Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Combined molecular study techniques reveal more about DNA proteins

Illinois researchers developed a new technique that
combines optical traps (red) with fluorescence (green) to study the proteins that regulate DNA.

Photo by Matthew Comstock
Illinois researchers developed a new technique that combines optical traps (red) with fluorescence (green) to study the proteins that regulate DNA.

Photo by Matthew Comstock

Abstract:
Illinois researchers have combined two molecular imaging technologies to create an instrument with incredible sensitivity that provides new, detailed insight into dynamic molecular processes.

Combined molecular study techniques reveal more about DNA proteins

Champaign, IL | Posted on March 2nd, 2011

Physics professors Taekjip Ha and Yann Chemla and combined their expertise in single-molecule biophysics - fluorescence microscopy and optical traps, respectively - to study binding and unbinding of individual DNA segments to a larger strand. They and their joint postdoctoral researcher Matthew Comstock detail their technique in a paper published in the Feb. 20 online edition of Nature Methods.

Both professors, who are also affiliated with the U. of I. Institute for Genomic Biology, have particularly studied proteins and enzymes that regulate DNA, such as the enzyme helicase that unwinds DNA for duplication or transcription to RNA. Fluorescent microscopy techniques allow researchers to observe proteins as they conform and move, but often lack the spatial range to track the protein's motion over distance.

Optical traps, meanwhile, enable researchers to study a protein's translocation, but not its conformation. Chemla compares traditional optical traps to fishing. A single molecule of DNA is tethered between two attachment points, and the activity of a protein bound to it is only inferred from how it tugs on the tether, much like a fish at the end of a line. This can reveal a lot about a protein's activity and motion, but the technique has glaring limitations as well. For example, it is difficult to know how many proteins or the types of proteins that are involved.
"Also, these proteins may do all sorts of things beyond tugging on our line that we may not be sensitive to," Chemla said. "Fluorescence allows you to have an additional readout to actually see these things, and the key is that we can now measure them simultaneously. This work was a real synthesis of the expertise of two groups at the Center for the Physics of Living Cells at the U. of I."

The combination allows Chemla, Ha and their group to measure both a protein's motion - sensitive to translocation as small as one DNA base pair, a distance of only a few angstroms - and also conformational changes as it acts. This can reveal details about its mechanism that would not have been accessible before.

"It was a major technical challenge, but the final product is a one-of-a-kind instrument with unique capabilities," Chemla said. "It's like taking a rudimentary, real-time ‘movie' of what individual molecules are doing."

The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute supported this work.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Liz Ahlberg
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073


Yann Chemla
217-333-6501


Taekjip Ha
217-265-0717

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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 Links

“Ultrahigh-Resolution Optical Trap With Single-Fluorophore Sensitivity.”

Related News Press

Physics

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

News and information

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) Market Expected To Reach USD 3.42 Billion By 2022 May 29th, 2015

Imaging

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

Nanomedicine

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier: Researchers at the University of Toronto design diagnostic chip to reduce testing time from days to one hour, allowing doctors to pick the right antibiotic the first time May 28th, 2015

Arrowhead to Present at Jefferies 2015 Healthcare Conference May 27th, 2015

Seeing the action: UCSB researchers develop a novel device to image the minute forces and actions involved in cell membrane hemifusion May 27th, 2015

Nanotechnology identifies brain tumor types through MRI 'virtual biopsy' in animal studies: If results are confirmed in humans, tumor cells could someday be diagnosed by MRI imaging and treated with tumor-specific IV injections; new NIH grant will fund future study May 27th, 2015

Discoveries

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Nano-capsules designed for diagnosing malignant tumours: Japanese researchers have developed adaptable nano-capsules that can help in the diagnosis of glioblastoma cells - a highly invasive form of brain tumours May 28th, 2015

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms and carbon surfaces May 28th, 2015

Linking superconductivity and structure May 28th, 2015

Announcements

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) Market Expected To Reach USD 3.42 Billion By 2022 May 29th, 2015

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier: Researchers at the University of Toronto design diagnostic chip to reduce testing time from days to one hour, allowing doctors to pick the right antibiotic the first time May 28th, 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