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:2/4/2016)... 4, 2016 The field of Human ... the most popular hubs of the biotechnology industry. ... huge studies of human microbiota, have garnered a ... the microbiome space has literally exploded in terms ... This report focuses on biomedical aspects of research, ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) ... "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology ... Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), ... Global forecast to 2020" report to ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray ... the digital and computed radiography markets in ... Indonesia (TIM). It provides an ... as well as regional market drivers and restraints. The ... penetration and market attractiveness, both for digital and computed ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential election in November and the future ... bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates ... by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Tunnell Consulting, Inc. announced that Frédéric Lefebvre has joined the ... acquiring new accounts and work closely with existing Tunnell clients throughout Europe to ensure ... European clients more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, a thorough ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 9, 2016 ... market analyzes the current and future prospects of the ... of this report include companies engaged in the manufacture ... comprises an executive summary with a market snapshot providing ... the scope of this report. This section also provides ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... - BIOREM Inc. (TSXV: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the Company") today ... technology companies in the TSX Venture 50 TM . ... the TSX Venture Exchange, in each of five major industry ... & life sciences, diversified industries and technology – based on ... investment, market cap growth, trading volume and analyst coverage. All ...
Breaking Biology Technology: