A new kind of gel that promotes the proper organization of human cells was developed by Prof. Prasad Shastri of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry and BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies Excellence Cluster at the University of Freiburg and BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies graduate students Aurelien Forget and Jon Christensen in collaboration with Dr. Steffen L¨¹deke of the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences.
3-D organization and branching of human endothelial cells into vascular trees in carboxylated agarose gels
© Aurelien Forget, Prasad Shastri
These hydrogels made of agarose, a polymer of sugar molecules derived from sea algae, mimic many aspects of the environment of cells in the human body. They can serve as a scaffold for cells to organize in tissues. In the cover article of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Prof. Shastri and co-workers show how by applying these hydrogels they could grow blood vessel structures from cells in an unparalleled way. These gels could be used in the future to help damaged tissue heal faster.
The cells environment in the body is composed of collagen and polymers of sugars. It provides mechanical signals to the cells, necessary for their survival and proper organization into a tissue, and hence essential for healing. A gel can mimic this scaffold. However it has to precisely reproduce the molecular matrix outside the cell in its physical properties. Those properties, like the matrices stiffness, vary in the body depending on the tissue.
The team of Prof. Shastri modified agarose gels by adding a carboxylic acid residue to the molecular structure of the polymer to optimally fit the cells environment. Hydrogels form when polymer chains that can dissolve in water are crosslinked. In an agarose gel the sugar chains organize into a spring-like structure. By adding a carboxylic acid to this backbone, the polymers form ribbon-like structures ¨C this allows for the stiffness of the gel to be tuned to adapt the scaffold to every part of the human body.
To demonstrate the versatility of the gel the researchers manipulated endothelial cells that make up vascular tissue to organize into blood vessels outside the body. By combining the appropriate biological molecules found in a developing embryo, they identified a single condition that encourages endothelial cells to form large blood vessel-like structures, several hundred micrometers in height. This discovery has implications in treating damage to heart and muscle tissue.
Prof. Shastri says ¡°it is really remarkable that the organization of the endothelial cells into these free standing vascular lumens occurs within our gels without the need for support cells¡±. It has been long thought the formation of large vessel-like structures requires additional cells called mural support cells, which provide a platform for the endothelial cells to attach and organize.
| University of Freiburg
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy