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Nature Methods study: Using light to control cell clustering
Date:2/12/2013

k by Nature Methods and will appear in a future print edition of the journal. The study may be viewed online at: http://go.nature.com/jPqpHa

Light is an attractive tool to manipulate oligomerization, Kane said, because of three properties: most biological cells do not normally react or respond to light; light is easy to make; and researchers can easily control light properties including its color and intensity. In this new study, the research team shined blue light onto cells containing a bioengineered protein, and by doing so they were able to activate cell signaling more effectively than they could using the natural ligand Wnt3a. This protein clustering induced by shining light was reversibleupon removing the blue light, the cluster broke up within a few minutes. The researchers also demonstrated how to use this modular technique to cluster proteins that control cell shape.

"The new process can be applied to many different types of proteins, signaling pathways, and cells," said study co-author Lukasz Bugaj, graduate student at UC Berkeley. The research team plans to continue investigating new ways of controlling different aspects of cells and cellular function with light.


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Contact: Michael mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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