Multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS) is a new and generally applicable method for the study of DNA replication, lipid and protein turnover and cell fate in animals and humans. In a proof-of-principle study, MIMS was used to test the 'immortal strand hypothesis', which proposes that stem cells maintain a master genetic template that is protected from cancer-causing mutations. The hypothesis remains hotly debated, in part because of the difficulties involved in testing it experimentally. Stable isotope incorporation was viewed and measured by MIMS in mammalian intestinal cell division, Drosophila melanogaster lipid metabolism and human lymphopoiesis.
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