The virus was used to deliver different components needed in the Uaas technology.
"Once you have a stem cell line stably incorporating Uaas, you can custom the Uaa to study stem cell biology," Wang said.
In the first set of experiments, the researchers found out that Uaas were successfully incorporated into neural stem cells, the incorporation lasted through the differentiation, and these cells then produced neurons carrying the fluorescent amino acid.
The second set of experiments was to demonstrate how these Uaas can be used to help solve a biological question.
Wang said this experiment, designed to demonstrate the power of Uaas in brain cells, can also be adapted to study other membrane proteins in other cells, no matter where they exist in the body.
"Current methods for Uaa incorporation are not appropriate for stem cells, because the added genes are often lost before the stem cell has a chance to finish differentiation," Wang said.