Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vanderbilt research targets chemical and biological weapon detection

29.01.2007
Vanderbilt University researchers, in conjunction with colleagues at several other institutions, are working on a project that promises significant improvement in the control of proteins for a number of uses, including the detection of chemical and biological weapons.

Real-time control of the function of single proteins by detecting and changing their shapes is the object of the new research project, called SPARTAN, which signifies Single Protein Actuation by Real-Time Transduction of Affinity in Nanospace. The project is headed by scientists at the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education.

“In the area of chemical and biological agent sensors, the controllable protein is the equivalent of the transistor in microelectronics,” said John Wikswo, the Gordon A. Cain University Professor at Vanderbilt and director of the project.

“The single transistor was a technical breakthrough, but its true potential was not realized until millions of transistors were combined on individual microcircuits,” Wikswo said. “Similarly, the true potential of controllable proteins will be realized when we can combine them into large arrays that can be dynamically tuned to respond to a wide variety of different agents.”

... more about:
»Capability »Detection »Tennessee »individual »weapon

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding the first phase of the one-year project with $1.3 million because such a capability would provide the foundation for a new class of advanced sensors for applications, including the detection of chemical and biological weapons.

The interdisciplinary SPARTAN project brings together researchers from Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee Space Institute, University of Texas at Austin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Proteins are a natural means to detect chemical and biological agents (CB) because many such agents are themselves proteins or small molecules that bind to proteins. Scientists already have the capability to produce proteins that can bind to, and thereby detect or deactivate, known CB agents. Now the challenge is how to respond to new and unknown agents. That is where controllable proteins come in. They could provide the basis of extremely flexible and responsive sensor systems that can rapidly identify unknown chemical and biological threats. In addition, development of such a system should significantly improve understanding of the relationship between protein structure and function.

While the idea of controlling individual proteins may seem futuristic, most of the underlying tools already exist. For some time, scientists have known that a protein’s shape determines its function. Today, understanding of the relationship between their structure, the way in which they change shape and their biological function is growing dramatically. Combine this with a number of other recent developments – the capability to design and fabricate tailored proteins, the ability to use optical spectroscopy to monitor the shape of individual proteins, plus assorted advances in nanophotonics, biophotonics, micro- and nano-fluidics and modern control theory – and the result could be an important new national resource, according to the proposal.

The project requires the combined expertise of researchers in a number of different fields:

• Vanderbilt University researchers have developed the capability to isolate and manipulate individual proteins within microfluidic and nanofluidic devices and to use nature to sort through billions of different protein possibilities to find those that bind most strongly under given conditions.

• University of Texas at Austin researchers have created highly efficient antibodies to anthrax-related biomolecules that will be used as the target proteins for initial demonstrations, have developed the means to insert organic chemicals in specific locations within proteins and have developed computer models for predicting the properties of such engineered proteins.

• University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have synthesized a class of organic chemicals that can be specifically attached to proteins and cause them to reversibly change shape when exposed to light of different colors.

• University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers have developed custom single-molecule microscopes with multi-color lasers and advanced control electronics and a laser nano-machining capability that can produce novel nanoscale platforms for the single-protein experiments. Researchers at University of Tennessee have expertise in state-of-the-art control theory.

• Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers provide expertise and unique facilities for fabrication, characterization and imaging of nanoscale features to be used in the research.

The goal of the first phase of the project is to prove that it is possible to reversibly control the conformation of a single protein in real time. In the second phase the researchers will attempt to incorporate real-time control of protein conformation into novel technologies for the detection of chemical or biological threat agents.

David F. Salisbury | Vanderbilt University
Further information:
http://www.darpa.mil/dso/thrust/biosci/cpc.htm
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

Further reports about: Capability Detection Tennessee individual weapon

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>