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Hopkins researchers use light to move molecules
Date:3/16/2011

in a cell behave when transported to precise locations.

Next, researchers modified the two mingling proteins by attaching special molecules to them one sent one of the proteins to the edge of the cell and another caused ripples to form on the edge of the cell so that if ripples form on the edge of the cell, they would know that the proteins were interacting there.

The researchers put both modified proteins inside human skin cells and bathed the cells in the light-triggered chemical tool. Then, they shone a tiny UV beam directed on approximately ten percent of the edge of a skin cell. Ripples appeared only on the region of the cell near where the light was beamed, demonstrating that the tool could limit cell activity to a precise location in the cell.

The tool can be used in larger cells, Inoue says, to monitor as little as one percent of a specific molecule if the beam intensity is varied. That in turn could reveal in even more detail the secret affairs of proteins in cellular cubbyholes.

"With this technique, we can get a finer understanding of cell function on the molecular level," says Inoue. "Our technique allows us to monitor whatever molecule we choose in whichever tiny space we choose so that we can understand how a molecule functions in a specific part of a live cell."


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Contact: Vanessa McMains
vmcmain1@jhmi.edu
410-502-9410
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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