Not too long after publishing version 1 of the SmartFlare paper at Science Open, we received a couple of very helpful reviews. We’ve been working on the points made by the reviewers to improve the manuscript for version 2 (coming very shortly!). Below are some thoughts on a couple of the comments and a quick update on some new data in the works.
Outreach is a really important part of Science Research, some would argue (and I would agree) that it is an obligation of Scientists to talk about what they do and inform and inspire the general public.
When outreaching about Cell Biology and specifically, Microscopy, it’s great to be able to show people their own cells on a microscope. To figure out how best to do this in a quick, safe and cheap way, I had a play with some live-cell staining of buccal (cheek) epithelial cells.
As mentioned before, one of the things that has been bugging me about the SmartFlares is that they’re not where anyone expects them. EMD expect them in the cytosol (we don’t see them there), I expected them in endosomes and they weren’t really there either. So what could this mystery compartment be?
We’ve so far, not seen any response of the VEGF SmartFlares to treatment of our cells with DMOG. Combined with the punctate distribution of the signal, we have no evidence that the SmartFlares make it to the cytosol in 18 hours. As we’re not sure if the problem lies in the SmartFlares or the delivery, I microinjected the SmartFlares directly into the cells thus bypassing the need for endosomal uptake.
In a recent post, I was musing about why the SmartFlares weren’t in the swollen chloroquine-induced vacuoles. Out of interest more than anything, I did a quick experiment to see what would happen if I pre-labelled the endocytic pathway with one coloured dextran, then added in a second with the chloroquine.
I recently discussed the SmartFlare project at a joint Sée and Lévy Group Meeting, partially extolling the virtues of Open Science but mostly focussing on the data acquired so far and some of the proposed experiments.
Regarding the SmartFlare project, the three big questions that formed the basis of the talk were:
- Why do only some cells take up SmartFlares?
- Where are the SmartFlares?
- Why are the VEGF and Scrambled SmartFlares fluorescent in puncta?
Below are some of the interesting points that were made during the meeting. Replies at the time (as best as I can remember them) in green: