Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New technology illuminates protein interactions in living cells

14.11.2007
While fluorescence has long been used to tag biological molecules, a new technology developed at Yale allows researchers to use tiny fluorescent probes to rapidly detect and identify protein interactions within living cells while avoiding the biological disruption of existing methods, according to a report in Nature Chemical Biology.

Proteins are commonly tagged using variants of the “green fluorescent protein” (GFP), but these proteins are very large and are often toxic to live cells. They also tend to aggregate, making them difficult to work with and monitor. This new methodology uses the fluorescence emitted by a small molecule, rather than a large protein. It gives researchers a less disruptive way to capture images of the intricate contacts between folded regions of an individual protein or the partnerships between proteins in a live cell.

“Our approach bypasses many of the problems associated with fluorescent proteins, so that we can image protein interactions in living cells,” said senior author Alanna Schepartz, the Milton Harris Professor of Chemistry, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at Yale. “Using these molecules we can differentiate alternative or misfolded proteins from those that are folded correctly and also detect protein partnerships in live cells.”

Each protein is a three-dimensional structure created by “folding” its linear chain of amino acids. Usually only one shape “works” for each protein. The particular shape a protein takes depends on its amino acids and on other processes within the cell.

... more about:
»GFP »Living »Protein »Technology »interactions

Schepartz and her team devised their new tagging system using small molecules, called “profluorescent” biarsenal dyes. These molecules easily enter cells and become fluorescent when they bind to a specific amino acid tag sequence within a protein. While these compounds have been used for about a decade to bind single proteins, this is the first time they have been used to identify interactions between proteins.

The researchers’ strategy was to split the amino acid tag for the dye into two pieces, locating each piece of the tag far apart in the chain of a protein they genetically engineered and expressed in the cells. Then they monitored cells exposed to the dye. Where the protein folded correctly, the two parts of the tag came together and the fluorescent compound bound and lit up. There was no signal unless the protein folded normally.

“This method of detection can provide important insights into how proteins choose their partners within the cell — choices that may be very different from those made in a test tube,” said Schepartz. She emphasizes that this technology does not monitor the process of protein folding — but, rather “sees” the protein conformations that exist at a given time.

“In theory, our technique could be used to target and selectively inactivate specific protein complexes in the cell, as therapy, or to visualize conformations at very high resolution for diagnostic purposes,” said Schepartz. She speculates that the technology could be applied to detection strategies that identify protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

Further reports about: GFP Living Protein Technology interactions

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht UK chemistry researchers develop catalyst that mimics the z-scheme of photosynthesis
26.06.2017 | University of Kentucky

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

New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers

26.06.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New research reveals impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Correct connections are crucial

26.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>