Navigation Links
Breakthrough: Sensors monitor cells at work
Date:7/2/2013

Stanford, CATransport proteins are responsible for moving materials such as nutrients and metabolic products through a cell's outer membrane, which seals and protects all living cells, to the cell's interior. These transported molecules include sugars, which can be used to fuel growth or to respond to chemical signals of activity or stress outside of the cell. Measuring the activity of transporter proteins in a living organism has been a challenge for scientists, because the methods are difficult, often require the use of radioactive tracers, and are difficult to use in intact tissues and organs.

A team led by Wolf Frommer, director of Carnegie's Plant Biology Department, has now developed a groundbreaking new way to overcome this technology gap. This new technology has major implications not just for plant biology, but also for cellular biology research in every type of organism, including humans. Their work is published by eLife.

"With the advent of biosensors, we could measure energy dynamics and concentrations of various cellular intermediates, which allowed us to get a first-level picture of metabolic networks," Frommer said. "But we had not been able to directly follow enzyme or transporter activity or to monitor their regulation in a live organism."

Frommer and his team hypothesized that it may be possible to probe transport activity by spying on the structural rearrangements that a transporter undergoes as it moves its target molecule across the membrane barrier. They decided to do this by encoding environmentally sensitive fluorescent tags in the cell's DNA.

The teamwhich included Carnegie's Roberto De Michele, Cindy Ast, Chen-Hsun Ho, Viviane Lanquar, and Guido Grossmanfocused on the important transporter responsible for moving the ammonium into a cell. This activity is very important in plants, fungi, and bacteria, because ammonium serves as the key source of nitrogen in these organisms. But in excess ammonium becomes toxic. Therefore, its concentration must be very carefully regulated. The transporter for ammonium is conserved in plants, fungi, and, bacteria. It is also present in humans, where it is generally known as the Rhesus factor and plays an important role in kidney function and male fertility.

The team's approach has provided new insights into how the plant ammonium transporter works. And their sensor concept is expected to find many other applications to monitor other types of transporters and transporters in other organisms outside of the plant kingdom and even enzymes.

"For example, in humans such sensors could be used to help understand neurotransmitter transport in the brain or identify new drugs targets," Frommer said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Wolf Frommer
wfrommer@carnegiescience.edu
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances
2. Breakthrough: How salt stops plant growth
3. Flu breakthrough: New drug developed to combat flu pandemic
4. Miniature pressure sensors for medical touch
5. Tiny electrical sensors could signal faster MRSA diagnosis
6. Miniature Sandia sensors may advance climate studies
7. Motion sensors detect horse lameness earlier than veterinarians, MU study finds
8. Diving board sensors key to DNA detection
9. Clemson, Coastal Carolina universities to set hundreds of sensors in Savannah River
10. WPI receives $1.9 million from US Army to develop sensors that can save wounded soldiers
11. Boston subway system to be used to test new sensors for biological agents
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... and SANDY, Utah , ... which operates the highest sample volume laboratory in ... Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing informatics and ... launch of a project to establish the informatics infrastructure ... NSO has been contracted by the Ontario ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... JERUSALEM , March 15, 2016 ... Jerusalem , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, ... developer of remote sensing technology of various human biological ... funding, raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... technology, based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... During a two day ... a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business leaders in ... mentor in the Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental learnings in ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... PUNE, India , April 28, 2016 ... PT, JT, Stirling, and Brayton Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, ... Application, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... to USD 2.94 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR ... Browse 70 market data Tables and 94 Figures spread ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... April 28, ... ... plan, QuickSTAT has made significant investments in recruiting top industry experts, and expanding ... IT Platform, which provides industry-leading tools for clients to manage their clinical trial ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce ... a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served in a ... and was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his professional career, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: