Visualizing Signals Moving in Cells
This article discusses the study of signal propagation in cells.
Cells display a highly complex spatiotemporal organization, required to exert a wide variety of different functions, for example, detection, processing, and propagation of nerve impulses by neurons; contraction and relaxation by muscle cells; movement by leukocytes; and adsorption and secretion of nutrients and metabolites by epithelial cells lining the gut. Successful execution of these complex processes requires highly dynamic information transfer between different regions and compartments within cells. Through the development of fluorescent sensors for intracellular signaling molecules coupled with improved microscopic imaging techniques, it has now become possible to investigate signal propagation in cells with high spatial and temporal resolution.