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Scientists take up golf to prove long-standing theory of cell stickiness
Date:10/4/2011

State-of-the-art, highly-sensitive golf clubs, developed by scientists, regularly catch the eye of golf's elite; however before the likes of Rory McIlroy get excited this time, this new golf putter is being put to use in microbiology laboratories.

The 'micro putter', developed in a study published today, 5 October 2011, in IOP Publishing's journal Measurement Science and Technology, has been designed to test the "stickiness" of single cells.

With a length of 240 micrometres, a width of 30 micrometres and a tip of just two micrometres, golfers would not even be able to see this new putter; one micrometre is equal to one-millionth of a metre.

Researchers from Nagoya University in Japan are using the micro putter to nudge individual yeast cells placed on a variety of surfaces to test cell adhesion.

Cell adhesion is the ability of a single cell to stick to other cells, or an exterior material, and has long been theorised as a way of testing if a cell is dead or alive.

According to the "cell adhesion model", the more a cell sticks the greater number of chemical bonds it has on its surface. A dead cell would have fewer chemical bonds on its surface so would therefore stick less than a living cell.

The research team has provided compelling evidence that this theory is correct, showing that a cell's adhesion is decreased by more than half once it's died.

Compared to conventional cell testing whereby averages are obtained by staining dead and living colonies with special dyes, the micro-putter could provide a fast and simple approach to testing individual cells and provide a more precise understanding of the biological processes that occur.

Co-author, Yajing Shen, said, "The identification of cell viability is very important in the biological and medical field. Take disease therapy for example: cell viability measurements could be used to evaluate the death of cancerous cells or evaluate cell dam
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Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
01-179-301-032
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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