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Researchers at the Kennedy Institute and the University of York develop a new imaging approach that offers superior resolution to track the movement of soluble proteins in tissues.

Single molecule imaging 1

Soluble proteins help to correctly position immune cells in tissues and throughout the body to optimise immune defense. Up until now visualising the precise movement of these proteins has been tricky because different molecules of the same protein display variable patterns of diffusion. Profs Mark Coles, Mark Leake (University of York) and colleagues now report a new high-speed light microscopy approach that allows tracking of single molecules with multimodal mobility patterns.

Speaking of the work, Mark Coles said "By developing a novel imaging system to directly image how these chemoattractive molecules move in tissues we will be able to better understand how to target these molecules in rheumatological disease".

Then current study focuses on a certain type of proteins called chemokines that guide the migration of cells in tissues. But the authors suggest their imaging approach could be used to study many different signalling proteins and lipids that contribute to inflammatory and degenerative diseases.

Mark Coles is funded by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research and the research was supported by the Biological Physical Sciences Institute, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.