Insights on the NF-κB System Using Live Cell Imaging: Recent Developments and Future Perspectives

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The transcription factor family of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) proteins is widely recognized as a key player in inflammation and the immune responses, where it plays a fundamental role in translating external inflammatory cues into precise transcriptional programs, including the timely expression of a wide variety of cytokines/chemokines. Live cell imaging in single cells showed approximately 15 years ago that the canonical activation of NF-κB upon stimulus is very dynamic, including oscillations of its nuclear localization with a period close to 1.5 hours. This observation has triggered a fruitful interdisciplinary research line that has provided novel insights on the NF-κB system: how its heterogeneous response differs between cell types but also within homogeneous populations; how NF-κB dynamics translate external cues into intracellular signals and how NF-κB dynamics affects gene expression. Here we review the main features of this live cell imaging approach to the study of NF-κB, highlighting the key findings, the existing gaps of knowledge and hinting towards some of the potential future steps of this thriving research field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number886127
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 29 2022


  • biological oscillators
  • dynamics
  • immune response
  • inflammation
  • live cell imaging
  • NF-kappa B (NF-κB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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