Gut and tumor microbiota in vivo imaging with FAST of The Twinkle Factory!  For the first time ever, a Chinese team, from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, reports FAST in Mater. Today Bio 2022: “Encoding with FAST generates living bacterial probes for mammalian microbiota imaging”.

microbiota imaging with FAST

microbiota in vivo imaging with FAST

The essential roles of mammalian microbiota in health are now well uncovered.  One primary determinant to understand host-microbiota interaction is the distribution and viability of its key microorganisms.  Here, Zhenping Cao et al. report FAST to design living bacterial probes for real-time imaging of the microbiota.  Carrying FAST endows bacteria with rapid on-demand turn on-off fluorescence by adding or removal of fluorogens.  Encoded bacteria are able to reversibly switch emission bands for dual-color fluorescence imaging via fluorogen exchange.  Moreover, encoded bacteria can fluoresce under the most anaerobic conditions including in gut and tumor.  The authors disclose insightful experiments transplanting living bacterial probes to mice gut microbiota and monitoring demography with IVIS!

Terry Papoutsakis of University of Delaware initially disclosed the potential of FAST for fluorescence labeling of anaerobic bacteria.  A lasting challenge for scientists since the invention of fluorescent proteins, indeed!  Since then, FAST has been successfully implemented in, e.g., Clostridium acetobutylicum, Eubacterium limosum, C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum, Acetobacterium woodii, E. coli.  Lately, anaerobic protozoa, Giardia intestinalis, and archaea, Methanococcus maripaludis, have joined The Twinkle Factory family.

The Twinkle Factory offers commercial fluorogens for FAST and splitFAST.  tfFox-NP, a bright non-permeant fluorogen, and tfDarth, a “dark” chromophore, have recently completed the product range.  ZhengZhou Maxcare Biotechnology is the distributor in China.  Contact Xianghua Wang or +86 181 3737 7698.


More reading to introduce microbiota in vivo imaging with FAST

  • J. Bacteriol. 2022 The fluorescence-activating and absorption-shifting tag (FAST) enables live-cell fluorescence imaging of Methanococcus maripaludis University of Minnesota
  • BMC Biology 2021  Access Inheritance of the reduced mitochondria of Giardia intestinalis is coupled to the flagellar maturation cycle – Charles University Prague
  • Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2019 – A Strongly Fluorescing Anaerobic Reporter and Protein-Tagging System for Clostridium Organisms Based on the Fluorescence-Activating and Absorption-Shifting Tag Protein (FAST)  University of Delaware