Navigation Links
Measuring molecules to improve drug design

CSIRO has patented an improved microscopy method for measuring the shapes and sizes of proteins which could help scientists create new pharmaceuticals that are a better match for the proteins they target.

The method, called Differential Aberration Correction (DAC) microscopy, measures distances at the molecular level in two and three dimensions using conventional fluorescence microscopy.

A special feature of the new method, written up recently in the Journal of Microscopy, is that it allows scientists to measure proteins in solution, which is how they exist in nature, instead of using coated or crystallised proteins as other techniques do. This is particularly important for rational drug design but has broader life sciences applications.

The leader of CSIRO's Biotech Imaging team, Dr Pascal Vallotton, says DAC microscopy measures distances a million times smaller than a tape measure can in nanometres rather than millimetres. One nanometre is one billionth of a metre.

"Just as a tailor measures up a person for a suit, we want to use our technique to measure accurate dimensions of proteins called membrane receptors," Dr Vallotton says.

"These proteins sit on cell boundaries, acting as gate-keepers, and they represent a class of biomolecules targetted by over 50 per cent of pharmaceuticals.

"Understanding the complex structures of these molecules and how new drugs affect their structure will help drug companies design more effective pharmaceuticals."

Cells are often viewed using conventional fluorescence microscopy. However, images obtained this way are inaccurate because light is bent differently for different wavelengths through the microscope. Several universities have attempted complex and onerous hardware-based solutions to try to fix this problem.

CSIRO researchers instead used a software-based approach that precisely corrects the distortion at every point in the image.

DAC microscopy is an improvement on an older technology, called FRET, which can measure distances from 1-10 nanometres. DAC can measure 1-250 nanometres, giving a more complete picture of drug-membrane receptor interactions. It will complement other techniques like X-ray crystallography.

The DAC software was tested using fluorescent polystyrene microspheres only 100 nm across about one thousandth the width of a hair.

"We are currently looking at more samples that require the ability to see single molecules with very high contrast. Results are extremely encouraging and we are starting to explore commercial possibilities," Dr Vallotton says.


Contact: Carrie Bengston
CSIRO Australia

Related biology news :

1. Atmospheric measuring device for understanding smog formation
2. Positron emission tomography superior to standard evaluation tools in measuring treatment response
3. New approach to measuring carbon in forests
4. Biosensor for measuring stress in cells
5. Measuring the stress of forested areas
6. Measuring calcium in serpentine soils
7. Measuring water from space
8. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
9. New molecules discovered that block cancer cells from modifying cell DNA
10. Curry-derived molecules might be too spicy for colorectal cancers
11. New book presents methods to poke and prod individual molecules
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
(Date:3/30/2017)...  On April 6-7, 2017, will host the ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... developing health and wellness apps that provide a unique, ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and ... in the genomics, tech and health industries are sending ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... partners with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality ... Several trends in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... to take place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The ... influencers as well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
Breaking Biology Technology: