Intravital direct visualization of hypoxia using a genetically encoded optical sensor

Hypoxia is also a driving force for the blood vessel growth in and metastasis of tumor tissue. In an actively growing tumor (marked by a red fluorescent protein) areas more distant to major blood vessels (shown in turquois) become hypoxic, which is indicated by green fluorescent cells.
© Raghu Erapaneedi & Friedemann Kiefer

Principal investigators: Friedemann KieferMichael Schäfers
Project time: 07/2015 - 10/2017
Project code: FF-2015-04

Hypoxia, which describes the insufficient supply of tissues with oxygen, may be caused as an acute process through the occlusion of a vessel during an infarction or as a chronic process through impaired blood flow caused by narrowing of the vessel lumen. Furthermore limited hypoxia has been proposed to be indispensable for development and function of certain organs. Technically it is virtually impossible to determine the oxygen pressure at the level of individual cells. Therefore, we have started to develop genetically encoded, protein-based systems that indicate hypoxia through fluorescence. For the first time this allows  the analysis of hypoxia under physiological and pathological conditions by using light microscopy, even more to visualize hypoxia in living cells.

  • News 03.02.2016: If cells run out of oxygen, they start to shine green – Scientists from Münster developed a new method to indicate acute lack of oxygen in cells