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Home > News > Needling Molecules

January 12th, 2010

Needling Molecules

Abstract:
Many experiments in biology rely on manipulating cells: adding a gene, protein, or other molecule, for instance, to study its effects on the cell. But getting a molecule into a cell is much like breaking into a fortress; it often relies on biological tricks such as infecting a cell with a virus or attaching a protein to another one that will sneak it through the cell's membrane. Many of these methods are specific to certain types of cells and only work with specific molecules. A paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a surprisingly simple and direct alternative: using nanowires as needles to poke molecules into cells.

Author Hongkun Park, a professor of chemistry and physics at Harvard University, says that, in theory, "you can put more or less any molecule in more of less any kind of cell." If the method proves effective, it could greatly speed the ability to manipulate cells in a variety of applications, including stem-cell reprogramming and drug screening.

Source:
technologyreview.com

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