Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Penn Researchers Help Graft Olfactory Receptors onto Nanotubes

A rendering of olfactory receptor proteins attached to a nanotube (Art: Robert Johnson)
A rendering of olfactory receptor proteins attached to a nanotube (Art: Robert Johnson)

Abstract:
Penn researchers have helped develop a nanotech device that combines carbon nanotubes with olfactory receptor proteins, the cell components in the nose that detect odors.

Penn Researchers Help Graft Olfactory Receptors onto Nanotubes

Philadelphia, PA | Posted on July 26th, 2011

Because olfactory receptors belong to a larger class of proteins that are involved in passing signals through the cell membrane, these devices could have applications beyond odor sensing, such as pharmaceutical research.

The research was led by professor A. T. Charlie Johnson, postdoctoral fellow Brett R. Goldsmith and graduate student Mitchell T. Lerner of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences, along with assistant professor Bohdana M. Discher and postdoctoral fellow Joseph J. Mitala Jr. of the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine. They collaborated with researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, the University of Miami, the University of Illinois, Princeton University and two private companies, Nanosense Inc. and Evolved Machines Inc.

Their work was published in the journal ACS Nano.

The Penn team worked with olfactory receptors derived from mice, but all olfactory receptors are part of a class of proteins known as G Protein Coupled Receptors, or GPCRs. These receptors sit on the outer membrane of cells, where certain chemicals in the environment can bind to them. The binding action is the first step in a chemical cascade that leads to a cellular response; in the case of an olfactory receptor, this cascade leads to the perception of a smell.

The Penn team succeeded in building an interface between this complicated protein and a carbon nanotube transistor, allowing them to convert the chemical signals the receptor normally produces to electrical signals, which could be incorporated in any number of tools and gadgets.

"Our nanotech devices are read-out elements; they eavesdrop on what the olfactory receptors are doing, specifically what molecules are bound to them," Johnson said.

As the particular GPCR the team worked with was an olfactory receptor, the test case for their nanotube device was to function as sensor for airborne chemicals.

"If there's something in the atmosphere that wants to bind to this molecule, the signal we get through the nanotube is about what fraction of the time is something bound or not. That means we can get a contiguous read out that's indicative of the concentration of the molecule in the air," Johnson said.

While one could imagine scaling up these nanotube devices into a synthetic nose — making one for each of the approximately 350 olfactory GPCRs in a human nose, or the 1,000 found in a dog's — Johnson thinks that medical applications are much closer to being realized.

"GPCRs are common drug targets," he said. "Since they are known to be very important in cell-environment interactions, they're very important in respect to disease pathology. In that respect, we now have a pathway into interrogating what those GPCRs actually respond to. You can imagine building a chip with many of these devices, each with different GPCRs, and exposing them all at once to various drugs to see which is effective at triggering a response."

Figuring out what kinds of drugs bind most effectively to GPCRs is important because pathogens often attack through those receptors as well. The better a harmless chemical attaches to a relevant GPCR, the better it is at blocking the disease.

The Penn team also made a technical advancement in stabilizing GPCRs for future research.

"In the past, if you take a protein out of a cell and put it onto a device, it might last for a day. But here, we embedded it in a nanoscale artificial cell membrane, which is called a nanodisc," Johnson said. "When we did that, they lasted for two and half months, instead of a day."

Increasing the lifespans of such devices could be beneficial to two scientific fields with increasing overlap, as the as evidenced by the large, interdisciplinary research team involved in the study.

"The big picture is integrating nanotechnology with biology, " Johnson said. "These complicated molecular machines are the prime method of communication between the interior of the cell and the exterior, and now we're incorporating their functionality with our nanotech devices."

In addition to Johnson, Goldsmith, Lerner, Discher and Mitala, the research was conducted by Jesusa Josue and Joseph G. Brand of Monell; Alan Gelperin of Monell and Princeton; Ana Castro and Charles W. Luetje of the University of Miami; Timothy H. Bayburt and Stephen G. Sligar of the University of Illinois, Urbana; Samuel M. Khamis of Adamant Technologies, Ryan A. Jones of Nanosense Inc.; and Paul A. Rhodes of Nanosense Inc. and Evolved Machines Inc.

The research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's RealNose project, Penn's Nano/Bio Interface Center, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Evan Lerner

215-573-6604

Copyright © Penn State

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

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Seeing is bead-lieving: Rice University scientists create model 'bead-spring' chains with tunable properties July 28th, 2014

Stanford team achieves 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode - Engineers use carbon nanospheres to protect lithium from the reactive and expansive problems that have restricted its use as an anode July 27th, 2014

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Names NanoSperse as A SWeNT Certified Compounder July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014

University of Houston researchers create new method to draw molecules from live cells: Technique using magnetic nanomaterials offers promise for diagnosis, gene therapy July 17th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 25th, 2014

Sensors

Production of Toxic Gas Sensor Based on Nanorods July 28th, 2014

Compact Vibration Harvester Power Supply with Highest Efficiency Opens Door to “Fix-and-Forget” Sensor Nodes July 23rd, 2014

Nano-sized Chip "Sniffs Out" Explosives Far Better than Trained Dogs: TAU researcher's groundbreaking sensor detects miniscule concentrations of hazardous materials in the air July 23rd, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014

Discoveries

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Announcements

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Military

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Production of Toxic Gas Sensor Based on Nanorods July 28th, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 25th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Harris & Harris Group Invests in Unique NYC Biotech Accelerator July 29th, 2014

Seeing is bead-lieving: Rice University scientists create model 'bead-spring' chains with tunable properties July 28th, 2014

FEI adds Phase Plate Technology and Titan Halo TEM to its Structural Biology Product Portfolio: New solutions provide the high-quality imaging and contrast necessary to analyze the 3D structure of molecules and molecular complexes July 28th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE