A better understanding of the way metabolism works may in the long run mean make it easier to find new medicines for diseases such as diabetes. By combining different methods taken from physics, the researcher Anna-Karin Gustavsson has been able to study metabolism in individual cells.
The objective of these research studies is to see what cells do when there are changes in their environment.
A completely new discovery
Anna-Karin Gustavsson has created a specially designed microfluidic chip containing channels through which different solutions are able to flow. With the aid of optical tweezers, a device that traps a laser beam, she captures individual cells for placing at the point where the channels intersect. This intersection between the channels is where the cells' immediate environment can change very rapidly.
“By using a microscope, I have been able to monitor what the cells do when there are changes in their environment. I discovered that the concentration of molecules in the metabolism of individual cells while these are breaking down sugars could, under specific conditions, be made to rock; i.e. oscillate.”
Up to this moment, it had never been possible to demonstrate the monitoring of oscillations in individual cells, despite there being many publications in high-ranking journals.
“The ability to confirm that this takes place in individual, isolated cells is something new,” says Anna-Karin Gustavsson, who together with her colleagues has also produced a mathematical model for the behaviour of the cells during glycolysis, the process whereby sugars are broken down in our cells to create energy.
May influence the designing of new medicines
In both human cells and yeast cells, which are the focus of Anna-Karin's studies, glucose is converted so as to create available energy. These studies may provide a deeper understanding of glycolysis, the way it works and the reason why oscillations occur.
In the past, these oscillations could only be seen in the form of millions of cells gathered in tight clusters and interacting with each other in order to coordinate their oscillations. Studying a population of millions of cells at the same time and on a collective basis produces only a mean value of the behaviour of all the cells, but looking at the cells one by one makes it possible to see that they behave very differently.
“Studying their heterogeneity is important for understanding the way the biological processes work, and provides the knowledge needed for producing new medicines. These glycolytic oscillations in particular are a most interesting area for further study since they may have a connection to the way in which the body secretes insulin, and also to diabetes in cases where this secretion no longer works the way it should.”
When Anna-Karin Gustavsson's discovery was published in the FEBS Journal, her article was judged to be the best in the Young Scientists category, and she was awarded the FEBS Journal Prize for Young Scientists. Since then, she has mapped the way in which the oscillations arise and under which conditions they do so, and the way in which the individual cells interact with each other so as to synchronise their oscillations.
This research has been conducted in Gothenburg and Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Title of thesis: Glycolytic oscillations in individual yeast cells
Supervisor: Dr. Mattias Goksör
Assistant supervisor: Dr. Caroline Beck Adiels
Link to thesis: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/37367
Anna-Karin Gustavsson, the Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg
email@example.com, (+46) 702-604488
Photo: Johan Wingborg
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Yuan Chang and Patrick Moore win prize for the discovery of two cancer viruses
14.03.2017 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
BMBF funding for diabetes research on pancreas chip
08.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences