The researchers are now working on similar probes that could be used to detect light emitted by luciferases, a family of glowing proteins that are often used in biological experiments. These proteins can be used to reveal whether a particular gene is activated or not, but currently they can only be imaged in superficial tissue or cells grown in a lab dish.
Jasanoff also hopes to use the strategy used for the LisNR sensor to design MRI probes that can detect stimuli other than light, such as neurochemicals or other molecules found in the brain.
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“We think that the principle that we use to construct these sensors is quite broad and can be used for other purposes too,” he says.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation, a Friends of the McGovern Fellowship from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, the MIT Neurobiological Engineering Training Program, and a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission.Back to HCB News