Teaching Resource

Monitoring Signaling Processes in Living Cells Using Biosensors

Science's STKE  21 Oct 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 205, pp. tr5
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.205.tr5


This collection of nine animations shows how different types of biosensors report changes in cellular processes through the production of a visually detectable signal. Biosensors can be created by attaching one or more fluorescent proteins (such as green fluorescent protein) to a target protein or peptide or by attaching a fluorescent dye that is sensitive to its environment to a protein or peptide. Conformational changes in proteins in response to ligand binding, changes in the concentration of cellular metabolites or signaling messengers, changes in protein localization, and changes in protein activity or covalent modification can all be detected with biosensors. These animations can be used separately or together to illustrate how molecular biology, chemistry, and microscopy have converged to allow cellular processes to be visualized in living cells. Several of the animations describe the production of a fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) signal.