Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell membrane model studied as future diagnostic tool

Date:
January 30, 2014
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Researchers have used a laboratory model of a simplified cell membrane to accurately detect and measure a protein associated with a serious gynecological disease, bacterial vaginosis, at extraordinarily low concentrations.

This diagram of NIST's "tethered bilayer membrane" model shows the silica surface covered with gold at the bottom. Sulfur atoms (yellow spheres) bind to the gold and act as anchors for the tethers, chains of atoms extending up to the lipid bilayer membrane at the top of the structure.
Credit: NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and in Lithuania have used a NIST-developed laboratory model of a simplified cell membrane to accurately detect and measure a protein associated with a serious gynecological disease, bacterial vaginosis (BV), at extraordinarily low concentrations. The work illustrates how the artificial membrane could be used to improve disease diagnosis.

Caused by the bacteria Gardnerella vaginalis, BV is a very common health problem in women and has been linked to infertility, adverse pregnancy outcomes, post-surgery infections and increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Current diagnosis relies on time-consuming, labor-intensive and somewhat inconsistent laboratory cultures or immunological assays.

In a recent paper in the journal PLoS One, researchers at NIST and Vilnius University (Vilnius, Lithuania) reported that they were able to reveal the presence of G. vaginalis by rapidly detecting and quantifying vaginolysin (VLY), a protein toxin produced exclusively by the bacteria, using the NIST model of cell membranes known as a tethered bilayer lipid membrane (tBLM).

The NIST tBLM is a two-layer sheet of simple lipid molecules analogous to the more complex structures that form the outer shell of animal cells. The membrane is anchored to a substrate with molecular "tethers" that allow it to be surrounded, top and bottom, by typical cellular fluids. Researchers can use the model to study how various factors, such as proteins, affect the integrity of the

In nature, the protein VLY binds to cholesterol-containing membranes and forms pores in the structure, causing the cell to burst open and die. The researchers prepared a molecular fishing line by baiting their laboratory membrane with cholesterol in concentrations ranging from 0 percent (serving as the control) to 40 percent. VLY proteins hooked by the cholesterol obligingly created pores in the test membranes, which in turn altered the electrochemical behavior of the membranes in a way that could be detected in real time by a sensitive technique called electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS).

The researchers found that they could detect the presence of VLY down to 28 nanograms (billionths of a gram) per milliliter, a four-fold improvement over antibody detection methods now in use. The speed of detection also is faster, with the tBLM-EIS system yielding results in hours rather than days. Additionally, different G. vaginalis strains produce different amounts of VLY, so in many cases, the corresponding EIS readings can help define the specific type of bacteria present in an infection.

Now that they have proven the viability of the tBLM-EIS detection system, the researchers plan to begin tests on clinical samples early this year.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Rima Budvytyte, Milda Pleckaityte, Aurelija Zvirbliene, David J. Vanderah, Gintaras Valincius. Reconstitution of Cholesterol-Dependent Vaginolysin into Tethered Phospholipid Bilayers: Implications for Bioanalysis. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e82536 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082536

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Cell membrane model studied as future diagnostic tool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130133122.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2014, January 30). Cell membrane model studied as future diagnostic tool. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130133122.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Cell membrane model studied as future diagnostic tool." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130133122.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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