A model organism is a non-human species that can be studied to understand particular biological phenomena. Some common examples of model organisms are the microscopic nematode C. elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the mouse. They serve as good substitutes when it isn’t possible or practical to study humans directly.
Lessons in this Module:
Protein interactions reveal a lot about how proteins and cells function under different conditions. One tool that allows us to look at direct protein interactions is called a pull-down assay. A pull down assay utilizes a bait protein bound to beads in a column to catch protein binding partners. This technique can be used to verify a predicted protein interaction via Western blot or identify novel protein interactions using a total protein stain.
Flow cytometry is a technique that lets us analyze both populations of cells as well as characteristics of individual cells. During this process, antibody-tagged cells are passed through the laser of a flow cytometer to measure the fluorescence from the antibody tag as well as other characteristics of the cells. Learn how scientists can use this kind of analysis to compare the cells from different people.
The Western blot protocol provides scientists with a means of comparing relative protein levels in different samples. Proteins are differentiated by size on an acrylamide gel and visualized on a membrane with antibodies. Learn more about how this protocol allows us to determine what proteins are present in a cell and under what conditions.
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an important component of the Renin-Angiotensin System which controls blood pressure but is now gaining recognition in the fields of virology and epidemiology for the role it plays in SARS-CoV-2 infection. By understanding the function of ACE2, we can better understand the role it may play in the seemingly unconnected symptoms of COVID-19.