Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnetic tweezers unravel cellular mechanics

14.05.2007
By injecting tiny magnetic beads into a living cell and manipulating them with a magnetic ‘tweezer’, scientists of the University of Twente succeed in getting to know more about the mechanics of the cell nucleus.

The way DNA is ‘translated’ into the specific functions of the cell strongly depends on the mechanics, so this information is of great value. Scientists Anthony de Vries, Hans Kanger and Vinod Subramaniam of the Biophysical Engineering Group present their results in Nano Letters.

The spatial organization in a living cell tells a lot about the way the cell works and the molecular processes within. It is clearly indicated that the mechanical properties of DNA and chromatin –the complex of DNA and proteins- play a major role in the activity of thousands of genes. Gene expression, in which DNA expresses itself in functional proteins, seems to depend highly on these mechanical properties. Until now, only individual chromosomes have been investigated: the new method allows scientists to monitor the mechanical properties of chromatin within the cell and investigate the internal structure of the cell nucleus.

Three magnets

The UT-scientists therefore inject a bead into the cell nucleus using a micro pipette. The bead is about 1 micron in diameter. The cell is placed in the centre of three tiny magnets (micron dimensions). Each of them can generate a force on the bead. From the nanometer distances the bead is allowed to move, the elasticity and viscosity of the chromatin can be determined. Using an intuitive polymer model of chromatin, the organization of chromatin within the cell can then be predicted: they organize themselves within domains not entirely filling the nucleus.

The scientists say that their technique is a crucial step towards magnetic nanodevices that can be implanted in a living cell, functioning as biosensors for monitoring chemical and physical processes in cell and tissue. It will also become possible to interact with these processes using the magnetic technique.

The research has been conducted within the Biophysical Engineering Group (http://bpe.tnw.utwente.nl), part of the BMTI Institute for Biomedical Technology and the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, both at the University of Twente.

Wiebe van der Veen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.utwente.nl

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

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

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>