Saturday, January 17, 2009

Assorted Awesomeness.

So, I was going to do a post on general bad-assery and things I've found fascinating in magnetic resonance this time around, but it's taking a bit longer due to real-life laboratory fun. I will probably rework it as a really long bibliographic post, and perhaps have some discussion about it here and there. Onto the real-life laboratory fun, with apologies to Gossip Girl....

So, I've been aware of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) as a method for investigating kinetics and thermodynamics for a while now, and generally thought it was an interesting application. You can hardly do any reading in the biochemical literature and not eventually stumble across a paper that uses it. However, it was one of those things which I had never actually done until starting my current position.

Well, in order to further preserve some ostensible anonymity, I will be avoiding explicit details of my current work. The particular interaction I've been thinking about a lot as of late has been between this relatively small (~ 40 kDa) protein which I will call Blair, and this larger oligomeric protein that I will call Serena. Now, Serena prefers to relax in an appropriately tailored buffer, as is not surprising. So while I lovingly prepared Serena in such a buffer, I figured that for the purposes of the SPR experiment, I could just squeeze her into a relatively analogous buffer (minimal change in pH, no dramatic differences in overall ionic strength) that was a standard for doing SPR. I didn't think she'd mind, after all, she can retain her hotness under many conditions, or so I was led to believe.

Well, suffice it to say, after three rounds of SPR, I was mistaken. Now, I've learned how to finally run the instrument like a pro, I know that I need to go above and beyond the minimum for filtering my solutions and centrifuging out the dust in my samples, and can rewrite the scripting code half-drunk (not that I have, just that I can, it's really easy). There were other likely culprits (some potential issues with my controls, some concerns about coating densities) which I eliminated from the list of suspects the second and third times I ran the experiments, so I was making progress there. I just need to tweak the buffer conditions so Serena doesn't get all broken-down and sad on me. Because a hot blonde with great legs deserves better, metaphorically speaking.

Because, after all, how can you not want to see this?

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

One minor MR-related thing that will make my next post all about the spectroscopy – I find the idea of using nuclei other than 1H in MRI to be endlessly fascinating. I'm very intrigued by the work people have been doing with, in particular, 23Na – everything from cardiovascular physiology to neurological imaging to muscloskeletal studies. Not to say that I don't spread my love around for all NMR-active nuclei – certainly I'm not the only one to check out this absolutely fantastic website by Pascal Man periodically just to see what's new in the world of quadrupolar NMR – but 23Na MRI seems to be a bit ahead of the pack, just from my anecdotal observations, in terms of development and rate of progress at the moment. If any MRI pros are out there, I'd love to hear from you, as I am positive I am missing out on some really neat things.

Well, that will be my obliged post for the week. I am going to strive for two posts next week. But don't hold your breath.....

No comments:

Post a Comment