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Chips are down as Manchester makes protein scanning breakthrough
Date:8/22/2008

Scientists at The University of Manchester have developed a new and fast method for making biological 'chips' technology that could lead to quick testing for serious diseases, fast detection of MRSA infections and rapid discovery of new drugs.

Researchers working at the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB) and The School of Chemistry have unveiled a new technique for producing functional 'protein chips' in a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), published online today (22 August 2008).

Protein chips or 'protein arrays' as they are more commonly known are objects such as slides that have proteins attached to them and allow important scientific data about the behaviour of proteins to be gathered.

Functional protein arrays could give scientists the ability to run tests on tens of thousands of different proteins simultaneously, observing how they interact with cells, other proteins, DNA and drugs.

As proteins can be placed and located precisely on a 'chip', it would be possible to scan large numbers of them at the same time but then isolate the data relating to individual proteins.

These chips would allow large amounts of data to be generated with the minimum use of materials especially rare proteins that are only available in very small amounts.

The Manchester team of Dr Lu Shin Wong, Dr Jenny Thirlway and Prof Jason Micklefield say the technical challenges of attaching proteins in a reliable way have previously held back the widespread application and development of protein chips.

Existing techniques for attaching proteins often results in them becoming fixed in random orientations, which can cause them to become damaged and inactive.

Current methods also require proteins to be purified first and this means that creating large and powerful protein arrays would be hugely costly in terms of time, manpower and money.

Now researchers at The U
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Contact: Alex Waddington
alex.waddington@manchester.ac.uk
01-612-758-387
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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