Nanostructured Probes for In Vivo Gene Detection

Nanomedicine : design and applications of magnetic nanomaterials, nanosensors, and nanosystems / Vijay K. Varadan, Linfeng Chen, Jining Xie 03/2010; DOI: 10.1002/9783527628155.nanotech054
Source: PubMed


The ability to visualize in real-time the expression dynamics and localization of specific RNAs in vivo offers tremendous opportunities for biological and disease studies including cancer detection. However, quantitative methods such as real-time PCR and DNA microarrays rely on the use of cell lysates thus not able to obtain important spatial and temporal information. Fluorescence proteins and other reporter systems cannot image endogenous RNA in living cells. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays require washing to achieve specificity, therefore can only be used with fixed cells. Here we review the recent development of nanostructured probes for living cell RNA detection, and discuss the biological and engineering issues and challenges of quantifying gene expression in vivo. In particular, we describe methods that use oligonucleotide probes, combined with novel delivery strategies, to image the relative level, localization and dynamics of RNA in live cells. Examples of detecting endogenous mRNAs, as well as imaging their subcellular localization are given to illustrate the biological applications, and issues in probe design, delivery and target accessibility are discussed. The nanostructured probes promise to open new and exciting opportunities in sensitive gene detection for a wide range of biological and medical applications.

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