Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Rare Earth Elements Excite Protein Probes

Abstract:
Seeing what's going on inside living cells at the molecular level may reveal biological mechanisms and ultimately lead to more effective medicines. While sophisticated microscopes allow scientists to take pictures of a single molecule, capturing images of single molecules in a living cell has been particularly challenging. The molecules must be "tagged" to made visible under the microscope.

Rare Earth Elements Excite Protein Probes

Chicago, IL | Posted on August 26th, 2008

Lawrence Miller, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, hopes to meet that challenge with the help of a four-year, $1.16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

"Over the past 10 years, there's been a revolution of sorts in studying protein function in living systems using microscopy to follow dynamic movements and localizations of particular protein molecules," said Miller.

To image a protein, it must be tagged with what is called a reporter -- another protein or even a small organic molecule with special optical properties, such as fluorescence. When fluorescent reporters are illuminated with light of a particular color, they give off a different color light. Fluorescence makes it possible to distinguish reporter-tagged proteins from untagged proteins in the cell.

Common fluorescent reporter molecules make it easy to see multiple copies of a tagged protein in a cell. However, it is difficult to observe a single copy because of other fluorescent molecules in cells. Light from these other fluorescent molecules generates background noise that can obscure the reporter-tagged protein of interest.

But there are ways to distinguish reporter molecules from background fluorescence. All fluorescent molecules have a characteristic lifetime. When a short pulse of light is shined on a molecule, there is a brief delay before fluorescence. The background fluorescence in cells has a lifetime measured in nanoseconds -- billionths of a second.

Miller's lab will build a time-resolved microscope using sophisticated high-shutter-speed cameras to track proteins tagged with a different kind of reporter. The new probes will use lanthanides, the so-called rare-earth elements of the periodic table.

Europium and terbium are particularly promising, Miller said. Their fluorescence is different and more detectable than the commonly used tags.

"They give off multiple colors -- and what's particularly useful, technologically, is that it takes a longer time between when they're excited with a light pulse and the time they fluoresce," he said.

While the whole process happens in a fraction of a second, the lag helps distinguish lanthanide-tagged molecules after the glow of interfering cell fluorescence has faded.

"One purpose of our studies is to demonstrate that we can detect lanthanide reporter-tagged proteins at the single-molecule limit in living cells," said Miller. "That's never been done before."

Lanthanides can also be chemically incorporated into small molecules. Miller's lab aims to synthesize lanthanide reporters that can penetrate cell membranes and bind to proteins of interest with relative ease -- similar to the way drug molecules bind to their targets in cells.

"These tags are like 'smart bombs,'" said Miller. "You add them to cell cultures and they go into cells, find the protein you want to study, and bind with high affinity. It's a straightforward way to selectively label a protein and makes it detectable."

Miller hopes his research will give scientists a better tool to probe protein function within living cells.

Michael Sheetz, professor and chair of biological sciences at Columbia University, will collaborate with Miller by assessing the effects of lanthanide tags and time-resolved microscopy on cell health.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607-7113
(312) 996-3456
Paul Francuch
(312) 996-3457

Copyright © University of Illinois at Chicago

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

Quantum teleportation on a chip: A significant step towards ultra-high speed quantum computers April 1st, 2015

So, near and yet so far: Stable HGNs for Raman April 1st, 2015

Two-dimensional dirac materials: Structure, properties, and rarity April 1st, 2015

3-D neural structure guided with biocompatible nanofiber scaffolds and hydrogels April 1st, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Two-dimensional dirac materials: Structure, properties, and rarity April 1st, 2015

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE and Title Sponsor SEFCU Name Capital Region Teams Advancing to the Final Round of the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition March 30th, 2015

Princess Margaret scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles: Harnessing light to advance tumor imaging, provide platform for targeted treatment March 30th, 2015

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly CNSE and Title Sponsor SEFCU Name Capital Region Teams Advancing to the Final Round of the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition March 30th, 2015

LAMDAMAP 2015 hosted by the University March 26th, 2015

SUNY Poly & M+W Make Major Announcement: Major Expansion To Include M+W Owned Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation That Will Create up to 400 Jobs to Develop Solar Power Plants at SUNY Poly Sites Across New York State March 26th, 2015

SUNY POLY CNSE to Host First Ever Northeast Semi Supply Conference (NESCO) Conference Will Connect New and Emerging Innovators in the Northeastern US and Canada with Industry Leaders and Strategic Investors to Discuss Future Growth Opportunities in NYS March 25th, 2015

Nanomedicine

A novel way to apply drugs to dental plaque Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay April 1st, 2015

3-D neural structure guided with biocompatible nanofiber scaffolds and hydrogels April 1st, 2015

Nanomedicine shines light on combined force of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine March 31st, 2015

Prototype 'nanoneedles' generate new blood vessels in mice: Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice March 31st, 2015

Discoveries

A novel way to apply drugs to dental plaque Nanoparticles release drugs to reduce tooth decay April 1st, 2015

Quantum teleportation on a chip: A significant step towards ultra-high speed quantum computers April 1st, 2015

Two-dimensional dirac materials: Structure, properties, and rarity April 1st, 2015

3-D neural structure guided with biocompatible nanofiber scaffolds and hydrogels April 1st, 2015

Announcements

Quantum teleportation on a chip: A significant step towards ultra-high speed quantum computers April 1st, 2015

So, near and yet so far: Stable HGNs for Raman April 1st, 2015

Two-dimensional dirac materials: Structure, properties, and rarity April 1st, 2015

3-D neural structure guided with biocompatible nanofiber scaffolds and hydrogels April 1st, 2015

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Nanomedicine pioneer Mauro Ferrari at ETH Zurich March 31st, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE and Title Sponsor SEFCU Name Capital Region Teams Advancing to the Final Round of the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition March 30th, 2015

Princess Margaret scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles: Harnessing light to advance tumor imaging, provide platform for targeted treatment March 30th, 2015

FEI Technology Award of the German Neuroscience Society Goes to Benjamin Judkewitz of the University of Berlin: Bi-annual award honors excellence in brain research during the German Neuroscience Societyís Annual Meeting, held 18-21 March 2015 March 26th, 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