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 Electron and laserscannning microscopy

 Research

Modern imaging techniques play a pivotal role in life science on multiple scales and at various levels. To uncover structure-function relationships, particularly in the nervous system, recent developments in the field of microscopy, molecular biology and computer technology will lead the way into new molecular, electrophysiological and biochemical experiments on living cells under physiological conditions.

Research activities of the SL are focussed on high resolution and functional imaging of synapse associated proteins of the nervous system, as well as of the immune system. These studies, performed in collaboration with the Dept. Neurochemistry, RG Neuroplast and CRC 854, have concentrated on proteins, thought to be involved in the shuttling of information between synapse and  nucleus (e.g. CtBP1, Jacob; see: Karpova et al., 2013), on the co-localizations of scaffolding proteins along the immune synapse (e.g. PSD 95, SAP 97) and on interactions of calcium binding proteins with cell organelles (Calneuron, Calbindin; see: Hradsky et al., 2013).

Methodological developments

Within the BMBF funded joint project (Novel Optics), we have developed an ultra-sensitive and ultra-fast research camera for fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) that has been successfully used to analyse the early signaling events of the SRC protein tyrosine kinase Lck following T cell receptor stimulation (Stirnweiss et al., 2013).

By analyzing NADH autofluorescence with these detectors we could show that metabolic oscillations are a basic mechanism for synchronization and self organization of cell populations (Weber et al. 2012).

Future activities of SL will focus on the optical analyis of the functional dynamics of synaptic plasticity by applying multi-dimensional microscopy. This will include the spatial and temporal analysis of tagged or untagged molecules at the pre- and postsynaptic side by in-vitro and in-vivo experimentation, FLIM and metabolic studies, as well as high resolution immunocytochemical studies and correlated light- and electron microscopic investigations.

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