Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biocapture Surfaces Produced for Study of Brain Chemistry

17.12.2007
A research team at Penn State has developed a novel method for attaching small molecules, such as neurotransmitters, to surfaces, which then are used to capture large biomolecules.

By varying the identity and spacing of the tethered molecules, researchers can make the technique applicable to a wide range of bait molecules including drugs, chemical warfare agents, and environmental pollutants. Ultimately, the researchers also hope to identify synthetic biomolecules that recognize neurotransmitters so that they can fabricate extremely small biosensors to study neurotransmission in the living brain.

In the brain, dozens of different small signaling molecules interact with thousands of large receptive proteins as part of the fundamental communication process between nerve cells. This cacophony of specific interactions is highly dependent on nanoscale molecular structure. One key to advancing our understanding of how the brain works is to identify the nature of the association between neurotransmitters and their binding partners. The technique of producing these high-affinity materials will be published in January 2008 in the journal Advanced Materials by a research team headed by Anne Milasincic Andrews, associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, and including Paul S. Weiss, distinguished professor of chemistry and physics.

The process starts with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM), a single-molecule-thick layer that organizes itself on a surface. The molecules that make up the SAM terminate in and expose oligoethyleneglycol units that are known to prevent adhesion of proteins and other large biomolecules. Next, tether molecules are inserted into the defects that naturally occur in the SAM. Finally, a small molecule, in this case the neurotransmitter serotonin, is chemically linked to the tether molecules. Since the defects in the SAM occur at irregular but controllable intervals, serotonin molecules are prevented from clumping together. This is key to their being recognized by the correct proteins.

When the surface is exposed to a solution containing many different proteins, only those with high affinities for the tethered small molecule selectively attach to the surface. The bound protein molecules can then be identified in place or removed for characterization. "The tethered neurotransmitter acts like a fishing pole," says Andrews. "When the small molecule 'bait' is correctly placed on the surface, it captures much larger molecules that interact with it in a biologically specific way."

As a result of this inherent selectivity, it is possible to identify biomolecules, by function, from a sea of thousands of different types of molecules. Weiss adds, "The key to obtaining a highly specific association is producing optimal spacing of the tethered neurotransmitters. The ideal spacing allows large molecules to recognize the functional groups of the small molecule while avoiding nonspecific binding to the surface itself."

Because of their selectivity, these materials are suitable for a variety of investigations in biological systems. "Each neurotransmitter can bind to a number of different receptors in the brain," says Andrews. "Some of these receptors are known, but there are many more to identify. Also, the numbers of receptors are altered in different disease states and in response to treatment, and these capture surfaces could be used to study how groups of functionally related proteins change in a coordinated fashion."

The research team includes Mitchell Shuster, graduate student in physics, Amit Vaish, graduate student in bioengineering, Matthew Szapacs, then a graduate student in chemistry and now a research scientist at GlaxoSmithKline, and Beth Anderson, then a graduate student in chemistry and now a postdoctoral fellow. The work is a part of and supported by the Center for Nanoscale Science at Penn State, a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Barbara K. Kennedy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

Further reports about: Graduate Neurotransmitter SAM biomolecules tether tethered

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress
22.02.2019 | Lobachevsky University

nachricht How the intestinal fungus Candida albicans shapes our immune system
22.02.2019 | Exzellenzcluster Präzisionsmedizin für chronische Entzündungserkrankungen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>