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!
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences