Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered a new way of detecting zinc in zebra fish, that could pave the way for furthering our understanding of diseases like type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and Alzheimer's.
The results will be announced today (3 July) at the Sixth International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry, in Brighton.
Zinc is found throughout the body and involved in many metabolic pathways that affect the function of the immune system and brain, reproduction, and sexual development. Zinc is also increasingly recognised as a key element in the treatment of a range of diseases, for example type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
It's unclear whether zinc is a cause of disease, or if it's employed to prevent its development or progression, and there is great interest in developing a molecular probe which can detect zinc in the body. While a lot of work has been done in vitro, very few people have looked at how zinc works in whole organisms.
In this new study, Professor Mike Watkinson, Dr Stephen Goldup and Dr Caroline Brennan, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, have focused their efforts on the development of a sensor for zinc to be used in studies on zebrafish (Danio rerio). Due to their fast development, zebra fish can be grown outside the mother's body, and their embryos are transparent, allowing for a clear observation of their organs.
The team designed a sensor which switched on fluorescence in the fish when zinc was present. Professor Mike Watkinson explains:"Our probe is able to visualise zinc in various parts of the fish embryos, including the pancreas and we are excited that we can develop the technology further to help understand the role of zinc in the development of important disease like Type 2 Diabetes."
The team used a technique called 'click' chemistry, which is designed to generate substances quickly and reliably by joining small units together.
The sensor was found to be particularly sensitive to identifying zinc rather than other anions such as iron or copper, and it is hoped that with further development the technology can be used by other scientists working in these important fields.
Sian Halkyard | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
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...
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...
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,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy