Amyloids -- tiny protein structures that are key to understanding certain devastating age-related diseases -- are so tiny that they can't be visualized using conventional microscopic techniques. A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new technique that uses temporary fluorescence, which causes amyloids to flash, or "blink," thus allowing researchers to better spot these problematic proteins. The technique is called transient amyloid binding (TAB) imaging. TAB uses a standard dye called thioflavin T, which temporarily sticks to amyloids one at a time. The effect isn't permanent, and the amyloids emit light until the dye detaches, yielding a distinctive blinking effect.
Provided by Washington University in St. Louis