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Quantum Dots Research Leads to New Knowledge about Protein Binding in Plants

UC Riverside researchers from the Departments of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Botany and Plant Sciences have worked together to discover a way to utilize Quantum Dot bio-conjugates to uncover new knowledge about the binding of a protein at the growing pollen tube tip. This protein plays a critical role along with another protein (chemocyanin) in guiding sperm-laden pollen tubes to the eggs found in ovules.

Applying nanoparticles for imaging the protein localization revealed information that could not be observed previously by conventional imaging techniques. This study provides a new tool to botanical scientists by merging areas of materials science, chemistry and plant biology. The findings are the result of an interdisciplinary research team including Sathyajith Ravindran of the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department; Sunran Kim, Rebecca Martin and Elizabeth M. Lord of the Botany and Plant Sciences Department; and Cengiz S. Ozkan of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC-Riverside. The results of their collaborative research appeared in an article titled “Quantum Dots as Bio-labels for the Localization of a Small Plant Adhesion Protein?and published in the January 2005 issue of Nanotechnology, and is a featured article at http://nanotechweb.org. Journal Nanotechnology has an international readership among academic, government and corporate sectors, and is dedicated to coverage of all aspects of nanoscale science and technology from a multidisciplinary perspective. Ozkan and his colleagues utilized cadmium selenide (CdSe) quantum dots coated with zinc sulphide as fluorescent probes. The particles had a diameter of 6.3 nm. The team terminated the quantum dots with carboxylic groups by reacting them with mercaptoacetic acid. Then they conjugated the quantum dots with the amine groups of stigma/stylar cysteine-rich adhesin (SCA) - a plant polle
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