Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Nanoscale velcro used for molecule transport

This image shows an import protein coated molecule moving on the "dirty velcro."

Credit: Biozentrum, University of Basel
This image shows an import protein coated molecule moving on the "dirty velcro."

Credit: Biozentrum, University of Basel

Abstract:
Biological membranes are like a guarded border. They separate the cell from the environment and at the same time control the import and export of molecules. The nuclear membrane can be crossed via many tiny pores. Scientists at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel, together with an international team of researchers, have discovered that proteins found within the nuclear pore function similar to a velcro. In Nature Nanotechnology, they report how these proteins can be used for controlled and selective transport of particles.

Nanoscale velcro used for molecule transport

Basel, Switzerland | Posted on June 25th, 2014

There is much traffic in our cells. Many proteins, for example, need to travel from their production site in the cytoplasm to the nucleus, where they are used to read genetic information. Pores in the nuclear membrane enable their transport into and out of the cell nucleus. The Argovia Professor Roderick Lim, from the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel, studies the biophysical basics of this transport. In order to better understand this process, he has created an artificial model of the nuclear pore complex, together with scientists from Lausanne and Cambridge, which has led to the discovery that its proteins function like a nanoscale "velcro" which can be used to transport tiniest particles.

"Dirty velcro" inside the nuclear pore

Nuclear pores are protein complexes within the nuclear membrane that enables molecular exchange between the cytoplasm and nucleus. The driving force is diffusion. Nuclear pores are lined with "velcro" like proteins. Only molecules specially marked with import proteins can bind to these proteins and thus pass the pore. But for all non-binding molecules the nuclear pore acts as a barrier. The researchers postulated that transport depends on the strength of binding to the "velcro" like proteins. The binding should be just strong enough that molecules to be transported can bind but at the same time not too tight so that they can still diffuse through the pore.

In an artificial system recreating the nuclear pore, the researchers tested their hypothesis. They coated particles with import proteins and studied their behavior on the molecular "velcro". Interestingly, the researchers found parallels in behavior to the velcro strip as we know it. On "clean velcro", the particles stick immediately. However, when the "velcro" is filled or "dirtied" with import proteins, it is less adhesive and the particles begin to slide over its surface just by diffusion. "Understanding how the transport process functions in the nuclear pore complex was decisive for our discovery," says Lim. "With the nanoscale 'velcro' we should be able to define the path to be taken as well as speed up the transport of selected particles without requiring external energy."

Potential lab-on-a-chip technology applications

Lim's investigations of biomolecular transport processes form the basis for the discovery of this remarkable phenomenon that particles can be transported selectively with a molecular "velcro". "This principle could find very practical applications, for instance as nanoscale conveyor belts, escalators or tracks," explains Lim. This could also potentially be applied to further miniaturize lab-on-chip technology, tiny labs on chips, where this newly discovered method of transportation would make today's complex pump and valve systems obsolete.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Katrin Bühler

Copyright © University of Basel

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

Original source

doi: 10.1038/nnano.2014.103:

Related News Press

News and information

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Molecular Machines

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Dartmouth researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste December 15th, 2014

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing October 31st, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Molecular Nanotechnology

Dartmouth researchers create 'green' process to reduce molecular switching waste December 15th, 2014

New technique allows low-cost creation of 3-D nanostructures December 8th, 2014

Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions November 17th, 2014

Manipulating complex molecules by hand: New method in scanning probe microscopy: Jülich researchers create a word using 47 molecules November 6th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

First Home-Made Edible Herbal Nanodrug Presented to Pharmacies across Iran December 17th, 2014

Discoveries

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Announcements

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

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

Atom-thick CCD could capture images: Rice University scientists develop two-dimensional, light-sensitive material December 20th, 2014

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars: Rice University study examines how nanoparticles behave in food chain December 16th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

UCLA engineers first to detect and measure individual DNA molecules using smartphone microscope December 15th, 2014

Biomimetic dew harvesters: Understanding how a desert beetle harvests water from dew could improve drinking water collection in dew condensers December 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