Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High-Performance Microscopy for Membrane Receptors

03.06.2015

In a new Collaborative Research Centre scientists from Würzburg and Jena are examining the function of membrane receptors with the most modern light microscopy. The objective is to gain new findings about how these receptors work and to develop the high-performance light microscopy further.

Membrane receptors are participating as important switching molecules in almost all biological processes. These commonly complex proteins are located in the outer cell boundaries, the cell membranes, just like very sensitive antenna and are waiting for signals in the form of small molecules, so called ligands which can attach themselves specifically and custom-fit to the respective receptors.


Just like a satellite which provides incredibly sharp images of the earth’s surface: The microscopic dSTORM technology works similarly to this.

(Picture: AK Jürgen Seibel / AK Markus Sauer)

The receptor then changes its chemical form and therefore its properties and thus gives the starting signal for other signal or material transports in the cell. Membrane receptors are, for example, the docking stations for adrenaline and growth hormones, for nicotine and opiates.

The new Collaborative Research Centre

These receptors are the focus of a “ReceptorLight” Collaborative Research Centre, newly set up by the German Research Foundation, where scientists from Jena and Würzburg are participating. Spokesperson is Professor Markus Sauer, physiologist from the Jena University Clinic; representative spokesperson is Professor Markus Sauer, head of the department for Biotechnology and Biophysics at University of Würzburg. The scientists want to continue to decode the switching plans of different membrane receptors in 22 sub-projects and with an entire arsenal of microscopic technologies. Depending on the question, they will also work on the further development of methods and the evaluation of the images gained.

Technology made in Würzburg

One of the methods used, is the one developed by Professor Markus Sauer, the dSTORM technology that allows an extremely precise statement regarding the location and number of molecules through light-induced control of the fluorescence properties of pigments and the stochastic evaluation of many individual molecular images.

“In order to display the spatial distribution of more than ten different target molecules in an experiment, we need a multi-level marking, detection and bleaching process that we want to extend to different colouring agents.” This is how the physical chemist from the biocenter of the University of Würzburg describes the program of the project that he is developing together with professor Rainer Heintzmann from the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technologies and from the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Jena.

Light as a physical tool

Over the last years, new light-microscopic methods have contributed to a better understanding of the way membrane receptors work. “One main advantage of light as a physical tool lies in the comparatively small interruption of biological processes and structures”, emphasizes Professor Klaus Benndorf. “This enabled substantial new findings on the speed of attachment but also on the localisation of the receptors, partly with a spatial resolution in the range of 20 nanometres, i.e. far below the optical resolution limit, Benndorf added.

Molecular mechanisms of encephalitis

In a project that is also at home at the two sites of the SFB, the neurologist from Jena, Professor Christian Geis and the biophysicist PD Dr. Sören Doose examine the molecular mechanisms of an encephalitis, where patients form autoantibodies against a glutamate receptor in the cell membrane of neurons. From electrophysiological measurements, two-photon fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution imaging of these receptors, such as dSTORM, the scientists are expecting insights on the basic principles of neurological autoimmune diseases with resolutions that have so far not been achieved in space or time.

Würzburg plant scientists also take part

And plant cell receptors are also in the focus of scientists: Würzburg plant scientists professor Rainer Hedrich and Professor Dietmar Geiger are researching the switching behaviour of receptors of the dry stress hormone which regulates the stomata, by means of high-resolution fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer.

The receptor light study groups in Würzburg and Jena are combining their diverse methodical skills in the area of high-performance light microscopy with insights of physiology and biophysics of very different membrane receptors. In the process, they will not only jointly use highly modern light-microscopic methods but also special algorithms in order to analyse image data and an independent research and image data management which are each established in autonomous sub-projects. “We want to better understand the way membrane receptors work and at the same time we want drive the option of light-microscopic imaging forward - in spatial as well as in temporal resolution, and also in the complexity of the biological systems viewed, says Klaus Benndorf.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Klaus Benndorf, Institute for Physiology II, Jena University Clinic
T: +49 (0)3641 934350, Klaus.Benndorf@med.uni-jena.de

Prof. Dr. Markus Sauer, Biocenter, University of Würzburg
T: +49 (0)931 31-88687, m.sauer@uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>