Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

WOWing the crowds

07.02.2006


A team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a method that could speed up the process of identifying novel protein molecules for medical or biological research hundreds of times over.

In today’s high-throughput searches for specific genes, proteins or protein interactions, plates containing rows of tiny wells have replaced old-fashioned test tubes. However, trawling for a gene or protein with just the right qualifications may require sorting through millions, or even billions, of possibilities. Instead of wells, the new method, developed by Dr. Dan Tawfik and Amir Aharoni of the Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department and Prof. Shlomo Magdassi of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Chemistry with support from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology, relies on microscopic droplets of water suspended inside oil droplets. Using their system, millions of tests can be performed at once.

The method, which relies on a type of emulsion dubbed WOW, for water-oil-water, takes a page from living cells, which employ a fatty membrane to keep the inside and outside environments separate. The oily layer surrounding each miniscule water droplet acts as a barrier, keeping genes, proteins and other materials contained. Alternately, the team inserted harmless bacteria containing genes for testing into the drops. Confining individual tests within a cell-like bubble allowed them to employ a widely-used method for analyzing living cells. This method involves adding a fluorescent marker that lights up in color when activated by the right protein and sorting through the cells for those containing the marked proteins and their coding genes. Automated devices for sorting cells can handle many thousands of droplets per second. "Searches that now take a year to complete can be done in a matter of days," says Tawfik.



To demonstrate the efficiency of the system, the team isolated a new enzyme from a gene that was mutated artificially to produce random variations. They generated the enzymes in the droplets and sorted them according to which ones were better at cleaving a specific toxin in the bloodstream. The results from a screen completed in one afternoon were equivalent to those previously obtained through several rounds of mutation and screening – a several-month process.

Elizabeth McCrocklin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann-usa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease
21.08.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Nanobot pumps destroy nerve agents
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A paper battery powered by bacteria

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Protein interaction helps Yersinia cause disease

21.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>