Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UCLA physicists report nanotechnology feat with proteins

Giovanni Zocchi in his lab
Giovanni Zocchi in his lab

Abstract:
UCLA physicists have made nanomechanical measurements of unprecedented resolution on protein molecules.

UCLA physicists report nanotechnology feat with proteins

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on December 17th, 2011

The new measurements, by UCLA physics professor Giovanni Zocchi and former UCLA physics graduate student Yong Wang, are approximately 100 times higher in resolution than previous mechanical measurements, a nanotechnology feat which reveals an isolated protein molecule, surprisingly, is neither a solid nor a liquid. "Proteins are the molecular machines of life, the molecules we are made of," Zocchi said. "We have found that sometimes they behave as a solid and sometimes as a liquid.

"Solids have a shape while liquids flow ó for simple materials at low stresses. However, for complex materials, or large stresses, the behavior can be in-between. Subjected to mechanical forces, a material might be elastic and store mechanical energy (simple solid), viscous and dissipate mechanical energy (simple fluid), or visco-elastic and both store and dissipate mechanical energy (complex solid, complex fluid). The viscoelastic behavior characteristic of more complex matter had not been clearly seen before on isolated proteins because mechanical measurements tend to destroy the proteins."

Zocchi and Wang's new nanotechnology method allowed them to apply stresses and probe the mechanics of the protein without destroying it. Wang, now a physics postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and Zocchi discovered a "transition to a viscoelastic regime in the mechanical response" of the protein.

"Below the transition, the protein responds elastically, like a spring," Zocchi said. "Above the transition, the protein flows like a viscous liquid. However, the transition is reversible if the stress is removed. Functional conformational changes of enzymes (changes in the shape of the molecule) must typically operate across this transition."

The measurements were performed on the enzyme guanylate kinase, or GK, a member of an essential class of enzymes called kinases. Specifically, GK transfers a phosphate group from ATP (the universal "fuel" of the cell) to GMP, producing GDP, an essential metabolic component, Zocchi said.

The study on the characterization of the "visco-elastic transition" is reported this month in the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science. The research was federally funded by the National Science Foundation's division of materials research and by a grant from the University of California Lab Research Program.

Zocchi and Wang published related findings earlier this year in the journal Europhysics Letters, a publication of the European Physical Society, and the journal Physical Review Letters.

In previous research, Zocchi and colleagues reported a significant step in controlling chemical reactions mechanically last year, made a significant step toward a new approach to protein engineering in 2006, created a mechanism at the nanoscale to externally control the function and action of a protein in 2005, and created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor using a single molecule less than 20 nanometers long in 2003. A nanometer is roughly 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

####

About UCLA
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Stuart Wolpert

310-206-0511

Copyright © UCLA

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

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Imaging

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Thermo Fisher Scientific Advances Cryo-EM Leadership to Drive Structural Biology Discoveries: New Thermo Scientific Krios G3i raises bar for performance, automation and time-to-results Breakthrough Thermo Scientific Glacios provides a cryo-EM entry path for a broader range of res August 8th, 2017

New Quattro Field Emission ESEM Emphasizes Versatility and Ease of Use: Thermo Scientific Quattro ESEM allows materials science researchers to study nanoscale structure in almost any material under a range of environmental conditions August 8th, 2017

Thermo Fisher Scientificís New Talos F200i S/TEM Delivers Flexible, High-Performance Imaging: New compact S/TEM can be configured to meet specific imaging and analytical requirements for materials characterization in research laboratories August 8th, 2017

Physics

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Molecular Machines

First 3-D observation of nanomachines working inside cells: Researchers headed by IRB Barcelona combine genetic engineering, super-resolution microscopy and biocomputation to allow them to see in 3-D the protein machinery inside living cells January 27th, 2017

Micro-bubbles make big impact: Research team develops new ultrasound-powered actuator to develop micro robot November 25th, 2016

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future: Researchers from Russia and Ukraine propose a nanosized motor controlled by a laser with potential applications across the natural sciences and medicine November 11th, 2016

HKU chemists develop world's first light-seeking synthetic Nanorobot November 9th, 2016

Discoveries

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Announcements

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors: Researchers discover that fluorescence in ligand-protected gold nanoclusters is an intrinsic property of the gold particles themselves August 16th, 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