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Genetically encodable materials for non-invasive biological imaging

Farhadi, Arash and Sigmund, Felix and Westmeyer, Gil Gregor and Shapiro, Mikhail G. (2021) Genetically encodable materials for non-invasive biological imaging. Nature Materials, 20 (5). pp. 585-592. ISSN 1476-1122. doi:10.1038/s41563-020-00883-3.

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Many questions in basic biology and medicine require the ability to visualize the function of specific cells and molecules inside living organisms. In this context, technologies such as ultrasound, optoacoustics and magnetic resonance provide non-invasive imaging access to deep-tissue regions, as used in many laboratories and clinics to visualize anatomy and physiology. In addition, recent work has enabled these technologies to image the location and function of specific cells and molecules inside the body by coupling the physics of sound waves, nuclear spins and light absorption to unique protein-based materials. These materials, which include air-filled gas vesicles, capsid-like nanocompartments, pigment-producing enzymes and transmembrane transporters, enable new forms of biomolecular and cellular contrast. The ability of these protein-based contrast agents to be genetically encoded and produced by cells creates opportunities for unprecedented in vivo studies of cellular function, while their amenability to genetic engineering enables atomic-level design of their physical, chemical and biological properties.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Farhadi, Arash0000-0001-9137-8559
Sigmund, Felix0000-0002-3316-0882
Westmeyer, Gil Gregor0000-0001-7224-8919
Shapiro, Mikhail G.0000-0002-0291-4215
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 10 December 2019; Accepted 18 November 2020; Published 01 February 2021. We are grateful to members of the Shapiro and Westmeyer laboratories for helpful discussions. Relevant research in the Shapiro laboratory was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant nos. R01EB018975 and U54CA199090), the Human Frontier Science Program (RGP0050/2016), the Heritage Medical Research Institute, the Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, the Sontag Foundation, the Dana Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. A.F. was supported by an NSERC graduate fellowship. Relevant research in the Westmeyer laboratory was supported by the European Research Council under grant agreement nos. ERC-StG 311552 and ERC-COG 865710, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through the TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Author Contributions: All authors wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Heritage Medical Research Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGP0050/2016
Heritage Medical Research InstituteUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Pew Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
Sontag FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Dana FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Burroughs Wellcome FundUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)311552
European Research Council (ERC)865710
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)UNSPECIFIED
Federation of European Biochemical SocietiesUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Genetic engineering; Magnetic resonance imaging; Molecular imaging; Optical imaging; Ultrasound
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210201-105011829
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Farhadi, A., Sigmund, F., Westmeyer, G.G. et al. Genetically encodable materials for non-invasive biological imaging. Nat. Mater. 20, 585–592 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107833
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Feb 2021 19:33
Last Modified:30 Apr 2021 17:39

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