Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
RANDOX LABORATORIES

New Imaging Technology Could Reveal Cellular Mysteries

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 21 May 2013
Print article
Researchers have fused two biologic imaging technologies, creating a new approach to determine how healthy cells turn malignant.

“Let’s say you have a large population of cells,” said Dr. Corey Neu, an assistant professor in Purdue University’s (West Lafayette, IN, USA) Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. “Just one of them might metastasize or proliferate, forming a cancerous tumor. We need to understand what it is that gives rise to that one bad cell.”

This new development makes it possible to simultaneously evaluate the mechanical and biochemical characteristics of cells, which could provide new clues into disease processes, according to biomedical engineering postdoctoral fellow Charilaos Mousoulis. Being able to study a cell’s internal mechanisms in precise detail would in all probably provide insights into the physical and biochemical responses to its environment. The technology, which combines an atomic force microscope and nuclear magnetic resonance system (MRI), could help researchers study individual cancer cells, for example, to uncover mechanisms leading up to cancer metastasis for research and diagnostics.

The prototype’s capabilities were demonstrated by taking nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of hydrogen atoms in water. Findings represent a proof of concept of the technology and were published in a research paper that appeared online April 11, 2013, in the journal Applied Physics Letters. “You could detect many different types of chemical elements, but in this case hydrogen is nice to detect because it’s abundant,” Dr. Neu said. “You could detect carbon, nitrogen and other elements to get more detailed information about specific biochemistry inside a cell.”

An atomic force microscope (AFM) uses a tiny vibrating probe called a cantilever to provide data about substances and surfaces on the scale of nanometers (billionths of a meter). Because the instrument enables scientists to visualize objects far smaller than possible using light microscopes, it could be suitable for studying molecules, cell membranes and other biologic structures.

However, the AFM does not provide information about the chemical and biologic properties of cells. Therefore, the researchers constructed a metal microcoil on the AFM cantilever. An electrical current is passed though the coil, causing it to exchange electromagnetic radiation with protons in molecules within the cell and inducing another current in the coil, which is detected.

The Purdue researchers performed “mechanobiology” experiments to find out how forces exerted on cells influence their behavior. In work focusing on osteoarthritis, their research includes the study of cartilage cells from the knee to determine how they interact with the complex matrix of structures and biochemistry between cells.

Future research might include studying cells in microfluidic chambers to assess how they respond to specific drugs and environmental changes. A US patent application has been filed for the concept.

Related Links:
Purdue University



Print article

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: Molecular model of E3 ubiquitin ligase (green), E2 ubiquitin enzyme (orange), \"activated ubiquitin\" (cyan), and \"allosteric ubiquitin\" (blue) (Photo courtesy of Dr. Bernhard Lechtenberg, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute).

Researchers Resolve Molecular Structure of Critical Ubiquitin-Binding Enzyme

The molecular structure of a protein complex critically involved in diverse cellular functions such as cell signaling, DNA repair, and mounting anti-inflammatory and immune responses has been elucidated... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The “cellXpress” automated imaging analysis software enables to efficiently and accurately detect cellular responses (reflected in green) to nephrotoxic compounds (Photo courtesy of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (Singapore)).

First High-Throughput Imaging Platform for Predicting Kidney Toxicity of Chemicals

Researchers have developed a high-throughput platform of automated cellular imaging that efficiently and accurately predicts renal toxicity of chemical compounds without animal testing, providing an improved... Read more

Business

view channel

Purchase Agreement to Boost Ebola Vaccine Development

A deal to help boost development of a vaccine to protect against Ebolavirus infection was finalized at the recent Davos Conference in Switzerland. Gavi (Geneva, Switzerland), the global alliance for vaccines and immunizations, announced that it would spend five million USD to purchase the Ebola vaccine under development... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2016 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.