Scientists Observe Live Human Cells Communicating For the First Time

Cellular Vesicle Action

The top images represent the signals sent to the computer by the vesicle (L) and the receptor cell (R). The middle picture is a computer composite of the two showing the cell accepting a vesicle. Well, that, or a rejected Pink Floyd album cover.University of Copenhagen, via Science Daily

The basis of a human body's cells' ability to communicate with one another is the vesicle. That little ball packed with biological material is the medium through which all of our billions of cells coordinate with each other to keep our conscious stable and our bodies responsive. However, despite that importance, high resolution live imagery of cell and vesicle interaction has remained elusive.

Now, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded producing the first hi-res live recording of the interaction. In the nearer term, this development could greatly assist the study of diseases, like schizophrenia and Huntington's, that result from vesicle-cell interaction failure.

To record the union of cell and vesicle, the researchers created vesicles and cell membranes with half of a fluorescent compound. When the two fused together, the fluorescent compound became complete, emitting light. Sensors detected the light, and a computer analyzed the qualities of the light to determine the shape of the vesicle during fusion.

Currently, the technology only works in the lab. However, the same process applied in a living, working organism would let sensors move beyond the crude measurement of electrical signals and record the the brain and body own, biochemical, language in real time hi-res. Something tells me the Singularity folks are going to be pretty happy about that.