Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists engineer unique 'glowing' protein

31.05.2019

Biophysicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have joined forces with colleagues from France and Germany to create a new fluorescent protein. Besides glowing when irradiated with ultraviolet and blue light, it is exceedingly small and stable under high temperatures. The authors of the paper, published in the journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, believe the protein holds prospects for fluorescence microscopy. This technique is used in research on cancer, infectious diseases, and organ development, among other things.

Fluorescence microscopy is a method for studying living tissue that relies on induced luminescence. After being exposed to laser radiation at a particular wavelength, some proteins emit light at a different wavelength. This induced "glow" can be analyzed using a special microscope.


Petri dish with bacteria genetically modified to produce a fluorescent protein. The glowing symbol is a logo of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Credit: Vera Nazarenko et al.


3D structure of the new fluorescent protein.

Credit: Vera Nazarenko et al.

Researchers append such fluorescent proteins to other proteins via genetic engineering to make the latter ones visible to the microscope and observe their behavior in cells. Fluorescence microscopy proved so scientifically valuable that one Nobel Prize was awarded for its discovery, followed by another one for radically improving the method's accuracy.

Up until now, the fluorescent proteins used for such observations had several flaws. They were vulnerable to heat, fairly bulky, and only glowed in the presence of oxygen.

"For one thing, our protein is more thermostable than its analogues: It only denaturates at 68 degrees Celsius," said the paper's lead author Vera Nazarenko from the MIPT Laboratory of Structural Analysis and Engineering of Membrane Systems. "It is also miniature, while most of the currently used fluorescent proteins are rather bulky. On top of that, it can emit light in the absence of oxygen."

The team originally identified the protein with these remarkable properties in the cells of a the thermophilic bacterium -- that is, one which lives in high-temperature environments, such as hot springs. The researchers then genetically engineered a DNA sequence that reproduced the protein's fluorescent segment but not the other parts, which would make the molecule larger.

By introducing the gene that encodes the protein into the cells of another bacterium, Escherichia coli, the team turned it into a factory mass-producing the fluorescent protein with unique properties.

Researchers studying the processes that occur in living cells have been waiting for a protein combining these crucial features for a long time. By introducing it into cells, they can now obtain essential data on cell life and death. To name a few applications, fluorescence microscopy is seen as one of the best tools for investigating the mechanism behind malignant tumor genesis and development. It is also useful for research on cell signaling and organ development.

The proteins previously used in fluorescence microscopy were bulky and thermally unstable, putting limitations on the method. Thanks to the MIPT team, that obstacle has been eliminated.

Varvara Bogomolova | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://mipt.ru/english/news/scientists_engineer_unique_glowing_protein
http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c9pp00067d

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht If Machines Could Smell ...
19.07.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
18.07.2019 | Rutgers 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: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

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...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>