Investigating metal homeostasis in mammalian cells using high resolution imaging techniques
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The primary aim of the work presented in this thesis is to elucidate novel information regarding the uptake, storage, distributions, and functions of both copper and zinc in mammalian cells by predominantly using a combination of the high resolution imaging modalities, synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence microscopy (SXRF) and standard fluorescence imaging. Results from studies using cell permeable, metal ion selective fluorescent probes suggested the presence of labile pools of copper and zinc localized within the mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. Furthermore, SXRF imaging of a cell line defective in the copper transporter, Atox1, revealed intriguing differences in the Cu distribution of Atox1-/- cells compared to the corresponding wild-type cells. Finally, spatially well-resolved SXRF elemental maps of single, adherent mouse cells revealed remarkable changes in the distributions of both zinc and copper as the cells progressed through the cell cycle. Taken together, findings suggested major roles for copper and zinc within a native biological setting.