To use fluorescent proteins to conduct arrhythmia study

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      Stem cell-derived cell models play an increasingly important role in cardiac dysfunction studies. Researchers at Technical University of Munich (TUM) have successfully produced cells which are helpful to the studies of cardiac cell characteristics. Using glowing molecular sensors will not only make the electrical activity of the cells visible, but also makes it possible to quickly identify the type of cell for the first time.

      In the past decade, it has been possible to produce so-called induced pluripotent stem cells in the laboratory. These stem cells are derived from white blood cells – for example – they can be infinitely replicated in the laboratory and turn into all possible cell types. For example, heart cells generated in this way can be used to investigate arrhythmia. The can be used in animal experiments in the application and can’t easily remove samples of tissue from the patient’s heart. However, the cultured heart cells provide an opportunity to study such diseases in an approach of "microcosm".

      "Our study addresses several problems using this type of cell model", said Dr. Daniel Sinnecker of Heart disease at Technical University of Munich. Heart cells produced in laboratory still have the problem of how to best measure the electrical activity. In the past, microelectrode is the most commonly to be used to directly determine the electrical signal of cells. However, this process is quite complicated and can only be used on a small number of cells.

      The article published by Daniel Sinnecker and his team in the journal the heart of Europe offers a possible solution for the problem. Unlike making cell attaching microelectrode and other methods, the scientists used a biosensor. These are derived from fluorescence, i.e. Luminous – deep-sea jellyfish protein. Introduce DNA containing these sensor proteins "construction plans" into heart cells and then the protein of the sensor is produced. If giving labeled heart cells with a specific wavelength of light stimulation, they will produce light at different wavelengths. The returned exact color of the light depends on the voltage difference between the inside and outside of cells. Therefore, scientists can use a special camera to measure and record action potentials of single cells.

      A special feature of this new approach is that the inserted DNA can be coupled with specific recognition sequences which are so-called promoters. These sensors ensured that the presence of protein production is only in a specific type of heart muscle cells. So it can capture the electrical signals from cells of atrium, ventricles and atrionector.

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