Navigation Links
Small nanoparticles bring big improvement to medical imaging
Date:11/18/2009

If you're watching the complex processes in a living cell, it is easy to miss something importantespecially if you are watching changes that take a long time to unfold and require high-spatial-resolution imaging. But new research* makes it possible to scrutinize activities that occur over hours or even days inside cells, potentially solving many of the mysteries associated with molecular-scale events occurring in these tiny living things.

A joint research team, working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate the cellular interior to reveal these slow processes. Nanoparticles, thousands of times smaller than a cell, have a variety of applications. One type of nanoparticle called a quantum dot glows when exposed to light. These semiconductor particles can be coated with organic materials, which are tailored to be attracted to specific proteins within the part of a cell a scientist wishes to examine.

"Quantum dots last longer than many organic dyes and fluorescent proteins that we previously used to illuminate the interiors of cells," says biophysicist Jeeseong Hwang, who led the team on the NIST side. "They also have the advantage of monitoring changes in cellular processes while most high-resolution techniques like electron microscopy only provide images of cellular processes frozen at one moment. Using quantum dots, we can now elucidate cellular processes involving the dynamic motions of proteins."

For their recent study, the team focused primarily on characterizing quantum dot properties, contrasting them with other imaging techniques. In one example, they employed quantum dots designed to target a specific type of human red blood cell protein that forms part of a network structure in the cell's inner membrane. When these proteins cluster together in a healthy cell, the network provides mechanical flexibility to the cell so it can squeeze through narrow capillaries and other tight spaces. But when the cell gets infected with the malaria parasite, the structure of the network protein changes.

"Because the clustering mechanism is not well understood, we decided to examine it with the dots," says NIAID biophysist Fuyuki Tokumasu. "We thought if we could develop a technique to visualize the clustering, we could learn something about the progress of a malaria infection, which has several distinct developmental stages."

The team's efforts revealed that as the membrane proteins bunch up, the quantum dots attached to them are induced to cluster themselves and glow more brightly, permitting scientists to watch as the clustering of proteins progresses. More broadly, the team found that when quantum dots attach themselves to other nanomaterials, the dots' optical properties change in unique ways in each case. They also found evidence that quantum dot optical properties are altered as the nanoscale environment changes, offering greater possibility of using quantum dots to sense the local biochemical environment inside cells.

"Some concerns remain over toxicity and other properties," Hwang says, "but altogether, our findings indicate that quantum dots could be a valuable tool to investigate dynamic cellular processes."


'/>"/>

Contact: Chad Boutin
boutin@nist.gov
301-975-4261
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Small, beautiful and additive-free
2. Small mechanical forces have big impact on embryonic stem cells
3. Fate Therapeutics announces creation of small molecule platform for commercial-scale reprogramming
4. Conservation targets too small to stop extinction
5. Small molecule inhibits pathology associated with myotonic dystrophy type 1
6. Small rodents encourage the formation of scrubland in Spain
7. Harvard research team receives $10M NSF grant to develop small-scale mobile robotic devices
8. After dinosaurs, mammals rise but their genomes get smaller
9. Smaller than expected, but severe, dead zone in Gulf of Mexico
10. Smaller plants punch above their weight in the forest, say Queens biologists
11. New research shows dinosaurs may have been smaller than we thought
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Small nanoparticles bring big improvement to medical imaging
(Date:5/16/2017)... --  Bridge Patient Portal , an enterprise patient ... Systems , an electronic medical record solutions developer ... a partnership to build an interface between the ... products, including Centricity Practice Solution (CPS), Centricity Business ... integrations will allow healthcare delivery networks using GE ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and ... the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration ... Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at ... the Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a ... authentication solutions, today announced that it has been ... Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation ... "Innovation has been a driving force ... program will allow us to innovate and develop ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... , May 23, 2017 As Ebola resurfaces in ... four deaths and 20 suspected cases now reported, a new ... PubMed database, showed a correlation between the 2014 and 2017 ... counts rose sharply in 2012-13, which preceded the 2014 outbreak. ... the Ebola gene Replikin counts in 2014-15, which again precedes ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted by the Weed Science ... control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common lambsquarters ... U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... its 20th anniversary, marking the occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World ... Reception and further extends an invitation to all attendees to view posters ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... USA (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... Optics and Photonics 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will feature ... solar fuels, and autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary ...
Breaking Biology Technology: