Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Research at Marshall University may lead to new ways to transport and manipulate molecules

Dr. Eric Blough of Marshall University and his colleagues have shown how bionanomotors can be used some day to move and manipulate molecules at the nanoscale. Credit: Rick Haye, Marshall University
Dr. Eric Blough of Marshall University and his colleagues have shown how bionanomotors can be used some day to move and manipulate molecules at the nanoscale. Credit: Rick Haye, Marshall University

Abstract:
A group of Marshall University researchers and their colleagues in Japan are conducting research that may lead to new ways to move or position single moleculesa necessary step if man someday hopes to build molecular machines or other devices capable of working at very small scales.

Research at Marshall University may lead to new ways to transport and manipulate molecules

Huntington, WVA | Posted on February 2nd, 2010

Dr. Eric Blough, a member of the research team and an associate professor in Marshall University's Department of Biological Sciences, said his group has shown how bionanomotors can be used some day to move and manipulate molecules at the nanoscale.

Their research will be published in the Feb. 5 issue of the research journal Small.

"Being able to manipulate a single molecule under controlled conditions is actually a pretty big challenge," said Blough. "It's not quite the same, but imagine trying to pick up a single sewing needle off the ground with a huge steam shovel, and doing it so that you pick up the needle and nothing else. Or, to put it another wayhow do you manipulate something that is very tiny with something that is very big? We decided to try and get around this problem by seeing if it was possible to use single molecules to move other single molecules."

"What we are trying to replicate in the lab is something that nature has been doing for millions of years-cells use bionanomotors all the time to move things around," he said.

Blough describes bionanomotors as naturally occurring tiny "machines" that convert chemical energy directly into mechanical work. A nanometer is about 1/100,000 the width of a human hair. A nanomotor is similarly sized and operates at the smallest of small scales.

"Our muscles are living proof of how bionanomotors can be harnessed to do useful work," he added.

In the lab, Blough and his colleagues used myosina protein found in muscle that is responsible for generating the force of muscle contractionas the motor, and actinanother protein isolated from muscleas the carrier.

Using a technique to make a pattern of active myosin molecules on a surface, they showed how cargothey used small beadscould be attached to actin filaments and moved from one part of the surface to another. To improve the system, they also used actin filaments they had bundled together.

"When we first started our work, we noticed that single actin filaments moved randomly," said Dr. Hideyo Takatsuki, lead author of the journal article and a postdoctoral fellow in Blough's laboratory. "To be able to transport something from point A to point B effectively you need to be able to have some control over the movement. The actin filaments are so flexible that it is difficult to control their motion but we found that if we bundled a bunch of them together, the movement of the filaments was almost straight."

In addition, the team also showed they could use light to control the movement of the filaments.

"For a transport system to work efficiently, you really need to have the ability to stop the carrier to pick up cargo, as well as the means to stop transport when you arrive at your destination," added Takatsuki.

To control the movement, they chose to exploit the chemical properties of another molecule called blebbistatin.

"Blebbistatin is an inhibitor of myosin and can be switched on and off by light," Blough said. "We found that we could stop and start movement by changing how the system was illuminated."

According to Blough, the long-range goal of the team's work is to develop a platform for the development of a wide range of nanoscale transport and sensing applications in the biomedical field.

"The promise of nanotechnology is immense," he said. "Someday it might be possible to perform diagnostic tests using incredibly small amounts of sample that can be run in a very short period of time and with a high degree of accuracy. The implications for improving human health are incredible."

Blough added that although their recent work is a step forward, there is still a long way to go.

"A number of further advancements are necessary before bionanomotors can be used for 'lab-on-a-chip' applications," he said. "It's a challenging problem, but that is one of the great things about scienceevery day is new and interesting."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Eric Blough

304-696-2708

Copyright © EurekAlert

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

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Possible Futures

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Oxford Instruments congratulates Lancaster University for inaugurating the IsoLab, built for studying quantum systems June 20th, 2017

Molecular Machines

First 3-D observation of nanomachines working inside cells: Researchers headed by IRB Barcelona combine genetic engineering, super-resolution microscopy and biocomputation to allow them to see in 3-D the protein machinery inside living cells January 27th, 2017

Micro-bubbles make big impact: Research team develops new ultrasound-powered actuator to develop micro robot November 25th, 2016

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future: Researchers from Russia and Ukraine propose a nanosized motor controlled by a laser with potential applications across the natural sciences and medicine November 11th, 2016

HKU chemists develop world's first light-seeking synthetic Nanorobot November 9th, 2016

Announcements

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Mussels add muscle to biocompatible fibers: Rice University chemists develop hydrogel strings using compound found in sea creatures June 9th, 2017

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery:Rice University scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to open, close gaps in blood vessels June 8th, 2017

Nanobiotix's promising data from Phase I/II head and neck cancer trial presented at ASCO June 5th, 2017

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

Cambridge Nanotherm partners with Inabata for global sales and distribution June 20th, 2017

Thought Leaders and Experts Join National Graphene Association Advisory Board June 16th, 2017

Microsoft, Purdue collaborate to advance quantum computing May 30th, 2017

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

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