June 27, 2017
The use of fluorescence for sensing and imaging of the cellular signaling pathways has emerged as an indispensable tool in modern physiology, providing dynamic information of quantity and localization of the molecules of interest. Using appropriate indicator dyes, molecules alter their fluorescent characteristics in response to ion binding or membrane integration, so that the optical signal from the indicator can be measured to monitor the amplitude and the time course of various metal ions like Na+, K+, Mg2+ and Ca2+, as well as pH and membrane potential, in cellular compartments.
A specific target molecule like Ca2+ is responsible for many physiological functions, such as neurotransmitter release, fertilization and ion channel functions. Studying the cellular channel functions is directly related to the transient increase in the myoplasmic free calcium concentration (Δ[Ca2+