Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

News and information

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Leti Presents Advances in Propagation Modeling and Antenna Design for mmWave Spectrum: Paper Is One of 15 that Leti Presented at European Conference on Antennas and Propagation March 19-24 March 23rd, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Imaging

Caught on camera -- chemical reactions 'filmed' at the single-molecule level March 22nd, 2017

Next-gen steel under the microscope March 18th, 2017

Novel nozzle saves crystals: Double flow concept widens spectrum for protein crystallography March 17th, 2017

JPK’s NanoWizard® AFM systems are used at the University of Sheffield to understand soft matter and biological systems at the molecular scale March 7th, 2017

Physics

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Research reveals novel quantum state in strange insulating materials February 14th, 2017

Sorting machine for atoms:Researchers at the University of Bonn clear a further hurdle on the path to creating quantum computers February 10th, 2017

The shape of melting in two dimensions: University of Michigan team uses Titan to explore fundamental phase transitions February 2nd, 2017

Nanomedicine

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

Nanoparticle paves the way for new triple negative breast cancer drug March 20th, 2017

Block copolymer micellization as a protection strategy for DNA origami March 17th, 2017

Nanocages for gold particles: what is happening inside? March 16th, 2017

Discoveries

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 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