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.
Throughout all of the fluorescent microscopy experiments, we’ve been seeing SmartFlare fluorescence in punctate structures. Using these techniques, it’s very difficult to say with certainty that the SmartFlares are within vesicles or (for example) aggregated/agglomerated in the cytosol. As this is pertinent to the current investigation, we took cells loaded with SmartFlares to the electron microscope which has the resolution to discern membrane structures as well as the gold particles.
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:
This is a final repeat of the basic SmartFlare experiment. HeLa cells are loaded with the three variants of SmartFlares and imaged 18h later.
The purpose of these experiments is to be able to visualise the SmartFlares (SFs) in the cell after having followed the loading protocol provided by the manufacturers. After 16-20h the SFs should be in a position to interact with mRNA in the cell and this means a cytosolic localisation. We will use DMOG to stimulate VEGF mRNA production in the cell.
From the start of the Open Notebook, we have wanted to provide readers with access to the full data generated as part of the project. In order to do this, we have had to address the two issues of where to host the data and how to make the original data easily readable.