A supplement providing a snapshot of the latest developments in chemical biology
An acoustic biosensor
25 April 2006
Chemists in Canada have demonstrated the potential of acoustic waves in the study of protein activity. Michael Thompson and colleagues at the University of Toronto used a technique called acoustic shear wave propagation to detect conformational changes in proteins attached to surfaces.
The activity of calmodulin depends on its binding with calcium (Ca2+) ions. A reversible interaction with Ca2+ ions makes the protein change from a closed, unbound state to an open, calcium-bound state. For the chip-bound protein this causes the chip to thicken and decreases the resonant frequency of the acoustic device. By measuring the resonant frequency the extent of calcium binding can be monitored.
Michael J Spencelayh