Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > MIT researchers tug at molecules with optical tweezers

The strength of actin binding protein interactions cross-linking a surface bound and bead tethered actin filament are probed using force from an optical trap. Filamin in green which forms networks of actin filaments shown as a confocal image on the right and alpha-actinin in blue which bundles actin filaments, shown as an image on the left, were probed using this assay configuration. Image courtesy / Hyungsuk Lee, Jorge M. Ferrer, and Matthew J. Lang
The strength of actin binding protein interactions cross-linking a surface bound and bead tethered actin filament are probed using force from an optical trap. Filamin in green which forms networks of actin filaments shown as a confocal image on the right and alpha-actinin in blue which bundles actin filaments, shown as an image on the left, were probed using this assay configuration. Image courtesy / Hyungsuk Lee, Jorge M. Ferrer, and Matthew J. Lang

Abstract:
Using a light touch to measure protein bonds

MIT researchers tug at molecules with optical tweezers

Cambridge, MA | Posted on July 2nd, 2008

MIT researchers have developed a novel technique to measure the strength of the bonds between two protein molecules important in cell machinery: Gently tugging them apart with light beams.

"It's really giving us a molecular-level picture of what's going on," said Matthew Lang, an assistant professor of biological and mechanical engineering and senior author of a paper on the work appearing in the June 30 advanced online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Last fall, Lang and others demonstrated that light beams could be used to pick up and move individual cells around the surface of a microchip.

Now they have applied the optical tweezers to measuring protein microarchitectures, allowing them to study the forces that give cells their structure and the ability to move.

The researchers focused on proteins that bind to actin filaments, an important component of the cytoskeleton. Depending on the arrangement and interaction of actin filaments, they can provide structural support, help the cell crawl across a surface or sustain a load (in muscle cells).

"We're trying to understand how nature engineered these molecular linkages to use in different ways," said Lang.

Actin filaments are most commonly found either bonded or crosslinked by a much smaller actin binding protein.

The researchers studied the interactions between the proteins by pinning one actin filament to a surface and controlling the motion of the second one with a beam of light. As the researchers tug on a bead attached to the second filament, the bond mediated by the actin-binding protein eventually breaks.

With this technique, the researchers can get a precise measurement of the force holding the proteins together, which is on the order of piconewtons (10^-12 newtons).

The same technique could be used to investigate many of the other hundreds of protein interactions that occur in the cytoskeleton, said Lang.

Lead author of the paper is Jorge Ferrer, a recent PhD recipient in biological engineering. Other MIT authors of the paper are Hyungsuk Lee and Benjamin Pelz, graduate students in mechanical engineering; and Roger Kamm, the Germeshausen Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering.

Jiong Chen of Stony Brook University and Fumihiko Nakamura of Harvard Medical School are also authors of the paper.

The research was funded by the Nicholas Hobson Wheeles Jr. Fellowship, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Westaway Research Fund.

####

About MIT
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Teresa Herbert
MIT News Office
Phone: 617-258-5403
E-mail:

Copyright © MIT

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

News and information

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Present at 2015 Barclays Global Healthcare Conference March 4th, 2015

Discoveries

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices March 4th, 2015

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

Announcements

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires: New model and experiments settle debate over metallic-like conductivity of microbial nanowires in bacterium March 4th, 2015

Magnetic vortices in nanodisks reveal information: Researchers from Dresden and Jülich use microwaves to read out information from smallest storage devices March 4th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

Arrowhead to Present at 2015 Barclays Global Healthcare Conference March 4th, 2015

Tools

Keysight Technologies Shifts to Direct Sales of High-Performance Products in North America March 3rd, 2015

Forbidden quantum leaps possible with high-res spectroscopy March 2nd, 2015

International research partnership tricks the light fantastic March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Black phosphorus is new 'wonder material' for improving optical communication March 3rd, 2015

Breakthrough in OLED technology March 2nd, 2015

International research partnership tricks the light fantastic March 2nd, 2015

Imec Demonstrates Compact Wavelength-Division Multiplexing CMOS Silicon Photonics Transceiver March 1st, 2015

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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE