Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Berkeley Lab Scientists Develop New Tool for the Study of Spatial Patterns in Living Cells: Golden Membranes Pave the Way for a Better Understanding of Cancer and the Immune System

Schematic shows gold nanoparticle arrays embedded into a supported lipid bilayer membrane then selectively labeled with specific surface chemistry properties to study living cells that are bound to the nanoparticles and/or lipid bilayer. (Groves, et. al)
Schematic shows gold nanoparticle arrays embedded into a supported lipid bilayer membrane then selectively labeled with specific surface chemistry properties to study living cells that are bound to the nanoparticles and/or lipid bilayer. (Groves, et. al)

Abstract:
Football has often been called "a game of inches," but biology is a game of nanometers, where spatial differences of only a few nanometers can determine the fate of a cell - whether it lives or dies, remains normal or turns cancerous. Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new and better way to study the impact of spatial patterns on living cells.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Develop New Tool for the Study of Spatial Patterns in Living Cells: Golden Membranes Pave the Way for a Better Understanding of Cancer and the Immune System

Berkeley, CA | Posted on November 1st, 2011

Berkeley Lab chemist Jay Groves led a study in which artificial membranes made up of a fluid bilayer of lipid molecules were embedded with fixed arrays of gold nanoparticles to control the spacing of proteins and other cellular molecules placed on the membranes. This provided the researchers with an unprecedented opportunity to study how the spatial patterns of chemical and physical properties on membrane surfaces influence the behavior of cells.

"The gold nanoparticles are similar to the size of a single protein molecule, which gets us to a scale we couldn't really access before," says Groves. "As the first example of a biological membrane platform that combines fixed nanopatterning with the mobility of fluid lipid bilayers, our technique represents an important improvement over previous patterning methods."

Groves holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division and the University of California (UC) Berkeley's Chemistry Department, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. He is the corresponding author of a paper that reports these results in the journal Nano Letters. The paper is titled "Supported Membranes Embedded with Fixed Arrays of Gold Nanoparticles."

Spatial patterning of chemical and physical properties on artificial membranes of lipid bilayers is a time-tested way to study the behavior of cultured biological cells. Natural lipid bilayer membranes surround virtually all living cells as well as many of the structures inside the cell including the nucleus. These membranes provide a barrier that restrains the movement of proteins and other cellular molecules, penning them into their proper locations and preventing them from moving into areas where they do not belong. Past spatial patterning efforts on artificial membranes have been done on an all-or-nothing basis - proteins placed on a membrane either had complete mobility or were fixed in a static position.

"Immobile patterning intrinsically defeats any cellular process that naturally involves movement," Groves says. "On the other hand we need to be able to impose some fixed barriers in order to manipulate membranes in really novel ways."

Groves is a recognized leader in the development of unique "supported" synthetic membranes that are constructed out of lipids and assembled onto a substrate of solid silica. He and his group have used these supported membranes to demonstrate that living cells not only interact with their environment through chemical signals but also through physical force.

"We call our approach the spatial mutation strategy because molecules in a cell can be spatially re-arranged without altering the cell in any other way," he says.

However, until now Groves and his group were unable to get to the tens of nanometers length-scales that they can now reach by embedding their supported membranes with gold nanoparticles.

"Our new membranes provide a hybrid interface consisting of mobile and immobile components with controlled geometry," Groves says. "Proteins or other cellular molecules can be associated with the fluid lipid component, the fixed nanoparticle component, or both."

The gold nanoparticle arrays were patterned through a self-assembly process that provides controllable spacing between particles in the array in the important range of 50 to 150 nanometers. The gold nanoparticles themselves measure about five to seven nanometers in diameter.

Groves and his team successfully tested their hybrid membranes on a line of breast cancer cells known as MDA-MB-231 that is highly invasive. With their hybrid membranes, the team demonstrated that in the absence of cell adhesion molecules, the membrane remained essentially free of the cancer cells, but when both the nanoparticles and the lipid were functionalized with molecules that promote cell adhesion, the cancer cells were found all over the surface.

Groves and his research group are now using their gold nanoparticle membranes to study both cancer metastasis and T cell immunology. They expect to report their results soon.

Co-authoring the Nano Letters paper with Groves were Theobald Lohmuller, Sara Triffo, Geoff O'Donoghue, Qian Xu and Michael Coyle. This research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

####

About Berkeley Lab
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lynn Yarris
(510) 486-5375

Copyright © Berkeley Lab

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

For more on the research of Jay Groves visit the Website at:

Related News Press

News and information

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Chemistry

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal, to host its first ever International Meeting on Material Sciences and Engineering August 15th, 2016

Laboratories

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Scientists uncover origin of high-temperature superconductivity in copper-oxide compound: Analysis of thousands of samples reveals that the compound becomes superconducting at an unusually high temperature because local electron pairs form a 'superfluid' that flows without resist August 19th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Discoveries

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Announcements

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Tools

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

Spider silk: Mother Nature's bio-superlens August 22nd, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 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