Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New membrane lipid measuring technique may help fight disease

11.10.2011
Could controlling cell-membrane fat play a key role in turning off disease?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago think so, and a biosensor they've created that measures membrane lipid levels may open up new pathways to disease treatment.

Wonhwa Cho, distinguished professor of chemistry, and his coworkers engineered a way to modify proteins to fluoresce and act as sensors for lipid levels.

Their findings are reported in Nature Chemistry, online on Oct. 9.

"Lipid molecules on cell membranes can act as switches that turn on or off protein-protein interactions affecting all cellular processes, including those associated with disease," says Cho. "While the exact mechanism is still unknown, our hypothesis is that lipid molecules serve sort of like a sliding switch."

Cho said once lipid concentrations reach a certain threshold, they trigger reactions, including disease-fighting immune responses. Quantifying lipid membrane concentration in a living cell and studying its location in real time can provide a powerful tool for understanding and developing new ways to combat a range of maladies from inflammation, cancer and diabetes to metabolic diseases.

"It's not just the presence of lipid, but the number of lipid molecules that are important for turning on and off biological activity," said Cho.

While visualizing lipid molecules with fluorescent proteins isn't new, Cho's technique allows quantification by using a hybrid protein molecule that fluoresces only when it binds specific lipids. His lab worked with a lipid known as PIP2 -- an important fat molecule involved in many cellular processes. Cho's sensor binds to PIP2 and gives a clear signal that can be quantified through a fluorescent microscope.

The result is the first successful quantification of membrane lipids in a living cell in real time.

"We had to engineer the protein in such a way to make it very stable, behave well, and specifically recognizes a particular lipid," Cho said. He has been working on the technique for about a decade, overcoming technical obstacles only about three years ago.

Cho hopes now to create a tool kit of biosensors to quantify most, if not all lipids.

"We'd like to be able to measure multiple lipids, simultaneously," he said. "It would give us a snapshot of all the processes being regulated by the different lipids inside a cell."

Other authors on the paper are postdoctoral researcher Youngdae Yoon, who developed the sensor; Park J. Lee, a doctoral student who developed microscope tools to enable the lipid quantification; and doctoral student Svetlana Kurilova, who worked on the protein cell delivery.

Paul Francuch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

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 >>>