Navigation Links
The closest look ever at native human tissue

Seeing proteins in their natural environment and interactions inside cells has been a long-standing goal. Using an advanced microscopy technique called cryo-electron tomography, researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] have visualised proteins responsible for cell-cell contacts for the first time. In this weeks issue of Nature they publish the first 3D image of human skin at molecular resolution and reveal the molecular Velcro-like organisation that interlinks cells.

This is a real breakthrough in two respects, says Achilleas Frangakis, group leader at EMBL. Never before has it been possible to look in three dimensions at a tissue so close to its native state at such a high resolution. We can now see details at the scale of a few millionths of a millimetre. In this way we have gained a new view on the interactions of molecules that underlie cell adhesion in tissues a mechanism that has been disputed over decades.

So far, the only information available about a proteins position and interactions in a cell was based on either light microscopy images at poor resolution or techniques that remove proteins from their natural context. Frangakis and his group have been developing a technique called cryo-electron tomography, with which a cell or tissue is instantly frozen in its natural state and then examined with an electron micro-scope. Electron microscopy normally requires tissue to be treated with chemicals or coated in metal, a procedure that disturbs the natural state of a sample. With cyro-electron tomography, images are taken of the untreated sample from different directions and assembled into an accurate 3D image by a computer.

The researchers applied this technique to observe proteins that are crucial for the integrity of tissues and organs like the skin and the heart, but also play an important role in cell proliferation. These proteins, called cadherins, are anchored in cell membranes and interact with each other to bring cells close together and interlink them tightly.

We could see the interaction between two cadherins directly, and this revealed where the strength of human skin comes from, says Ashraf Al-Amoudi, who carried out the work in Frangakis lab. The trick is that each cadherin binds twice: once to a molecule from the juxtaposed cell, and once to its next-door neighbour. The system works a bit like specialised Velcro and establishes very tight contacts between cells.

The new insights into the cadherin system broadens the understanding of structural aspects of cell adhesion and shed light on other crucial processes such as cell proliferation. The technical advances achieved in cryo-electron tomography of frozen sections open up new possibilities to study more systems at native conditions with molecular resolution.


Contact: Anna-Lynn Wegener
European Molecular Biology Laboratory  

Related biology technology :

1. Viragen Internationals Subsidiary, ViraNative AB, Files to Seek Bankruptcy Protection in Sweden
2. Novel Alternative Approach to Inhibiting Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) May Provide New Treatment for Breast Cancer and Other Cancers
3. Expiry of Hart-Scott-Rodino Waiting Period for JUVISTA(R) (Human TGF BETA 3)
4. New Initiative Has Shocking Effect: Thousands of Missourians with Abnormal Chromosome Structures Are Not Human
5. ExonHit Therapeutics: Allergan and ExonHits First Collaboration Compound to Begin Human Clinical Trials
6. Human Genome Sciences Announces $40 Million Milestone Payment Related to Albuferon(R) Development
7. Novocell Announces Discovery Linking Key Cancer Cell Signaling Pathways With Proliferation and Self-Renewal of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
8. Human Genome Sciences Invites Investors to Listen to Webcast of Presentation at Thomas Weisel Partners Conference
9. Human Genome Sciences Invites Investors to Listen to Webcast of Presentation at BioCentury-Thomson Financial Investment Conference
10. Human Genome Sciences Invites Investors to Listen to Webcast of Presentation at Bear Stearns Conference
11. Human Pheromone Sciences Enters Into Agreement to Reposition and Promote its Natural Attraction(R) Brand
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
The closest look ever at native human tissue
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), ... MultiGP, also known as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing ... AMA members have embraced this type of racing and several new model aviation pilots ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... today that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or ... Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject to the ... on November 23, 2015, which will result in ... giving effect to the issuance of such shares, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation ... on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest ... AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nev. , Nov. 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. ... P. McLaughlin , the company,s president and chief executive officer, ... Healthcare Conference next week in New York City ... occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... Please connect to the website at least 15 minutes prior ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ... controller solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, the ... Huawei. --> --> ... Google to provide strategic collaboration in the joint development ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):