Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New technology shows molecules and cells in action

Date:
February 1, 2012
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
A new affinity capture device provides a platform for viewing cancer cells and other macromolecules in dynamic, life-sustaining liquid environments.

Deborah Kelly, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has now developed a novel technology platform to peer closely into the world of cells and molecules within a native, liquid environment.
Credit: Virginia Tech Photo

A photograph of a polar bear in captivity, no matter how sharp the resolution, can never reveal as much about behavior as footage of that polar bear in its natural habitat. The behavior of cells and molecules can prove even more elusive. Limitations in biomedical imaging technologies have hampered attempts to understand cellular and molecular behavior, with biologists trying to envision dynamic processes through static snapshots.

Related Articles


Deborah Kelly, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has now developed a novel technology platform to peer closely into the world of cells and molecules within a native, liquid environment.

Kelly and colleagues have developed a way to isolate biological specimens in a flowing, liquid environment while enclosing those specimens in the high-vacuum system of a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The TEM liquid-flow holder, developed by Protochips Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., accommodates biological samples between two semiconductor microchips that are tightly sealed together. These chips form a microfluidic device smaller than a Tic Tac. This device, positioned at the tip of an EM specimen holder, permits liquid flow in and out of the holder. When these chips are coated with a special affinity biofilm that Kelly developed, they have the ability to capture cells and molecules rapidly and with high specificity. This system allows researchers to watch -- at unprecedented resolution -- biological processes as they occur, such as the interaction of a molecule with a receptor on a cell that triggers normal development or cancer.

"With this new technology, we can capture and view the native architecture of cells and their surface protein receptors while learning about their dynamic interactions, such as what happens when cells interact with pathogens or drugs," said Kelly. "We can now isolate cancer cells, for example, and view the early events of chemotherapy in action."

Kelly had previously worked with colleagues at Harvard Medical School to develop a way to capture protein machinery in a frozen environment. "But life moves," said Kelly. "It's better if biological processes don't have to be paused or frozen in order to be studied, but can be viewed in dynamic and life-sustaining liquid environments."

Kelly's affinity capture device, in combination with high-resolution TEM, helps bridge the gap between cellular and molecular imaging, allowing researchers to achieve spatial resolution as high as two nanometers. "This device allows us to see new features on the surface of live cancer cells, providing new targets for drug therapy," Kelly said. "With this resolution, scientists may even be able to visualize disease processes as they unfold."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine Degen, Madeline Dukes, Justin R. Tanner, Deborah F. Kelly. The development of affinity capture devices—a nanoscale purification platform for biological in situ transmission electron microscopy. RSC Advances, 2012; DOI: 10.1039/C2RA01163H

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "New technology shows molecules and cells in action." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201135316.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2012, February 1). New technology shows molecules and cells in action. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201135316.htm
Virginia Tech. "New technology shows molecules and cells in action." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201135316.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Five minivans were put to the test in head-on crash simulations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 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:

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