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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optical imaging of metabolic dynamics in animals.

  • Author(s): Shi, Lingyan
  • Zheng, Chaogu
  • Shen, Yihui
  • Chen, Zhixing
  • Silveira, Edilson S
  • Zhang, Luyuan
  • Wei, Mian
  • Liu, Chang
  • de Sena-Tomas, Carmen
  • Targoff, Kimara
  • Min, Wei
  • et al.

Direct visualization of metabolic dynamics in living animals with high spatial and temporal resolution is essential to understanding many biological processes. Here we introduce a platform that combines deuterium oxide (D2O) probing with stimulated Raman scattering (DO-SRS) microscopy to image in situ metabolic activities. Enzymatic incorporation of D2O-derived deuterium into macromolecules generates carbon-deuterium (C-D) bonds, which track biosynthesis in tissues and can be imaged by SRS in situ. Within the broad vibrational spectra of C-D bonds, we discover lipid-, protein-, and DNA-specific Raman shifts and develop spectral unmixing methods to obtain C-D signals with macromolecular selectivity. DO-SRS microscopy enables us to probe de novo lipogenesis in animals, image protein biosynthesis without tissue bias, and simultaneously visualize lipid and protein metabolism and reveal their different dynamics. DO-SRS microscopy, being noninvasive, universally applicable, and cost-effective, can be adapted to a broad range of biological systems to study development, tissue homeostasis, aging, and tumor heterogeneity.

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