Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rapid movements of living biomolecules visualised

24.06.2003


Dutch researcher Chris Molenaar has made the rapid movements of proteins, DNA and RNA molecules visible in living cells. With this technique researchers can study the dynamics of biomolecules in their natural environment.



Molenaar developed a method which makes it possible to follow the movements of RNA molecules in living cells. The researcher also made the movements and interactions between proteins in living cells visible with the aid of the revolutionary "Green Fluorescent Protein".

Much of the present knowledge about molecular compositions of the cell and the mechanisms in which biomolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins play a role, is based on experiments in tests tubes with biomolecules isolated from cells. However, with these molecules it is difficult to simulate the behaviour in a living cell. Dynamic processes in the cell can only be understood with living cell microscopy.


Molenaar used fluorescent probes which specifically bind to the molecule he wanted to study. By using a fluorescent microscope to examine where a fluorescent molecule was at different times, the movement of the structures containing these molecules could be followed. For example, the researcher followed the tips of chromosomes (telomeres) in three dimensions over the course of time.

The mobility of populations of molecules was visualised using FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching). The fluorescent molecules in a small part of the cell are destroyed when a laser is focussed on them. However, although it no longer fluoresces, the biomolecule to which the fluorescent molecule is attached remains intact. The rate at which the fluorescent molecules from the surroundings move into this dark area says something about the mobility of, for example, a certain type of RNA or protein. This mobility in turns provides further information about the functioning of the molecules.

In addition to the movement of the biomolecules, Molenaar also visualised the interaction of different biomolecules. For this he used FRET microscopy (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer). When two fluorescent molecules approach to within several nanometres of each other, one molecule can transfer energy to the other. This energy transfer causes a change in the colour of the fluorescence. Molecular interactions occur within distances of several nanometres. This distance cannot be resolved with a normal light microscope.


For further information please contact Dr Chris Molenaar (Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center), tel. 31-71-527-6278, e-mail: c.molenaar@lumc.nl. The doctoral thesis was defended on 18 June 2003. Dr Molenaar’s supervisor was Prof. H.J. Tanke.

Image at www.nwo.nl/news. A short film can also be found in which it can be seen how a fluorescent probe specifically binds to the desired biomolecules (RNA) immediately after being injected into a living cell.

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Nalinie Moerlie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>