Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tracking the HI Virus with High-resolution Microscopy

09.04.2014

BMBF funds joint project to develop new microscopy methods

Experts from science and industry are working on new methods of microscopy and advancing microscopy technology to improve our ability to study and understand the molecular processes of HIV infection.

Last year, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) approved approx. 4.6 million euros for this joint project called “Chemical Switches and Click Chemistry for High-resolution Microscopy”. Meanwhile preparations for the start of the project are complete.

The three-year “Switch Click Microscopy” project will involve scientists from Heidelberg University and Heidelberg University Hospital, the University of Würzburg, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg as well as experts from four companies. The project coordinator is Prof. Dr. Dirk-Peter Herten, a member of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence who also works at the Institute for Physical Chemistry at Heidelberg University.

As Prof. Herten explains, there are more than 35 million people worldwide living with the human immunodeficiency virus HIV. “AIDS, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome this virus causes, is now quite treatable in the industrialised world.

But the lifelong treatment with medication has to be continually adjusted. Because the virus is constantly changing, new treatment strategies are needed,” continues the Heidelberg scientist.

“By shedding light on how the virus functions and propagates, we can target our research to develop specific methods for diagnosis and treatment.” Researchers in the joint project are particularly focussed on changes in the T-cells of the immune system effected by the HIV Nef protein. In order to better investigate these processes, the team intends to greatly expand on previous methods of light microscopy.

“The key is the development of new fluorescent probes,” explains Prof. Herten. A new type of direct protein labelling should substantially improve the microscopic image and allow biological structures to be reconstructed in 3D super-resolution. To this end, the scientists intend to synthesise fluorescent probes whose properties can be controlled through chemical reactions.

“The goal is to selectively control the fluorescence by adding certain reagents,” stresses the project coordinator. “The new approach to super-resolution fluorescent microscopy can then function independently of light-driven processes.” Furthermore, the methods for protein labelling are to be improved to prevent artefacts and unspecific signals in the imaging.

The researchers are also targeting new developments in the field of microscopy technology, including methods to simplify adding reagents during microscopy as well as new light sources whose output and wavelengths are attuned to the newly developed fluorescent dyes.

Another field of endeavour are optical technologies that permit three-dimensional super-resolution imaging. According to Prof. Herten, these technical enhancements are to be based on standard microscopy systems to ensure wide-ranging and cost-efficient use. “Improving microscopic imaging makes understanding the biological processes surrounding the HIV immunodeficiency virus easier. This knowledge will allow us to focus the search for new AIDS drugs much more effectively.“

The industrial partners in the project include ATTO-TEC GmbH in Siegen, Sirius Fine Chemicals SiChem GmbH in Bremen als well as FEI Munich GmbH and TOPTICA Photonics AG in Munich. The research work at Heidelberg University will be supported through BMBF funds in the amount of approx. 670,000 euros.

Internet information:
http://www.bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de/research/groups/single_molecule_spectroscopy.html
http://www.photonikforschung.de/forschungsfelder/biophotonik/ultrasensitiver-nachweis-und-manipulation-vonin-zellen

Contact:
Adjunct Professor Dr. Dirk-Peter Herten
CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence
Institute for Physical Chemistry
Phone: +49 6221 54-51220
dirk.herten@bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>