New tweezers will allow scientists to conduct a biopsy on living cells

Usually, when scientists wanted to study the molecular contents of individual cells, it had to kill, literally exploding. However, this process provides only one snapshot of the molecular composition of cells at the time of her death. Nanoentity new type can extract DNA and other molecules from live cells without killing her. The work is dedicated to them, appeared in Nature Nanotechnology last week. New nanoentity can allow scientists to study what is happening in individual cells, to understand how healthy cells and sick.

Ninepence contains a glass rod with a tip less than 100 nanometers in diameter, covered with two carbon electrodes. The supply of electric voltage to the tweezers creates a powerful electric field in the vicinity of the electrodes, that allows to attract and to retain the biomolecules in the range of 300 nanometers from the tip of the tweezers.

Nanoentity will allow the work with living cells

Getting to 300-nanometer grid, the molecules are stuck in them until the tweezers will no longer be supplied. Needle positioning forceps with the utmost precision, scientists will be able to pierce certain cell divisions and to extract specific molecules.

Joshua Edel, a chemist from Imperial College London and his colleagues used tweezers to extract the DNA from the nuclei of cancer cells of human bone, not killing them. The researchers also pulled out of the cytoplasm of the cells of the artery bits, instructions for creating a protein known as molecules of mRNA.

Extraction of mRNA from two different points in the same cell at intervals of one hour confirmed that the tweezers can be used for analysis of the same cells several times. In addition to capturing individual molecules, new nanoentity extracted mitochondria from nerve cells in mouse brains.

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