Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > New sensors streamline detection of estrogenic compounds

Huimin Zhao
Photo by
L. Brian Stauffer

University of Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao and his colleagues engineered a new detector of compounds that bind to estrogen receptors in human cells.
Huimin Zhao Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

University of Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao and his colleagues engineered a new detector of compounds that bind to estrogen receptors in human cells.

Abstract:
Researchers have engineered new sensors that fluoresce in the presence of compounds that interact with estrogen receptors in human cells. The sensors detect natural or human-made substances that alter estrogenic signaling in the body.

New sensors streamline detection of estrogenic compounds

Champaign, IL | Posted on August 25th, 2011

The study appears in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Estrogen occurs naturally in the body (in the form of 17-beta-estradiol), and a variety of plants (such as soybeans), pharmaceuticals, microbial byproducts and industrial chemicals (such as bisphenol A, in plastics) are also known to activate or block the activation of estrogen receptors in human cells.

"There are so many estrogenic compounds in our environment, and some of them could be a danger to health," said University of Illinois chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Huimin Zhao, who led the research. Zhao also is an affiliate of the chemistry and biochemistry departments, the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, and the Institute for Genomic Biology, all at Illinois. "We are concerned about estrogenic compounds because they interact with the estrogen receptor, which plays an important role in many important biological processes, like reproduction, bone growth, cell differentiation and metabolism."

The estrogen receptor is also implicated in a majority of breast cancers, he said, with compounds that activate it potentially spurring the growth of cancer cells.

The researchers used part of the estrogen receptor itself in the design of their new sensors. They took the region of the receptor that binds to estrogenic compounds (called the "ligand-binding domain) and added two halves of a fluorescent protein that glows only when the halves are reunited. The ligand-binding domain changes its conformation when it binds to an estrogenic compound. This change, the researchers hoped, would draw the two parts of the fluorescent protein together to produce a signal.

In a series of trials, the researchers found that two of their sensors reliably signaled the presence of estrogenic compounds. The first, "sensor 2," differentiated between compounds that activate and those that block estrogen receptors, glowing more brightly in the presence of one and dimming when bound to the other. A second bioengineered molecule, "sensor 6," fluoresced in the presence of both types of compounds, making it a reliable indicator of chemicals that bind to the receptor.

When incubated in human cells, the sensors responded to estrogenic compounds within a few hours, Zhao said, with the fluorescent signals gradually increasing in strength up to 24 hours. "And also the sensitivity is pretty high," he said. "Of course it depends on the compound that you're testing; different compounds will have different affinities. But for a truly estrogenic compound, we can detect at the nanomolar level, a very low level."

These are the first such sensors to work in human cells without costly additional chemical steps, he said.

The new sensors will help researchers and clinicians quickly and efficiently determine whether a food, drug or chemical substance interacts with estrogen receptors in human cells, Zhao said.

The National Science Foundation funded this research.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Diana Yates
Life Sciences Editor 217-333-5802


Huimin Zhao
217-333-2631

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

The paper, “A New Fluorescence Complementation Biosensor for Detection of Estrogenic Compounds,” is available online:

Related News Press

News and information

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

Australian startup creates world’s first 100% cotton hydrophobic T-Shirts November 26th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals November 25th, 2014

Renishaw receives Queen's Award for spectroscopy developments November 25th, 2014

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria: In mice, therapeutic nanoparticles dampen H. pylori bacteria and inflammation that lead to ulcers and gastric cancer November 25th, 2014

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos November 25th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria: In mice, therapeutic nanoparticles dampen H. pylori bacteria and inflammation that lead to ulcers and gastric cancer November 25th, 2014

Research reveals how our bodies keep unwelcome visitors out of cell nuclei November 24th, 2014

ASU, IBM move ultrafast, low-cost DNA sequencing technology a step closer to reality November 24th, 2014

An Inside Job: UC-Designed Nanoparticles Infiltrate, Kill Cancer Cells From Within November 24th, 2014

Sensors

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals November 25th, 2014

Cooling with the coldest matter in the world November 24th, 2014

Canatu Launches CNB In-Mold Film for Transparent Touch on 3D Surfaces –in Cars, Household Appliances, Wearables, Portables November 20th, 2014

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials: University of Oregon microscope puts spotlight on the surface structure of quantum dots for designing new solar devices November 20th, 2014

Discoveries

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria: In mice, therapeutic nanoparticles dampen H. pylori bacteria and inflammation that lead to ulcers and gastric cancer November 25th, 2014

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos November 25th, 2014

Announcements

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

Australian startup creates world’s first 100% cotton hydrophobic T-Shirts November 26th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 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