Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Thousands on one chip: New Method to study Proteins

30.06.2016

Since the completion of the human genome an important goal has been to elucidate the function of the now known proteins: a new molecular method enables the investigation of the function for thousands of proteins in parallel. Applying this new method, an international team of researchers with leading participation of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown interactions among proteins.

The human genome and those of most common crops have been decoded for many years. Soon it will be possible to sequence your personal genome for less than 1000 Euros. At yet, there is a well-kept secret: for thousands of the roughly 20,000 – 30,000 proteins encoded in the genome it is not clear what they do in the body, which function they have.


Proteins in plants and in man do not act in isolation but have mutual regulatory relationships and act together in complex networks – to see in this picture. (Photo: TUM/Falter-Braun)

This makes it difficult to interpret many upcoming data and understand the underlying molecular processes – and this is the case in diverse fields such as medical research, plant research or the development of alternative energy sources.

The function of a protein is a composite of many different aspects: with which proteins does it work together? How are its functions regulated and which processes are affected by it? Even for the reference plant thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) the function for about 10,000 proteins remains enigmatic. Filling this knowledge gap will take a long time using current methodologies. Elucidating these molecular functions is therefore of preeminent importance.

Microarrays enable the Investigations of Thousands of Proteins

Protein microarrays allow the investigation of thousands of proteins in a single experiment. Microarrays are only a few centimeters in size and host thousands of individual test spots on very small space. To produce standard protein microarrays small amounts of proteins are printed to a glass slide and chemically fixed in each spot where they are then available for experiments.

However, this approach requires the prior production and purification of thousands of proteins, which is time consuming and expensive. Together these costs have prevented the widespread use of protein microarrays despite their enormous potential.

The research group of Pascal Falter-Braun of the Chair of Plant Systems Biology at TUM together with colleagues from the USA and Japan now achieved a possibly decisive breakthrough: DNA, which is much easier and cheaper to produce, is printed instead of proteins and the protein arrays are subsequently ‘developed’. DNA contains the information that specifies the shape of proteins. After printing the DNA on the array the latter is submerged in a reaction mixture that synthesizes the proteins specified by the printed DNA. A chemical anchor that is attached to the glass surface rapidly and tightly captures the so developed proteins, which are then available for functional studies.

The method is called ‘nucleic acid programmable protein array’ which, in conjunction with the employed capture agent, is abbreviated Halo-NAPPA. By using the new capture chemistry the researchers were able to increase the density of the arrays such that it is now possible to accommodate all proteins encoded in a genome on just a few arrays. The scientists could demonstrate the potential of the protein arrays in the context of plant hormone signaling pathways, which, for example, mediate responses to drought stress or against pathogens.

1000 novel Protein-Protein Interactions discovered

For the study now published in PNAS interactions of 38 of some of the most important transcription factor proteins of thale cress were investigated. Transcription factors determine which genes are active at what time and in which conditions and consequently have a critical role in organisms. The transcription factors themselves can be activated or inactivated by interacting with other proteins – in the present study nearly 1000 new interactions for the investigated transcription factors were detected using the protein microarrays. “Many of the now observed interactions have never been documented. They will help us to understand how biological systems and the underlying molecular networks function”, says Falter-Braun.

Proteins in plants and in man do not act in isolation but have mutual regulatory relationships and act together in complex networks – the research focus of the TUM team around Falter-Braun. In all organisms proteins have key roles and execute nearly all biological processes. “Possibly, the new method is a milestone towards understanding which proteins interact with which other proteins or other molecules in cells. Because it is cheaper and simpler a wider range of researchers can now work with these protein arrays to investigate protein functions” says Falter-Braun.

The scientist is convinced that the new method will also help to accelerate research in the research on renewable energies and the understanding of diseases.

Publication:

Junshi Yazakia, Mary Gallia, Alice Y. Kima, Kazumasa Nitob, Fernando Alemand, Katherine N. Changb, Anne-Ruxandra Carvunise, Rosa Quana, Hien Nguyena, Liang Songb, José M. Alvarezh, Shao-shan Carol Huangb, Huaming Chena, Niroshan Ramachandrani, Stefan Altmannj, Rodrigo A. Gutiérrezh, David E. Hille, Julian I. Schroederd, Joanne Choryb, Joshua LaBaerl, Marc Vidale, Pascal Braunj and Joseph R. Eckera: Mapping transcription factor interactome networks using HaloTag protein arrays, PNAS June 2016.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1603229113

Contact:

Dr. Pascal Falter-Braun
Technical University of Munich
Chair of Plant Systems Biology
Emil-Ramann-Strasse 8
85354 Freising, Germany
Phone: 08161 /71 5645
pbraun@wzw.tum.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/33223/

Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München

Further reports about: Biology DNA Microarrays TUM proteins transcription factor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>