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 The herbivore dilemma: How corn plants fights off simultaneous attacks
09.02.2016 | Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

nachricht Shedding Light on Bacteria
09.02.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

09.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Using renewable energy in heating networks more efficiently

09.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>