The cell is a complex network of interacting components, or molecules, each of them with its own characteristics and all of them together functioning as a living system. Each of the molecular processes and interactions in the cell bears the risk of becoming dysfunctional, resulting in disease. Biomedical research into processes that power the cell lays the foundation for major therapeutic breakthroughs. However, the minuscule length scales and high speeds at which these intracellular processes take place make it very challenging to observe them directly within a single cell.
Nils Walter’s team at the University of Michigan, Chemistry Department and Center for RNA Biomedicine, has reviewed the latest research on using high-resolution, single molecule fluorescence microscopy tools to study the interactions between molecules in live human cells in real time. The review covers research reported in 85 publications over the last 5 years, aiming to consolidate the developments and disseminate the techniques that can follow multiple molecules at once (“multiplexing”). These techniques are relatively easy to implement, and are becoming increasingly available and affordable.
Red RNA molecules are docking onto green processing bodies containing RNA degrading enzymes.