Promises and Pitfalls of Metal Imaging in Biology

29 March 2019

A picture may speak a thousand words, but if those words fail to form a coherent sentence there is little to be learned. As cutting-edge imaging technology now provides us the tools to decipher the multitude of roles played by metals and metalloids in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, as well as health and disease, it is time to reflect on the advances made in imaging, the limitations discovered, and the future of a burgeoning field. In this Perspective, the current state-of-the-art is discussed from a self-imposed contrarian position, as we not only highlight the major advances made of the years but use them as teachable moments to zoom in on challenges that remain to be overcome. We also describe the steps being taken towards being able to paint a completely undisturbed picture of cellular metal metabolism, which is, metaphorically speaking, the Holy Grail of the discipline.