Friday, May 31, 2013

Focus on: Events

The new CLARIOstar from BMG LABTECH features
an advance monochromator

BMG LABTECH representatives will be attending several conferences next week around the world.

On June 4th and 5th BMG will participate in Drug Metabolism Discussion Group at Dundee, UK:

On June 4-7 BMG can be found at booth D 48 during the FORUM LABO & BIOTECH 2013 in Porte de Versailles, Paris, France.

On June 5-7 BMG will be in Shanghai, China at the SLAS Asia Conference and Exhibition.

And finally on June 6th and 7th for ELA 2013 in Hamburg, Germany please visit BMG at Booth No. 16.

We at BMG are sure that we have the right microplate reader for you and hope that you will stop by and see  us if you are attending one of these events.

For more information on these and other events please visit the BMG LABTECH events page.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Applications Thursday: The RTQuIC assay at Prion 2013

RTQuIC data generated on the FLUOstar Omega
BMG LABTECH application note 232 describes the use of the FLUOstar Omega plate reader to perform the Real Time Quaking Induced Conversion (RTQuIC) Assay in order to measure prion levels in infected samples. This technique was first described in work done at Rocky Mountain Labs in Montana and based on what we saw at Prion 2013 it is being used extensively. Fifteen different posters specifically employed the RTQuIC assay and numerous oral presentations also showed data that employed this assay.

Of particular note was the work of Davin Henderson from Colorado State University. Davin is studying prions and their role in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is the disease state that is exhibited in cervids such as deer and moose. This seems to be a particularly transmissable prion based disease because of the fact the prions in CWD are peripheralized and may be passed to other cervids in the saliva or waste of the animals. As a result Davin is seeking a way to screen cervid populations so that infected individuals can be isolated. He was able to perform RTQuIC  on saliva from deer in which the prion proteins had been first precipitated with phosphotungstic acid.

We at BMG are glad that we can help in some small way by providing instruments like the FLUOstar Omega that make a test like RTQuIC possible. The shaking and temperature control capabilities that make the RTQuIC possible are available on all BMG LABTECH microplate readers, including the new CLARIOstar.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Prion 2013 update

Bovine prion protein residues 23-230
Lopez-Garcia, F., Zahn, R., Riek, R., Wuthrich, K. & RCSB

It has been a wonderful first couple of days in Banff, Canada. BMG LABTECH has been happy to serve as a sponsor for a conference where such fascinating data has been presented and lively debate have taken place.  We have been particularly pleased to meet with so many FLUOstar Omega users from around the world who are currently performing the RTQuIC assay as well as many more that we hope are future users of BMGLABTECH microplate readers.

With all the excellent posters and talks it is difficult to say something about each but one of the highlights was Stefanie Czub’s presentation entitled: ‘BSE: what else is new’. Stefanie presented some excellent video documentation of the degenerative effects of atypical forms of BSE that she is investigating at the University of Calgary. This launched a great discussion about when these atypical forms are present and the role of cattle breed in the observed effects.

Another extremely interesting presentation was given by Joel Watts a post-doctoral fellow in Stanley Prussiner's lab at UCSF. Most species have what is referred to as a species barrier; the inability to be affected by most of the disease causing prions (PrPsc) from a different species. One of the few known exceptions to this is the bank vole which can develop disease when challenged by most species PrPsc. They mutated mouse PrPsc to match that of bank vole PrPsc. Despite this involving only changing 8 amino acids this was sufficient to provide susceptibility to PrPsc from all species tested.

BMG LABTECH is very much looking forward to the remainder of the conference especially the presentation by Stanley Prussiner, Nobel laureate. Thank you all for such a great conference!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FAQ: Can the CLARIOstar perform emission scanning?

The CLARIOstar was introduced at EB 2013
The Advanced Mononchromator, which is only available on the CLARIOstar from BMG LABTECH, allows you the freedom to select any wavelength from 320 - 850 nm and adjust the bandwidth from 8-100 nm. These capabilities assist in the performance of emission scanning, which can be helpful in trouble-shooting the use of new fluorophores or luminescence protocols.

Furthermore, the filter-like performance of the Advanced Monochromator is characterized by high transmission and excellent blocking of stray light. This means that the CLARIOstars Advanced Monochromator provides the greatest sensitivity possible. The sensitivity using the Advanced Monochromator is superior to that reported for other monochromators and is even superior to many filter based instruments. As a result emission scanning can be performed at lower enzyme concentrations even in luminescence.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Focus on: Events

Next week BMG LABTECH will attend PRION 2013 in Banff, Alberta, Canada on May 26-29. The event which is the largest international prion congress is hosted the Alberta Prion Research Institute. Please come by the BMG LABTECH booth and we can talk about the real-time quaking induced conversion assay (RTQuIC) that can be used in your prion studies.

For more information on upcoming BMG LABTECH events please visit the Events page of our website.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Applications Thursday: High throughput screen for ribonuclease H2 small molecule inhibitors

Structure of RNase H (PDB id: 1JL1) generated
using PyMol with preset: pretty
Ribonuclease H2 (RNase H2) is an enzyme complex which specifically hydrolyzes RNA residues in RNA-DNA hybrids. RNase H2 substrates may include RNA primers that initiate lagging strand synthesis during DNA replication. Mutations of RNase H2 have been identified in genetic disorders and it is also a putative anti-cancer target. Therefore, a collaboration of UK scientists performed a screen of nearly 49,000 compounds, using the PHERAstar plate reader from BMG LABTECH, in the hopes of identifying RNase H2 inhibitors. Their results were published in  a recent issue of the Journal of Biomolecular Screening.

The key to the assay was designing fluorometric substrates in which a fluorescein labeled oligonucleotide was  annealed to a complementary dabcyl-labeled oligonucleotide which serves as a fluorescence quencher. Substrate degradation leads to release of a fluorescein labeled fragment and consequent increase in fluorescent signal. An RNase H2 selective substrate was designed and inhibitor specificity was confirmed using RNase A and DNase I with their similarly designed selective substrates.

This is just another example of how BMG LABTECH microplate readers are assisting in research around the world!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fun fact: Strain of pathogen responsible for Irish potato famine identified

An oospore of Phytophthora infestans - the causal
agent of potato late blight. Photo by Fk.
Using dried herbarium samples a team of scientists have identified HERB-1, a unique strain of Phytophthora infestans (more commonly: potato blight pathogen) which they believe is responsible for the havoc wreaked by the Irish potato famine. The international team made this conclusion based on the results of genomic sequencing experiments performed on potato leaf samples that came from Ireland, the UK, Europe and North America which had been preserved at the herbaria of the Botanical State Collection in Munich and the Kew Gardens in London. The DNA preservation was surprisingly excellent and the team could evaluate the genome of potato blight pathogen and its potato host in just a few weeks.

The paper entitled: 'The rise and fall of the Phytophthora infestans lineage that triggered the Irish potato famine' is available on eLIFE.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FAQ: Is the new CLARIOstar a monochromator or filter based microplate reader?

Actually the CLARIOstar uses both monochromators and filters.

The CLARIOstar has the ability to measure fluorescence intensity and luminescence assays using optical filters, Advanced Monochromators or both in combination and an inline optical system automatically switches between monochromator and filters in both excitation and emission. The Linear Variable Filter Monochromators provide flexibility in wavelength and bandwidth selection while the filters are more sensitive since they have a higher percentage of light transmission than the monochromator.

Excitation and emission spectra for Alexa Fluor 350 
Using a combination of filters for excitation and the monochromator for emission provides you with greater light transmission for excitation and with flexibility in emission wavelength and bandpass selection. Take the example of Alexa Fluor 350. For this you could select your 340 nm filter for excitation and then adjust the monochromator to the peak in emission (443 nm) and use a broad bandwidth of your choosing. In this way you would have intense excitation light AND collect data throughout the emission peak.

The CLARIOstar: ANY wavelength, ANY bandwidth, ANY assay.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Did you know: The CLARIOstar has continuously variable bandwidths from 8 to 100 nm!

Like other monochromators, the Advanced Linear Variable Filter Monochromators on the CLARIOstar create distinct excitation and emission peaks and bandwidths for fluorescence intensity assays. However, the highest possible bandwidth for conventional monochromators is 25 nm. Being able to choose bandwidths greater than 25 nm up to 100 nm gives users unrivaled flexibility when optimizing fluorescence assays.

Recommended filters for Texas Red. No monochromator,
besides the CLARIOstar, can reach these specifications

These continuously variable bandwidths also contribute to the greater sensitivity of the CLARIOstar. Compared to other monochromators, fluorescence intensity assays can be more than 10 times more sensitive on the CLARIOstar. This is a result of the continuously variable bandwidths, the stray light blocking of the Advanced Monochromator and the free-air optical light path to the detector.

True flexibility with absolute sensitivity, BMG LABTECH's Advanced Linear Variable Filter Monochromators are the next step in the evolution of monochromator technology.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Focus on: CLARIOstars integrated fluorophore library

The CLARIOstar from BMG LABTECH has an advanced monochromator based on linear variable filters. Using this technology, the user will be able to select any wavelength and any bandwidth, up to 100 nm, for both excitation and emission in their assay. The question then becomes: 'What wavelength and bandwidth are best for my assay?'

The integrated fluorophore library of the CLARIOstar has hundreds of
common dyes and their recommended excitation and emission settings
Within the CLARIOstar control software is an integrated fluorophore library. Using this, you can select the fluorescent dye that you are using and see the recommended wavelengths and bandwidths for that fluorophore. Bear in mind that these were generally defined based on filters, so the bandwidth employed may not be ideal. Rather, the best available within the limitations of available filters.

If you choose you can select these settings, or make adjustments and optimize performance. With the CLARIOstar you finally have the freedom to choose: ANY wavelength, ANY bandwidth, ANY assay.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Applications: Screening of recombinant CHO-M1 cells using the PHERAstar

Due to their influence on a number of cellular functions; G protein coupled receptors represent a major group of therapeutic targets. The main immediate effects of GPCR activation are changes in cAMP levels or calcium in the cell.

Dose response of carbachol with cells from a growing
culture (fresh cells) and from frozen cells
BMG LABTECH application note 193 describes the use of the Cisbio HTRF IP-One assay to perform a screening of CHO cells expressing the muscarinic receptor M1.The PHERAstar microplate reader from BMG was used to first assess the function of CHO-M1 clones. Subsequently the PHERAstar was used to assess if there was any difference in using cells that were growing in culture versus those that had been previously frozen. We found that the EC 50 for carbachol was very similar in both fresh and frozen cells. Furthermore, robust assay quality determinants; Z' factor and signal to blank ratio; were seen in fresh and frozen cells as well.

For more information on this and other BMG LABTECH applications please visit the Applications Center on our website:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fun fact: Scientists have identified a protein important for endurance trained muscles

 Longitudinal cryosection of quadriceps from 7 month
old mice stained with Rabbit 2 polyclonal antibody
to dystrophin. Nuclei are stained with hematoxylin (blue).
 Cropped from doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002604.g003
Exercise physiologists have long understood that strength training and endurance training result in muscles with very different capabilities. White muscle fibers are developed during strength training have a lower density of mitochondria and capillaries. They consume creatine phosphate to perform short-term anaerobic work that is capable of producing a high-level of power for a short amount of time. In contrast, red muscle fibers are developed during aerobic exercise, have a high density of mitochondria / capillaries and can consume tri-glycerides. They produce less power but can do so for extended periods of time. The classic examples of the two ends of the muscle type spectrum are the sprinter (white muscle) and the marathoner (red). Each has an abundance of the specialized muscle type that is best suited to their task.

In addition to consuming triglycerides, red muscle can also consume lactic acid. Lactic acid is produced during exercise, and its build up is associated with the fatigue we feel as a result of exercise. Scientists at the University of Basel have shown that a protein, PGC-1 a, exhibits increased expression in endurance trained muscle. 

To test the effects of PGC-1 a the scientists created mice that continuously expressed high levels of PGC-1 a. Endurance was monitored in mice for 1 hour on a treadmill. Mice that had previous endurance training were able to complete the tests without loss of performance and had low lactic acid levels while those without prior training had high lactic acid levels and were unable to complete test without loss of performance. Mice created that express PGC-1 a at high levels had low levels of lactic acid and were able to maintain performance until the end of training even though they not had previous endurance training.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FAQ: Will the CLARIOstar be able to perform fast kinetic assays?

Since the CLARIOstar can be equipped with up to two reagent injectors it will indeed be capable of injecting a reagent that initiates a reaction and quickly begin to monitor the progress of said reaction. These injectors are similar to the reagent injectors that have been available on other BMG LABTECH microplate readers for years.

Preliminary DLR data obtained using BMG's CLARIOstar

Indeed, preliminary results with the CLARIOstar have shown it is capable of performing Dual Luciferase Reporter assays. DLR assays are commonly used to assess regulation of gene expression and employ the successive activation of firefly and Renilla luciferase. Included in the reagents that activate Renilla is a reagent that stops the firefly reaction so that Renilla signal can be detected. The CLARIOstar with on-board injectors performed this assay admirably well.

For more information please visit our website:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Did you know: The CLARIOstar has a spectrometer

With the CLARIOstar’s spectrometer you never have to worry about setting the correct wavelengths for absorbance assays, or worry that you won’t have the data after the measurement. The spectrometer will capture full absorbance data at a resolution of 1 nm for all wavelengths from 220 to 1000 nm as it does in our PHERAstar FS and Omega Series microplate readers . Read times faster than one second per well are possible. For even faster results or to keep data collection to a minimum, you can also capture data for only one wavelength or up to eight different wavelengths per assay.

BMG LABTECH’s ultra-fast UV/Vis spectrometer incorporates a highly efficient optical grating and a solid state array detector that allows the measurement of light intensity throughout the ultraviolet and visible parts of the spectrum. Similar to a monochromator, but much faster, the spectrometer allows you to capture the entire UV/Vis spectrum of a sample at varying resolutions (1, 2, 5, or 10 nm).

For more information please visit our website:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Focus on events

Join us for a webinar on May 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT. 

An Integrated Instrument-Reagent Platform for Screening and Profiling Kinases and Methyltransferases

Register now! 
The PHERAstar line of microplate
readers are BMG's HTS instruments

During this webinar representatives from BMG LABTECH and BellBrook Labs will describe how combining BellBrook Labs assay technology and the detection capabilities of the PHERAstar Plus will allow you to rapidly begin screening of test compounds.

We hope that you will join us.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Applications Thursday: Monitoring transglutaminase activity with a fluorescence assay

Transglutaminases are group of enzymes that are especially important in protein cross-linking that is crucial for tissue homeostasis. Regulation of these enzymes appears to be necessary as human diseases have been linked to either the lack of or excessive cross-linking.

Structure of quenched substrate

In BMG LABTECH application note 234 entitled 'Real-time fluorescence assay for monitoring transglutaminase activity' we describe an assay which is amenable to high throughput analysis to screen for regulators and inhibitors of transglutaminase activity. The application exploits the fact that in the presence of excess cross-linked substrate transglutaminases catalyze isopeptide bond hydrolysis. A quenched fluorescent probe that mimics a crosslinked transglutaminase reaction product is used; such that when transglutaminase is active, hydrolysis of the isopeptide bond leads to release of the quencher and an increase in light emission, which can be detected in a BMG microplate reader. For this application note the FLUOstar OPTIMA and Omega were used.

For more information about BMG LABTECH and this and other applications please visit our website:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Join us for a webinar on May 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT.

Next Wednesday BMG LABTECH and BellBrook Labs will present a webinar entitled: ‘Integrated instrument-reagent platform for screening and profiling Kinases and Methyltransferases’
Register now!
The PHERAstar has prove perfomance in FP assays
In this webinar BMG LABTECH and BellBrook Labs will show you that Transcreener Assays allow you to perform detection of any kinase or methyltransfrease and how BMG’s PHERAstar Plus is ideally suited to detection of these assays. Furthermore you will see how the MARS data analysis software, available with all BMG LABTECH microplate readers will assist your subsequent data analysis.

     We hope you will be able to join us.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

FAQ: Will the CLARIOstar be able to perform cell based assays?

The Direct Optic Bottom Reading capabilities available on the
CLARIOstar outperform Fiber Optic options.

Since the CLARIOstar employs the same Direct Optic Bottom Reading capabilities that were introduced in the PHERAstar FS you will be able to perform any assay with either top or bottom reading. This is a truly direct, free air system and the automatic switching, which is controlled by the software, moves the appropriate mirrors into place to focus light onto the bottom of the plate.

To enhance detection, the CLARIOstar can also perform a z-height adjustment to assure that the region in the well where optimal signal is being produced is where you  are measuring. The adjustment is performed in 0.1 mm increments and scans the entire height of the well. This adjustment is especially useful when detecting a signal which is localized to adherent cells.

In short the CLARIOstar will be able to perform cell based assays by combining the proven capabilities of BMG LABTECH's HTS readers with the ability to use filters, monochromators or both.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Did you know: The CLARIOstar can be equipped with an AlphaScreen® Laser

Assay Principle of the AlphaScreen® SureFire® Phospho-ERK1/2 assay
Amplified Luminescent Proximity Homogeneous Assay (Alpha) technology represents a distinct approach to sensing proximity; which can be used to study protein-protein interactions. Unlike FRET or BRET, which use resonant energy transferred from a fluorescent or bioluminescent donor respectively, AlphaScreen® uses diffusion of singlet oxygen from donor to acceptor beads. When donor beads are excited at a wavelength of 680 nm; oxygen is converted to singlet oxygen. If the acceptor bead is in proximity; the singlet oxygen initiates a series of chemical reactions that produce a luminescent signal with a wavelength in the range of 520-620 nm. Since singlet oxygen has a short lifetime the donor and acceptor must be within 200 nm of one another. This technology has been employed in AlphaScreen® and AlphaLisa® applications that are based on the sandwich ELISA approach.

The AlphaScreen® laser that BMG LABTECH employs for excitation was first developed in the PHERAstar. Using a laser is helpful as an intense light source may be required to generate a signal. The same laser has now been implemented in the CLARIOstar. This should open the door to many life science labs to be able to work with this powerful technology.

The AlphaScreen® laser in the CLARIOstar is just another reason why with the CLARIOstar ANYthing is possible.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Focus on: The CLARIOstar® – New Microplate Reader with LVF Monochromators, Spectrometer, and Filters

The CLARIOstar’s Advanced LVF Monochromators
 can use any wavelength and any bandwidth
for excitation and emission. 

BMG LABTECH unveiled the new CLARIOstar at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston on April 22nd. The CLARIOstar is a high performance microplate reader with an Advanced LVF Monochromator. The Advanced LVF Monochromator employs linear variable filters (LVF) which allow users to select any wavelength and have continuously adjustable bandwidths from 8 to 100 nm for both excitation and emission. The ability to truly adjust bandwidths from a narrow to broad bandpass is a clear step forward compared to conventional monochromators with fixed bandwidths or limited range of adjustment. BMG LABTECH’s proprietary monochromator will allow you to optimize dyes that emit broadly, as well as dyes or fluorescent proteins that emit in the far red range of the spectrum. Moreover, the Advanced LVF Monochromators are sensitive enough to allow luminescence emission scanning at enzyme concentrations not before possible with conventional monochromators.

In addition to the Advanced LVF Monochromator technology, the CLARIOstar has other advance features that are common on BMG LABTECH microplate readers. These include: direct-optic bottom reading for fantastic cell-based assays; an ultra-fast spectrometer for fast, full spectrum UV/Vis absorbance measurements; a dedicated laser for AlphaScreen®/AlphaLISA® technology; AND fixed filters for the high sensitivity possible. Users can choose to perform fluorescence and luminescence with the monochromator, filters, OR a combination of both!

The CLARIOstar from BMG LABTECH: ANY wavelength, ANY bandwidth, ANY assay!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Applications Thursday: The RAST assay performed by the PHERAstar FS on CSI

Last nights episode of CSI: Las Vegas employed the PHERAstar FS to aid in the determination of a victims allergy to latex. This was accomplished using a RAST assay. RAST stands for radioallergosorbent test and uses radioactivity. This has been replaced by a similar test that does not use radioactivity; the fluorenzyme immunoassay or FEIA. In the episode at approximately 19:00 they run what appears to be a colorimetric assay that looks at a panel of potential allergens.

 Degranulation processes 1 - antigen; 2 - IgE antibody;
3 - FcεRI receptor; 4 - preformed mediators
(histamine, proteases, chemokines, heparine);
5 - granules; 6 - mast cell;7 - newly formed mediators
(prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, PAF)
FEIA measures allergen-specific IgE bound to standardized allergens. Results are reported semiquantitatively, with values correlating with the probability of clinical reactivity. Compared with another common allergy test, the skin prick test, FEIA is slightly less sensitive but may have a greater positive predictive value.

Since this procedure typically uses a solid phase to which antigens are bound; several washing and incubation steps are necessary before the final fluorescent signal can be detected. So, in addition to not being colorimetric, the type of mix and read assay depicted in the episode is not entirely accurate. However,this is an application that could certainly employ a PHERAstar FS to perform the final analysis!

We thank CSI: Las Vegas for considering our reader for use on their show. We at BMG LABTECH were happy to help!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fun fact: Tonight on CSI:PHERAstar microplate reader from BMG makes its television debut

See BMG LABTECH’s PHERAstar FS Tonight on CSI! 10:00 pm ET/PT on CBS

Tune in to CSI Las Vegas tonight, May 1 at 10:00 pm ET/PT to see BMG LABTECH’s flagship reader, the PHERAstar FS, featured in lab scenes.

The PHERAstar FS helps solve the crime
Our instrument is used fictitiously in the plot to perform a RAST assay. The RAST assay (radioallergosorbent test) uses a blood sample to test for allergies to various substances.  See our upcoming blog on the science behind and related to this application.

The PHERAstar FS is the ultimate multidetection microplate reader for HTS and assay development. It is easily integrated, compact, versatile, and its sensitivity is superlative.

After you finish watching CSI, visit for more information about the PHERAstar FS and all of our other superior microplate readers and accessories.