Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > MIT zooms in on malaria-infected cells: Work could aid in diagnostics, drug testing

Human red blood cells (RBCs) invaded by Plasmodium falciparum. Three dimensional maps of the refractive index and nanoscale cell membrane fluctuations of infected human RBCs were constructed at different maturation stages of the parasite's by two non-invasive optical techniques: Tomographic Phase Microscopy and Diffraction Phase Microscopy. Color added for visualization.
Human red blood cells (RBCs) invaded by Plasmodium falciparum. Three dimensional maps of the refractive index and nanoscale cell membrane fluctuations of infected human RBCs were constructed at different maturation stages of the parasite's by two non-invasive optical techniques: Tomographic Phase Microscopy and Diffraction Phase Microscopy. Color added for visualization.

Abstract:
In work that could lead to new ways of detecting and treating malaria, MIT researchers have used two advanced microscopy techniques to show in unprecedented detail how the malaria parasite attacks red blood cells.

MIT zooms in on malaria-infected cells: Work could aid in diagnostics, drug testing

Cambridge, MA | Posted on September 1st, 2008

The researchers' images show red blood cell membranes becoming less flexible, which causes the cells to clump as they try to navigate tiny blood vessels. They also show the destruction of hemoglobin, the critical molecule that red blood cells use to carry oxygen.

The images are made possible by microscopy techniques that reveal tiny vibrations in red blood cell membranes.

"By studying the way the cell membrane vibrations progressively change as the malaria parasite matures inside the cell, we can study the changes in its mechanical, elastic and dynamic properties," said Michael Feld, director of MIT's George Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory and a professor of physics.

Feld and Subra Suresh, dean of MIT's School of Engineering, are senior authors of a paper on the work to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Sept. 1.

The study establishes the first experimental connection between cell membrane vibration and the pathological state of a living cell.

"You can establish a measurement of membrane-fluctuation changes as a function of the gradual progression from a healthy state to a severely pathological state," said Suresh, who has appointments in materials science and engineering, biological engineering, mechanical engineering and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

It has been known for more than a century that red blood cell membranes continuously undulate. These vibrations are difficult to study because the measurements involved are so tiny (nanometer, or billionth of a meter, scale), and occur in just microseconds.

Suresh and colleagues have previously shown that the cell membranes of red blood cells invaded by the malaria parasite lose their elasticity, as proteins transported from the parasite attach to the membranes and make them significantly stiffer.

In the new paper, the researchers describe using a technique called diffraction phase microscopy to image living cells over the first 48 hours of malaria parasite maturation inside the cell. They showed that infection reduces elasticity and decreases the vibration frequency of the cell membrane.

The team also used a technique called tomographic phase microscopy, which was developed in Feld's laboratory and is based on the same concept as a CT scan: To create a 3D image, the researchers combine about 100 two-dimensional images taken from different angles. Those images are produced with a technique known as interferometry, in which a light wave passing through a cell is compared with a reference wave that doesn't pass through it.

The technique allowed them to study changes in the refractive index of a cell, which is a measure of how much the speed of light is reduced as it passes through the material.

Images generated by tomographic phase microscopy revealed the degradation of hemoglobin as the malaria parasite interacted with the cell.

In the future, the microscopy technology could be used to develop a diagnostic tool that would detect malaria or other human diseases by measuring cell membrane properties. It could also be used to test the efficacy of potential drugs.

The current project got underway about two years ago, after Suresh gave a talk at the Spectroscopy Laboratory on his work studying the mechanical stiffness of malaria-infected red blood cells. Feld and his colleagues were already working on microscopy techniques to visualize red blood cells, so the groups decided to collaborate.

"This project brought physics, engineering, materials science, and cell biology all to bear on a problem of infectious disease," said Suresh.

Lead authors of the paper are YongKeun Park, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and Monica Diez-Silva, a microbiologist trained at Institut Pasteur and currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE). Other authors are Gabriel Popescu, now at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; George Lykotrafitis, a DMSE postdoctoral fellow; and Wonshik Choi, a postdoctoral associate in the Spectroscopy Lab.

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Center.

####

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

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

Raman Whispering Gallery Detects Nanoparticles September 1st, 2014

A new, tunable device for spintronics: An international team of scientists including physicist Jairo Sinova from the University of Mainz realises a tunable spin-charge converter made of GaAs August 29th, 2014

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New analytical technology reveals 'nanomechanical' surface traits August 29th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Leading European communications companies and research organizations have launched an EU project developing the future 5th Generation cellular mobile networks August 28th, 2014

New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions August 28th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Novel 'butterfly' molecule could build new sensors, photoenergy conversion devices August 28th, 2014

PetLife Comments on CNN Story on Scorpion Venom Health Benefits August 27th, 2014

Discoveries

Raman Whispering Gallery Detects Nanoparticles September 1st, 2014

A new, tunable device for spintronics: An international team of scientists including physicist Jairo Sinova from the University of Mainz realises a tunable spin-charge converter made of GaAs August 29th, 2014

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Announcements

Raman Whispering Gallery Detects Nanoparticles September 1st, 2014

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

New analytical technology reveals 'nanomechanical' surface traits August 29th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

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 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE