Research team introduces new technology to analyze protein activity in cells

Dorothea Raikova and Ola Söderberg lead the development of MolBoolean. Credit: Mikael Wallerstedt

Proteins are basic building blocks in all living organisms. They are often described as workers in the cell, where they—together or individually—carry out multiple essential tasks. If something goes wrong, the consequences are often severe. Both research and healthcare have expressed the need for efficient tools to analyze the functions and activities of proteins and in a new scientific journal article Nature CommunicationsProfessor Ola Söderberg’s team presents MolBoolean, a technology expected to open important doors in cell and cancer research.

“MolBoolean is a method for determining the levels of a pair of proteins in individual cells while identifying the percentage of those proteins that bind to each other. We have continued to develop a tool we created in 2006, which today is used all over the world, and the functions we are now adding generate information about the relative amounts of different proteins, as well as the relative amounts of protein complexes, thereby making the state of activity and communication of cells more visible,” says Ola Söderberg, Professor of Pharmaceutical Cell Biology at Uppsala University. “It can be compared to the rating of a restaurant; 10 positive reviews give some information, but it is important to know whether they are based on ten or 1000 reviews,”

The group’s results have generated a lot of interest in both academia and industry, and Stockholm-based Atlas Antibodies, which recently took out a patent on MolBoolean, is currently preparing the method for the market. The tool is expected to be of great use in research and, in the long term, in healthcare to improve diagnosis and treatment choices for cancer.

Изследователски екип въвежда нова технология за анализ на протеиновата активност в клетките

Schematic representation of the MolBoolean principle for detecting interacting and free proteins A and B. a After binding their respective target proteins A and B, proximity probes A (black and magenta) and B (black and green) hybridize to the circle. Arrows indicate oligonucleotide polarity. b The circle is excised enzymatically (cyan arrow indicates position of excision). ° С The circle is invaded by reporter tags (Tag A in magenta, Tag B in green). e This is followed by enzymatic ligation of the reporter markers to the circle. e Rotating circle amplification (RCA) creates long concatemeric products (RCP). f RCPs are detected by fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides specific for marker detection. credit: Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32395-w

“Our research aims to develop tools to visualize processes in cells and to increase, for example, the knowledge of what happens in cancer cells. Knowing the balance between free and interacting proteins is important in the study of cell signaling and we believe , that MolBoolean will be evaluated in many research laboratories,” points out Dorothea Raykova, a researcher in the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences and first author of the paper.

MolBoolean was developed by Ola Söderberg’s group at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Pharmacy. The work was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Porto and Uppsala, SciLifeLab and Atlas Antibodies.


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More info:
Dorothea Raykova et al., A method for Boolean analysis of protein interactions at the molecular level, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32395-w

Courtesy of Uppsala University

Quote: Research team introduces new technology to analyze protein activity in cells (2022, August 16), Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-team-technology-analysis- protein-cells.html

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