Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies, study shows

Date:
July 16, 2014
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
The common pencil squid may hold the key to a new generation of medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. Materials science researchers have discovered that reflectin, a protein in the tentacled creature's skin, can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices.

A protein in squid skin called reflectin can conduct positive electrical charges, making it a useful in helping medical devices communicate with the human system.
Credit: Matt Woodworth

The common pencil squid (Loliginidae) may hold the key to a new generation of medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. UC Irvine materials science researchers have discovered that reflectin, a protein in the tentacled creature's skin, can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices.

Related Articles


Currently, products such as retinal implants, nerve stimulators and pacemakers rely on electrons - particles with negative charges - to transmit diagnosis data or to treat medical conditions. Living organisms use protons, with positive charges, or ions, which are atoms that contain both electrons and protons, to send such signals. The UCI discovery could lead to better ion- or proton-conducting materials: for instance, next-generation implants that could relay electrical messages to the nervous system to monitor or interfere with the progression of disease.

Alon Gorodetsky, assistant professor of chemical engineering & materials science at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, led the research team. "Nature is really good at doing certain things that we sometimes find incredibly difficult," he said. "Perhaps nature has already optimized reflectin to conduct protons, so we can learn from this protein and take advantage of natural design principles."

He and his group have been studying reflectin to discern how it enables squid to change color and reflect light. They produced the squid protein in common bacteria and used it to make thin films on a silicon substrate. Via metal electrodes that contacted the film, the researchers observed the relationship between current and voltage under various conditions. Reflectin transported protons, they found, nearly as effectively as many of the best artificial materials.

Gorodetsky believes reflectin has several advantages for biological electronics. Because it's a soft biomaterial, reflectin can conform to flexible surfaces, and it may be less likely to be rejected by the human body. In addition, protein engineering principles could be utilized to modify reflectin for very specific purposes and to allow the protein to decompose when no longer needed.

"We plan to use reflectin as a template for the development of improved ion- and proton-conducting materials," Gorodetsky said. "We hope to evolve this protein for optimum functionality in specific devices - such as transistors used for interfacing with neural cells - similar to how proteins evolve for specific tasks in nature."

The research is published in the July issue of Nature Chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David D. Ordinario, Long Phan, Ward G. Walkup IV, Jonah-Micah Jocson, Emil Karshalev, Nina Hόsken, Alon A. Gorodetsky. Bulk protonic conductivity in a cephalopod structural protein. Nature Chemistry, 2014; 6 (7): 596 DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1960

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141313.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2014, July 16). Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141313.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716141313.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) — Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
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