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!
Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
19.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.06.2018 | Life Sciences
19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy