Advances in molecular labeling, high throughput imaging and machine intelligence portend powerful functional cellular biochemistry tools

J Cell Biochem Suppl. 2002:39:194-210. doi: 10.1002/jcb.10448.


Cellular behavior is complex. Successfully understanding systems at ever-increasing complexity is fundamental to advances in modern science and unraveling the functional details of cellular behavior is no exception. We present a collection of prospectives to provide a glimpse of the techniques that will aid in collecting, managing and utilizing information on complex cellular processes via molecular imaging tools. These include: 1) visualizing intracellular protein activity with fluorescent markers, 2) high throughput (and automated) imaging of multilabeled cells in statistically significant numbers, and 3) machine intelligence to analyze subcellular image localization and pattern. Although not addressed here, the importance of combining cell-image-based information with detailed molecular structure and ligand-receptor binding models cannot be overlooked. Advanced molecular imaging techniques have the potential to impact cellular diagnostics for cancer screening, clinical correlations of tissue molecular patterns for cancer biology, and cellular molecular interactions for accelerating drug discovery. The goal of finally understanding all cellular components and behaviors will be achieved by advances in both instrumentation engineering (software and hardware) and molecular biochemistry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Automation
  • Biochemistry / methods*
  • Biochemistry / trends
  • Cells / cytology*
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / trends*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Microscopy / trends
  • Molecular Probes / analysis
  • Molecular Probes / metabolism


  • Molecular Probes