Navigation Links
Brandeis lab's artificial cilia spur new thinking in nanotechnology
Date:7/29/2011

Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that perform feats such as clearing microscopic debris from the lungs and determining the correct location of organs during development, move in mysterious ways. Their beating motions are synchronized to produce metachronal waves, similar in appearance to "the wave" created in large arenas when audience members use their hands to produce a pattern of movement around the entire stadium.

Due to the importance of ciliary functions for health, there is great interest in understanding the mechanism that controls the cilias' beating patterns. But learning exactly how cilia movement is coordinated has been challenging.

That may be beginning to change as a result of the creation, by a team of Brandeis researchers, of artificial cilia-like structures that dramatically offers a new approach for cilia study.

In a recent paper published in the journal Science, Associate Professor of Physics Zvonimir Dogic and colleagues present the first example of a simple microscopic system that self-organizes to produce cilia-like beating patterns.

"We've shown that there is a new approach toward studying the beating," says Dogic. "Instead of deconstructing the fully functioning structure, we can start building complexity from the ground up."

The complexity of these structures presents a major challenge as each cilium contains more than 600 different proteins. For this reason, most previous studies of cilia have employed a top-down approach, attempting to study the beating mechanism by deconstructing the fully functioning structures through the systematic elimination of individual components.

The interdisciplinary team consisted of physics graduate student Timothy Sanchez and biochemistry graduate student David Welch who worked with biologist Daniela Nicastro and Dogic. Their experimental system was comprised of three main components: microtubule filaments tiny hollow cylinders found in both animal and plant cells, motor proteins called kinesin, which consume chemical fuel to move along microtubules and a bundling agent that induces assembly of filaments into bundles.

Sanchez and colleagues found that under a particular set of conditions these very simple components spontaneously organize into active bundles that beat in a periodic manner.

In addition to observing the beating of isolated bundles, the researchers were also able to assemble a dense field of bundles that spontaneously synchronized their beating patterns into traveling waves.

Self-organizing processes of many kinds have recently become a focus of the physics community. These processes range in scale from microscopic cellular functions and swarms of bacteria to macroscopic phenomena such as flocking of birds and traffic jams. Since controllable experiments with birds, crowds at football stadiums and traffic are virtually impossible to conduct, the experiments described by Sanchez and colleagues could serve as a model for testing a broad range of theoretical predictions.

In addition, the reproduction of such an essential biological functionality in a simple system will be of great interest to the fields of cellular and evolutionary biology, Dogic says. The findings also open a door for the development of one of the major goals of nanotechnology to design an object that's capable of swimming independently.

The Dogic lab is currently planning refinements to the system to study these topics in greater depth.


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Chaityn Lebovits
lebovits@brandeis.edu
781-736-4027
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Hooper Holmes Heritage Labs Division Launches New Home Diabetes Test
2. GeoVax Labs, Inc. Announces Six Month Financial Results and Provides Operational Update
3. Interleukin Genetics Licenses its PST(R) Genetic Test to OralDNA Labs
4. Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) Welcomes Clinilabs and RPS as New Members
5. Oridion Expands its OEM Partnerships - New Agreement with Spacelabs Healthcare
6. Preliminary Report of American Biotech Labs HIV Study Featured in Inaugural Issue of Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes
7. Concentric Named Professional Agency of Record for Discovery Labs SURFAXIN(R)
8. DFB Sells Coria Labs to Valeant Pharmaceuticals
9. GeoVax Labs, Inc. Information To Be Available Through Standard & Poors Market Access Program
10. Nikon Instruments Appoints LABSCO its Clinical Distributor in Six States
11. GlaxoSmithKline to Acquire Genelabs Technologies to Increase Focus on Novel Small Molecule Therapies for Hepatitis C
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... Today, 3Bar Biologics Inc ., ... in funding from an impressive group of investors, including Rev1 Ventures, Maumee Ventures, ... this investment, 3Bar is broadening availability of its groundbreaking offering that uses naturally ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... BOSTON and OXFORD, England , ... -based consortium for biotech executive search and leadership development, ... and Healthcare sectors, have created an exclusive alliance that enables ... "For our clients here ... collaboration provides unparalleled access to a diverse population of leadership ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... pioneering graphene biosensors that accelerate pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics development, announces the launch of ... number of steps needed to gain kinetic binding data for a wide range ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... 6” modular downlights designed to stay tightly sealed and perform efficiently for years. ... and wet location listings just aren't enough, such as: hospitals; behavioral health facilities; ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... 6, 2017 Forecasts by Product ... Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & Public ... & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business ... Are you looking for a definitive report on ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):