Scientists Use Light To To Control Proteins Inside Live Cells

Posted: Jan 6 2017, 11:04am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Scientists Use Light to to Control Proteins Inside Live Cells
In new work, researchers expand optogenetics to control a wide range of proteins without changing their function, allowing a light-controllable protein to carry out its everyday chores. Credit: Getty Images

New research reveals how light can control proteins in live cells, detecting several diseases

Proteins do multiple tasks, including, oxygen flow, tissue building, copying DNA, and coordinating events within the cells. New method is developed by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that will control proteins living in the live cells in just seconds. The new discovery will give the researchers a new tool to detect the causes of various diseases.

The research study led by Klaus Hahn and Nikolay Dokholyan and spearheaded by Onur Dagliyan, a graduate student in their labs used the technology named optogenetics.

A technique from 2000 helped scientists use light to control proteins by activating and deactivating them. The control affects brain activity making the cells on and off, controlling personality behavior.

This old techniques was limited, as it could control a few proteins through light, and during the process proteins also lost their healthy properties.

The new technique can control a huge amount of proteins without affecting their actual functions, and the light controlled proteins do their own duty. The technique can turn proteins in all the cells giving info to the researchers, like how proteins behave when they are on and off. The research was led by Hahn, Dokholyan and Dagliyan published in Science.

In the technique the protein is used in its natural form, sticking little knob with protein that turns it on or off, just like a switch, stated Hahn, Thurman Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member.

The switch has versatile technology, and its fast as it can toggle the protein as fast as they can do it with light. Scientists can also control protein function by changing the light intensity. They can also control functional time period of proteins through controlling the irradiation timing.

Cells respond due to changes in the proteins, but the changes should be in the right areas. Same cells can create different functions in proteins in other areas.

Hahn and Dagliyan used a new technique to control protein without affecting its natural state. The new technique will help scientists to try it on living cells.

This is how the scientists can detect several diseases that often happens due to proteins mal functioning. Hahn said, to understand the event you need to see the movement of proteins

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