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

Dirty to drinkable: Engineers develop novel hybrid nanomaterials to transform water July 28th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

Possible Futures

Dirty to drinkable: Engineers develop novel hybrid nanomaterials to transform water July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

Molecular Machines

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

Pushing a single-molecule switch: An international team of researchers from Donostia International Physics Center, Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, University of Liverpool, and the Polish Academy of Sciences has shown a new way to operate a single-molecule switch July 19th, 2016

Researchers harness DNA as the engine of super-efficient nanomachine: New platform detects traces of everything from bacteria to viruses, cocaine and metals July 10th, 2016

On the path toward molecular robots: Scientists at Japan's Hokkaido University have developed light-powered molecular motors that repetitively bend and unbend, bringing us closer to molecular robots. July 8th, 2016

Announcements

Dirty to drinkable: Engineers develop novel hybrid nanomaterials to transform water July 28th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Starpharma initiates new DEPô drug delivery program with AstraZeneca July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

New remote-controlled microrobots for medical operations July 23rd, 2016

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Starpharma initiates new DEPô drug delivery program with AstraZeneca July 27th, 2016

XEI Scientific Partners with Electron Microscopy Sciences to Promote and Sell its Products in North and South America July 25th, 2016

Leti and Korea Institute of Science and Technology to Explore Collaboration on Advanced Technologies for Digital Era July 14th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic