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Br J Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;152(1):1-4. Epub 2007 Jul 2.

High-throughput microscopy must re-invent the microscope rather than speed up its functions.

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INSERM U603, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR 8154, University Paris Descartes, 45 rue des Saints Pères, F-75006 Paris, France.


Knowledge gained from the revolutions in genomics and proteomics has helped to identify many of the key molecules involved in cellular signalling. Researchers, both in academia and in the pharmaceutical industry, now screen, at a sub-cellular level, where and when these proteins interact. Fluorescence imaging and molecular labelling combine to provide a powerful tool for real-time functional biochemistry with molecular resolution. However, they traditionally have been work-intensive, required trained personnel, and suffered from low through-put due to sample preparation, loading and handling. The need for speeding up microscopy is apparent from the tremendous complexity of cellular signalling pathways, the inherent biological variability, as well as the possibility that the same molecule plays different roles in different sub-cellular compartments. Research institutes and companies have teamed up to develop imaging cytometers of ever-increasing complexity. However, to truly go high-speed, sub-cellular imaging must free itself from the rigid framework of current microscopes.

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