Navigation Links
'Micro-boxes' of water used to study single molecules

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated the use of water droplets as minuscule "boxes" for small numbers of biomolecules. The unusually simple containment method may enable easier experiments on single molecule dynamics and perhaps lead to the development of molecule-sorting devices that might be used for medical screening or biotechnology research. The work was reported in the July 3 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

The NIST team creates the boxes by briefly shaking a mixture of water, the biomolecules to be studied, and a fluorocarbon medium. Water droplets form in the oily fluorocarbon and naturally encapsulate one to several biomolecules. The researchers then watch through a microscope while using infrared lasers as "optical tweezers" to manipulate and combine the droplets (dubbed "hydrosomes") inside a tiny chamber on a slide.

A green laser is then used to excite the molecules in individual droplets, and the light emissions over several seconds are analyzed to count the molecules and observe other phenomena. The researchers use two sets of optical tweezers to move droplets together to fuse them and mix their contents (see accompanying video). The team demonstrated the technique by trapping and manipulating droplets encapsulating various molecules (including a delicate protein that survived the shaking process), detecting the fluorescence signal from dye and protein molecules, and observing the transfer of energy from one end of a specially treated DNA molecule to the other.

Water offers several advantages over other methods for containing single molecules, such as attaching them to surfaces or placing them inside liposomes (artificial cells). The water droplets can be held far from any surface that might interfere, can readily encapsulate biomolecules (which prefer being in water as opposed to the fluorocarbon medium), and can readily fuse together to mix molecules or rapidly change th eir chemical environment. The water droplets currently average about 300 nanometers in diameter and contain volumes measured in quadrillionths of liters; research is continuing to improve methods for controlling droplet size for different applications.


Source:National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Related biology news :

1. Anti-bacterial additive widespread in U.S. waterways
2. Unprecedented water level rise in Somalia
3. Microbial fuel cell: High yield hydrogen source and wastewater cleaner
4. Survey finds silver contamination in North Pacific waters
5. Researchers discover underwater volcano
6. Too much water may be as dangerous as too little during long-distance athletic events
7. Radio-tracking associated with dramatic shift in water vole sex ratio
8. Major new UNC-based drinking water study suggests pregnancy fears may be overstated
9. Newly discovered genetic disease sheds light on bodys water balance
10. Beetle-inspired switch uses water for bonding
11. UNC computer, marine scientists collaborate to predict flow of toxic waters from Katrina
Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during the ... is the primary factor for the growth of the ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem ... technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market of ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis ... a statistically significant association between the potency ... and objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. ... whether cancer patients will respond to CAR-T ... as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in ... 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by ... feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... study published on October 5, 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain ... with the gold standard, video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 ... of three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have ... within the structural biology community. The winners worked ... can now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the ... from around the world, is giving back to cancer research with a month-long promotion ... , Now through October 31, shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: