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 Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus 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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>