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Research Reports: University of Houston, Xeotron, University of Michigan


In the August issue of Nature Biotechnology, Xiaolian Gao of the University of Houston and her colleagues at Xeotron and the University of Michigan describe a new approach for producing peptide microarrays that may have general applications to studying peptide-protein and peptide-drug interactions. Instead of employing photo-masks, the scheme relies on conventional peptide chemistry, in combination with in-solution removal of acid-labile protecting groups by photogenerated reagents and digital photolithography, to create an array of up to 8,000 peptides on a one-square-centimeter silicon chip. In their paper, Gao et. al. showed that they could create arrays of peptides containing different combinations of 20 natural amino acids, as well as synthetic amino acid analogs. To demonstrate the utility of the arrays, the researchers performed epitope screening experiments using a p53 antibody, which produced clearly defined binding patterns, the authors claim. In addition, the researchers said their general approach to parallel peptide synthesis is also applicable to building arrays of other molecules, such as RNA, carbohydrates, and small molecule compounds.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.