Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanofiber breakthrough holds promise for medicine and microprocessors

Date:
February 29, 2012
Source:
Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Summary:
A new method for creating nanofibers made of proteins promises to greatly improve drug delivery methods, aid in regenerating human tissue, and pave the way to an organic method of building nanofibers for tiny, powerful microprocessors. Researchers have discovered how to make nanofibers using the COMP protein found in human cartilage. By adding different metal ions, researchers found the fibers would absorb or release drug molecules.

A new method for creating nanofibers made of proteins promises to greatly improve drug delivery methods for the treatment of cancers, heart disorders and Alzheimer's disease, as well as aid in the regeneration of human tissue, bone and cartilage.
Credit: Image courtesy of Polytechnic Institute of New York University

A new method for creating nanofibers made of proteins, developed by researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), promises to greatly improve drug delivery methods for the treatment of cancers, heart disorders and Alzheimer's disease, as well as aid in the regeneration of human tissue, bone and cartilage.

In addition, applied differently, this same development could point the way to even tinier and more powerful microprocessors for future generations of computers and consumer electronics devices.

The details are spelled out in an article titled "Effects of Divalent Metals on Nanoscopic Fiber Formation and Small Molecule Recognition of Helical Proteins," which appears online in Advanced Functional Materials. Author Susheel K. Gunasekar, a doctoral student in NYU-Poly's Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences, was the primary researcher, and is a student of co-author Jin Montclare, assistant professor and head of the department's Protein Engineering and Molecular Design Lab, where the underlying research was primarily conducted. Also involved were co-authors Luona Anjia, a graduate student, and Professor Hiroshi Matsui, both of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Hunter College (The City University of New York), where secondary research was conducted.

Yet all of this almost never emerged, says Professor Montclare, who explains that it was sheer "serendipity" -- a chance observation made by Gunasekar two years ago -- that inspired the team's research and led to its significant findings.

During an experiment that involved studying certain cylinder-shaped proteins derived from cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP, found predominantly in human cartilage), Gunasekar noticed that in high concentrations, these alpha helical coiled-coil proteins spontaneously came together and self-assembled into nanofibers. It was a surprising outcome, Montclare says, because COMP was not known to form fibers at all. "We were really excited," she recalls. "So we decided to do a series of experiments to see if we could control the fiber formation, and also control its binding to small molecules, which would be housed within the protein's cylinder."

Of special interest were molecules of curcumin, an ingredient in dietary supplements used to combat Alzheimer's disease, cancers and heart disorders.

By adding a set of metal-recognizing amino acids to the coiled-coil protein, the NYU-Poly team succeeded, finding that the nanofibers alter their shapes upon addition of metals such as zinc and nickel to the protein. Moreover, the addition of zinc fortified the nanofibers, enabling them to hold more curcumin, while the addition of nickel transformed the fibers into clumped mats, triggering the release of the drug molecule.

Next, Montclare says, the researchers plan to experiment with creating scaffolds of nanofibers that can be used to induce the regeneration of bone and cartilage (via embedded vitamin D) or human stem cells (via embedded vitamin A).

Later, it may even be possible to apply this organic, protein-based method for creating nanofibers to the world of computers and consumer electronics, Montclare says -- producing nanoscale gold threads for use as circuits in computer chips by first creating the nanofibers and then guiding that metal to them.

Ultimately, Montclare says, the researchers would like the fruits of their discovery -- such therapeutic nanofibers and metallic nanowires -- to be adopted by pharmaceutical companies and microprocessor makers alike.

Funding for this NYU-Poly research was provided by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Susheel K. Gunasekar, Luona Anjia, Hiroshi Matsui, Jin K. Montclare. Effects of Divalent Metals on Nanoscopic Fiber Formation and Small Molecule Recognition of Helical Proteins. Advanced Functional Materials, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201101627

Cite This Page:

Polytechnic Institute of New York University. "Nanofiber breakthrough holds promise for medicine and microprocessors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229105139.htm>.
Polytechnic Institute of New York University. (2012, February 29). Nanofiber breakthrough holds promise for medicine and microprocessors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229105139.htm
Polytechnic Institute of New York University. "Nanofiber breakthrough holds promise for medicine and microprocessors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120229105139.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 23, 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