High throughput imaging speeds analysis of hormone receptors

November 1, 2008,

A new high throughput microscopy technique enabled researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to analyze thousands of individual cells expressing androgen receptor, a finding that could herald new ways of evaluating the effect of drugs or other treatments on cells with normal or aberrant hormone receptors.

In a report in the current issue of Public Library of Science One (PLoS One), Dr. Michael Mancini and his collaborators reported a new, next generation high throughput image-based assay that helps determine the level and location of androgen receptor and its transcriptional activity on a cell-by-cell basis.

"This has application to personalized medicine," said Mancini, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM and director of its Integrated Microscopy Core. "For example, we could use the high throughput microscope and robust image analysis to determine which drug might be best to turn off or repair a mutated cell that is causing disease."

In this case, he and his colleagues analyzed the androgen receptor, a molecule that binds the hormones testosterone or dihydrotestosterone and is responsible for regulating genes that give an organism or animal male characteristics.

"As our ability to image cells using high throughput microscopy got going faster and faster, we began to collect enormous amounts of functional data that was usually only accessible by separate (and slow) biochemical experiments. Our customized software approaches then allowed us two assemble the results into a more systems-level appreciation of the biology, linking together several functional characteristics of the androgen receptor," he said

The high throughput technique, often called high content analysis, enables researchers to analyze effects on a cell-by-cell basis, taking into account the heterogeneity of the cells, he said. Before the development of new microscopes, he said, taking a few images an hour was a feat.

"Now we routinely take thousands of pictures a day," said Mancini.

Not only that, but scientists such as Adam Szafran, the M.D./Ph.D. student who is first author of this report, can essentially look at several elements of cellular response at the same time.

"We can study issues dealing with the cell cycle as it goes through its life," said Szafran. Previously, scientists had to manipulate cells to capture them at different points in their lives. The new imaging technology enables them to study the cell in a more natural form.

In the PLoS study, Szafran, Mancini and their colleagues were able to study the response of a particular androgen mutation to different ligands (molecules that can trigger binding to a particular protein).

"We could show how the receptor was defective in respect to the endogenous (or normally present) ligand. When we used a different ligand, we could rescue aspects of the receptor's function," said Szafran.

The technique could have application in personalizing medicine, said Mancini. Physicians could take the individual cells of a patient diagnosed with a disease and use the high throughput microscope to see how different drugs affect the mutated cells. The high speed approaches for androgen receptor studies are also being used to investigate basic science and personalized medicine possibilities in several other projects, including breast and prostate cancers, and adipose (fat cell) biology.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine

Explore further: Adaptive immune response: new cofactor of roquin identified

Related Stories

Adaptive immune response: new cofactor of roquin identified

January 19, 2018
Roquin has a key role in the adaptive immune response. It controls the activation and differentiation of T cells and thus helps to make the decisions whether or not and which type of immune response will be mounted. Now, ...

New technique could reveal immunotherapy targets, study finds

December 21, 2017
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have developed a way to pinpoint potential targets for cancer therapies that rely on the body's immune system.

Predicting cancer relapse: Study finds high-throughput sequencing bests flow cytometry

May 16, 2012
A study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that a next-generation, high-speed DNA-decoding technology called high-throughput sequencing can detect the earliest signs of potential relapse ...

Researchers look to mathematics, nature, to understand the immune system and its role in cancer

May 1, 2013
Can the patterns in tree branches or the meandering bends in a river provide clues that could lead to better cancer therapies? According to a new study from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, these self-similar, ...

Novel 'barcode' tracking of T cells in immunotherapy patients identifies likely cancer

February 24, 2017
A new discovery by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle makes an important step in identifying which specific T cells within the diverse army of a person's immune system are best suited to ...

Extensive renewal of the T cell repertoire following autologous stem cell transplant in MS

February 17, 2014
A new study describes the complexity of the new T cell repertoire following immune-depleting therapy to treat multiple sclerosis, improving our understanding of immune tolerance and clinical outcomes.

Recommended for you

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.