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Cellular Calls: Listening in on Body's Protein

Observing signaling molecules before they leave a cell could give researchers insights into how cells in our bodies influence one another.

Chemical communication between cells keeps tissues functioning and systems coordinated, but eavesdropping on the conversation is challenging. Now, researchers have developed a technique to identify signaling proteins before they leave the cell. The method could help determine which cells are sending which messages—a useful tool for analyzing the interactions occurring in the mixed populations in tissues. One possible application could reveal the cues that control stem cells—an insight that researchers hope could be applied to healing damaged tissues.

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"Targeted proteomics of the secretory pathway reveals the secretome of mouse embryonic fibroblasts and human embryonic stem cells." --Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (http://www.mcponline.org/content/early/2012/09/15/mcp.M112.020503)

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