Navigation Links
Small molecule receptor detects lipid's telltale sign of cell death
Date:9/12/2011

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (9/13/2011) Researchers from Boston College have developed a new class of small molecule receptors capable of detecting a lipid molecule that reveals the telltale signs of cellular death, particularly cancer cells targeted by anti-cancer drugs, the team reports in the current electronic edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers led by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jianmin Gao successfully grafted the key residues of the milk protein lactadherin onto the molecular scaffolding of a short but sturdy circular chain of amino acids to create cyclic lactadherin (cLac) mimics capable of binding to apoptotic, or dying, cells.

Gao said his team spent a year and a half focused on a finding a new method of measuring cell death. The team wanted to create an alternative to traditional tests that measure whether or not a tumor has shrunk in size after several weeks of treatment. The team's focus was on finding a way to measure the presence of dead cells, not the absence of tumor cells.

"We started by looking for a method to detect dying cells," said Gao. "The sensitivity of scientific and medical imaging is better if you look for the appearance of something, rather than the disappearance. What we wanted to look for is that in the initial stages of treatment the therapy's molecules are beginning to trigger the death of cancer cells. That can give you an idea a drug is working much sooner than the current methods of evaluation."

The newly engineered cLac molecules could prove useful as a prognostic tool which could enable oncologists to determine the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs in a matter of days rather than several weeks, said Gao, who added that further research and testing will need to be conducted.

"Given the small size and ease of synthesis and labeling, cLacs hold great promise for noninvasive imaging of cell death in living animals and, ultimately, in human patients," Gao said.

The cLac molecule is relatively small, built upon on a cyclic peptide scaffold of approximately a dozen amino acids, yet Gao's laboratory tests show it is capable of capturing the lipid molecule phosphatidylserine (PS) a function nature accomplishes by using proteins of several hundred amino acids, Gao said. In apoptotic cells PS flows to the surface where cLac is able to latch onto the dying cells while bypassing living cells. In the current report, researchers colored cLac with a fluorescent dye in order to highlight apoptotic cells for fluorescence microscopy. By using appropriate tracing agents, cLac should be detectable through commonly used imaging technology, including MRI and PET.

The cLac molecule could offer a cost-effective, more stable and cleaner alternative to natural PS-binding proteins used for similar purposes, Gao said. Those proteins are bulky and relatively unstable, contain metal cofactors that make results difficult to interpret and show poor ability to penetrate tissue because of their size.

Gao said cLac could also serve as a useful tool for researchers who use protein as a cell death indicator to screen for millions of compounds. The use of the small, peptide-binding molecule could substantially reduce costs for researchers, Gao said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Office of Naval Research looks for big opportunities at small business conference
2. Small molecules shed light on cancer therapies
3. Disordered networks synchronise faster than small world networks
4. Sneaky squid: Why small males have big sperm
5. TREW Marketing Introduces Smart Marketing for Engineers, a Free Guidebook for Small Businesses Targeting Technical Audiences
6. Study shows small-scale fisheries impact on marine life
7. Being small has its advantages, if you are a leaf
8. Researchers engineer functioning small intestine in laboratory experiments
9. Treatment approach to human Usher syndrome: Small molecules ignore stop signals
10. Transport Phenomena and Membrane Digestion in Small Intestinal Mucosa by Pensoft
11. Oceans harmful low-oxygen zones growing, are sensitive to small changes in climate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Small molecule receptor detects lipid's telltale sign of cell death
(Date:3/29/2016)... March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. ... "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our ... in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures ... created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured ... the DNA. Bill Bollander , CEO ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... --> --> Competitive Landscape Analysis ... Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... and the continuing migration crisis in the Middle ... led visiongain to publish this unique report, which is crucial ... & security companies in the border security market and the ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... 14, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) ... --> - Renvoi : image disponible via AP ... --> --> DERMALOG, le leader ... nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés ... utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... to announce the appointment of John Tilton as Chief Commercial Officer.  Mr. Tilton ... one of the founding commercial leaders responsible for the commercialization of multiple orphan ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group and ... Symposium as other research and development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management for ... Stem Cells Group executives began meeting to establish a working agenda and foster initiatives ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... The European Patent Office ... as one of three finalists for the European Inventor Award 2016 in the category ... will be announced at a ceremony in Lisbon on June 9th. , The human ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Seattle based non-profit, The Institute for ... Corporation. The grant will be used to further the scientific research goals of ... http://www.ivsci.org , In accounting the grant to the IVS, Mr. Glenn ...
Breaking Biology Technology: