Navigation Links
How the brain cell works: A dive into its inner network

CORAL GABLES, FL (December 20, 2011) University of Miami biology professor Akira Chiba is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop the first systematic survey of protein interactions within brain cells. The team is aiming to reconstruct genome-wide in situ protein-protein interaction networks (isPIN) within the neurons of a multicellular organism. Preliminary data were presented at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting, December 3 through 7, 2011, in Denver, Colorado.

"This work brings us closer to understanding the mechanics of molecules that keep us functioning," says Chiba, principal investigator of this project. "Knowing how our cells work will improve medicine. Most importantly, we will gain a better understanding of what life is at the molecular level."

Neurons are the cells that are mainly responsible for signaling in the brain. Like all other cells, each neuron produces millions of individual proteins that associate with one another and form a complex communication network. Until recently, observing these protein-protein interactions had not been possible due to technical difficulties. Individual proteins are small and typically less than 10 nm (nanometer) in diameter. Yet, this nano-scale distance was considered to be off-limits even with super-resolution microscopy.

Now, Chiba and his collaborators have developed a novel methodology to examine interaction of individual proteins in the fruit fly the model organism of choice for this project. The researchers are creating genetically engineered insects that are capable of expressing over 500 fluorescently-tagged assorted proteins, two at a time. The fluorescent tags make it possible to visualize the exact spot where a given pair of proteins associates with each other.

The team utilizes a custom- built 3D FLIM (fluorescent lifetime imaging microscopy) system to quantify this association event within the cells of a live animal. FLIM shows the location and time of such protein interaction, providing the data that allow creation of a point-by-point map of protein-protein interactions.

The pilot phase of this multidisciplinary project is being funded by the National Institutes of Health. It employs advanced genetics, molecular imaging technology and high-performance computation, among other fields. "Collaborating fluorescent chemistry, laser optics and artificial intelligence, my team is working in the 'jungle' of the molecules of life within the living cells," Chiba says. "This is a new kind of ecology played out at the scale of nanometerscreating a sense of deja vu 80 years after the birth of modern ecology."

At present, the researchers still need to extrapolate from data obtained in test tubes. In the future, they will begin to visualize directly how the individual proteins interact with one another in their 'native environment,' which are the cells in our body.

Contact: Catharine Skipp
University of Miami

Related biology news :

1. Bone marrow-derived cells differentiate in the brain through mechanisms of plasticity
2. When standard treatment fails: Jefferson to start unique immunotherapy for brain tumor patients
3. Bikers warning! EPO hits blood vessels to raise blood pressure in the brain
4. Swarms of bees could unlock secrets to human brains
5. Decision making in bee swarms mimic neurons in human brains
6. Barrow physicians chronicle Vladimir Betz in Brain
7. Maternal care influences brain chemistry into adulthood
8. Max Planck Florida Institute scientists create first realistic 3D reconstruction of a brain circuit
9. New insights into how the brain reconstructs the third dimension
10. Scientists discover how brain corrects bumps to body
11. University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center tests novel drug that makes brain tumors glow hot pink
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
How the brain cell works: A dive into its inner network
(Date:11/9/2015)... Nov. 09, 2015 ... of the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics ... --> ) has announced ... Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Minn. , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only ... in the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne ... individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. ... of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business opportunities ... The Internet of Healthy Things . Long ... even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners ... delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s office ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... genomics company uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel funding ... an AngelList syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 ... executives will be speaking at the following conference, and ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ...      Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference, New York, NY ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. ... at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of ... for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: