Researchers are first to electrochemically detect protein binding on semiconductors
Scientists from Heidelberg University in collaboration with researchers from the University of Gießen have succeeded in electrochemically detecting protein binding on semiconductor materials for the first time, thanks to a newly developed investigative method based on differences in electrical charge.
Now the physicists are working on an optical process to detect and localise protein binding directly under a microscope, for example, a method that could launch new applications in medical research and diagnostics.
The basis for the electrochemical detection of protein binding are laboratory-produced biological membranes that consist of so-called supported lipid monolayers – two-dimensional molecular structures that are essential building blocks of cellular membranes. The researchers deposited these membranes onto nanostructures of the semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN), known for its chemical and electrochemical stability as well as its unique optoelectronic properties.
The scientists were then able to detect protein binding on the hybrid biomembrane-GaN structure for the first time using an electrochemical charge sensor. The sensor measures the charge differences that result when proteins bind to the so-called lipid anchors of the membrane. The development of the hybrid biomembrane-GaN structure is based on the work of Nataliya Frenkel, a PhD student in the Physical Chemistry of Biosystems research group led by Prof. Dr. Motomu Tanaka at Heidelberg University's Institute for Physical Chemistry.
For the sensor application, the Heidelberg researchers joined forces with semiconductor physicists from the University of Gießen under the direction of Prof. Dr. Martin Eickhoff.
Their findings, published in the journal “Advanced Functional Materials”, lay the basis for developing new processes that can also produce optical evidence of protein binding. The biological membranes will be deposited onto GaN-based quantum dots – structures the size of just a few nanometres.
The quantum dots will then be excited with light to emit radiation. Proteins binding to the membrane change the intensity of the emission. The researchers have already demonstrated this principle to be suitable for optical detection of protein binding. They are collaborating on the implementation with the CEA, France’s Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives.
To intensify research in optical detection, Prof. Tanaka has initiated the formation of an international interdisciplinary association under the auspices of the German-Japanese University Consortium HeKKSaGOn. In addition to scientists from Heidelberg, the association includes working groups from the universities of Kyoto, Gießen and Barcelona as well as partners from the CEA. The University of Kyoto has provided the research cooperation with initial funding within its SPIRITS programme for two years.
N. Frenkel, J. Wallys, S. Lippert, J. Teubert, S. Kaufmann, A. Das, E. Monroy, M. Eickhoff, and M. Tanaka: High Precision, Electrochemical Detection of Reversible Binding of Recombinant Proteins on Wide Band Gap GaN Electrodes Functionalized with Biomembrane Models. Advanced Functional Materials, Volume 24, Issue 31, pages 4927-4934 (20 August 2014), doi: 10.1002/adfm.201400388
Prof. Dr. Motomu Tanaka
Institute for Physical Chemistry
Phone: +49 06221 54-4916
Prof. Dr. Martin Eickhoff
University of Gießen
Institute of Physics I
Phone: +49 641 99-33120
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
A human liver cell atlas
15.07.2019 | Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
Researchers reveal mechanisms for regulating temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter decompos
15.07.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg report the first result of the new Alphatrap experiment. They measured the bound-electron g-factor of highly charged (boron-like) argon ions with unprecedented precision of 9 digits. In comparison with a new highly accurate quantum electrodynamic calculation they found an excellent agreement on a level of 7 digits. This paves the way for sensitive tests of QED in strong fields like precision measurements of the fine structure constant α as well as the detection of possible signatures of new physics. [Physical Review Letters, 27 June 2019]
Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields and is the most precisely tested physical theory. It...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.07.2019 | Life Sciences
15.07.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.07.2019 | Life Sciences