Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Researchers aim to harness sperm power for nano-robots

A mouse sperm. The long tail gets the energy it needs to swim from both mitochondria in the midpiece and glycolysis in the principal piece. Cornell scientists have borrowed a strategy from the sperm's principal piece in attempts to generate energy for nanodevices.
A mouse sperm. The long tail gets the energy it needs to swim from both mitochondria in the midpiece and glycolysis in the principal piece. Cornell scientists have borrowed a strategy from the sperm's principal piece in attempts to generate energy for nanodevices.

Abstract:
Researchers at Cornell are working to use the same energy that drives sperm to power nanoscale robots or to deliver chemo drugs or antibiotics, for example, to targeted sites within the body. The findings were presented at the American Society for Cell Biology's 47th annual meeting, Dec. 3, in Washington, D.C.

Researchers aim to harness sperm power for nano-robots

ITHACA, NY | Posted on December 3rd, 2007

By breaking down the individual steps in the biological pathway that sperm use to generate energy, the researchers plan to reproduce that pathway for use in a human-made device.

"Our idea is not the final product but rather an energy-delivery system," said Alex Travis, Cornell assistant professor of reproductive biology at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Baker Institute for Animal Health and the study's senior author.

"As a proof of principle that this kind of strategy could work, we've shown that the first two enzymes could be attached to the same chip and act in series," added Chinatsu Mukai, a postdoctoral associate in Travis' lab and a co-author.

A midsection between the head and the long tail of sperm contains mitochondria, organelles that generate a cell's power. But sperm have also developed a second energy source to power their long tail. They employ a process known as glycolysis, which breaks down glucose to derive ATP, which cells use for energy.

The pathway for glycolysis requires 10 enzymes. Using special "targeting domains," sperm tether these to a fibrous sheath that runs the length of the tail. In this study, the researchers are trying to re-create this glycolytic pathway by modifying each protein's targeting domain so that they can instead bind to nickel ions on a manufactured chip.

So far, they have successfully attached three of the 10 enzymes required to make ATP from glucose, and each has remained functional. If they manage to attach all 10 enzymes, each enzyme will in principle act in a series to ultimately generate ATP to power a nano-device. In the body, such a device could conceivably use readily available blood glucose as fuel.

Potential uses include delivery systems loaded with chemo drugs or antibiotics to target specific cells. Such a system would allow doctors to provide steady doses while reducing side effects that result from treating the entire body with a drug.

Travis' group is trying to get funding to complete attaching the rest of the enzymes in the glycolysis pathway. "We have a provisional patent, so if a company shows interest, we could also work something out with them," said Travis.

Since the researchers only plan to re-create the biological pathway used by sperm to create energy, it will require input from bioengineers and different physicians and veterinarians to develop viable delivery systems and other innovative uses, Travis stressed.

The study was funded by a grant from the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (also known as NYSTAR), through the Center for Advanced Technology at Cornell.

####

About Cornell University
The strategic plan for research at Cornell can be summed up simply: Be the best at what we undertake to do. The research enterprise supports university research priorities: the New Life Sciences; cross-college collaborations; and enabling research areas--computing and information sciences, genomics, advanced materials, and nanoscience. We build on our strengths when creating programs, recruiting faculty, purchasing equipment, and supporting interdisciplinary programs. Cornell research is committed to knowledge transfer and engages in technology transfer and economic development activities that benefit local, regional, national, and international constituents.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Cornell Chronicle:
Krishna Ramanujan
(607) 255-3290


Media Contact:
Press Relations Office
(607) 255-6074

Copyright © Cornell 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

Molecular Machines

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

Pushing a single-molecule switch: An international team of researchers from Donostia International Physics Center, Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, University of Liverpool, and the Polish Academy of Sciences has shown a new way to operate a single-molecule switch July 19th, 2016

Researchers harness DNA as the engine of super-efficient nanomachine: New platform detects traces of everything from bacteria to viruses, cocaine and metals July 10th, 2016

On the path toward molecular robots: Scientists at Japan's Hokkaido University have developed light-powered molecular motors that repetitively bend and unbend, bringing us closer to molecular robots. July 8th, 2016

Discoveries

Attosecond physics: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms July 25th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

Announcements

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

XEI Scientific Partners with Electron Microscopy Sciences to Promote and Sell its Products in North and South America July 25th, 2016

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Research team led by NUS scientists develop plastic flexible magnetic memory device: Novel technique to implant high-performance magnetic memory chip on a flexible plastic surface without compromising performance July 21st, 2016

New nanoscale technologies could revolutionize microscopes, study of disease July 20th, 2016

Keystone Nano selected as a top scoring company by NCI investor review panel July 19th, 2016

Events/Classes

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events July 20th, 2016

n-tech Research Announces August 3, 2016 Date for Smart Coatings Webinar July 18th, 2016

Instrumented Indentation Expert Addresses Trends with Industry Leaders: Leading nanoindentation expert hosts webinar discussing theory and practice of instrumented indentation July 14th, 2016

SUNY Poly Celebrates Its 10th Year Exhibiting at SEMICON West with Cutting Edge Developments in Integrated Photonics and Power Electronics July 8th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic