Scientists have come up with a new way of marking stem cells
Tags are necessary to track the fate of the population of stem cells. DNA of stem cells, which are used in medicine for tissue repair, are labelled with proteins, and then these proteins are detected by means of fluorescent antibodies.
Scientists from Russia and the United States have proposed to use not antibodies, but fluorescent azide. The method had not been successful right away: at first, the dye left some areas untouched, and these areas later reacted with antibodies, thus giving a false signal. The scientists, however, had managed to find an ingenious solution: they protected these areas by adding a colourless substance related to the dye.
As a result, they were able to quantitatively discern the signals of different labels in the process of stem cells dividing in the brain, intestines and ovaries. Analysis of intestinal cells was especially indicative: the scientists saw very clearly how stem cells were spreading along hair-like trajectories.