Special Perspectives

Living Cells as Test Tubes

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Science  14 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5771, pp. 228-230
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127566

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The combination of specific probes and advanced optical microscopy now allows quantitative probing of biochemical reactions in living cells. On selected systems, one can detect and track a particular protein with single-molecule sensitivity, nanometer spatial precision, and millisecond time resolution. Metabolites, usually difficult to detect, can be imaged and monitored in living cells with coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy. Here, we describe the application of these techniques in studying gene expression, active transport, and lipid metabolism.

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