A supplement providing a snapshot of the latest developments in chemical biology
Monitoring protein expression in fruit flies
27 February 2006
The impact of temperature on protein expression in fruit flies can now be studied using a microfluidic device thanks to chemists from the US.
'Biochemical processes are sensitive to small differences in environmental temperature,' said Ismagilov. The rates of protein expression were disrupted depending on which area of flow a given part of the embryo was exposed to. The temperature affected the order in which proteins were expressed within the Drosophila embryo. This was visible on the embryo itself as a striped or banded patterning following staining for the protein in question. The bands formed on the warm side of the embryo first.
The laminar flow was visualised by labelling the streams with ink or fluorescent microspheres to verify the existence of a temperature gradient. The heat difference was confirmed using a suspension of liquid crystals, which responded to changes in temperature.
'The microfluidic platform could prove useful in understanding the dynamics of biochemical methods as they respond to changes in temperature' said Ismagilov.
Michael J Spencelayh