Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New technology paves the way for the future of identifying proteins inside cells

23.09.2008
A new technology which enables scientists to identify proteins by making a map of the energy flow inside the protein is revealed today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

The scientists behind the new technology hope to develop a tool which can be used to analyse human cells and find out which proteins are present and in what quantities. Being able to sensitively analyse the protein make-up of cells is important because proteins are involved in every process in human cells, from facilitating immune responses to cell-to-cell communication, and when a cell becomes diseased, for example with cancer, the number of different kinds of proteins in a cell changes.

The new research outlines how an imaging technique known as coherent two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy, 2DIR, has been used to successfully identify proteins in laboratory tests. The technique uses an ultra short pulse of infra-red laser light to cause a vibration in one part of the protein molecule. The researchers then track the movement of energy from this vibration as it moves through the protein, building up an energy flow map of the protein which enables them to identify what kind of protein it is.

Professor David Klug from the Single Cell Proteomics project at Imperial College London, one of the authors of the new paper, explains the significance of their study: "We have proved the principle that it is possible to use this type of spectroscopy to identify proteins and we are now looking to use this knowledge to develop a new tool that can be used to further a broad range of research including drug discovery, diagnostics, biomarker discovery and basic biology.

"This is the first time in over 20 years that a new method for identifying proteins has been discovered, and we're very excited about the possibilities that it will bring to our field."

The technologies under development in the Single Cell Proteomics Project are focussed on improving the sensitivities of proteomic tools to allow single cells to be analysed. Currently, scientists identify and count proteins either by using antibodies or mass spectrometry. The new third potential method, 2DIR, has advantages over the existing methods because it could be more sensitive and provide additional information on how protein activity and function is modulated within cells. "Counting the number of proteins is important, but not enough to understand the biology at work," says Professor Klug.

Potential applications of these methods include the possibility to analyse single cancer cells found circulating in the bloodstream of patients and in the discovery of new biomarkers that might ultimately be used in screening and diagnosis.

The study of proteins, known as proteomics, is the next step for scientists following the identification of all the genes in human DNA in the human genome project. All human cells contain the same 20,000 genes but in different cells different genes are 'switched on' to produce different proteins, and it is the differences between proteins which distinguishes one type of cell from another, and a healthy cell from a diseased cell.

The Single Cell Proteomics (SCP) group at Imperial was established in 2006 with £5 million funding from the EPSRC and BBSRC,.and will run for five and a half years. The project, which is managed under the auspices of Imperial's Chemical Biology Centre, aims to develop a raft of new measurement tools which will enable scientists to analyse proteins in new ways, with greater clarity and at faster speeds than ever before.

This PNAS paper was written in collaboration with Professor Keith Willison, Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at The Institute of Cancer Research, who is a co-holder of the £5M SCP grant. He says: "The development of new single cell, single molecule approaches is vital in the hunt for rare cancer cells."

For more information on the Single Cell Proteomics project go to www.singlecellproteomics.ac.uk

Danielle Reeves | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk
http://www.singlecellproteomics.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>