Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Shed Light On Molecules In Living Cells

Date:
August 27, 2007
Source:
Clemson University
Summary:
Chemists have developed a method to dramatically improve the longevity of fluorescent nanoparticles that may someday help researchers track the motion of a single molecule as it travels through a living cell. The chemists are exploiting a process called "resonance energy transfer."

Fluorescent, glowing polymer dot nanoparticles in solution, illuminated with a UV lamp.
Credit: Jason McNeill, Clemson University

Clemson University chemists have developed a method to dramatically improve the longevity of fluorescent nanoparticles that may someday help researchers track the motion of a single molecule as it travels through a living cell.

The chemists are exploiting a process called "resonance energy transfer," which occurs when fluorescent dye molecules are added to the nanoparticles.

If scientists could track the motion of a single molecule within a living cell it could reveal a world of information. Among other things, scientists could determine how viruses invade a cell or how proteins operate in the body. Such technology also could help doctors pinpoint the exact location of cancer cells in order to better focus treatment and minimize damage to healthy tissue. Outside the body, the technology could help speed up detection of such toxins as anthrax.

The key to developing single-molecule tracking technology may be the development of better fluorescent nanoparticles.

Fluorescent nanoparticles are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair and are similar in size to protein molecules, to which they can be attached. When illuminated by a laser beam inside a light microscope equipped with a sensitive digital camera, the nanoparticle attached to a protein will light up, allowing scientists to get a precise fix on the position of the protein and monitor its motion inside a cell.

Until now, nanoparticles have been too dim to detect inside cells, but Clemson chemists have developed a novel type of nanoparticles containing materials called conjugated polymers that light up and stay lit long enough for scientists to string together thousands of images, as in a movie.

Conjugated polymers share many properties with semiconductors like silicon but have the flexibility of plastic. While initial efforts at preparing nanoparticles out of conjugated polymers resulted in particles that were very bright, their brightness quickly faded under the bright glare of a laser beam.

"When a conjugated polymer is in a high energy state, it is vulnerable to attack by oxygen," says principal investigator and chemist Jason McNeill. "The dye efficiently removes the energy from the molecule and re-emits the energy as light, which greatly improves the brightness and longevity of the nanoparticles."

McNeill says other possible targets of investigation include the formation of plaques and fibrils in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease and mad cow disease. Graduate students Changfeng Wu, Craig Szymanski, Jennifer Grimland and Yueli Zheng contributed to the study, which the National Science Foundation funded.

Clemson University chemists are presenting 40 papers on a wide range of subjects at the society meeting. Other topics include detection and quantification of uranium in groundwater, conversion of lipid feedstocks such as poultry fat to biodiesel and a new mechanism for antioxidants that fight DNA damage.

These findings were reported at the 234th annual national American Chemical Society meeting Aug.19-24 in Boston.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Clemson University. "Scientists Shed Light On Molecules In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070821081423.htm>.
Clemson University. (2007, August 27). Scientists Shed Light On Molecules In Living Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070821081423.htm
Clemson University. "Scientists Shed Light On Molecules In Living Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070821081423.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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:
from the past week

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