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Dynamic imaging and fluorescent microscopy

Professor Rusty Lansford explains that dynamic imaging is important because it allows researchers to examine active development rather than interpreting a series of snapshots.
The reason we think it is so essential to do this kind of dynamic imaging or 4-D imaging, if you will, is it allows us to see the entire picture of what is going on during development. An analogy that I heard and will paraphrase, is that if you are watching a soccer game and you are watching the beginning of a soccer game, you might see 11 players on each side of the pitch, you’d see 3 referees (2 linesman and one center referee), a ball in the center, and the scoreboard would say 0:0. If you take another picture at the end of the game, you might see that it was 3:2. The players are in different positions, they’re muddy, some may be bleeding. The referee would also be in a different position, maybe sweaty, but you wouldn’t understand how that score became 3:2, you wouldn’t understand the process of the soccer game. And likewise in a developing embryo, our logic is that you might be able to take a snapshot at the beginning stage of how the brain is forming, you might see tissue statically there. 24 hours later you might take another snapshot and you would see that no longer is the embryo flat up around the forming brain, it maybe has formed a tube or formed different vesicles. But you probably wouldn’t understand the process. What we are trying to do is that we have developed ways to put little fluorescent light bulbs inside all the individual cells through a protein called Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) or some of the spectral analogs of GFP. It comes in different varieties; you can have blue, or cyan, or green, or yellow, or orange, or red, even plum and so what we try to do is to put these little light bulbs inside that allow us to dynamically image all the little events going on when the cells are moving in a certain direction, when they stop, their speed, when they change directions, when they get to a certain region and differentiate and become a neuron or a blood vessel or something like that. And so again, we feel that by not only dynamically doing all of our experiments but also by dynamically imaging everything we have a better idea of the process of development.
dynamic, imaging, 4-d, 4-dimensional, fluorescent microscopy, gfp, embryo, embryogenesis, rusty, lansford
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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