26 July 2014
Lighting Up AID
The protein AID (here stained green) is crucial for fighting off unwanted germs. Without it, our immune system wouldn’t be able to make specific antibodies against individual invaders. Until recently, science was reaching in the dark to grasp how exactly AID comes to aid in the fight against disease: no one had been able to image the protein inside cells. Now, researchers have successfully lit up AID using a technique called immunofluorescence, creating a picture of AID molecules placed both in and outside the cells’ nuclei (red). This special microscopy method is by no means new, but getting it to work here was a real challenge. Interestingly, when the protein is active in the wrong places, it can contribute to a range of diseases including cancer. So being able to image AID has potential far beyond furthering our understanding of the immune system.
Written by Emma Bornebroek
Image courtesy of David Rueda, Sheila Quingchun Xie and colleagues
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre
Copyright held by original authors
Research by Single Molecule Imaging Group, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre