Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

WOWing the crowds

07.02.2006


A team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a method that could speed up the process of identifying novel protein molecules for medical or biological research hundreds of times over.

In today’s high-throughput searches for specific genes, proteins or protein interactions, plates containing rows of tiny wells have replaced old-fashioned test tubes. However, trawling for a gene or protein with just the right qualifications may require sorting through millions, or even billions, of possibilities. Instead of wells, the new method, developed by Dr. Dan Tawfik and Amir Aharoni of the Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department and Prof. Shlomo Magdassi of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Chemistry with support from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology, relies on microscopic droplets of water suspended inside oil droplets. Using their system, millions of tests can be performed at once.

The method, which relies on a type of emulsion dubbed WOW, for water-oil-water, takes a page from living cells, which employ a fatty membrane to keep the inside and outside environments separate. The oily layer surrounding each miniscule water droplet acts as a barrier, keeping genes, proteins and other materials contained. Alternately, the team inserted harmless bacteria containing genes for testing into the drops. Confining individual tests within a cell-like bubble allowed them to employ a widely-used method for analyzing living cells. This method involves adding a fluorescent marker that lights up in color when activated by the right protein and sorting through the cells for those containing the marked proteins and their coding genes. Automated devices for sorting cells can handle many thousands of droplets per second. "Searches that now take a year to complete can be done in a matter of days," says Tawfik.



To demonstrate the efficiency of the system, the team isolated a new enzyme from a gene that was mutated artificially to produce random variations. They generated the enzymes in the droplets and sorted them according to which ones were better at cleaving a specific toxin in the bloodstream. The results from a screen completed in one afternoon were equivalent to those previously obtained through several rounds of mutation and screening – a several-month process.

Elizabeth McCrocklin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann-usa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>