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
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses