Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New on-off 'switch' triggers and reverses paralysis in animals with a beam of light

Date:
November 18, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In an advance with overtones of Star Trek phasers and other sci-fi ray guns, scientists are reporting development of an internal on-off "switch" that paralyzes animals when exposed to a beam of ultraviolet light. The animals stay paralyzed even when the light is turned off. When exposed to ordinary light, the animals become unparalyzed and wake up.

This tiny worm became temporarily paralyzed when scientists fed it a light-sensitive material, or "photoswitch," and then exposed it to ultraviolet light.
Credit: American Chemical Society

In an advance with overtones of Star Trek phasers and other sci-fi ray guns, scientists in Canada are reporting development of an internal on-off "switch" that paralyzes animals when exposed to a beam of ultraviolet light. The animals stay paralyzed even when the light is turned off. When exposed to ordinary light, the animals become unparalyzed and wake up.

Their study appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). It reports the first demonstration of such a light-activated switch in animals.

Neil Branda and colleagues point out that such "photoswitches" -- light-sensitive materials that undergo photoreactions -- have been available for years. Scientists use them in research. Doctors use light-sensitive materials and photoreactions in medicine in photodynamic therapy to treat certain forms of cancer. Those light-sensitive materials, however, do not have the reversibility that exists in photoswitching.

The JACS report describes development and successful testing of a photoswitch composed of the light-sensitive material, dithienylethene. The scientists grew transparent, pinhead-sized worms (C. elegans) and fed them a dithienylethene. When exposed to ultraviolet light, the worms turned blue and became paralyzed. When exposed to visible light, the dithienylethene became colorless again and the worms' paralysis ended. Many of the worms lived through the paralyze-unparalyze cycle. Scientists were not sure how the switch causes paralysis.

The study demonstrates that photoswitches may have great potential in turning photodynamic therapy on and off, and for other applications in medicine and research, they indicate.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Al-Atar et al. A Photocontrolled Molecular Switch Regulates Paralysis in a Living Organism. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 131 (44): 15966 DOI: 10.1021/ja903070u

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New on-off 'switch' triggers and reverses paralysis in animals with a beam of light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118112421.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, November 18). New on-off 'switch' triggers and reverses paralysis in animals with a beam of light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118112421.htm
American Chemical Society. "New on-off 'switch' triggers and reverses paralysis in animals with a beam of light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118112421.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
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