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 More than just a mechanical barrier – epithelial cells actively combat the flu virus
04.05.2016 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht Discovery of a fundamental limit to the evolution of the genetic code
03.05.2016 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nuclear Pores Captured on Film

Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, a team of researchers from the University of Basel has filmed “living” nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time. Nuclear pores are molecular machines that control the traffic entering or exiting the cell nucleus. In their article published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers explain how the passage of unwanted molecules is prevented by rapidly moving molecular “tentacles” inside the pore.

Using high-speed AFM, Roderick Lim, Argovia Professor at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute of the University of Basel, has not only directly...

Im Focus: 2+1 is Not Always 3 - In the microworld unity is not always strength

If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing another microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”

In the microscopic world, where the modern miniaturized machines at the new frontiers of technology operate, as long as we are in the presence of two...

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New fabrication and thermo-optical tuning of whispering gallery microlasers

04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Introducing the disposable laser

04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

A new vortex identification method for 3-D complex flow

04.05.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>