Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells

Fluorescent, glowing polymer dot nanoparticles in solution, illuminated with a UV lamp.

Credit: Jason McNeill, Clemson University
Fluorescent, glowing polymer dot nanoparticles in solution, illuminated with a UV lamp.

Credit: Jason McNeill, Clemson University

Abstract:
Findings presented at American Chemical Society Meeting

Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells

CLEMSON, SC | Posted on August 20th, 2007

Clemson University chemists have developed a method to dramatically improve the longevity of fluorescent nanoparticles that may someday help researchers track the motion of a single molecule as it travels through a living cell.

The chemists are exploiting a process called "resonance energy transfer," which occurs when fluorescent dye molecules are added to the nanoparticles. Their findings will be reported at the 234th annual national American Chemical Society meeting Aug.19-24 in Boston.

If scientists could track the motion of a single molecule within a living cell it could reveal a world of information. Among other things, scientists could determine how viruses invade a cell or how proteins operate in the body. Such technology also could help doctors pinpoint the exact location of cancer cells in order to better focus treatment and minimize damage to healthy tissue. Outside the body, the technology could help speed up detection of such toxins as anthrax.

The key to developing single-molecule tracking technology may be the development of better fluorescent nanoparticles.

Fluorescent nanoparticles are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair and are similar in size to protein molecules, to which they can be attached. When illuminated by a laser beam inside a light microscope equipped with a sensitive digital camera, the nanoparticle attached to a protein will light up, allowing scientists to get a precise fix on the position of the protein and monitor its motion inside a cell.

Until now, nanoparticles have been too dim to detect inside cells, but Clemson chemists have developed a novel type of nanoparticles containing materials called conjugated polymers that light up and stay lit long enough for scientists to string together thousands of images, as in a movie.

Conjugated polymers share many properties with semiconductors like silicon but have the flexibility of plastic. While initial efforts at preparing nanoparticles out of conjugated polymers resulted in particles that were very bright, their brightness quickly faded under the bright glare of a laser beam.

"When a conjugated polymer is in a high energy state, it is vulnerable to attack by oxygen," says principal investigator and chemist Jason McNeill. "The dye efficiently removes the energy from the molecule and re-emits the energy as light, which greatly improves the brightness and longevity of the nanoparticles."

McNeill says other possible targets of investigation include the formation of plaques and fibrils in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease and mad cow disease. Graduate students Changfeng Wu, Craig Szymanski, Jennifer Grimland and Yueli Zheng contributed to the study, which the National Science Foundation funded.

Clemson University chemists are presenting 40 papers on a wide range of subjects at the society meeting. Other topics include detection and quantification of uranium in groundwater, conversion of lipid feedstocks such as poultry fat to biodiesel and a new mechanism for antioxidants that fight DNA damage.

####

About Clemson University
The Clemson University department of chemistry offers undergraduate and graduate programs. With a tenure/tenure-track faculty of 24, research activities include projects in the traditional sub-disciplines of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry as well as in a broad range of interdisciplinary and nontraditional areas: polymer and materials chemistry, solid-state chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, bio-organic and medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, chemical physics, chemical education and other areas.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Susan Polowczuk

864-656-2063

Copyright © Clemson University

If you have a comment, please Contact 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 News Press

Nanomedicine

Leti to Demo Wristband with Embedded Sensors to Diagnose Sleep Apnea: APNEAband, Which Will Be Demonstrated at CES 2018, Also Monitors Mountain Sickness, Dehydration, Dialysis Treatment Response and Epileptic Seizures December 12th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data Demonstrating a Sustained Host Response in Hepatitis B Patients Following RNAi Therapy — Up to 5.0 log10 reduction in HBsAg observed; data presented at HEP DART 2017 — December 6th, 2017

Copper will replace toxic palladium and expensive platinum in the synthesis of medications: The effectiveness of copper nanoparticles as a catalyst has been proven December 5th, 2017

Discoveries

UCLA chemists synthesize narrow ribbons of graphene using only light and heat: Tiny structures could be next-generation solution for smaller electronic devices December 8th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

Device makes power conversion more efficient: New design could dramatically cut energy waste in electric vehicles, data centers, and the power grid December 8th, 2017

Wheat gets boost from purified nanotubes: Rice University toxicity study shows plant growth enhanced by -- but only by -- purified nanotubes December 6th, 2017

Announcements

Leti to Demo Wristband with Embedded Sensors to Diagnose Sleep Apnea: APNEAband, Which Will Be Demonstrated at CES 2018, Also Monitors Mountain Sickness, Dehydration, Dialysis Treatment Response and Epileptic Seizures December 12th, 2017

Leti Develops World’s First Micro-Coolers for CERN Particle Detectors: Leti Design, Fabrication and Packaging Expertise Extends to Very Large Scientific Instruments December 11th, 2017

Untangling DNA: Researchers filter the entropy out of nanopore measurements December 8th, 2017

Device makes power conversion more efficient: New design could dramatically cut energy waste in electric vehicles, data centers, and the power grid December 8th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Presents New Clinical Data Demonstrating a Sustained Host Response in Hepatitis B Patients Following RNAi Therapy — Up to 5.0 log10 reduction in HBsAg observed; data presented at HEP DART 2017 — December 6th, 2017

Going swimmingly: Biotemplates breakthrough paves way for cheaper nanobots: By using bacterial flagella as a template for silica, researchers have demonstrated an easier way to make propulsion systems for nanoscale swimming robots November 30th, 2017

Drug-delivering nanoparticles seek and destroy elusive cancer stem cells November 28th, 2017

Graphene oxide making any material suitable to create biosensors: Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University have developed a new tool for biomedical research focused on single-cell investigation November 27th, 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