These biochips are already in widespread use for DNA testing. When it comes to proteins, such chips are difficult to produce. This is because the proteins have a defined three-dimensional structure by which they can interact specifically with other molecules and control biological processes. If they bind to a surface, such as on a biochip, the structure can be destroyed and the protein cannot perform its function.
Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm have solved this problem. "We have developed a gel – a network of organic molecules – that we can apply to the surface of the biochip," says Dr. Andreas Holländer, group manager at the IAP. "This gel layer is only about 100 to 500 nano-meters thick and consists mainly of water. We thus make the protein believe that it is in a solution, even though it is chemically connected to the network. It feels as if it is in its natural environment and continues to function even though it is on a biochip."
Other research groups are working on similar hydrogels. The key feature of the new production technique is that it can be applied in industry, and the gel layers can be manufactured cheaply on a large scale. Usually there are two ways of producing such networks. In the first, complete polymers are chemically bound to the surface. In the second, the polymer molecules are constructed unit by unit on the surface. "Our technique is a mixture of the two known methods. We use larger molecular building blocks to build up the network on the surface," explains Falko Pippig, who is doing his doctorate on this subject at the IAP.
As the hydrogel layers are very thin, substances added from the outside very quickly reach the protein which is in and on this layer. For example, physicians can put blood or urine on the chip and diagnose illnesses. The research scientists have already developed the process fundamentals. Protein biochips could therefore become everyday items of equipment in medical laboratories – the possible applications far exceed those of DNA chips.
Dr. Andreas Hollaender | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News