Energy is a crucial requirement for life, and energy state is a good indicator for cellular health. However, methods that quantify cellular energy state and its response to specific compounds or treatments lack sensitivity and the possibility of live cell monitoring at spatiotemporal resolution. AMPfret technology exploits the endogenous cellular mechanism for detection of energy stress, based on the protein AMPK. The genetically-encoded AMPfret sensor translates deviations from physiological energy levels into a fluorescence signal (FRET) for reversible, continuous on-line monitoring of energy state in single cells and cell populations. AMPfret technology extends analytics beyond classical cell viability tests. It detects cellular dysfunctions already at a premature, not yet detrimental state, including transient or low-level adverse effects. Such fine-tuned analysis of cellular health is a powerful tool to evaluate toxicity or therapeutic efficiency of individual compounds or more complex mixtures. The HelathProbe project, supported by the Grenoble technology transfer agency (SATT) Linksium, will develop new cell-based assays using human cell lines and primary cells with stable or transient AMPfret expression. Their application ranges from testing cytotoxicity and efficacy of compounds to preclinical drug screening in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry.
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