nanoparticles for imaging the protein localization revealed information
that could not be observed previously by conventional imaging
techniques. This study provides a new tool to botanical scientists by
merging areas of materials science, chemistry and plant biology.
The findings are the result of an interdisciplinary research team
including Sathyajith Ravindran of the Chemical and Environmental
Engineering Department; Sunran Kim, Rebecca Martin and Elizabeth M.
Lord of the Botany and Plant Sciences Department; and Cengiz S. Ozkan
of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC-Riverside.
The results of their collaborative research appeared in an article
titled “Quantum Dots as Bio-labels for the Localization of a Small
Plant Adhesion Protein?and published in the January 2005 issue of
Nanotechnology, and is a featured article at http://nanotechweb.org.
Journal Nanotechnology has an international readership among academic,
government and corporate sectors, and is dedicated to coverage of all
aspects of nanoscale science and technology from a multidisciplinary
Ozkan and his colleagues utilized cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots
coated with zinc sulphide as fluorescent probes. The particles had a
diameter of 6.3 nm. The team terminated the quantum dots with
carboxylic groups by reacting them with mercaptoacetic acid. Then they
conjugated the quantum dots with the amine groups of stigma/stylar
cysteine-rich adhesin (SCA) - a plant polle
n tube adhesion protein.
This labeled the protein molecules with fluorescent tags.
Quantum dots are much more resistant to photobleaching than
conventional fluorescent markers and their small size make them ideal
for biological imaging. The researchers then added the molecules to
germinated lily pollen grains and examined them under a confocal
This is the very first time that Quantum Dots have been utilized for
live imaging in plant systems. The study opens the door for the
potential use of Quantum Dots in live imaging of plant cells and
provides valuable understanding of the mechanism of interaction between
the pollen tube and female tissue during reproduction.
“Integrating materials science, chemistry and plant biology to
understand how and where specific proteins act on a pollen tube is one
more step towards a better understanding of the fundamental processes
involved, namely the network of the signaling process in plant
reproduction,?said Ozkan. "A better understanding of the interaction
of SCA with pollen tubes could help with successful plant breeding?
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