secreTRAP: a system for monitoring and quantifying protein secretion from single cells

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Current research methods for measuring protein release rely on quantifying bulk levels in serum and lack the ability to determine temporal and cell-specific release patterns. Oregon Health & Science University researchers have developed a novel technique to allow for visualization and quantification of protein and peptide release in real-time for in vitro and ex vivo applications. 


Technology Overview

Accurately measuring protein or peptide release can be difficult due to the pulsatile release patterns of many endocrine hormones and low concentrations of many hormones in serum and neuropeptides in cerebral spinal fluid. The laboratory of Carsten Schultz has developed a novel way for measuring small quantities of protein and peptide release in real-time, increasing the ability to study the regulation of protein release. This technique utilizes a dimerization system to trap secreted proteins or peptides of interest to the external cell membrane, where protein accumulation can then be quantitated. Importantly, dimerization at the cell membrane can be cleared with an optogenetic switch, returning an optical signal to baseline and allowing for multiple experiments in the same preparation.  This research tool has broad applicability and can be modified for use with any protein or neuropeptide of interest.  In the latter field, this tool could be utilized to determine neuropeptide release not only from individual cells, but also potentially from individual synapses, allowing for more precise tracking of intra-neuronal signaling events.  Given microscopic probes and optogenetic systems are already utilized in awake free-moving rodent experiments, it is possible this technique could also be deployed in vivo to track peptide secretion.  Once fully established, the technique would allow for a breadth of new experimental paradigms, where the quantitation of stimuli-evoked protein and peptide secretion could be studied at a single-cell level as well as in an awake animal model with real-time temporal resolution.


Licensing Opportunity

Available for licensing.



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For Information, Contact:
Lisa Lukaesko
Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
Julia Huey
Carsten Schultz
Research Tools
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