Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Control of cell movement with light accomplished in living organisms

17.05.2010
UNC-developed technique has broad applications in cancer, biomedical research

A precise understanding of cellular growth and movement is the key to developing new treatments for cancer and other disorders caused by dysfunctional cell behavior. Recent breakthroughs in genetic medicine have uncovered how genes control whether cellular proteins are turned 'on' or 'off' at the molecular level, but much remains to be understood about how protein signaling influences cell behavior.

A technique developed in the laboratory of Klaus Hahn, PhD, the Thurman Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, uses light to manipulate the activity of a protein at precise times and places within a living cell, providing a new tool for scientists who study the fundamentals of protein function.

In a paper published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology, a team led by Denise Montell, PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes how researchers used the technique, which controls protein behavior in cells and animals simply by shining a focused beam of light on the cells where they want the protein to be active, in live fruit flies.

"This finding complements an additional collaboration with Anna Huttenlocher, PhD of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published earlier this year in the journal Developmental Cell, showing that this technique could be used to control cell movement in live zebrafish as well," said Hahn.

"We have now shown that this technique works in two different living organisms, providing proof of principle that light can be used to activate a key protein. In this case the protein controls cell movement, enabling us to move cells about in animals. This is particularly valuable in studies where cell movement is the focus of the research, including embryonic development, nerve regeneration and cancer metastasis. Now researchers can control where and where particular proteins are activated in animals, providing a heretofore inaccessible level of control," said Hahn.

The new technology is an advance over previous light-directed methods of cellular control that used toxic wavelengths of light, disrupted the cell membrane or could switch proteins 'on' but not 'off'. Unlike some approaches it requires no injection of cofactors or other unnatural materials into the animals being studied.

The research published today was the work of a team including Montell, and Xiaobo Wang from Johns Hopkins and Hahn and Yi Wu, PhD, research assistant professor of pharmacology, both from UNC.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Cell Migration Consortium.

Ellen de Graffenreid | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

Further reports about: UNC cell death cell movement cellular protein living organism

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>