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.

Related Articles


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 25, 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 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) 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