Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologists Create A New Tool For Observing A "Messenger" Molecule In Living Cells

Date:
February 28, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Researchers have developed an important tool for understanding how one key molecule regulates a wide range of physiological activity in mammals. Using the natural tendency of certain proteins to glow - their fluorescence - research funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has revealed some surprising variations in how even cells of the same type behave.

Researchers have developed an important tool for understanding how one key molecule regulates a wide range of physiological activity in mammals. Using the natural tendency of certain proteins to glow - their fluorescence - research funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has revealed some surprising variations in how even cells of the same type behave.

Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a messenger molecule that influences muscle tone, nerve sensitivity, sexual response, vision and learning, among other physiological processes. Understanding cGMP behavior could in turn yield techniques for regulating its positive or negative effects in humans.

The NSF-funded portion of the research was conducted by Wolfgang Dostmann at the University of Vermont. He and University of California, San Diego colleague Roger Tsien - who is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute - drew on methods from molecular biology, protein/peptide chemistry and cell biology to construct a set of fluorescent indicators named "cygnets," for cyclic GMP indicator using energy transfer.

According to Randolph Addison, program officer in NSF’s Signal Transduction Program, "Dostmann and Tsien ingeniously created genetically encoded indicators that can help us solve fundamental questions such as how cells perceive and respond to other cells."

Until now, cGMP could only be observed invasively, by killing and homogenizing the tissue. Such techniques can yield unreliable results, compared with examining cells in their natural circumstances. The non-invasive cygnet technique, because it allows study of living tissue, is yielding much more detailed and reliable results.

This crucial molecule has been mystifying because it may appear very briefly and in small concentrations within a cell. To be announced in the February 27, 2001 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dostmann’s and Tsien’s results demonstrate that, even in cells of the same type, cGMP can appear in widely varying concentrations and will react to stimuli in surprising ways. For instance, some cells respond quickly to stimuli by producing cGMP, while others under the same stimulation may yield no perceptible traces of the molecule.

Still other cells exhibit what appears to be microscopic "tides" of cGMP that travel perceptibly from one side of the cell to another. The researchers created the detector cygnets by sandwiching a cGMP-sensitive protein between two colors of a protein that spontaneously becomes fluorescent when placed in mammalian cells. By using cygnets, biologists may be able to explain fundamental cell behaviors that until now were difficult or impossible to observe.

###

For an animation of cGMP, see: http://nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/press/01/pr0114.htmFor the Dostmann/Tsien article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, see: http://www.pnas.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Biologists Create A New Tool For Observing A "Messenger" Molecule In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010227073905.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, February 28). Biologists Create A New Tool For Observing A "Messenger" Molecule In Living Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010227073905.htm
National Science Foundation. "Biologists Create A New Tool For Observing A "Messenger" Molecule In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010227073905.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins