Measuring Protein Concentrations in Live Cells

data that's essential for mathematical modeling of biological pathways.

Sarah Rothman
Dec 4, 2005
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Courtesy of Jian-Qiu Wu & Thomas Pollard

One of the bottlenecks of systems biology has been the dearth of tools available for measuring the concentration of individual proteins in vivo – data that's essential for mathematical modeling of biological pathways. Now, Jian Qu Wu and Thomas Pollard of Yale University have developed a way to measure global and local concentrations of proteins directly.1

The study demonstrated the process using cytoskeletal proteins fused to yellow fluorescent protein tags during a yeast cytokinesis cycle. Wu and Pollard first took a series of stacked confocal images that displayed entire cells and measured global and local fluorescence throughout these cells. The pair then compared those measurements against immunoblotting results demonstrating the average number of fluorescent molecules per cell. They completed the process for seven proteins and verified results for the remaining 20 proteins by flow cytometry.

Pollard says his paper will help researchers...