Navigation Links
New technology illuminates protein interactions in living cells

New Haven, Conn. While fluorescence has long been used to tag biological molecules, a new technology developed at Yale allows researchers to use tiny fluorescent probes to rapidly detect and identify protein interactions within living cells while avoiding the biological disruption of existing methods, according to a report in Nature Chemical Biology.

Proteins are commonly tagged using variants of the green fluorescent protein (GFP), but these proteins are very large and are often toxic to live cells. They also tend to aggregate, making them difficult to work with and monitor. This new methodology uses the fluorescence emitted by a small molecule, rather than a large protein. It gives researchers a less disruptive way to capture images of the intricate contacts between folded regions of an individual protein or the partnerships between proteins in a live cell.

Our approach bypasses many of the problems associated with fluorescent proteins, so that we can image protein interactions in living cells, said senior author Alanna Schepartz, the Milton Harris Professor of Chemistry, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at Yale. Using these molecules we can differentiate alternative or misfolded proteins from those that are folded correctly and also detect protein partnerships in live cells.

Each protein is a three-dimensional structure created by folding its linear chain of amino acids. Usually only one shape works for each protein. The particular shape a protein takes depends on its amino acids and on other processes within the cell.

Schepartz and her team devised their new tagging system using small molecules, called profluorescent biarsenal dyes. These molecules easily enter cells and become fluorescent when they bind to a specific amino acid tag sequence within a protein. While these compounds have been used for about a decade to bind single proteins, this is the first time they have been used to identify interactions between proteins.

The researchers strategy was to split the amino acid tag for the dye into two pieces, locating each piece of the tag far apart in the chain of a protein they genetically engineered and expressed in the cells. Then they monitored cells exposed to the dye. Where the protein folded correctly, the two parts of the tag came together and the fluorescent compound bound and lit up. There was no signal unless the protein folded normally.

This method of detection can provide important insights into how proteins choose their partners within the cell choices that may be very different from those made in a test tube, said Schepartz. She emphasizes that this technology does not monitor the process of protein folding but, rather sees the protein conformations that exist at a given time.

In theory, our technique could be used to target and selectively inactivate specific protein complexes in the cell, as therapy, or to visualize conformations at very high resolution for diagnostic purposes, said Schepartz. She speculates that the technology could be applied to detection strategies that identify protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers or Parkinsons.


Contact: Janet Rettig Emanuel
Yale University  

Related biology news :

1. Yale scientists use nanotechnology to fight E. coli
2. Voice Biometrics Gains Traction as Most Accurate and Convenient Technology to Secure Customer Privacy
3. M2SYS Partners with SecuGen Corporation to Support Market Leading Hamster Plus Fingerprint Reader with Auto-On Technology
4. Silicon Valley Technology Leaders LaserCard Corporation and Tesla Motors Sign LaserPass Secure Access Deal
5. Nanotechnology: Whats that?
6. UCs NIH grant brings technology from outer space to playgrounds
7. BIO-key(R) International to Showcase Deployed Biometric Security Applications at 2007 Biometric Technology Expo
8. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
9. UCLA/VA partners with ASU to advance biosensor technology for urinary tract infections
10. Herr receives Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment
11. Singapore National Science and Technology Awards
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New technology illuminates protein interactions in living cells
(Date:11/4/2015)... 2015 --> ... by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global ... - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to ... The market is estimated to expand at a CAGR ... 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it has ... as one of only three finalists for a ... and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... technology innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 Daon, a global leader in ... released a new version of its IdentityX Platform ... North America have already installed IdentityX v4.0 ... a FIDO UAF certified server component as ... activate FIDO features. These customers include some of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... backed, age-defying products, is featured as the cover story and throughout Success ... unrivaled opportunities that Nerium provides. Success from Home magazine routinely features successful ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 2015 , ... The American Society of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, AAGL, ... will join fellow surgeons in the shared pursuit of “advancing minimally invasive ... founder of Plano Urogynecology Associates and Fellow of the American College of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... MIAMI (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... design and development stages of a new closed system for isolating adipose-derived stem cells. ... stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue. SVF is a component of the lipoaspirate ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), a leader ... American Business Act on Climate Pledge, alongside more than 140 ... the Obama Administration to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate ... the COP21 Paris climate negotiations. ... Sarnia, Canada . --> BioAmber uses biotechnology ...
Breaking Biology Technology: