Capturing the interaction of metal elements and molecules in the body has always been tough. Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan have developed a new molecular imaging technology that enables them to visualize bio-metals and bio-molecules simultaneously in a live mouse. This new technology will enable researchers to study the complex interactions between metal elements and molecules in living organisms. Metal elements such as zinc, iron and copper are present in trace amounts in the body and play an important role in myriad biological processes including gene expression, signal transduction and metabolic reactions. Abnormalities in the behaviour of these elements often reflect abnormalities in associated bio-molecules and studying them together can offer great insight into many biological processes.
Bio-molecules can be visualized in living organisms using positron emission tomography (PET), a widely used nuclear medical molecular-imaging technique.