Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Nanodrop' Test Tubes Created With A Flip Of A Switch

Date:
April 18, 2008
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Researchers have demonstrated a new device that creates nanodroplet "test tubes" for studying individual proteins under conditions that mimic the crowded confines of a living cell.

With the flip of a switch: Nanodrop "test tubes" are created by an electronic switch that causes a micropipette to jerk back and leave behind a droplet less that 1 micron in diameter for study.
Credit: NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a new device that creates nanodroplet "test tubes" for studying individual proteins under conditions that mimic the crowded confines of a living cell. "By confining individual proteins in nanodroplets of water, researchers can directly observe the dynamics and structural changes of these biomolecules," says physicist Lori Goldner, a coauthor of the paper* published in Langmuir.

Researchers recently have turned their attention to the role that crowding plays in the behavior of proteins and other biomolecules--there is not much extra space in a cell. NIST's nanodroplets can mimic the crowded environment in cells where the proteins live while providing advantages over other techniques to confine or immobilize proteins for study that may interfere with or damage the protein.

This more realistic setting can help researchers study the molecular basis of disease and supply information for developing new pharmaceuticals. For example, misfolded proteins play a role in many illnesses including Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. By seeing how proteins fold in these nanodroplets, researchers may gain new insight into these ailments and may find new therapies.

The NIST nanodroplet delivery system uses tiny glass micropipettes to create tiny water droplets suspended in an oily fluid for study under a microscope. An applied pressure forces the water solution containing protein test subjects to the tip of the micropipette as it sits immersed in a small drop of oil on the microscope stage. Then, like a magician whipping a tablecloth off a table while leaving the dinnerware behind, an electronic switch causes the pipette to jerk back, leaving behind a small droplet typically less than a micrometer in diameter.

The droplet is held in place with a laser "optical tweezer," and another laser is used to excite fluorescence from the molecule or molecules in the droplet. In one set of fluorescence experiments, explains Goldner, "The molecules seem unperturbed by their confinement--they do not stick to the walls or leave the container--important facts to know for doing nanochemistry or single-molecule biophysics." Similar to a earlier related work, researchers also demonstrated that single fluorescent protein molecules could be detected inside the droplets.

Fluorescence can reveal the number of molecules within the nanodroplet and can show the motion or structural changes of the confined molecule or molecules, allowing researchers to study how two or more proteins interact. By using only a few molecules and tiny amounts of reagents, the technique also minimizes the need for expensive or toxic chemicals.

* J. Tang, A.M. Jofre, G.M. Lowman, R.B. Kishore, J.E. Reiner, K. Helmerson, L.S. Goldner and M.E. Greene. Green fluorescent protein in inertially injected aqueous nanodroplets. published in Langmuir, ASAP Article, Web release date: March 27, 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "'Nanodrop' Test Tubes Created With A Flip Of A Switch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415154819.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2008, April 18). 'Nanodrop' Test Tubes Created With A Flip Of A Switch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415154819.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "'Nanodrop' Test Tubes Created With A Flip Of A Switch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415154819.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (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


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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