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Sandia Labs unlocks secrets of plague with stunning new imaging techniques
Date:5/16/2011

ke to be able to visualize protein/protein interactions.

"Every biological process that goes on in your body is somehow controlled by proteins forming complexes with other proteins or complexes in the membrane, so this would give you this ability to look, with high spatial resolution and multiplexed color capabilities, at four or more things in a living cell, which can't be done very easily right now. It can be done in pieces, but we want to see the whole biological process," Timlin said.

The technology has exciting potential in immunology and drug discovery. Improved imaging could show the mechanisms viruses use to invade cells, which might lead to drugs that would block entry. "We're hoping to do something like label the viral particles and watch them in real time, or as close as we can to real time, in the internalization process," Carson said. "With the superresolution technique, we can actually watch them move through the membrane and see if there are other structures being recruited by the virus to the site of internalization."

Sandia originally developed the technology in support of its biological national security programs, but the team wants to expand the technology into other areas such as biofuels to better understand where and when different pigments are located on the membrane of oil-producing algae. This would provide valuable insight into their photosynthesis functions, which could lead to more efficient biofuel production.

"A lot of this work is in its early stages, but we're encouraged by what we're seeing and excited about its future potential," Aaron said.


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Contact: Stephanie Hobby
shobby@sandia.gov
505-844-0948
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Source:Eurekalert

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