Applying label-free dynamic mass redistribution technology to frame signaling of G protein-coupled receptors noninvasively in living cells

Nat Protoc. 2011 Oct 20;6(11):1748-60. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.386.


Label-free dynamic mass redistribution (DMR) is a cutting-edge assay technology that enables real-time detection of integrated cellular responses in living cells. It relies on detection of refractive index alterations on biosensor-coated microplates that originate from stimulus-induced changes in the total biomass proximal to the sensor surface. Here we describe a detailed protocol to apply DMR technology to frame functional behavior of G protein-coupled receptors that are traditionally examined with end point assays on the basis of detection of individual second messengers, such as cAMP, Ca(2+) or inositol phosphates. The method can be readily adapted across diverse cellular backgrounds (adherent or suspension), including primary human cells. Real-time recordings can be performed in 384-well microtiter plates and be completed in 2 h, or they can be extended to several hours depending on the biological question to be addressed. The entire procedure, including cell harvesting and DMR detection, takes 1-2 d.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled