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BioInteractive

Free Resources for Science Education

 
Animation
Cellular Screening

More About Cell Screen Background

Advances in robotics and automation makes massive screening endeavors possible. The 384-well plate mentioned in the animation is standard laboratory equipment. In the video clip “Diversity Oriented Synthesis,” you can see many different types of automated equipment that handle transferring liquid to these plates, as well as to move and stack them automatically.

Rapamycin is an immunosuppressive drug that has the side effect of causing Type II diabetes. More details of this condition can be seen in the animation "Rapamycin"

Using Treated Cells to Screen for Small Molecules

One technique for screening small molecules is to apply small molecules to cells in a culture to see what happens to the cell. In essence, you are perturbing the proteins in their natural environment, the cell.

In this example, the objective is to screen small molecules for ones that interact with the glucose sensing protein network. Each well in the 384-well plate contains a small number of cells. The cells have been put into a “diabetic-like” state through the use of the small molecule rapamycin. Careful observation reveals that cells in this diabetic-like state look unhealthy (shown in pink). Each well receives a different small molecule from an automatic dispenser (represented by geometric shapes showering into the wells). Many of these small molecules have no effect on the cells, but one turns the cells from their diabetic-like state into a healthy state (shown in green). SMIR (small molecule inhibitor of rapamycin) was discovered this way.

Cell Screen Background

Advances in robotics and automation makes massive screening endeavors possible. The 384-well plate mentioned in the animation is standard laboratory equipment. In the video clip “Diversity Oriented Synthesis,” you can see many different types of automated equipment that handle transferring liquid to these plates, as well as to move and stack them automatically.

Rapamycin is an immunosuppressive drug that has the side effect of causing Type II diabetes. More details of this condition can be seen in the animation

Resources

HHMI's 2002 Holiday Lectures on Science "Scanning Life's Matrix: Genes, Proteins and Small Molecules"

Cell Screen Teaching Tips

The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. Use the tips below to get started but look for more specific teaching tips in the near future. Please tell us how you are using the animations in your classroom by sending e-mail to biointeractive@hhmi.org.

  1. Use the animations to make abstract scientific ideas visible and concrete.

  2. Explain important scientific principles through the animations. For example, the biological clocks animations can be used to demonstrate the fundamentals of transcription and translation.

  3. Make sure that students learn the material by repeating sections of the animations as often as you think necessary to reinforce underlying scientific principles. You can start, restart, and play back sections of the animations.

  4. Urge students to use the animations in accordance with their own learning styles. Students who are more visually oriented can watch the animations first and read the text later, while others might prefer to read the explanations first and then view the graphics.

  5. Incorporate the animations into Web-based learning modules that you create to supplement your classroom curricula.

  6. Encourage students to incorporate the animations into their own Web-based projects.


Cell Screen Credits

Director: Dennis Liu, Ph.D.

Scientific Direction: Stuart L. Schreiber, Ph.D.

Scientific Content: Satoshi Amagai, Ph.D.

Animator: Eric Keller

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