Luciferase and stem cells #2

ResearchBlogging.orgAs previously posted, bioluminescence imaging (BLI) can be helpful to longitudinally monitor stem cells localization, proliferation, and viability. To date, Alessandra Sacco and colleagues from Stanford, illustrate in Nature that reporter genes can be useful also to longitudinally monitor self-renewal and differentiation of luciferase-expressing muscle stem cells (MuSCs) after transplantation in mice. This results has been realized by mating Myf5-nLacZ mice (a reporter mouse for myogenic transcription) with a constitutive firefly luciferase mice (a reporter mouse for assessing cell number).
Bioluminescence by jon.nelson

Of course, that is a technological advance, since it seems now possible to follow the dynamics of stem cell behavior in a manner not possible with retrospective histological analysis. We need now to develop new cognitive skills (and a little bit of statistic also) to understand this unprecedented "real time" picture, since it is quite common for generation 1.0 scientists to wonder only about "end-point" results, without considering the bulk of information revealed by longitudinally imaging in the same experimental subject.

Alessandra Sacco, Regis Doyonnas, Peggy Kraft, Stefan Vitorovic, Helen M. Blau (2008). Self-renewal and expansion of single transplanted muscle stem cells Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature07384