New method reveals proteins by colour coding

Knowledge about how proteins interact with each other is essential for understanding cellular function. With a new method, developed at IGP, researchers can simultaneously study several different proteins in individual cells. The method might contribute to the development of improved diagnostics and new drugs.


Cellular functions are regulated by proteins that interact with each other in complex networks. In order to understand the functions of a cell methods are required that can be used to study protein interactions. In a recent study led by Ola Söderberg the researchers have developed a new analysis technique that allows for parallel analyses of several different protein complexes.

“With this method you can get information about the localisation of a protein complex, which proteins are included in the complex and whether there are different proteins included depending on if it is a normal cell or for instance a cancer cell”, says Ola Söderberg.

The new method is a novel design of the PLA technique, which was developed by Ola Söderberg and his colleague Mats Gullberg in Ulf Landegren’s research group and presently used by scientist all over the world. In the new version proteins are colour coded so that several protein complexes can be visualised in parallel. This has the advantage that protein complexes can be compared between individual cells in the same tissue.

“Seeing small objects, or very distant ones, requires that these are very bright. With the development of the PLA technique we made protein-interactions visible, like switching on the stars in the sky. Now we made them shine in different colours”, says Ola Söderberg.

The possibility to study proteins in protein complexes can reveal their roles in the various functions of a cell. The new method might therefore be employed in the development of improved disease diagnostics and the discovery of new drugs.

The study has been published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

More information:
Article in Molecular and Cellular Proteomics
Ola Söderberg’s research



Last updated: 2013-03-11

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