TempoATP™-Rapid: ATP Biosensor Assay, a fluorescent biosensor, was recently used in a study cited in nature.com. TempoATP™ offers fast kinetics (resolution is in seconds) in measuring real-time cellular ATP metabolism and cytotoxicity. In this study scientists from the University of Salford and University of Pisa investigated whether human genes regulating ATP production in the mitochondria are important for breast cancer and tumor metastasis. In investigating ATP fluctuations in the living cell, researchers noted that ATP depletion is a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction and triggers  cell death. Therefore, researchers explored the possibility that ATP depletion could be a solution to target aggressive cancer cells. Read on to learn more about this study’s conclusions and the usefulness of TempoATP™!

What did researchers find? 

Researchers hypothesized that higher ATP production by the mitochondrial ATP-synthase was a culprit of breast cancer tumor proliferation. They specifically investigated the gamma-subunit of ATP-synthase, known as ATP5F1C. To test their hypothesis that ATP production via the gamma-subunit of ATP5F1C is important, they deployed Bedaquiline, an FDA-approved drug that targets the gamma-subunit of ATP synthase. They demonstrated that the downregulation of ATP5F1C prevented characteristic tumor metastasis and that Bedaquiline has the potential to be a breast cancer therapeutic.  

Why are these results significant?

These results are significant. The data suggests that genes related to ATP production are associated with tumor proliferation and metastasis. As a result of this paper, the gamma subunit is now a new therapeutic target for researchers to investigate.

Where Does TempoATP™ fit in? Why is this relevant?

An essential part of the researchers’ hypothesis was proving that cell proliferation was tied to ongoing ATP production in the living cell. To do so, researchers utilized a custom-engineered MCF7 breast cell line with TempoATP™ biosensor. TempoATP-MCF7 was used to measure cytosolic ATP turnover and cytotoxicity in real-time in LIVE cells. With real-time imaging, researchers visualized that cells with high ATP levels were hyper-proliferative, which may lead to metastasis and recurrence. 

These results demonstrated that TempoATP™-Rapid: ATP Biosensor Assay is an important tool for investigating ATP fluctuations in a living cell.  Their study also showed that TempoATP™ is an alternative to the famous Cell-Titer-Glo technology from Promega. Rather than requiring cell lysing to measure ATP (Promega), TempoATP™ allows scientists to have real-time measurements of intracellular activities. 

What’s your favorite cell type? Do you have more questions? Email us and give TempoATP™ a shot!

Allison Kennedy

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