fisher Scientific
New technologies allow researchers to scale up assays for cellular functions.
Image of the Day: An Infectious Glow
Carolyn Wilke | Mar 7, 2019
In CRISPRed fruit flies that lack certain antimicrobial peptides, bacterial infections flourish, as revealed by fluorescent markers.
Image of the Day: Hot Pink Squirrels
Carolyn Wilke | Feb 15, 2019
Under UV light, flying squirrels give off a rosy glow.
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Demystifying the Black Box
The Scientist Creative Services Team and Tecan
One sophisticated laboratory tool detects absorbance, fluorescence, FRET, luminescence, live cells, and more, facilitating a wide variety of experimental findings.
Image of the Day: Coral Fluorescence
Kerry Grens | Jan 22, 2019
Green fluorescent protein lures algal symbionts to corals.
RNA Detection Tool Debate Flares Up at ACS Meeting  
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 5, 2018
Researchers have flagged several issues with so-called SmartFlares over the years, and it’s still unclear why they don’t appear to work under certain circumstances.
Cell Sorting for Single-Cell Applications
The Scientist Creative Services Team in Collaboration with BD Biosciences
Karen Ersland and Rachael Sheridan discuss how flow cytometry contributes to single-cell applications, from cloning to sequencing.
Drones Are Changing the Face of Ecology
Catherine Offord | Aug 1, 2018
Unmanned aerial vehicles allow researchers to collect huge volumes of biological data cheaply, easily, and at higher resolution than ever before.
Infographic: Inner Glow
Ruth Williams | Jul 31, 2018
How GFP-grabbing nanobodies enable instant tracking of protein dynamics in live cells.
NGS Library QC: Two Steps, One Instrument
The Scientist Creative Services Team in collaboration with DeNovix
A combination spectrophotometer/fluorometer simplifies nucleic acid concentration and purity measurements.
Image of the Day: See You Later!
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Jan 8, 2018
Developmental biologists take a close look at how alligator embryos grow.