Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Tracking chemical changes in a live cell: Biomedical applications of
- Author(s): Holman, Hoi-Ying N.
- Martin, Michael C.
- McKinney, Wayne R.
- et al.
Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectromicroscopy is a newly emerging bioanalytical and imaging tool. This unique technique provides mid-infrared (IR) spectra, hence chemical information, with high signal-to-noise at spatial resolutions as fine as 3 to 10 microns. Thus it enables researchers to locate, identify, and track specific chemical events within an individual living mammalian cell. Mid-IR photons are too low in energy (0.05 - 0.5 eV) to either break bonds or to cause ionization. In this review, we show that the synchrotron IR beam has no detectable effects on the short- and long-term viability, reproductive integrity, cell-cycle progression, and mitochondrial metabolism in living human cells, and produces only minimal sample heating (< 0.5 degrees C). We will then present several examples demonstrating the application potentials of SR-FTIR spectromicroscopy in biomedical research. These will include monitoring living cells progressing through the cell cycle, including death, and cells reacting to dilute concentrations of toxins.