An experiment that began as a “fantasy pipe dream” just three years ago is now a reality. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, combining nanotechnology with biochemistry, have created unique synthetic membranes that, for the first time ever, enable them to directly control signaling activity in living T cells from the immune system. Already their experiments have yielded surprising results.
These fluorescently labeled electron micrographs show immunological synapses formed by T cell receptors (green) and adhesion molecules (red). Image (A) shows the synapse in its natural bull’s eye shape; in image (B) chromium lines were used to pattern the synapse with parallel lines; (C) the synapse was patterned into a square grid; and (D), the synapse was patterned into concentric hexagons.
This watercolor painting by Raghuveer Parthasarathy, a member of Jay Groves research group, shows a hybrid interface between a living T cell and a synthetic membrane on a substrate that has been patterned with chromium lines. T cell receptors (TCRs) are communicating with their corresponding signaling ligands on the membrane. By controlling the spatial arrangements of the signaling ligands, scientists can control the T cell’s overall response.
“This marriage of inorganic nanotechnology with organic molecules and cells enables us to go inside a living cell and physically move around its signaling molecules with molecular precision,” said Jay Groves, a chemist who holds a joint appointment with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Chemistry Department. “Our experimental beaker has now become the inside of living cells and we can watch chemical reactions take place there.”
Groves is the principal co-author, along with Michael Dustin, a cellular immunologist at New York University (NYU), of a paper published in the November 18, 2005 issue of the journal Science, entitled: “Altered TCR Signaling from Geometrically Repatterned Immunological Synapses.” The lead author is Kaspar Mossman, a graduate student in Groves’ research group, and the second co-author is Gabriele Campi, a graduate student at NYU with Dustin.
Lynn Yarris | EurekAlert!
Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology