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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010 Feb;21(1):45-54. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.01.009. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Imaging approach for monitoring cellular metabolites and ions using genetically encoded biosensors.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Latham Hall, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, United States. <>


The spatiotemporal patterns of ion and metabolite levels in living cells are important in understanding signal transduction and metabolite flux. Imaging approaches using genetically encoded sensors are ideal for detecting such molecule dynamics, which are hard to capture otherwise. Recent years have seen iterative improvements and evaluations of sensors, which in turn are starting to make applications in more challenging experimental settings possible. In this review, we will introduce recent progress made in the variety and properties of biosensors, and how biosensors are used for the measurement of metabolite and ion in live cells. The emerging field of applications, such as parallel imaging of two separate molecules, high-resolution transport studies and high-throughput screening using biosensors, will be discussed.

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