Nader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz
Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes
Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.
Satheesh Babu T. G., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Sciences, School of Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore, India
Nanomaterials for ‘enzyme-free’ biosensing
Enzyme based sensors have many draw backs such as poor storage stability, easily affected by the change in pH and temperature and involves complicated enzyme immobilization procedures. To address this limitation, an alternative approach without the use of enzyme, “non-enzymatic” has been tried recently. Choosing the right catalyst for direct electrochemical oxidation / reduction of a target molecule is the key step in the fabrication of non-enzymatic sensors.
Non-enzymatic sensors for glucose, creatinine, vitamins and cholesterol are fabricated using different nanomaterials, such as nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles of copper oxide, titanium dioxide, tantalum oxide, platinum, gold and graphenes. These sensors selectively catalyse the targeted analyte with very high sensitivity. These nanomaterials based sensors combat the drawbacks of enzymatic sensors.
Anupama Natarajan, James Hickman and Peter Molnar
Novel Cell-Based Biosensors for High Throughput Toxin Detection and Drug Screening Applications
Over the last decade there has been focus on the development of cellbased biosensors to detect environmental toxins or to combat the threats of biological warfare. These sensors have been shown to have multiple applications including understanding function and behaviour at the cellular and tissue levels, in cell electrophysiology and as drug screening tools that can eliminate animal testing. These factors make the development of cell-based biosensors into high throughput systems a priority in pharmacological, environmental and defence industries (Pancrazio J J et al. 1999, Kang G et al. 2009, Krinke D et al. 2009). We have developed a high through-put in vitro cell-silicon hybrid platform that could be used to analyze both cell function and response to various toxins and drugs. Our hypothesis was that by utilizing surface modification to provide external guidance cues as well as optimal growth conditions for different cell types (Cardiac and Neuronal), we could enhance the information output and content of such a system. An intrinsic part of this study was to create ordered or patterned functional networks of cells on Micro-electrode arrays (MEA). Such engineered networks had a two-fold purpose in that they not only aided in a more accurate analysis of cell response and cell and tissue behaviour, but also increased the efficiency of the system by increasing the connectivity and placement of the cells over the recording electrodes. Here we show the response of this system to various toxins and drugs and the measurement of several vital cardiac parameters like conduction velocity and refractory period (Natarajan A et al. 2011)
Manjunath Joshi, Apoorva Lad, Bharat Prasad Alevoor, Aswath Balakrishnan, Lingadakai Ramachandra and Kapaettu Satyamoorthy
Pathological conditions during Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) are associated with elevated risk for common community acquired infections due to poor glycemic control. Multiple studies have indicated specific defects in innate and adaptive immune function in diabetic subjects. Neutrophils play an important role in eliminating pathogens as an active constituent of innate immune system. Apart from canonically known phagocytosis mechanism, neutrophils are endowed with a unique ability to produce extracellular traps (NETs) to kill pathogens by expelling DNA coated with bactericidal proteins and histone. NETosis is stimulated by diverse bacteria and their products, fungi, protozoans, cytokines, phorbol esters and by activated platelets. Considering deregulation of metabolic and immune response pathways during pathological state of diabetes and NETosis as a potential mechanism for killing bacteria, we therefore, investigated whether hyperglycemic conditions modulate formation of neutrophil NETs and attempted to identify underlying immunoregulatory mechanisms. Freshly isolated neutrophils from normal individuals were cultured in absence or presence of high glucose (different concentrations) for 24 hours and activated with either LPS (2 mg/ml) or PMA (20 ng/ml) or IL-6 (20 ng/ml) for 3 hours. NETs were visualized and quantified by addition of DNA binding dye SYTOX green using fluorescence microscope and fluorimetry. NETs were quantified in Normal and diabetic subjects. Serum IL-6 levels were measured using ELISA technique. NETs bound elasatse were quantified in normal and diabetic subjects in presence or absence of DNase. Bacterial killing assays were performed upon infecting E.coli with activated neutrophils from normal and diabetic subjects. Microscopy and fluorimetry analysis suggested dramatic impairment in NETs formation under high glucose conditions. Extracellular DNA lattices formed in hyperglycemic conditions were short lived and unstable leading to rapid disintegration. Subsequent, time course experiments showed that NETs production was delayed in hyperglycemic conditions. To validate our findings more closely to clinical conditions, we investigated the neutrophil activation and NETs formation in diabetic patients. Upon stimulation with LPS for three hours, neutrophils from diabetic subjects responded weakly to LPS and lesser NETs were formed; whereas, neutrophils from normal individuals showed robust release of NETs. In few patients we found short and imperfect NETs in basal conditions suggesting constitutive activation of neutrophils in diabetic subjects. Interestingly, NETs bound elastase activity was reduced in diabetes subjects when compared to non-diabetic individuals, indicating a dysfunction of one of the important protein component of NETs during diabetes. Neutrophils from diabetic subjects released higher levels of IL-6 without any stimulation suggesting an existence of constitutively activated pro-inflammatory state. IL-6 induced NETs formation and was abrogated by high glucose. Weobserved that glycolysis inhibitor 2-DG resensitize the high glucose attenuated LPS and IL-6 induced NETs. a) NETs are influenced by glucose homeostasis, b) IL-6 as potent inducer of energy dependent NETs formation and c) hyperglycemia mimics a state of constitutively active pro-inflammatory condition in neutrophils leading to reduced response to external stimuli making diabetic subjects susceptible for infections.
Jeff Perry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside
Combined Crystallography and SAXS Methods for Studying Macromolecular Complexes
Recent developments in small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) are rapidly providing new insights into protein interactions, complexes and conformational states in solution, allowing for detailed biophysical quantification of samples of interest1. Initial analyses provide a judgment of sample quality, revealing the potential presence of aggregation, the overall extent of folding or disorder, the radius of gyration, maximum particle dimensions and oligomerization state. Structural characterizations may include ab initio approaches from SAXS data alone, or enhance structural solutions when combined with previously determined crystal/NMR domains. This combination can provide definitions of architectures, spatial organizations of the protein domains within a complex, including those not yet determined by crystallography or NMR, as well as defining key conformational states. Advantageously, SAXS is not generally constrained by macromolecule size, and rapid collection of data in a 96-well plate format provides methods to screen sample conditions. Such screens include co-factors, substrates, differing protein or nucleotide partners or small molecule inhibitors, to more fully characterize the variations within assembly states and key conformational changes. These analyses are also useful for screening constructs and conditions that are most likely to promote crystal growth. Moreover, these high throughput structural determinations can be leveraged to define how polymorphisms affect assembly formations and activities. Also, SAXS-based technologies may be potentially used for novel structure-based screening, for compounds inducing shape changes or associations/diassociations. This is addition to defining architectural characterizations of complexes and interactions for systems biology-based research, and distinctions in assemblies and interactions in comparative genomics. Thus, SAXS combined with crystallography/NMR and computation provides a unique set of tools that should be considered as being part of one’s repertoire of biophysical analyses, when conducting characterizations of protein and other macromolecular interactions.