Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UCSB researchers discover living nanoscale 'necklace'

Abstract:
Researchers in physics and biology have made a discovery that could be instrumental in the production of miniaturized materials with many applications.

UC Santa Barbara researchers discover living nanoscale 'necklace'

Santa Barbara, CA – November 08, 2004

In an interdisciplinary endeavor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a team of researchers in physics and biology have made a discovery at the nanoscale level that could be instrumental in the production of miniaturized materials with many applications. Dubbed a "living necklace," the finding was completely unexpected.

This discovery could influence the development of vehicles for chemical, drug, and gene delivery, enzyme encapsulation systems and biosensors, circuitry components, as well as templates for nanosized wires and optical materials. The findings are reported in the November 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and published online the week of November 8.

The collaborating labs are those of Cyrus Safinya, professor of materials and physics and faculty member of the Biomolecular Science & Engineering Program, and Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. The first author of the paper is Safinya's graduate student Daniel Needleman. Postdoctoral researchers Uri Raviv and Miguel Ojeda-Lopez from Safinya's group and Herbert Miller, a researcher in Wilson's group, completed the team.

UCSB - Schematics of higher-order assembly of nanometer-scale microtubules.
Schematics of higher-order assembly of nanometer-scale microtubules. Courtesy and Copyright © UCSB. Click to emlarge.

The scientists studied microtubules from the brain tissue of a cow to understand the mechanisms leading to their assembly and shape. Microtubules are nanometer-scale hollow cylinders derived from cell cytoskeleton. In an organism, microtubules and their assembled structures are critical components in a broad range of cell functions -- from providing tracks for the transport of cargo to forming the spindle structure in cell division. Their functions include the transport of neurotransmitters in neurons. The mechanism of their assembly within an organism has been poorly understood.

In the paper, the researchers report the discovery of a new type of higher order assembly of microtubules. Positively-charged large, linear molecules (tri-, tetra- and penta-valent cations) resulted in a tightly bundled hexagonal grouping of microtubules – a result that was predicted. But unexpectedly, the scientists found that small, spherical divalent cations caused the microtubules to assemble into a "necklace." They discovered distinct linear, branched and loop shaped necklaces.

Safinya and Needleman commented that from a formal theoretical physics perspective, the living necklace phase is the first experimental realization of a new type of membrane where the long microtubule molecules are oriented in the same direction but can diffuse within the living membrane.

They explained that the living necklace bundle is highly dynamic and that thermal fluctuations will cause it to change shape.

The scientists envision applications based on both the tight bundle and living necklace phases. For example, metallization of necklace bundles with different sizes and shapes would yield nanomaterials with controlled optical properties.

A more original application is in the area of using the assemblies – encased by a lipid bilayer – as drug or gene carriers where each nanotube may contain a distinct chemical, as noted by the team. In delivery applications the shape of the bundle determines its property. For example, the linear necklace phase with its higher surface to volume ratio would have a larger contact area and a faster delivery rate compared to the tight bundle phase.

The work was performed using state-of-the-art synchrotron x-ray scattering techniques at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory combined with sophisticated electron and optical microscopy at UCSB.


Cyrus Safinya can be reached by e-mail at safinya@mrl.ucsb.edu

Daniel Needleman can be reached at 805-893-7922 or by e-mail at needle@mrl.ucsb.edu

Contact:

Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220

Copyright © UCSB

If you have a comment, please us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Related News Press

Possible Futures

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Molecular Machines

First 3-D observation of nanomachines working inside cells: Researchers headed by IRB Barcelona combine genetic engineering, super-resolution microscopy and biocomputation to allow them to see in 3-D the protein machinery inside living cells January 27th, 2017

Micro-bubbles make big impact: Research team develops new ultrasound-powered actuator to develop micro robot November 25th, 2016

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future: Researchers from Russia and Ukraine propose a nanosized motor controlled by a laser with potential applications across the natural sciences and medicine November 11th, 2016

HKU chemists develop world's first light-seeking synthetic Nanorobot November 9th, 2016

Nanomedicine

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Sensors

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Nanoelectronics

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Demonstrates 2.5D High-Bandwidth Memory Solution for Data Center, Networking, and Cloud Applications: Solution leverages 2.5D packaging with low-latency, high-bandwidth memory PHY built on FX-14™ ASIC design system August 9th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Silicon Mobility Deliver the Industry’s First Automotive FPCU to Boost Performance for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Silicon Mobility and GF’s 55nm LPx -enabled platform, with SST’s highly-reliable SuperFlash® memory technology, boosts automotive performance, ene August 3rd, 2017

Scientists discover new magnet with nearly massless charge carriers July 29th, 2017

Atomic discovery opens door to greener, faster, smaller electronic circuitry: Scientists find way to correct communication pathways in silicon chips, making them perfect July 27th, 2017

Discoveries

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

Announcements

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

A Tougher Tooth: A new dental restoration composite developed by UCSB scientists proves more durable than the conventional material August 22nd, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project