Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ring Closure as Warning

16.09.2009
New reagent for the detection of organophosphate neurotoxins with an extremely fast response

Soman, Tabun, and Sarin (which has already been used in terrorist attacks) are chemical weapons that attack the nervous system. When inhaled, these extremely toxic organophosphates can lead to death within minutes.

The search for fast, simple detection methods for these colorless and odorless gases, which are unfortunately relatively easily manufactured, is correspondingly urgent. Julius Rebek, Jr. and Trevor J. Dale at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California (USA) have now developed a new class of sensors that detect these neurotoxins up to five orders of magnitude faster than previous reagents.

As the scientists report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, these substances not only selectively detect the neurotoxins, they simultaneously render them harmless.

Previous detection methods for organophosphates suffer from the fact that they are not sensitive enough, are too complex to use, and cannot be used in the field. In order to overcome these limitations, Rebek and Dale recently developed a new detection agent with a reaction time in the second range, which was still not fast enough. Step by step, they continued to develop their reagent. This has now led to a class of sensors consisting of an aromatic ring system and equipped with an oxime group (–C=N–OH). This type of group binds extremely fast to organophosphates (the researchers carried out their experiments with harmless neurotoxin analogues). Immediately neighboring the oxime group, the molecule has an alcohol group (–OH). This ensures that the reaction product is immediately split off again, which is important because it is as toxic as the original neurotoxin. This process involves an intramolecular ring closure. The aromatic ring system promotes the tendency of the sensor to undergo this splitting reaction with ring closure. Furthermore, it provides the actual signal that makes the presence of the organophosphate visible: the ring system is a fluorescent dye, and the fluorescence becomes significantly more intense as soon as the structure of the sensor molecule is changed by the ring closure reaction. This optical detection is four to five orders of magnitude faster than the original detection reagent.

It should be possible to develop a simple, rapid-response, highly sensitive detection method for organophosphates based on these new reagents. Because the neurotoxins are rendered harmless by the detection reaction, it may also be possible to develop combined devices for the simultaneous detection and neutralization of the toxins.

Author: Julius Rebek Jr., The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla (USA), http://www.scripps.edu/skaggs/rebek/

Title: Hydroxy Oximes as Organophosphorus Nerve Agent Sensors

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 42, doi: 10.1002/anie.200902820

Julius Rebek Jr. | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu/skaggs/rebek/
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens
14.08.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>