• Zinc biosensor engineering

  • Zinc is an essential biological ion and it can function as cellular signals within and between cells.  Due to its low concentrations, zinc in dynamic cellular environment can only be detected by sensitive optical probes.  We created a new type of zinc biosensors based on single fluorescent protein.  Compared to previously published FRET sensors, these new sensors are simpler to image, require less sophisticated microscopes, and have decreased spectral bandwidth, allowing for multiple sensors to be used simultaneously.  Our future work aims to expand the toolbox of single fluorescent protein based zinc sensors with new spectral and dynamic traits.

  • Optically recording of zinc dynamics in live cells

  • We are using novel imaging probes developted in our lab to explore the biological funciton of zinc. Especially, we are interested in studying how zinc signals can regulate neuronal function. 

    Primary cultured hippocampal neuron expressing GZnP2 sensor. 

  • Study zinc spikes in developing neurons

    We made a serendipitous observation that the neurons in primary hippocampal cultures can fire spontaneous synchronized calcium-dependent zinc spikes at normal developmental stages. Given the integral roles of zinc in regulating neuronal function, we propose our hypothesis that zinc spikes might act as signaling molecules to bridge the calcium signals with neuronal development and function. 

    Video S1 (A).avi

This portfolio last updated: 01-Feb-2022 9:50 AM