Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biosensor measures signaling molecules within cilia

22.03.2016

Scientists of the Research Center caesar in Bonn, an Institute of the Max Planck Society, developed a new biosensor, which allows to measure nanomolar levels of the second messenger cAMP. The sensor makes it possible to study cAMP signaling with high precision, even in subcellular compartments. Using this new biosensor, the scientists of the Minerva Max Planck Research Group “Molecular Physiology“ headed by Dagmar Wachten and of the Department “Molecular Sensory Systems” headed by Benjamin Kaupp revealed how the production of cAMP is regulated in the flagella of sperm cells from mice.

Cells can change the way they grow, move, or develop in response to stimuli from their environment. This information is first detected at the surface of the cell and then translated into an intracellular response by signaling molecules known as “second messengers”. A molecule called cAMP is a well-known second messenger that is involved in many different signaling pathways.


The novel biosensor within the flagellum of mouse sperm. Above: a light microscopy image of a mouse sperm. The middle image displays a normal and the lower image an increased cAMP concentration.

caesar

Some cells have hair-like structures called cilia or flagella on their surface, which have been proposed to function as antennae for extracellular stimuli. Cilia are membrane protrusions that come in two different flavors - they can be motile or immotile. A special case of a motile cilium is the flagellum with the most prominent example being the sperm flagellum.

The second messenger cAMP plays an essential role in making motile cilia move, but it is challenging to analyze, how the levels of this molecule change over time in these structures. The levels of cAMP in live cells can only be measured using fluorescent biosensors.

Introducing these biosensors into subcellular compartments is difficult and so far, the sensors have not been sensitive enough to respond to low levels of cAMP. Furthermore, it is difficult to measure cAMP activity inside such tiny structures using these biosensors.

The team of scientists created a new cAMP biosensor that has several unique features. The sensor is based on FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) technology. FRET is a mechanism describing energy transfer between two light-sensitive molecules.

In the new created biosensor, the amount of energy tranfer depends on the distance and orientation between two light-sensitive molecules. Upon binding to cAMP, a structural rearrangement increases the distance of the two molecules and thereby decreases the amount of energy transferred between them.

Most importantly, the sensor can respond to very low levels of cAMP, making it more sensitive than previous biosensors. The caesar scientists tested this new biosensor in the flagella of sperm cells from mice, which revealed how the production of cAMP is regulated in the flagellum. The new biosensor also showed that different parts of the flagellum can have different cAMP dynamics.

In the future, this new biosensor could be used to study cAMP in other structures and compartments within cells.

Original publication

Mukherjee, S., Jansen, V., Jikeli ,J. F., Hamzeh, H., Alvarez, L., Dombrowski, M., Balbach, M., Strünker, T., Seifert, R., Kaupp U. B. & Wachten, D. (2016) "A novel biosensor to study cAMP dynamics in cilia and flagella", eLife, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.14052

Contact

Dr. Dagmar Wachten
Minerva Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe "Molekulare Physiologie"
Telefon: +49(0)228/9656-311
E-mail: dagmar.wachten@caesar.de

Dr. Jürgen Reifarth | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.caesar.de/

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>