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New, robust and inexpensive technique for protein analysis in tissues

Date:
June 12, 2015
Source:
Uppsala Universitet
Summary:
A new technique to study proteins, which does not require advanced equipment, specialized labs or expensive reagents, has been developed. The technique could be further developed to be used in point of care devices, for instance for diagnostic purposes.
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A new technique to study proteins, which does not require advanced equipment, specialised labs or expensive reagents, has been developed at Uppsala University, Sweden. The technique could be further developed to be used in point of care devices, for instance for diagnostic purposes.

The possibility to identify and localize proteins in tissues is essential for understanding disease mechanisms and for diagnostics. However, today very advanced instruments are often needed to study proteins and how they interact with each other. An example is the microscopy technique that was awarded last year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry; super resolution fluorescence microscopy.

Such equipment is expensive to purchase and often requires special training to handle. In order to use protein detection for diagnostic purposes, e.g. in a clinic, new, less complicated methods to study proteins are needed. Such methods should be temperature insensitive and not require expensive instruments, costly reagents or specially trained staff.

In the most recent issue of the journal Nature Communications the researchers present a technique that could be used by for instance hospital staff, to detect relevant proteins. The technique is based on the binding of antibodies, either to two sites on the same protein or to two proteins that are localised very close to each other. The antibodies have been linked to DNA strands that will attach to each other if they are close enough. When this happens a chain reaction will start in which increasing numbers of DNA strands are attached. To each DNA strand a fluorescent substance has been linked, which will emit light when it is irradiated with light of a certain wavelength.

“ When the chain reaction has run for a while enough fluorescent molecules have been incorporated to allow us to observe them as very bright dots in a microscope, reflecting the presence of a protein of interest. The more dots there more protein”, says Ola Söderberg, who together with Masood Kamali-Mogaddam and their research teams has developed the technique.

The chain reaction does not include any enzymes, which means that it can take place at room temperature. The microscopes needed to study the bright dots are relatively simple and commonly available in hospital and research labs. Since two antibodies are bound in the first step “false” signals can be avoided, making the reaction very specific for the studied protein.

“ All this implies that our technique can be used as a robust and inexpensive method to localize proteins in tissues. We hope that it soon can be used both for clinical applications and for research purposes”, says Ola Söderberg.

The technique has been developed in collaboration with researchers in Uppsala, Scotland and Austria. The results have been published online in the journal Nature Communications.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Uppsala Universitet. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Björn Koos, Gaëlle Cane, Karin Grannas, Liza Löf, Linda Arngården, Johan Heldin, Carl-Magnus Clausson, Axel Klaesson, M. Karoliina Hirvonen, Felipe M. S. de Oliveira, Vladimir O. Talibov, Nhan T. Pham, Manfred Auer, U. Helena Danielson, Johannes Haybaeck, Masood Kamali-Moghaddam, Ola Söderberg. Proximity-dependent initiation of hybridization chain reaction. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 7294 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8294

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Uppsala Universitet. "New, robust and inexpensive technique for protein analysis in tissues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150612091137.htm>.
Uppsala Universitet. (2015, June 12). New, robust and inexpensive technique for protein analysis in tissues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150612091137.htm
Uppsala Universitet. "New, robust and inexpensive technique for protein analysis in tissues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150612091137.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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