Researchers working at the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB) and The School of Chemistry have unveiled a new technique for producing functional ‘protein chips’ in a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), published online today (22 August 2008).
Protein chips – or ‘protein arrays’ as they are more commonly known – are objects such as slides that have proteins attached to them and allow important scientific data about the behaviour of proteins to be gathered.
Functional protein arrays could give scientists the ability to run tests on tens of thousands of different proteins simultaneously, observing how they interact with cells, other proteins, DNA and drugs.
As proteins can be placed and located precisely on a ‘chip’, it would be possible to scan large numbers of them at the same time but then isolate the data relating to individual proteins.
These chips would allow large amounts of data to be generated with the minimum use of materials – especially rare proteins that are only available in very small amounts.
The Manchester team of Dr Lu Shin Wong, Dr Jenny Thirlway and Prof Jason Micklefield say the technical challenges of attaching proteins in a reliable way have previously held back the widespread application and development of protein chips.
Existing techniques for attaching proteins often results in them becoming fixed in random orientations, which can cause them to become damaged and inactive.
Current methods also require proteins to be purified first – and this means that creating large and powerful protein arrays would be hugely costly in terms of time, manpower and money.
Now researchers at The University of Manchester say they have found a reliable new way of attaching active proteins to a chip.
Biological chemists have engineered modified proteins with a special tag, which makes the protein attach to a surface in a highly specified way and ensures it remains functional.
The attachment occurs in a single step in just a few hours – unlike with existing techniques – and requires no prior chemical modification of the protein of interest or additional chemical steps.
Prof Jason Micklefield from the School of Chemistry, said: “DNA chips have revolutionised biological and medical science. For many years scientists have tried to develop similar protein chips but technical difficulties associated with attaching large numbers of proteins to surfaces have prevented their widespread application.
“The method we have developed could have profound applications in the diagnosis of disease, screening of new drugs and in the detection of bacteria, pollutants, toxins and other molecules.”
Researchers from The University of Manchester are currently working as part of a consortium of several universities on a £3.1 million project which is aiming to develop so-called ‘nanoarrays’.
These would be much smaller than existing ‘micro arrays’ and would allow thousands more protein samples to be placed on a single ‘chip’, reducing cost and vastly increasing the volume of data that could be simultaneously collected.
This project, which involves the universities of Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Glasgow, is being supported by Research Councils UK (RCUK), the umbrella body for academic research funding in the UK.
Jon Keighren | alfa
Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo
Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.
Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy