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Nano-Probes Stay Inside a Cell's Nucleus for Days

samzenpus posted about 9 years ago | from the from-the-inside-out dept.

Biotech 123

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have developed fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days. According to this LBL news release, this will help biologists to better understand nuclear processes that evolve slowly, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control. This research was partially based on previous investigations about quantum dots. Now, the researchers want to tailor their quantum dots, which emit different colors depending on their sizes, to check specific chemical reactions inside nuclei, such as how proteins help repair DNA after irradiation. Read more for other details and references and to see how a nano-sized probe is entering a cell's nucleus."

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123 comments

Resistance is futile (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098559)

One step closer to Borg technology. Awesome.

Re:Resistance is futile (1)

fshalor (133678) | about 9 years ago | (#12100088)

Still a long way to go... It's one thing to get the machines we make into cells, it's quite another to understand what the hell's going on.

Just look at proteinsl; they provide structure, enzymes, channels (for transport of molecules through cell walls) and other rolls. Yet, we still can't deal with more than the smallest ones.

The benefits of this advancement lay in the little things, like now being able to put a "camera" of sorts in cells in vito!

I'm thinking more "inner space" than "borg".

Pah! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098565)

That's not news. My girlfriend been telling me I've a nano-sized probe for years, now.

Re:Pah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098783)

These "girlfriends" ... do they really exist?

I always thought this was some kind of urban myth.

teh lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098566)

FrisT psOT! !! one one!!! I R teh LAME!

Only care . . . (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098567)

. . . if they show me how mitochondria replicate.

Re:Only care . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098571)

Pervert.

Re:Only care . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098575)

Or midichlorians?

Offtopic? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098663)

WTF?

If you are willing to moderate something, at least know what you are moderating [utmb.edu]

Mitochrondia are essential to any cell. And yes, they do replicate, and yes, they do have DNA, and yes, they are fucking important.

Mods on crack.

Re:Offtopic? (1, Informative)

nyekulturniy (413420) | about 9 years ago | (#12098704)

If I recall correctly from my biology, mitochondria manufacture ATP from ADP, which powers our cells. They are remnants of prokaryotic cells which entered into a symbiosis with their eukaryotic hosts. Mitochondria have their own RNA, which is passed from female to child in sexually-reproducing prokaryotes (and, despite the childish comments, includes Slashdotters).

I hope this clarifies why a mitochondrion is important.

Re:Offtopic? (1)

mailtomomo (776971) | about 9 years ago | (#12098732)

i think it's the other way around : ADP from ATP (using the ion as power source)

Re:Offtopic? (2, Informative)

Stile 65 (722451) | about 9 years ago | (#12098977)

No, mitochondria use sugar to manufacture ATP from ADP, and other parts of the cell use the ATP to power their processes and thereby convert it back to ADP.

Also, only eukaryotes have mitochondria.

Re:Offtopic? (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about 9 years ago | (#12099103)

Also, only eukaryotes have mitochondria.
More specifically I believe only aerobic eukaryotes have mitochondria as they are heavily tied to the utilization of O2 in the production of ATP. Anaerobic cells simply convert the sugar to lactic acid of alcohol without using oxygen.

Re:Offtopic? (3, Insightful)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | about 9 years ago | (#12099758)

No, mitochondria use sugar to manufacture ATP from ADP, and other parts of the cell use the ATP to power their processes and thereby convert it back to ADP.


Uhhh . . . in a word, no. Sounds like the complexity and accuracy a high school biology lecture . . .


Mitochodria oxidize Pyruvic acid in a series of steps to convert NAD+ to NADH. This produces CO2 and Acetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA is further oxidized in the Citric Acid Cycle producing more NADH and CO2.
What you may be thinking about is glycolysis . . . which is the breakdown of sugar (typically glucose) into pyruvic acid. This happens in the cytosol OUTSIDE the mitochodria. It is important to note that almost any carbon based molecule in the body can be converted into pyruvate and oxidized in the mitochodria (fatty acids, sugars, amino acids, some nucleic acids, etc.)


NADH is then converted into NAD+ through a mitochodria membrane to convert Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) to Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) along an inner membrane of the mitochodria.


A more accurate restatement of your post might be:


Mitochodria oxidize pyruvate derived from sugar, fatty acids, amino acids, and other sources to produce NADH. Mitochodria also use NADH to convert ADP to ATP.

Re:Offtopic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098837)

mitochondria have their own DNA, not RNA

Uh... (3, Funny)

sp3tt (856121) | about 9 years ago | (#12098570)

"such as DNA replication"
Genetic pr0n? Sure tells us a lot about the minds of scientists.

This is a marketing strategy. (2, Funny)

TuringTest (533084) | about 9 years ago | (#12098777)

It's a well known fact that new technologies don't catch up until they can be used for pr0n.

Re:This is a marketing strategy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12099888)

Oh yeah? Then explain the wood chipper, machine gun, the space shuttle, and sulfuric acid.

Alarmist (3, Interesting)

ossington (853347) | about 9 years ago | (#12098572)

Am I the only one who's scared that they've managed to create nanobots that can stay inside of us?

All lame jokes in one comment (-1, Offtopic)

sp3tt (856121) | about 9 years ago | (#12098579)

I for one, welcome our new nanobot overlords.

In Soviet Russia, you stay inside nanobot!

1) Create nanobots cabable of staying inside people
2) ?????
3) Profit!

All your nanobots are belong to us!

Re:Alarmist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098601)

Am I the only one who's scared that they've managed to create nanobots that can stay inside of us?

Yes.

Re:Alarmist (5, Informative)

Evil W1zard (832703) | about 9 years ago | (#12098606)

These really aren't nanobots. The definition of nanotechnology comprises any technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0.1 to 100 nm. In my opinion I believe that when you say the word "nanotechnology" most people today would think of super tiny robots (thanks to tv and movies). With that said these are not tiny little robots, they are crystals. So there is no reason to be alarmed because the the nano-sized attack robots have not yet been made.

Re:Alarmist (1)

The Bender (801382) | about 9 years ago | (#12099031)

Well, you're pushing the lower limit a bit there. Nanotech is normally defined as 1-100 nm.
Otherwise it would include all chemistry.

Hell, even water is well over 0.1 nm side to side!

Re:Alarmist (2, Funny)

Eosha (242724) | about 9 years ago | (#12099709)

Does that mean we can't use any "welcome our microscopic fluorescent overlords" jokes?

Re:Alarmist (1)

TheSolomon (247633) | about 9 years ago | (#12100199)

Actually, the term has been co-pted by anyone working on such a scale, much to the behest of Eric Drexler, the scientist who originally coined the term to describe extremely tiny machines.

'Nano' Suddenly a Gigantic Label [wired.com]

I believe he is using a new word, instead of nanotechnology, to describe his vision - but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Re:Alarmist (0)

qewl (671495) | about 9 years ago | (#12098628)

Why should you be afraid of something that actually has the possible potential to repair cells, destroy dangerous cell intruders, and maintain ideal chemical levels in cells? Sounds like a dream to me. Can you imagine being better than well?

Looks like another transhumanist loon (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | about 9 years ago | (#12098636)

Why should you be afraid of something that actually has the possible potential to repair cells, destroy dangerous cell intruders, and maintain ideal chemical levels in cells? Sounds like a dream to me.
Any of those things has the potential to be used to damages cells, act as intruders and screw up chemical levels too, either maliciously or by plain old-fashioned (tm) stupidity. Soundslike a nightmare to me, especially if they got loose in the wild.
Can you imagine being better than well?
If by better than well you mean really fit, there are these places called 'gyms'.

Re:Alarmist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098697)

Sounds like my average Saturday night! ;)

Re:Alarmist (1)

Targon (17348) | about 9 years ago | (#12098857)

The potential for nanotechnology to go wrong and do something bad is still there. That is the problem.

If you have a technology that can repair cells, what's to say that a mistake couldn't happen that would create cancer or some other problems? That is the fear. Also, as the technology advances, it may become possible that new diseases are created while trying to come up with cures for other diseases.

On today's topic, I'm not afraid of what they are doing currently, but the direction will scare many people.

Re:Alarmist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12099046)

The potential for airplanes to go wrong and do something bad is still there. That is the problem.

If you have a technology that can move people quickly around the globe, what's to say that a mistake couldn't happen that would cause the plane to crash into the ground or even into buildings? That is the fear. Also, as the technology advances, it may become possible that diseases are spread just as quickly from one area of the world to everywhere.

On today's topic, I'm not afraid of what they are doing currently, but the direction will scare many people.

Re:Alarmist (1)

Tuffsnake (767507) | about 9 years ago | (#12099695)

I'm not really sure why this would scare you so much. There are so many other weapons already existing from guns to knives to bombs to missles to poisons (kinda like nonbots), etc - some large and some very small and hard to detect - that governments and terrorists and anyone else can use to attack people. This is kind of like being scared that linkin park is going to come out with a new cd that sucks terribly when they already have a few out that suck terribly. (IMHO)

One word.. (5, Funny)

The Jon (605125) | about 9 years ago | (#12098574)

..medichlorians.

Re:One word.. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098728)

...These are not the nano-probes you are looking for ...

Re:One word.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098991)

best sig I've seen in a while ;)

Dear god, not another one. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098577)

This is turning out to be another "Hello and welcome to Slashdot, I'm Troy McLure^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HRoland Piquepaille. You might recognize me from other blockbusters such as Raping Slashdot For Ad-Money and 10% Goes To CowboyNeal!"-day, isn't it?

-r

Re:Dear god, not another one. (3, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 years ago | (#12098595)

That's probably not helpful. Posting it as an AC, even less so.

Question to the mature Slashdot community. I'm aware that Piquepaille runs a site called Technology Trends which at a brief examination seems to be a reasonably typical tech site written from an insider's PoV, so he's well qualified to submit at Slashdot.. but how does he do it so often?

This isn't just sour grapes - I had a story accepted once and I rarely submit - but this guy's so prolific it makes me wonder what he's doing right.

Re:Dear god, not another one. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098616)

I would've posted as myself, except i'm still working hard to get up to a normal karma level again :P

I'm thinking a bunch of fairly recent moderators would mark it troll immediately.. and the only time i want a post marked as Troll is when it's at +5 :P

-r

Re:Dear god, not another one. (3, Funny)

edittard (805475) | about 9 years ago | (#12098644)

but this guy's so prolific it makes me wonder what he's doing right.
Control-C & Control-V, mainly.

Re:Dear god, not another one. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098669)

A noble sacrifice of karma, my friend. However, I choose not to join you in no mod point land.

Re:Dear god, not another one. (1, Offtopic)

johannesg (664142) | about 9 years ago | (#12098664)

this guy's so prolific it makes me wonder what he's doing right.

Kickbacks, perhaps?

Re:Dear god, not another one. (2, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 years ago | (#12098784)

If Slashdot editors really can be bribed to take a story, don't you think we'd see a lot more favourable coverage of SCO's lawsuits on here :-p

I may be wrong, but I doubt it's that simple.

Re:Dear god, not another one. (0, Offtopic)

citizenr (871508) | about 9 years ago | (#12098715)

but this guy's so prolific it makes me wonder what he's doing right.

Its called money.

Re:Dear god, not another one. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098736)

You sure it's not blowjobs? Roland has those oh-so-pouty lips, and Samzenpus can lie back and imagine it's Eugenia.

12TH POST (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098583)

GREY GOo

Idea... (1, Funny)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 9 years ago | (#12098617)

Put freakin' laser-beams on the heads of those nano-probes and have them kill cancer?

Knowing people, its not gonna happen anytime soon (1)

mrjb (547783) | about 9 years ago | (#12099614)

People want toys. Imagine how many teenagers would think themselves t3H c00l357 with fluorescent body parts.

"Nanoprobe" (5, Funny)

jokestress (837997) | about 9 years ago | (#12098621)

That's my nickname for my ex-boyfriend! /here all week //try the veal

Re:"Nanoprobe" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098756)

Insightful? INSIGHTFUL?

Observe without interfering? (5, Interesting)

amanox (862297) | about 9 years ago | (#12098654)

I'm just curious : how can they observer without interfering the process they observe? I'm no biologist, but I'm pretty sure the nucleus must have some kind of reaction to a foreign body entering it. Not to mention the recation coused by the illuminating the nucleus: these probes seem to emit some kind of light. This must have at least some effect on the readings they get from these probes.

Re:Observe without interfering? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 9 years ago | (#12098707)

+ there was a "quantum" word used, and whenewer I see one I know that you cant observe without interfering





j/k ...sortof

Re:Observe without interfering? (2, Informative)

mforbes (575538) | about 9 years ago | (#12098927)

The word 'quantum' in 'quantum dot' is misleading. The dimensions of a quantum dot are typically between a few nanometeres (billionths of a meter) to a few microns. Smaller ones, down to a single electron, can be made, and at that size they would definitely be subject to the laws of quantum of physics-- but at the more typical sizes, they're too big to worry about wave functions, and behave more like the everyday materials with which we're familiar-- except for those properties such as hue and reflectivity that are tailored during fabrication.

For more information, check out this [tudelft.nl] site.

Re:Observe without interfering? (4, Insightful)

janek78 (861508) | about 9 years ago | (#12098729)

It's been a long time since my biology classes, but I can't think of any reaction to foreign body inside a cell (at least not in the usual way). A cell hasn't got an immune system of it's own. Of course it has systems capable of expelling foreign/toxic chemicals out of the cell (exocytosis, pinocytosis), but it is altogether different from say your body's reaction to a foreign body. So these microcrystals will probably in some way interfere with the inner working of the cell (it trying to expell it) but they do not neccessarily need to interfere with the actual working of the nucleus.

Re:Observe without interfering? (3, Interesting)

allnameswheretaken (845299) | about 9 years ago | (#12098928)

A cell does have a defense system of its own. How else would some bacteria have resistance to virii?

One of the ways that molecular biologists knock out genes that they wish to study is by a proccess called RNA inteference. They do this by inserting a peice of DNA with the complementary sequence of the targeted gene. The cell then transcribes both the gene and the opposite gene into mRNA, these two mRNA fragments hybridize forming double stranded RNA. A typical cell never has stranded RNA (virii do cause double stranded RNA though). The cell recognises the double stranded RNA and digests it an enzyme. The beuty of this method is that it can be regulated, instead of knocking the gene out they can reduce the levels of transcription or only knock the gene out once the organism has reached maturity

Prokaryotes have a much simpler method for dealing with foreign DNA. The deal with it by break down any DNA with certain sequences (say ATGA) which would cut on average every 2^4 base pairs

Re:Observe without interfering? (2, Informative)

LiENUS (207736) | about 9 years ago | (#12099044)

Just a note. Pinoctytosis is for bringing forein materials in and exocytosis is for sending proteins out of the cell via the golgi aperatus, neither are really for spitting out foreign/toxic chemicals.

Re:Observe without interfering? (1)

2stein (871221) | about 9 years ago | (#12098750)

I'm not a biologist either, but I do not think that the nucleis will react to the insertion of these probes in a way that they affect the observations. The nucleus is of 10-20 micrometres in size, whereas the inserted probes are made of a few hundred to thousand atoms.
The second thing is that I am quite sure that the guys at Berkeley Lab did think about interference with the intra-nucleus reactions. And if they can keep the things in there for hours and days, it's most likely not to interfere. It also says that the things are non-toxic (at the Berkeley Lab press relase [lbl.gov]) which IMO means that they did not cause any unusual reaction.
I also assume, that the illumination of the nucleus doesn't make any difference, as long as you do not use UV light. The cells of our skin are illuminated all day long, and they don't seem to bother as long as you protect then from excessive UV exposition.

Re:Observe without interfering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098828)

The second thing is that I am quite sure that the guys at Berkeley Lab did think about interference with the intra-nucleus reactions.

I'd imagine they would.

I also assume, that illumination of the nucleus doesn't make any difference

Don't assume that. We do, however, have a lot of experience taking micrographs over time using as little light as possible to harm the cells as little as possible. Therefore, too much light will harm the cell - but even now we're pretty good at avoiding that (Except in specific cases where the intensity of the light must be high).

Re:Observe without interfering? (3, Informative)

Lavaeolus (771624) | about 9 years ago | (#12098760)

You can actually stick all kinds of stuff into a cell without causing problems (unless you react with the contents chemically, or disrupt the cell membrane). You can even add functionality to the cell, for example by injecting additional DNA, and it will treat the new material as part of itself. This is how viruses work, and the only defense is to eradicate the virus before it infects the cell, or destroy the infected cell completely.

As to the light produced, I doubt this will have a negative effect unless heat is produced too.

Re:Observe without interfering? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098995)

fluorescent dyes are used in all kinds of molecular biology experiments; generally they don't interfere with biological processes although in some cases they do (some of the larger dyes do cause spatial hinderences). quantum dots are sooo much smaller than current dyes that they're virtually guaranteed to not interfere. and the light they emit is extremely limited; the cool thing with quantum dots (and their detectors) is that you can detect single or at least handful of photons.. that's not going to illuminate the nucleus. completely different size scales; it's like throwing a ping pong ball at the sun, not gonna affect it.

Next up... (-1, Redundant)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | about 9 years ago | (#12098691)

"They've got seven billion nanoprobes in them each! On the open market, that's over a hundred million bars of gold-pressed latinum for them!"

Okaaaay... (0)

Shillo (64681) | about 9 years ago | (#12098695)

Now we have nanoprobes that are stable and can communicate.

Guess the only item on TODO list is the actual assimilation. :)

Questions (0)

vishakh (188958) | about 9 years ago | (#12098708)

How is this better than looking at the cell directly using a really powerful microscope? Wouldn't it be better if you could actually see stuff happening rather than getting an indication that it is? Also, would using quantum dots save a signficiant amount of money by lowering the need for more advanced instrumentation?

Re:Questions (2, Informative)

godless dave (844089) | about 9 years ago | (#12098790)

To look at a cell using a microscope you have to take it out of the living thing it belonged to.

Re:Questions (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about 9 years ago | (#12099074)

Not only that, looking at a cell in a microscope can't show us things like the proteins in the surface, or where DNA is when the cell isn't going through mitosis. Nano-Probes have the potential to map a protein's path through the membrane a lot better than conventional methods which kill the cell.

Re:Questions (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 9 years ago | (#12100189)

neither the parent nor the first reponse are correct
if you look at single cell organisms, which "normally" live in, say pond water, you can examine them in pretty close to thier normal env. Or say, a sperm cell - that exists outside the body. And every scientist is painfully aware that many cells are not normal outside the body; there are whole books on this
Also, it is well established that you need a tag to look at, say cell surface proteins; this is done everyday. Not sure how nanoprobes help map a proteins path thru a membrane - sounds like gibberish. if you mean can it help map the route a protein takes thru pores, such as when a protein transits from cytoplasmic ribosomes to the nucleus, GFP fusions already do this very well

Lets examine Roland the plagiarist's site (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098710)

from his last troll attempt story
lee sums it up
here [slashdot.org]
-----

What is the concern with this blog? It's the absolute dearth of original information.

Let's look at the composition of a few recent blog entries, in characters:

Entry Excerpts Link Wrapper Self-written
Nanotech Swarms 2280 910 670
Nano-Probes 2185 767 1053
Toilets 1206 787 1006

Note that most of the "self-written" portions are vapid statements such as "But where is nanotechnology involved in this project?"

So, we have 52% of the text coming from plagiarism, ~ 23% of the text coming from introducing / pointing out links, and ~ %25% of the text coming from saying the obvious. That's the problem with the blog.

The technique used on the site is barely better than the spam search engines that link to (and excerpt from) Wikipedia.

----

i think that sums it up,
shame on the editors for such obvious spam , i gues integrity is dead
maybe we can feature articles from other spammers too ?, why write your own stuff when you can just copy and paste someone elses ?
its pretty obvious the editors dont give a shit and are more willing to side with a spammer than their own readers, no wonder nobody subscribes to this s(h)ite and blocks the adverts, two can play at the revenue game

so any other sites where real geeks can get their news ? because frankly im done with this spam fest

fluorescent (4, Funny)

hovercraftSpareWheel (731518) | about 9 years ago | (#12098724)

...fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days.

Now we can mod our heads to match our PC cases!

Here is the text Roland stole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098733)

but without his shitty advert laden spam site, i shall hilight Rolands input
-----------

Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) have developed fluorescent and stable nano-probes which can stay inside a cell's nucleus for hours or even days. According to this LBL news release, this will help biologists to better understand nuclear processes that evolve slowly, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control. This research was partially based on previous investigations about quantum dots. Now, the researchers want to tailor their quantum dots, which emit different colors depending on their sizes, to check specific chemical reactions inside nuclei, such as how proteins help repair DNA after irradiation. Read more...

Here is a short description of what the researchers achieved.

"Our work represents the first time a biologist can image long-term phenomena within the nuclei of living cells," says Fanqing Chen of Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division, who developed the technique with Daniele Gerion of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Their success lies in specially prepared crystalline semiconductors composed of a few hundred or thousand atoms that emit different colors of light when illuminated by a laser. Because these fluorescent probes are stable and nontoxic, they have the ability to remain in a cell's nucleus -- without harming the cell or fading out -- much longer than conventional fluorescent labels.

This could give biologists a ringside seat to nuclear processes that span several hours or days, such as DNA replication, genomic alterations, and cell cycle control. The long-lived probes may also allow researchers to track the effectiveness of disease-fighting drugs that target these processes.

A nano-sized probe entering a cell's nucleus On this image showing how a nano-sized probe is entering a cell's nucleus, "a large aggregate of immobile dots is indicated with the red arrow, while the circled stars and arrows indicate dots that move." (Credit: LBL)

The two researchers closely collaborated with Paul Alivisatos, director of the Materials Sciences Division at LBNL, who's working on quantum dots for several years now. Here are two links to previous entries about Alivisatos research, "Nano Tetrapods With Tunable 'Legs'," and "Nanotech solar cells: Portable Plastic Power."

So, Chen and Gerion thought it was possible to introduce these quantum dots inside a cell's nucleus. And they did it.

First, they had to breach the nuclear membrane, which has pores that are only about 20 nanometers wide. To fit through these tiny slits, Chen and Gerion used an especially compact cadmium selenide/zinc sulfide quantum dot coated with silica. Next, they stole a trick from a virus's playbook to smuggle this nanocrystal past the highly selective membrane that guards the entrance into the nucleus.

Chen and Gerion obtained a portion of this protein and attached it to the quantum dot. The result is a hybrid quantum dot, part biological molecule and part nano-sized semiconductor, that is small enough to slide through the nuclear membrane's pores and believable enough to slip past the membrane's barriers.

And what are they working on now?

In the future, they hope to tailor quantum dots to track specific chemical reactions inside nuclei, such as how proteins help repair DNA after irradiation.

They also hope to target other cellular organelles besides the nucleus, such as mitochondria and Golgi bodies. And because quantum dots emit different colors of light based on their size, they can be used to observe the transfer of material between cells.

However, with their current nano-probes, they're already able to know if "a drug has arrived where it is supposed to, and if it is having the desired impact."

The research work has been published by Nano Letters on September 9, 2004 (Volume 4, Issue 10, Pages 1827 -1832). Here is a link to the abstract of this paper named "Fluorescent CdSe/ZnS Nanocrystal-Peptide Conjugates for Long-term, Nontoxic Imaging and Nuclear Targeting in Living Cells."

Sources: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory news release, March 18, 2005; and various websites

----

great work there Roland, thought of getting a real job ? oh then again looking at your resume i guess not, getting old sucks huh ?

Borg's nanoprobes, anyone? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098734)

Hey, gimme a pack of Borg's nanoprobes and gotcha!

Kombi Probes (-1, Offtopic)

sexecutioner (597887) | about 9 years ago | (#12098764)

Everyone's going to make arse and anal probe jokes on this one, but, when I'm inside my Kombi I feel like I'm a probe floating inside a cell.

http://ash.anu.edu.au/kombi/ [anu.edu.au]

Offtopic? Blah, of course it's not, I mentioned probes didn't I? Consider it more of an opinion piece :).

Re:Kombi Probes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098811)

What is a Kombi? It looks like a shitty old white van. Make something cool like a solar car. What is the point of your website? To show you can work on a piece of crap? BTW, use Apache for your webserver and you'll find it is very stable. Not a 2.x release, use the latest 1.x release since you are on Windows. It installs so easy and takes very little to configure.

Yet another Ronald Piquepaille article (5, Informative)

nyri (132206) | about 9 years ago | (#12098771)

I will give him a little credit as he links sometimes to intresting articles. But I must say that his blog sucks big time. He has scored a slashdot.org article 13 times this year. From Ronalds account page [slashdot.org]:
Robotic Nanotech Swarms on Mars... in 2034 [slashdot.org] 14:54 Wednesday 30 March 2005
Nano-Probes Stay Inside a Cell's Nucleus for Days [slashdot.org] 19:42 Tuesday 29 March 2005
The Rise of Smart Buildings [slashdot.org] 22:19 Saturday 19 March 2005
3D Virtualization Edges Toward the Mainstream [slashdot.org] 21:57 Sunday 13 March 2005
Taking Care of Mobile Patients [slashdot.org] 20:20 Saturday 26 February 2005
Smart Holograms Used as Biosensors [slashdot.org] 20:22 Sunday 20 February 2005
Wearable PC with an Artificial-Reality Helmet [slashdot.org] 20:20 Saturday 19 February 2005
Transgenic Mustard Cleans Up Soils [slashdot.org] 22:38 Tuesday 15 February 2005
Elektro, the Oldest U.S. Robot [slashdot.org] 16:35 Thursday 10 February 2005
Open-Source Streaming Translations in Porto Alegre [slashdot.org] 15:33 Monday 31 January 2005
RFID-Equipped Robots Used as Guide Dogs [slashdot.org] 19:35 Saturday 29 January 2005
Streaming a Database in Real Time [slashdot.org] 23:58 Friday 21 January 2005
Morse Code Used by Human Cells? [slashdot.org] 20:05 Wednesday 12 January 2005
Engineered Enhancers Closer Than You Think [slashdot.org] 20:54 Friday 31 December 2004
Transparent Transistors Are Coming [slashdot.org] 22:20 Wednesday 29 December 2004
DURL, a Search Tool for del.icio.us [slashdot.org] 14:47 Monday 27 December 2004
IBM Prepares 100-Terabyte Tape Drives [slashdot.org] 15:19 Sunday 26 December 2004
With Linux Clusters, Seeing Is Believing [slashdot.org] 16:47 Monday 13 December 2004
Self-Adapting Traffic Lights [slashdot.org] 19:07 Sunday 05 December 2004
Robotic Science Network Watches Our Oceans [slashdot.org] 23:32 Friday 03 December 2004

I think I speak for most readers here when I yell: SLASHDOT EDITORS, PLEASE, NO MORE LINKS TO RONALDS NO-GOOD BLOG.

Re:Yet another Ronald Piquepaille article (0)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 9 years ago | (#12098872)


Although I agree with your points, at least respect him enough to use his correct name - it's Roland, not Ronald.

A real hit on the club scene! (2, Funny)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 9 years ago | (#12098863)


Imagine getting some that fluoresce under 'black light' and putting those suckers in your epidermal/dermal cells! You'd be the hit of the club scene changing colors and glowing!

Re:A real hit on the club scene! (0, Offtopic)

404forbidden (872210) | about 9 years ago | (#12098883)

And with all the fun drugs travelling around clubs, they would probably start mutating themselves again..

FmAre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12098902)

The time to 8eet And that The floor

"Nano" everywhere! (2, Interesting)

Nuffsaid (855987) | about 9 years ago | (#12099073)

How is this significantly different from the fluorescent marking techniques used for ages in conventional microscopy? It lasts longer? Big deal. Do calling things "nano" attract more funds/media attention? Sure! http://www.hardydiagnostics.com/Glossary-F.html [hardydiagnostics.com]

Re:"Nano" everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12100242)

Dude, you're harshing my eXtreme giggafabulous infotanement eXperience

Re:"Nano" everywhere! (2, Informative)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 9 years ago | (#12100800)

in theory, the qdots ar more stable (less photobleaching) a recognized problem with std labels, and they have narrower emission spectra, so multiplexing is easier (eg std labels like fluorescein and rhodamine have wide emission spectra that overlap)(altho the lanthanide chelates have 10 nm fwhm)
potentially, you can tune the excitation and emission spectra to match your laser lines, so if someone develops a real cheap stable diode laser, you can tune the dot to that line
on the other hand, the qdots are big enough that they might not get to all the relevant sites.

Cancer cure in there somewhere? (2, Interesting)

clambake (37702) | about 9 years ago | (#12099133)

So, if you could tag all the cancer cells with something that emits a beacon, then does that mean you could home in on them with a gamma knife and elimite them in any delicate part of the body with perfect accuracy?

Re:Cancer cure in there somewhere? (4, Informative)

merlin_jim (302773) | about 9 years ago | (#12099633)

So, if you could tag all the cancer cells with something that emits a beacon

There's a company that's working on an enzyme dye using jellyfish flourescence to do just that. This would work in theory even after it has metastized.

then does that mean you could home in on them with a gamma knife and elimite them in any delicate part of the body with perfect accuracy?

Forget gamma knife. Proton treatment [llu.edu] is where it's at. Get radiation treatment for your prostate cancer in the morning, play tennis in the afternoon. Basically they create a 3D model of the tumor and modulate the proton beam's energy and shape (using a series of masks) so that the protons deposit most of their energy inside the tumor. There's a small amount that gets deposited ahead of it and none behind. Much cleaner/better than other radiation treatments. I've heard that with early diagnosis they're getting phenomenal success rates. And its outpatient.

Re:Cancer cure in there somewhere? (1)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | about 9 years ago | (#12100029)

Researchers have been tagging cancer cells with antibodies since the at least the late 80's. The holy grail of antibody therapy is to attach chemotherapeutic agents or radioactive isotopes to antibodies. The antibodies would insure that the majority of the therapeutic agent is deposited on the surface of tumor cells. This would be especially effective for small metasticized tumors that can't be detected by conventional means.

I think this is old stuff (2, Insightful)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 9 years ago | (#12099814)

See, for instance, the quantum dot company (www.qdot.com). What is new is using a bio tag to direct the dot into the nucleus; such tags ("nuclear localiztion signals") are well known in theliteratrue for proteins, so what is new is that they took qdots and coated them with one of these signals. So, this is an addittion to the large catalog of optical probes that biologiest have.
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