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 microscopy
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.
Peering into the Cell
The Scientist Creative Services Team
Researchers visualize the beautiful inner world of cells!
A scanning electron micrograph of a coculture of E. coli and Acinetobacter baylyi. Nanotubes can be seen extending from the E. coli.
What’s the Deal with Bacterial Nanotubes?
Sruthi S. Balakrishnan | Jun 1, 2021
Several labs have reported the formation of bacterial nanotubes under different, often contrasting conditions. What are these structures and why are they so hard to reproduce?
An illustration of a flask of bacteria, a weighted microscope slide, and two bacteria exchanging materials via nanotubes.
Infographic: Sources of Variation in Bacterial Nanotube Studies
Sruthi S. Balakrishnan | Jun 1, 2021
Differences in how researchers prepare and image samples can lead to discrepancies in their results.
Infographic: Paraspeckle Form and Function
Archa Fox | Dec 1, 2019
What do scientists know about this membraneless nuclear body discovered less than two decades ago?
Organoids grown from a mouse’s colon
Caught on Camera
The Scientist Staff | Jul 15, 2019
Selected Images of the Day from the-scientist.com
structures in a human cell
Deep Learning Algorithms Identify Structures in Living Cells
Diana Kwon | May 1, 2019
Researchers are using artificial intelligence to pick out the features of brightfield microscopy images.
New Technique Captures Entire Fly Brain in 3D
Carolyn Wilke | Jan 18, 2019
The method combines two approaches to reveal a high-resolution map of all 40 million synapses.
Visualizing Gene Expression in Individual Cells in Thick Tissues
Ruth Williams | Oct 1, 2018
STARmap enables simultaneous analysis of multiple RNAs in intact, bulky samples.
Image of the Day: Lego Microscopy
The Scientist Staff | May 16, 2018
With open-source software and Lego hardware, researchers have created a low-cost, automated method for cellular fluorescence microscopy.
Image of the Day: Glowing Tick
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Apr 27, 2018
This lone star tick’s bite can cause an allergy to red meat.
Deep Learning Allows for Cell Analysis Without Labeling
Kerry Grens | Apr 12, 2018
A new microscopy program requires no fluorescent markers to identify cell type, nuclei, and other characteristics.
Image of the Day: Calcium Signaling
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Feb 20, 2018
Researchers used light-sheet microscopy to form 3-D images of the process in primary cortical neurons from embryonic rats.
Detecting Protein Clumps
Ruth Williams | Feb 1, 2018
A synthetic genetic tool called yTRAP allows high-throughput detection of protein aggregates in cells.
 
Image of the Day: Muscle Bouquet 
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Jan 16, 2018
Lab-grown muscle stem cells from mice mimic the formation of muscle fibers in vivo. 
Photos of the Year
Katarina Zimmer | Dec 24, 2017
From a plastic-munching coral to see-through frogs, here are The Scientist’s favorite images from 2017.
Image of the Day: Blood Factory
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Nov 20, 2017
In Drosophila larvae, the formation of blood cells takes place in a specialized organ, the lymph gland.
Image of the Day: Tadpole Prism
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Nov 3, 2017
Scientists are making use of Xenopus tadpoles to study autism risk genes.