Individual human cells are small, just one or two hundredths of a millimetre in diameter. As such, special measuring equipment is needed to distinguish the various parts inside the cell. Researchers generally use a microscope that magnifies the cell and shows its contours outline, but does not provide any information on the molecules inside the cell and on its surface.
“The new sample holder is filled with holds cells in solution,” says Ingela Lanekoff, one of the researchers who developed the new method at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Chemistry. “We then rapidly freeze the sample down to -196°C, which enables us to get a snapshot of where the various molecules are at the moment of freezing. Using this technique we can produce images that show not only the outline of the cell’s contours, but also the molecules that are there, and where they are located.”
So why do the researchers want to know which molecules are to be found in a single cell? Because the cell is the smallest living component there is, and the chemical processes that take place here play a major role in how the cell functions in our body. For example, our brain has special cells that can communicate with each other through chemical signals. This vital communication has been shown to be dependent on the molecules in the cell’s membrane.
Imaging the molecules in the membrane of single individual cells’s membrane enables researchers to measure changes. Together with previous results, Lanekoff’s findings show that the rate of communication in the studied cells studied is affected by a change of less than one per cent in the quantities abundance of a specific molecule in the membrane. This would suggest that communication between the cells in the brain is heavily dependent on the chemical composition of the membrane of each individual cell,. This could be an important part of the puzzle which could go some way towards explaining the mechanisms behind learning and memory.
The thesis also describes a new method whereby specific molecules are used in combination with special measuring equipment to locate bacteria that live on the seabed oceanfloor. The bacteria in question play an important role in nature as they counteract both seabed oceanfloor death and eutrophication overfertilization. The method enables researchers to monitor the depth and location of these bacteria in sediment on the seabed oceanfloor.For more information, please contact:
Journal: Surface and Int. Sci. 2011 (43) 257-260.
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