Scientists have developed a new massively-parallel approach for manipulating single DNA and protein molecules and studying their interactions under force. The finding appears in the June 2 issue of Biophysical Journal.
The team of researchers from the Rowland Institute at Harvard University claim that their technique, which they call "single molecule centrifugation", offers dramatic improvements in throughput and cost compared with more established techniques.
"By combining a microscope and a centrifuge, forces can be applied to many molecules at once while simultaneously observing their nano-to-microscale motions," explains author Wesley P. Wong, a Principal Investigator at Rowland.
Recent technologies such as optical and magnetic tweezers and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) have enabled the mechanical manipulation of single molecules, leading to new insights in biological systems ranging from DNA replication to blood clotting.
However, the tools used to perform these experiments are often expensive and can be tedious and complicated to use, limiting their use among scientists.
The Harvard researchers aimed to solve these problems by developing an instrument they call the Centrifuge Force Microscope (CFM), which uses centrifugal force to manipulate molecules.
Developing the instrument involved miniaturizing a light microscope and safely rotating it at high speeds while maintaining precision and control.
Experiments involve tethering thousands of micron-sized "carrier" particles to a surface and observing their motion as the sample rotates to generate the centrifugal force.
"We're really excited about this new method," says co-author Ken Halvorsen, a postdoctoral fellow. "After doing tedious single-molecule experiments for years, we thought there had to be a better way. Now, instead of doing one experiment thousands of times we can do thousands of experiments at once."
The scientists expect that the relative low cost and simplicity of the method will attract researchers who may be intimidated by the cost and technical skills required for other methods, ultimately enabling new discoveries in both health and basic science research.
The researchers acknowledge support from the Rowland Junior Fellows program at Harvard University.
Michael Patrick Rutter | EurekAlert!
Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen
A one-way street for salt
21.09.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News