Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > How to build your gate: New approach solves large molecular puzzles

The Universe within: gates to the genome.
Credit: EMBL/A. Szymborska
The Universe within: gates to the genome.

Credit: EMBL/A. Szymborska

Abstract:
Much of life's essential molecular machinery consists of large protein assemblies that currently pose challenges for structure determination. A prominent example is the nuclear pore complex (NPC), for which the organization of its individual components remains unknown. By combining stochastic super-resolution microscopy, to directly resolve the ring-like structure of the NPC, with single particle averaging, to use information from thousands of pores, we determined the average positions of fluorescent molecular labels in the NPC with a precision well below 1 nm. Applying this approach systematically to the largest building block of the NPC, the Nup107-160 subcomplex, we assessed the structure of the NPC scaffold. Thus, light microscopy can be used to study the molecular organization of large protein complexes in situ in whole cells.

How to build your gate: New approach solves large molecular puzzles

Heidelberg, Germany | Posted on July 12th, 2013


In a nutshell:

- Decade-old controversy over structure of nuclear pore solved
- New method combines thousands of super-resolution microscopy images to reach a precision below one nanometre
- Bridges gap in available techniques to determine how individual components fit together to build large molecular machines

It's a parent's nightmare: opening a Lego set and being faced with 500 pieces, but no instructions on how to assemble them into the majestic castle shown on the box. Thanks to a new approach by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, researchers studying large sets of molecules with vital roles inside our cells can now overcome a similar problem. In a study published online today in Science, the scientists used super-resolution microscopy to solve a decade-long debate about the structure of the nuclear pore complex, which controls access to the genome by acting as a gate into the cell's nucleus.

Like the flummoxed parent staring at the image on the box, scientists knew the gate's overall shape, from electron tomography studies. And thanks to techniques like X-ray crystallography and single particle electron microscopy, they knew that the ring which studs the nucleus' wall and controls what passes in and out is formed by sixteen or thirty-two copies of a Y-shaped building block. They even knew that each Y is formed by nine proteins. But how the Ys are arranged to form a ring was up for debate.

"When we looked at our images, there was no question: they have to be lying head-to-tail around the hole" says Anna Szymborska, who carried out the work.

To figure out how the Ys were arranged, the EMBL scientists used fluorescent tags to label a series of points along each of the Y's arms and tail, and analysed them under a super-resolution microscope. By combining images from thousands of nuclear pores, they were able to obtain measurements of where each of those points was, in relation to the pore's centre, with a precision of less than a nanometre - a millionth of a millimetre. The result was a rainbow of rings whose order and spacing meant the Y-shaped molecules in the nuclear pore must lie in an orderly circle around the opening, all with the same arm of the Y pointing toward the pore's centre.

Having resolved this decade-old controversy, the scientists intend to delve deeper into the mysteries of the nuclear pore - determining whether the circle of Ys is arranged clockwise or anticlockwise, studying it at different stages of assembly, looking at other parts of the pore, and investigating it in three dimensions.

"There's been a lot of interest from other groups," says Jan Ellenberg, who led the work, "so we'll soon be looking into a number of other molecular puzzles, like the different ‘machines' that allow a cell to divide, which are also built from hundreds of pieces."

The work was carried out in collaboration with John Briggs' group at EMBL, who helped adapt the image averaging algorithms from electron microscopy to super-resolution microscopy, and Volker Cordes at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemisty in Göttingen, Germany, who provided antibodies and advice.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sonia Furtado Neves
EMBL Press Officer
Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel: +49 6221 387-8263

Copyright © European Molecular Biology Laboratory

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

Source Article

Further information

Related News Press

Laboratories

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

Imaging

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

News and information

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

PETA science consortium to present hazard testing strategy at nanotoxicology meeting: High tech field ripe for use of sophisticated non-animal testing strategies April 22nd, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Notes the Receipt of Proceeds From the Sale of Molecular Imprints' Semiconductor Business to Canon April 22nd, 2014

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and the First Flight of the Falcon 9R April 22nd, 2014

Nanomedicine

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission: Successful foray opens door to virus-like DNA nanodevices that could diagnose diseased tissues and manufacture drugs to treat them April 22nd, 2014

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

Amino-functionalized carbon nanotubes act as a carrier for nerve growth factor April 21st, 2014

Newly-Produced Bone Cement Able to Carry Medicine April 21st, 2014

Discoveries

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells April 22nd, 2014

Nanomaterial Outsmarts Ions April 22nd, 2014

Vacuum Ultraviolet Lamp of the Future Created in Japan: First Solid-State Vacuum UV Phosphor, Described in APL-Materials, Promises Smaller, Safer, Longer Lasting, Low Power Lamps for Industrial Applications April 22nd, 2014

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

Announcements

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

PETA science consortium to present hazard testing strategy at nanotoxicology meeting: High tech field ripe for use of sophisticated non-animal testing strategies April 22nd, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Notes the Receipt of Proceeds From the Sale of Molecular Imprints' Semiconductor Business to Canon April 22nd, 2014

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and the First Flight of the Falcon 9R April 22nd, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals

Nanomaterial Outsmarts Ions April 22nd, 2014

Vacuum Ultraviolet Lamp of the Future Created in Japan: First Solid-State Vacuum UV Phosphor, Described in APL-Materials, Promises Smaller, Safer, Longer Lasting, Low Power Lamps for Industrial Applications April 22nd, 2014

Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate First Size-based Chromatography Technique for the Study of Living Cells April 22nd, 2014

Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet': Rice University's hydrogen sulfide nanoreporters gather intel on oil before pumping April 22nd, 2014

Tools

MRI, on a molecular scale: Researchers develop system that could one day peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules April 20th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale April 17th, 2014

Aerotech X-Y ball-screw stage for economical high performance Planar positioning April 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission: Successful foray opens door to virus-like DNA nanodevices that could diagnose diseased tissues and manufacture drugs to treat them April 22nd, 2014

Targeting cancer with a triple threat: MIT chemists design nanoparticles that can deliver three cancer drugs at a time April 15th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

In latest generation of tiny biosensors, size isn't everything: UCLA researchers overturn conventional wisdom on nanowire-based diagnostic devices April 11th, 2014

Research partnerships

University of Waterloo Visits China to Strengthen Bonds With Research Partners April 21st, 2014

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds April 17th, 2014

Scientists Capture Ultrafast Snapshots of Light-Driven Superconductivity: X-rays reveal how rapidly vanishing 'charge stripes' may be behind laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity April 16th, 2014

Scalable CVD process for making 2-D molybdenum diselenide: Rice, NTU scientists unveil CVD production for coveted 2-D semiconductor April 8th, 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