Who: I am a life-sciences explorer.
What: I surf nutrient-to-gene trails.
Where: My base camp is at the University of Geneva.
When: - gianpaolo.rando@unige.ch,

ABC of reporter genes

Written in stream of consciousness, please have fun!

lkaline phosphatase, Beta-galactosidase and Chloramphenicol-acetil-transferase are three ancient reporter genes that, although characterized by a narrow linear Dynamic range, and ampered by some host's Endogenous activity, have been widely used in molecular biology. Today, Fluorescent proteins, seem to catch the scenario of research literature, but new reporters have been introduced, like Glucanases. The Half-life of such reporters addresses their future use, while Interaction between two reporter could spread out new applications (look at resonance energy transfer). Up to date, to the best of my knowledge, no Journals are devoted to reporter gene developments, this could partially explain the need for a blog tracking research highlights. But this blog will track also other questions like where and how you Knock your transgene. My favourite reporter genes are Luciferases: although to date they don't have the high resolution of MRI techniques, they benefit of low signal-to-Noise ratio also when adopted in Optical imaging, and this have been demonstrated with more than one Promoter. Although some Quenching can happen in vivo, new Red-shifted luciferases have been described in order to minimize tissue absorption and increase Sensitivity. Another trend recorded in 2007 was the development of multimodality reporters, for instance one can exploit the same promoter to express both luciferase for optical imaging and Thymidine-kinase for positron-emission tomography. More than one reporter can be assessed with more than one technique, this means lot of Unit of measures both in Vitro and in Vivo, some authors use to track reporter gene expression with Western blot also in 2007 (oh my God!). At least one reporter gene is sexy (secreted XYlanase). Now, let me open a contest: find the best Z-word and suggest it as a comment, don't forget to mention your blog, I will review in a dedicated post the blog of the winner.