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

Events

06 Jun 2016 - 09 Jun 2016
22 Jun 2016 - 24 Jun 2016
04 Jul 2016 - 06 Jul 2016

Melanin’s Ability to Maintain Radioprotection Examined

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 07 Sep 2011
Print article
Sun worshipers have long known that melanin in their skin cells provides protection from the damage caused by visible and ultraviolet light. More recent studies have shown that melanin, which is produced by multitudes of organisms, also provides some species with protection from ionizing radiation.

In certain microbes, in particular some organisms from near the former nuclear reactor facilities in Chernobyl (Ukraine), melanin has even been linked to increased growth in the presence of ionizing radiation.

Research at the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL; Aiken, SC, USA), in collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY, USA), has provided clues into the electrochemical mechanism that gives the complex polymer known as melanin its long-term radioprotective properties, with an objective of using that knowledge to develop materials that mimic those natural properties.

An article in the August 2011 issue of the journal Bioelectrochemistry described how the researchers established that ionizing radiation interacts with melanin to alter its oxidation-reduction potential, resulting in electric current production.

Radiation causes damage by stripping away electrons from its target. “Over time, as melanin is bombarded with radiation and electrons are knocked away, you would expect to see the melanin become oxidized, or bleached out, and lose its ability to provide protection,” said Dr. Charles Turick, science fellow with SRNL, “but that’s not what we’re seeing. Instead, the melanin continuously restores itself.”

The investigator’s research took them a step closer to clarifying that self-restoration process. They demonstrated that melanin could receive electrons, countering the oxidizing effects of the gamma radiation. The work showed, for the first time, that constant exposure of melanin to gamma radiation results in electric current production.

Mimicking that capability would be beneficial, for example, in the space industry, where satellites and other equipment are exposed to high levels of radiation for long spans of time. “Looking at materials, a constantly gamma radiation-oxidized electrode consisting in part of melanin would continuously accept electrons, thereby resulting in a current response,” Dr. Turick said. “If we could understand how that works, we could keep that equipment working for a very long time.”


Related Links:
Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory
Albert Einstein College of Medicine





Print article

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: A dark field photomicrograph showing the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for causing Lyme disease (Photo courtesy of the CDC).

Statins May Help Block Transmission of Lyme Disease

A recent study found that treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins reduced the number of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in rodents, which helped to block transmission of Lyme disease. Lyme disease... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel

Experimental Small-Molecule Anticancer Drug Blocks RAS-binding Domains

The experimental small-molecule anticancer drug rigosertib was shown to block tumor growth by acting as an RAS-mimetic and interacting with the RAS binding domains of RAF kinases, resulting in their inability to bind to RAS, which inhibited the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway. Oncogenic activation of RAS genes due to point mutations... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel
Image: A space-filling model of the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Wastewater May Contaminate Crops with Potentially Dangerous Pharmaceuticals

Reclaimed wastewater used to irrigate crops is contaminated with pharmaceutical residues that can be detected in the urine of those who consumed such produce. Investigators at the Hebrew University... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

Huge Modifiable Biomedical Database to Be Available on the Wikidata Site

Genome researchers are exploiting the power of the open Internet community Wikipedia database to create a comprehensive resource for geneticists, molecular biologists, and other interested life scientists. While efficiency in generating scientific data improves almost daily, applying meaningful relationships between... Read more

Business

view channel

European Biotech Agreement to Promote Antigen-Drug Conjugation Technology

Two European biotech companies have joined forces to exploit and commercialize an innovative, site-specific ADC (antigen-drug conjugate) conjugation technology. ProBioGen (Berlin, Germany), a company specializing in the development and manufacture of complex glycoproteins and Eucodis Bioscience (Vienna, Austria), a... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2016 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.