Applications for this technique include identifying the sites of virus infections and cancer growth, due to the abundance of DNA replication in these tissues. This approach should therefore lead to new strategies in drug development.
F-ara-Edu injected into Zebrafish eggs
Interactions of biological macromolecules are the central bases of living systems. Biological macromolecules are synthesized in living cells by linking many small molecules together. Naturally occurring macromolecules include genetic materials (DNA) and proteins. A detailed understanding of the synthesis of these macromolecules in whole animals is a basic requirement for understanding biological systems, and for the development of new therapeutic strategies.
To visualize the synthesis of biomolecules in living organisms, artificial small molecules can be added to and incorporated by the cell’s own biosynthetic machinery. Subsequently, the modified biomolecules containing the artificial units can be selectively labelled with fluorescent substances. Until now, this approach had one major limitation: the substances used for labelling were toxic and caused cell death.
Anne Neef, a PhD student from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Zurich, has developed a new substance that can replace the natural nucleoside thymidine in DNA biosynthesis. This fluorinated nucleoside called “F-ara-Edu” labels DNA with little or no impact on genome function in living cells and even whole animals. “F-ara-Edu” is less toxic than previously reported compounds used for DNA labelling and it can be detected with greater sensitivity. “F-ara-Edu” is therefore ideally suited for experiments aimed at “birth dating” DNA synthesis in vivo. “As a demonstration of this, F-ara-Edu was injected into Zebrafish eggs immediately after fertilization. Following development and hatching of the fish, the very first cells undergoing differentiation in embryonic development could be identified”, explains Anne’s research advisor, Prof. Nathan Luedtke. “By visualizing new DNA synthesis in whole animals, the sites of virus infection and cancerous growth can be identified due to the abundance of DNA replication in these tissues”, adds Prof. Luedtke. This approach should therefore lead to new strategies in drug development.Literature:
Nathalie Huber | idw
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22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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