Navigation Links
Luminescence shines new light on proteins
Date:11/11/2008

A chance discovery by a team of scientists using optical probes means that changes in cells in the human body could now be seen in a completely different light.

Prof David Parker from Durham University's Chemistry Department was working with experts from Glasgow University, and a team of international researchers, when they discovered dramatic changes in the way that light was emitted by optical probes during a series of experiments.

Light has energy and carries information and the researchers used the optical probes to measure the behaviour of light and its interaction with proteins abundant in human blood. The fortuitous discovery has led to the creation of a new type of probe for examining protein interactions that could be used for cellular imaging.

By tracking the way in which proteins bind, the experiments will aid understanding of the function of the most abundant protein in the body, serum albumin. In the future the technique could help to understand how drugs used in medicine interact with the major protein found in blood.

Prof Parker says: "It's a new step in the development of optical probes in chemistry and in observing the interaction between medical drugs and proteins."

The Durham University-led team looked at how light behaved when serum albumin was added to the probes and found that the emitted polarised light had interesting characteristics.

Chirality, or handedness, is a key concept in Nature. In molecular chemistry, it refers to the concept of a molecule having two mirror images that cannot be superimposed onto each other; these are called enantiomers and pairs of these can be designated as 'right-' and 'left-handed.'

Light can be thought of as being made up of two left and right handed components and this property can be measured. The research team used optical probes with hi-spatial resolution and precision to track protein interactions and to see how the light rotates and inverts when passed through the proteins.

Prof Parker says: "We have found a way to use the inherent chirality of light to examine the interaction at the molecular level between a probe (the optical probe, itself of one handedness) and serum albumin (also of one handedness: hence akin to a hand/glove interaction) - the most abundant protein in blood."

Based on a chiral lanthanide complex, the probe emits circularly polarised light that inverts sign on protein binding; monitoring the emitted light allows researchers to follow the interaction between the complex and the protein.

Observing this luminescence is a way of studying the chirality of the system, explains Prof Parker: "The optical signal we observed carries information in its circular polarisation. It's a tricky process. You have to get the light in and out of the cells but crucially, in terms of biology, it can be done using microscopes in the laboratory so it's non-invasive."

The researchers found that only one enantiomer of certain europium and terbium complexes bound selectively to a drug binding site of the protein serum albumin, and that the luminescence changed dramatically. Prof Parker says: "This is the first example of chiral inversion using an emissive probe in this way."

The researchers have been seeking to develop responsive optical probes for a while and were delighted when they finally cracked it.

Prof Parker said: "We were genuinely surprised. The binding energy and kinetics have to be just right - we've been lucky. Potentially this technology could be used to track protein association in living cells in real time."


'/>"/>

Contact: Alex Thomas
media.relations@durham.ac.uk
01-913-346-075
Durham University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
2. Sweet potato shines as new promise for small enterprise and hunger relief in developing countries
3. Senate resolution shines spotlight on the importance of soils
4. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
5. September Geology and GSA Today media highlights
6. Highlights from the September 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
7. Pig study sheds new light on the colonisation of Europe by early farmers
8. Researchers developing device to predict proper light exposure for human health
9. AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 6, 2007
10. IDEMA Reveals Program Highlights for DISKCON USA 2007
11. Men shed light on the mystery of human longevity, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/22/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016  As part of its longstanding ... leading personal genetics company, recently released its latest children,s book, ... The book focuses on the topics of inheritance and variation ... Standards (NGSS) taught in elementary school classrooms in the US. ... series by illustrator Ariana Killoran , whose previous book ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... and GENEVA, Dec, 20, 2016   Valencell ... sensor technology, and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a ... of electronics applications, announced today the launch of ... for biometric wearables that includes ST,s compact ... Valencell,s Benchmark™ biometric sensor system. Together, SensorTile ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Biometric ... to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle access system market, in terms of value, ... to 2021. The market is estimated to be USD 442.7 Million ... The growth of the biometric vehicle access system market is fueled ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... January 20, 2017 Stock-Callers.com explores ... have influenced the most recent performances of select equities. ... RGLS ), Abeona Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... TBPH ), and Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Grand View Research, global Biotech market size is expected to reach $604.40 ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... ... the next evolution in spinal fusion, the MISquito Percutaneous Pedicle Screw System ... competition, SpineFrontier is focused on technique driven product solutions that provide maximum ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and HOUSTON , Jan. 19, ... today announced the formation of its Medical/Clinical Advisory ... and industry veterans who enhance the range and ... accelerates development of its novel prenatal diagnostic tests.  ... clinical and strategic guidance for the company,s product ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... solutions for pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), today announced the launch of ... analysis and interpretation for the rapidly evolving field of precision medicine. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: