Cell-specific monitoring of protein synthesis in vivo

PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004547. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Analysis of general and specific protein synthesis provides important information, relevant to cellular physiology and function. However, existing methodologies, involving metabolic labelling by incorporation of radioactive amino acids into nascent polypeptides, cannot be applied to monitor protein synthesis in specific cells or tissues, in live specimens. We have developed a novel approach for monitoring protein synthesis in specific cells or tissues, in vivo. Fluorescent reporter proteins such as GFP are expressed in specific cells and tissues of interest or throughout animals using appropriate promoters. Protein synthesis rates are assessed by following fluorescence recovery after partial photobleaching of the fluorophore at targeted sites. We evaluate the method by examining protein synthesis rates in diverse cell types of live, wild type or mRNA translation-defective Caenorhabditis elegans animals. Because it is non-invasive, our approach allows monitoring of protein synthesis in single cells or tissues with intrinsically different protein synthesis rates. Furthermore, it can be readily implemented in other organisms or cell culture systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Kinetics
  • Methods
  • Photobleaching*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Biosynthesis*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins