Krishnakumar Menon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, Kochi, India
A Far-Western Clinical Proteomics Approach to Detect Molecules of Clinical and Pathological Significance in the Neurodegenerative Disease Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The disease affects young adults at their prime age leading to severe debilitation over several years. Despite advances in MS research, the cause of the disease remains elusive. Thus, our objective is to identify novel molecules of pathological and diagnostic significance important in the understanding, early diagnosis and treatment of MS. Biological fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), that bathe the brain serve as a potential source for the identification of pathologically significant autoantibody reactivity in MS. In this regard, we report the development of an unbiased clinical proteomics approach for the detection of reactive CSF molecules that target brain proteins from patients with MS. Proteins of myelin and myelin-axolemmal complexes were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, blotted onto membranes and probed separately with biotinylated unprocessed CSF samples. Protein spots that reacted specifically to MS-CSF’s were further analyzed by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In addition to previously reported proteins found in MS, we have identified several additional molecules involved in mitochondrial and energy metabolism, myelin gene expression and/or cytoskeletal organization. Among these identified molecules, the cellular expression pattern of collapsin response mediator protein-2 and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 were investigated in human chronic-active MS lesions by immunohistochemistry. The observation that in multiple sclerosis lesions phosphorylated collapsin response mediator protein-2 was increased, whereas Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 was down-regulated, not only highlights the importance of these molecules in the pathology of this disease, but also illustrates the use of our approach in attempting to decipher the complex pathological processes leading to multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, we show that in clinicaly isolated syndrome (CIS), we could identify important molecules that could serve as an early diagnostic biomarker in MS.
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)