Navigation Links
New microscopy technique offers close-up, real-time view of cellular phenomena
Date:3/14/2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. For two decades, scientists have been pursuing a potential new way to treat bacterial infections, using naturally occurring proteins known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Now, MIT scientists have recorded the first microscopic images showing the deadly effects of AMPs, most of which kill by poking holes in bacterial cell membranes.

Researchers in the laboratory of MIT Professor Angela Belcher modified an existing, extremely sensitive technique known as high-speed atomic force microscopy (AFM) to allow them to image the bacteria in real time. Their method, described in this Sunday's online edition of Nature Nanotechnology, represents the first way to study living cells using high-resolution images recorded in rapid succession.

Using this type of high-speed AFM could allow scientists to study how cells respond to other drugs and to viral infection, says Belcher, the Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering. The new work could also help researchers understand how some bacteria can become resistant to AMPs (none of which have been approved as drugs yet).

Atomic force microscopy, invented in 1986, is widely used to image nanoscale materials. Its resolution is similar to that of electron microscopy, but unlike electron microscopy, it does not require a vacuum and thus can be used with living samples. However, traditional AFM requires several minutes to produce one image, so it cannot record a sequence of rapidly occurring events.

In recent years, scientists have developed high-speed AFM techniques, but haven't optimized them for living cells. That's what the MIT team set out to do, building on the experience of lead author Georg Fantner, a postdoctoral associate in Belcher's lab who had worked on high-speed AFM at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

How they did it: Atomic force microscopy makes use of a cantilever equipped with a probe tip that "feels" the surface of a sample. Forces between the tip and the sample can be measured as the probe moves across the sample, revealing the shape of the surface. The MIT team used a cantilever about 1,000 times smaller than those normally used for AFM, which enabled them to increase the imaging speed without harming the bacteria.

With the new setup, the team was able to take images every 13 seconds over a period of several minutes. They found that AMP-induced cell death appears to be a two-step process: a short incubation period followed by a rapid "execution." They were surprised to see that the onset of the incubation period varied from 13 to 80 seconds.

"Not all of the cells started dying at the exact same time, even though they were genetically identical and were exposed to the peptide at the same time," says Roberto Barbero, a graduate student in biological engineering and an author of the paper.

Next steps: In the future, Belcher hopes to use atomic force microscopy to study other cellular phenomena, including the assembly of viruses in infected cells, and the effects of traditional antibiotics on bacterial cells. The technique may also prove useful in studying mammalian cells.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jen Hirsch
jfhirsch@mit.edu
617-253-1682
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NIH grant will boost electron microscopy at Brandeis
2. The sound of light: Innovative technology shatters the barriers of modern light microscopy
3. Milestone in live microscopy focus of $2 million NIH grant
4. Next generation microscopy: No stain, big gain
5. $1.1 million NSF grant to fund research in advanced light microscopy at UCLA
6. New technique allows study of protein folding, dynamics in living cells
7. Laser surgery technique gets new life in art restoration
8. Cameras of the future: heart researchers create revolutionary photographic technique
9. Virus-free technique enables Stanford scientists to easily make stem cells pluripotent
10. Enlisting a drug discovery technique in the battle against global warming
11. New edition of popular lab manual presents latest techniques for probing cellular dynamics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through ... Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion of ... sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within ... advanced design and manufacturing event will take place June ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... --  EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based identity ... and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent No. ... iris image with a face image acquired in sequence ... th issued patent. "The issuance ... multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply ... a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both ... Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 ... London (ICR) and University of ... prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in ... nine . The University of Leeds ... by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing services ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... website as part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new ... broaden its reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... research firm Parks Associates announced today that Tom Kerber ... Annual Meeting , October 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona . ... how smart safety and security products impact the competitive landscape. ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main Purchase Driver ... "The residential security market has experienced continued growth, and the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: