The biological pathway that powers sperm to swim long distances could be harnessed to nanotech devices, releasing drugs or performing mechanical functions inside the body, according to a presentation at the American Society for Cell Biology’s 47th Annual meeting.
The work by researchers at Cornell’s Baker Institute of Animal Health may be the first demonstration of how multistep biological pathways can be assembled and function on a human-made device.
Mammalian sperm have to delivery energy to the long, thin, whip-like tails that power their swimming. Sperm meet the challenge, in part, by onsite power generation, modifying the enzymes of glycolysis so that they can attach themselves to a solid structure running the major length of the sperm tail. From that secure perch, glycolytic enzymes convert sugar into ATP, supplying energy all along the sperm’s bending and flexing tail.
Chinatsu Mukai, Alex Travis, and others at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Science looked at the early steps in the glycolysis pathway to see if they could move it from the thin “fibrous sheath” that covers the sperm tail to a solid inorganic substitute—a nickel-NTA (nitrilotriacetic acid) chip.
First, the researchers replaced the sperm-specific targeting domain of hexokinase, the first enzyme of glycolysis, with a tag that binds to a special gold surface. Even when tethered, the enzyme remained functional. Next they tagged the second enzyme in the pathway, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase. This too was active when tethered. With both attached to the same support, the enzymes acted in series with the product of the first reaction serving as substrate for the second.
These are only the first steps in reproducing the full glycolytic pathway on an inorganic support, say Mukai and Travis. Mukai and Travis suggest that their work serves as proof of principle that the organization of the glycolytic pathway in sperm might provide a natural engineering solution of how to produce ATP locally on nano devices.
John Fleischman | EurekAlert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences