Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fantastic Voyage: a new nanoscale view of the biological world

05.10.2006
Echoing the journey through the human body in Fantastic Voyage, doctors might soon be able to track individual donor cells after a transplant, or to find where and how much of a cancer treatment drug there is within a cell.

New technology described in a study published today in the open access journal Journal of Biology makes it possible to image and quantify molecules within individual mammalian or bacterial cells. Claude Lechene and colleagues describe the development of multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS), which has applications in all fields of biology and biomedical research.

“This method allows us to see what has never been seen before, and to measure what has never before been measured,” Lechene says. “Imagine looking into a building, slice by slice. You can see not only that it contains apartments, but also that each apartment contains a refrigerator. You can see that there are tomatoes in the refrigerator of one apartment, and potatoes in the refrigerator of another. You can count how many there are and measure how fast they are used and replaced. It is this level of resolution and quantification that MIMS makes possible within cells.”

Lechene, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, worked with colleagues from around the world to develop and test the new methodology.

... more about:
»Biology »Ion »Lechene »MIMS »isotope »labelling

A beam of ions is used to bombard the surface atoms of the biological sample, and a fraction of the atoms are emitted and ionized. These “secondary ions” can then be manipulated with ion optics – in the way lenses and prisms manipulate visible light - to create an atomic mass image of the sample. Lechene et al. developed MIMS by combining the use of a novel secondary-ion mass spectrometer developed by Georges Slodzian, from the Université Paris-Sud in France, labeling with stable isotopes and building quantitative image-analysis software.

MIMS can generate quantitative, three-dimensional images of proteins, DNA, RNA, sugar and fatty acids at a subcellular level in tissue sections or cells. “Using MIMS, we can image and quantify the fate of these molecules when they go into cells, where they go, and how quickly they are replaced,” says Lechene.

The method does not need staining or use of radioactive labelling. Instead, it is possible to use stable isotopes to track molecules. For example, researchers could track stem cells by labelling DNA with 15N. “These stable isotopes do not alter the DNA and are not toxic to people; with MIMS and stable isotope labelling we could track these cells, where they are and how they have changed several years later,” says Lechene.

“The most significant feature of this technique is that it opens up a whole new world of imaging; we haven’t yet imagined all that we can do with it,” says Peter Gillespie from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, USA in an accompanying news article, also published today in Journal of Biology.

Lechene et al. describe how they developed MIMS, and illustrate some potential applications for biomedical research. For example, the article describes using MIMS to track donor spleen cells in the lymph nodes of a mouse, suggesting that MIMS may have applications in tracking stem cells and in understanding why some organ transplants are rejected. In another example MIMS was used to measure the capture of atmospheric nitrogen and its conversion to dietary nitrogen within single bacteria, a phenomenon essential to supporting life on earth.

The accompanying news article, published today in Journal of Biology, includes an interview with Lechene and garners views from researchers about the implications and applications of Lechene et al.’s article. Speaking with science writer Jonathan Weitzman, Brad Amos of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge UK said “The labelling of the lymph node cells by 15N...suggests that MIMS may be highly useful in immunology and cancer research. This may turn out to be a key paper in the development of a really important imaging method.” Weitzman writes, ‘[Gillespie] agrees with Amos that the technology represents an imaging revolution. “The novelty of the technique means it will take some time for the details to be absorbed, [but it] sets a spectacular new standard for spatial resolution and detection of stable and radioactive compounds in cells.”

Grace Baynes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

Further reports about: Biology Ion Lechene MIMS isotope labelling

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>