U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

A Marriage Between the Jelly Fish and the Immune System
Published: December 03, 2003
Posted: December 12, 2003

A new method, just published in the journal Nature, has been developed that could greatly speed the development of antibodies (Ab), molecules that can detect, locate, and quantify parts of cells for use in basic research and diagnostic medicine. Finding or making the Abs of interest for a specific task has never been easy since it often requires sorting through billions of different Ab to find the one of interest. Once a specific Ab tag is available a second molecule, known as a reporter, is needed to provide a detectable signal that tells scientists when the Ab bound to its target. One of the best reporters has been a molecule isolated from jelly fish, green flourescent protein (GFP), that fluoresces when an Ab finds its target. Now, Andrew Bradbury of the Los Alamos National Laboratory has devised a new molecule that combines parts of Ab molecules with GFP molecules, without disrupting its fluorescence, to give a more efficient tagging and reporting method. This new Ab-GFP molecule was inserted into a harmless bacterial virus and these Ab-GFP viruses produce billions of different fluorescently labeled Ab tags. Once a virus with the desired tag is identified it can be isolated and grown to produce unlimited amounts of the diagnostic tag. This new technology has important implications for diagnostic medicine and for basic research, including BER's Genomics:GTL program with a goal to identify and characterize the multi protein molecular machines found inside cells.

Contact: Marvin Stodolsky, SC-72, (301) 903-4475
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Research Technologies and Methodologies
  • Legacy: Medical Applications

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-72 Life Sciences Division, OBER)


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)