Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fun fact: Scientist are beginning to understand the molecular basis of why we feel poorly after holiday overeating

There are many reasons why you may wake this morning feeling a bit ill; such as eating rich food and drinking in excess.

Photographic reproduction of 'The Hangover' by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (circa 1888)

However a recent study shows that there is a molecular basis that can explain why alteration in the amount we eat and the time of day which we eat results in our bodies feeling unwell. A collaboration between UCSF in the U.S. and the Max Planck Institute in Germany entitled 'PKC gamma particpates in food entrainment by regulating BMAL1' sheds new light on the molecular basis of our 'food clock'. The study compared mice with and without PKC gamma and investigated their ability to adjust to a new feeding time. Mice with PKC gamma awoke before their feeding time while mice without slept through the new feeding time.
The concept of the food clock has been accepted as a part of our normal circadian rhythms which allows us and other animals to make the most of our available food resources. The food clock initiates changes that anticipate feeding time so that our bodies can best utilize food when it arrives. This helps to explain why you are ready for lunch at the same time each day or the birds at your birdfeeder arrive at the same time every morning. While this clock can be reset overtime, overeating and eating at odd times may lead to disruptions at the molecular level that affect your clock and therefore how you feel the day after.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
                Froehliche Weihnachten
                                               Feliz Navidad
                                                          Joyeux Noel
                                                                       Mele Kalikimaka
                                                                                           Boas Festas

Deutsch: Christmas goose (Weihnachtsgans)
DateDecember 2004(2004-12)
SourceOwn work
AuthorJürgen Howaldt

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve

BMG would like to wish you all a happy Christmas Eve. If you are traveling we hope you arrive at your destination safely.
DescriptionThis was another of the competitors at the St. Croix Valley Carriage and Driving Society's 2008 Sleigh and Cutter Festival held in Lake Elmo, MN. This portland cutter is being pulled by a a Norwegian Fjord.
Date27 January 2008(2008-01-27), 11:59
SourceUphill Sleigh Ride
AuthorPete Markham from Loretto, USA

Friday, December 21, 2012

Focus on Prion Assay

Prions are known to cause various neurodegenerative disorders or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in animals and humans. They cause an abnormal folding of prion proteins mostly found in the brain, so when transmitted the disease causes brain damage and usually death. Some prion diseases include Scrapie in sheep; Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer; Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cows; and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans. In order to better understand these diseases the levels of prions present in an infection needs to be measured. A new assay, Real-Time Quaking Induced Conversion Assay (RT-QuIC), developed at Rocky Mountain Laboratories on a BMG LABTECH Omega plate reader is faster and higher throughput than previous bioassays using entire animals as hosts. Now the assay can be performed in a 96 well plate format in a few hours to a couple of days compared to several months or a year. For more information, see our application note .
RT-QuIC end-point dilution analysis of three 263K-inoculated preclinical 10 days post injection hamster BHs. In this case, the approximate SD50 was achieved with a 2 μl aliquot (the seed volume) of a 10E−5 dilution of the scrapie 10dpi 263K BH stock (green line). This gave an SD50/2μL of 10E5.5 and an SD50/g of 10E8.2. This figure was adapted from Rapid End-Point Quantitation of Prion Seeding Activity with Sensitivity Comparable to Bioassays

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Applications Thursday

Researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT with collaborating scientists in Japan have developed a new assay for quantitating prions for neurodegenerative disease research in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies like Scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. This new assay, Real-Time Quaking Induced Conversion Assay (RT-QuIC) is faster, of a higher throughput, and more sensitive as compared to previous test methods using biological tissue samples from infected animals. This assay can be measured using BMG LABTECH’s Omega series of  microplate readers. With the Omega’s powerful control and analysis software, researchers can easily perform this assay in several hours to a few days.

For more information please see their publication Rapid End-Point Quantitation of Prion Seeding Activity with Sensitivity Comparable to Bioassays in PLoS Pathog 6(12): e1001217. Further information can also be found on our customer focus page and on an application note  detailing how to run the assay on an Omega microplate reader.

Figure legend: Magnified 100X, and stained with H&E (hematoxylin and eosin) staining technique, this light photomicrograph of brain tissue reveals the presence of prominent spongiotic changes in the cortex, and loss of neurons in a case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). This image is courtesy of CDC/Teresa Hammett. Photo Credit: Sherif Zaki; MD; PhD; Wun-Ju Shieh; MD; PhD; MPH


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fun Fact: December 19, 2012

Albert A. Michelson, winner of the 1907 Nobel prize in Physics was born on this day in 1852. According to he won the award 'for his optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid'. Michelson is best known for his attempts to measure the speed of light. His final tests, completed after his death, resulted in a value of 299,774 km/s. Although subsequent tests have more precisely determined the speed of light his measurments and determination that the speed of light is a constant were among his important contributions.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Did you know that BMG LABTECH instruments have been cited in over 3,000 articles?

As a testament to our long standing history in the industry and to our quality engineered products, BMG LABTECH microplate readers have been cited in over 3200 publications, application notes, and posters. Versatile, robust, and easy to use, BMG LABTECH microplate readers can perform the most simple absorbance assay as well as the most complex advanced cell-based assay.

Find out more about the many applications in our Application Center. You can also Search Our Application Section or you can Search Our Blog for any relevant applications that may have been published or discussed. 

BMG LABTECH - Engineering a better biological solution. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

FAQ: Will BMG LABTECH attend SLAS2013?

Yes, BMG LABTECH is a Diamond Sponsor of SLAS2013 in Orlando Florida. Visit BMG LABTECH at Booth #721 to learn how a perfectly engineered instrument can give a better biological solution and to find out how to win a free iPad Mini.

It is no more apparent how quality engineering can enhance biological applications than with the PHERAstar FS. The PHERAstar FS has become the Gold-Standard Microplate Reader for high-throughput screening labs and core-facilities, quickly replacing outdated, less sensitive measurement instrumentation.

The PHERAstar FS will be highlighted at several workshops, posters, and at different collaborators’ booths at SLAS 2013.

Workshops - refreshments will be served:

Monday 12:30 – 1:45, Naples Room 2-3
  • Labcyte-Miniaturized and Automated Cisbio HTRF® Assays with the Echo® Liquid Handler and BMG PHERAstar FS
Tuesday 12:30-1:15, Sun Room 1-2
  • BMG Labtech-Enhanced Assay Development and High-Throughput Screening with New and Unique Microplate Based Technology. 
  • Quantifying Fluorescent Ligand Binding to GPCR’s in Live Cells using the PHERAstar FS – a new format for HTS 
  • Nano High-Throughput Screening (nHTS) Platform-Miniaturization of Cell-based GPCR and Kinase Assays in 3456-well Microplates 
  • Methyltransferase, Acetyltransferase, Kinases, and GTPases Can All Be Measured with Transcreener® Assays and the PHERAstar 
  • Monitoring Drug Solubility and the Growth of Candida albicans Using BMG LABTECH’s NEPHELOstar Light-Scattering Microplate Reader 
  • A new HTRF® assay for the quantification of active Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) (CISBIO poster) 
  • High-Throughput Homogeneous Histone H3 Methyltransferase (HMT) and Demethylase (HDMT) Enzyme Assays using HTRF Technology: G9a, MLL1, and EZH2 Methyltransferase plus LSD1, JMJD2C and JMJD2A Demethylase Assays (CISBIO poster).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Focus On: SNP Genotyping Using the Amplifluor® System and the FLUOstar

SNPs (Single nucleotide polymorphisms) are places in genomic DNA with a single nucleotide difference between individuals in a species. SNPs are a common occurring mutation found in DNA sequences. These genetic variations can occur in coding or non-coding regions and can either have an extreme or no effect on a particular organism. Therefore SNP detection has become important for medical research and pharmacology.

The detection of SNPs (SNP Genotyping) can be achieved with a number of different methods. In application note 187 a homogeneous fluorescence based method on PCR is described. The Amplifluor® SNPs HT Genotyping System from Millipore was used to screen a number of samples with the help of a FLUOstar from BMG LABTECH. 

See application note 187  to learn more about this SNP assay or go to Millipore's website see a more detailed description of this assay.

SNP Graph
A typical pattern of SNP samples. The blue dot in Q1 is buffer. The red dot in Q2 shows the mutant control (green allele), Yellow dots in Q4 are wild type control(red allele) and the orange dot in Q3 represents the heterozygote control(red green allele). Figure 3 clearly shows that all controls that are homozygous for either allele or heterozygous or a mixture only are clearly separated. In addition, samples are precisely located in their clusters.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

High Speed FRET based SNP Genotyping Measurement on the PHERAstar

Automated solution for fast SNP genotyping
  • Optimized optical modules with dual emission
  • More accurate results with ratiometric measurements
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP`s) have become an invaluable tool in the field of Genetic Research. Here we show the use of BMG LABTECH´s PHERAstar multimode HTS plate reader for high speed FRET based SNP Genotyping measurement. The new KASPar™ system, developed by KBiosciences, was used to assess the best performance of the PHERAstar. Optimized optical modules with Dual Emission lead to improvements in speed and accuracy of measurement. Can also use with Taqman® and Invader SNP genotyping chemistries.

To learn more see the application note here...


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Did you know that BMG LABTECH has a new webinar on YouTube called Optimizing Cell-Based Microplate Assays?

BMG LABTECH, in collaboration with Labcyte and MRC-T, presented a webinar on Drug Discovery and Development that detailed different ways to optimize cell-based microplate assays. The three speakers and titles were:
  • Optimizing Measurements for Microplate Cell-based Assays
    Catherine Wark, BMG LABTECH, UK
  • Miniaturization and Automation of HTRF® Cell-based Assays with the Echo® Liquid Handler
    Bonnie Edwards, Labcyte, Inc., USA
  • Identification and characterization of allosteric modulators of GPCRs using an HTRF® cellular assay
    Jeff Jerman, PhD, MRC Technology, UK

To see a replay of this webinar go to BMG LABTECH's YouTube page and click on the video "Optimizing Cell-Based Microlate Assays."

Cell Based Assays with the PHERAstar FS

Fun Fact Wednesday – To RT-PCR or Not To RT-PCR

Most labs have access to a thermocyler or PCR machine that can cycle 96 samples in an hour for SNP genotyping.  If you want to genotype a freezer full of samples using allele specific primers, you could analyze about 96 an hour, or 768 in an eight hour day.  If you wanted to collect data more quickly, you could add more and more thermocyclers and have them running in parallel…or you could detect your genotypes on a plate reader.

Method example for GWA study designs
Using water-bath batch cyclers, it is possible for you to cycle hundreds of plates at a time—and with 384-samples per plate, not just 96 samples at a time.  The PHERAstar FS can read a 384-well SNP plate in 28 seconds (two measurements). That means that one hundred and twenty plates an hour can be measured, for eight hours, at 384-samples per plate is 386,000 samples per day—480x more than the original setup.  If you add multiple PHERAstars onto your robotic plate handler, you could genotype about 1.2 million samples a day.  If you switched to 1536-well plates, you could collect genotype data from 2.4 million samples in eight hours! This also does not take into account that the misread rate is much smaller on the PHERAstar FS than on an RT-PCR instrument, further saving time and money. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Focus On: Dual Emission Detection for FP, FRET, TR-FRET, BRET, and Dual Glow Assays

Dual Emission Detection is a feature in BMG LABTECH microplate readers that allows them to measure two emission wavelengths with only one read of the microplate. This greatly benefits assays like Fluorescence Polarization (FP), Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET), Time-Resolved-FRET (TR-FRET), Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET), and Dual Glow assays

The benefits include faster measurement times (twice as fast) because it only has to read the plate once. But more importantly it eliminates read-to-read variations that can occur, such as different well volumes, concentrations, meniscus effects, or fluctuations in excitation energy. The result is an assay that is faster, is more sensitive, has a higher Z' factor, and has a lower %CVs.

Dual Emission Detection is found on the PHERAstar series of HTS microplate readers, as well as on the POLARstar Omega and POLARstar OPTIMA.

Dual Emission in the PHERAstar

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Applications Thursday: Simple Apoptosis Assay in an Absorbance Microplate Reader

Apoptosis is a multistage process during which activity of caspase enzymes fluctuates, DNA becomes fragmented and phosphatidyl serine is transferred to the outside of the cell membrane. Apoptosis is a common pathway that can go wrong in many cancers and it is a highly researched area for different cell types. Common methods for apoptosis analysis include:
  • Caspase activity assay, either colorimetric, fluorescent, luminescent or antibody based
  • TUNEL assay, based on DNA fragmentation.
  • Annexin-V assay, based on the binding of dye or fluorescently-conjugated Annexin-V to phosphatidyl serine which has translocated to the cell membrane exterior during apoptosis.
A simple and easy-to-use apoptosis assay, Bicolor's APOPercentage Apoptosis Assay™, was performed on BMG LABTECH's SPECTROstar Nano microplate reader. This assay format takes advantage of the phosphatidyl serine (PS) that is found on the exterior cell surface when apoptosis begins to occur. The APOPercentage dye, which binds to PS, is then taken up by cells undergoing apoptosis. The dye can be quantified by an absorbance instrument such as the SPECTROstar Nano

Table 2
Colorimetric Quantification. Graph Showing Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide (0 – 10mM) on CHO Cells. Results expressed as mean absorbance for triplicate wells ± S.E.M. (n = 3). Exposure time to H2O2 was 4 hours. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Did you know that there are eight different detection modes in BMG LABTECH microplate readers?

Microplate readers have evolved from simple single-mode instruments that can only do a handful of applications in one mode, to complex multimode instruments that can measure thousands of different assays in several modes. Most applications use the three most common detection modes of absorbance, fluorescence intensity, and luminescence and these are the three most common detection modes found multimode microplate readers. Whereas higher end multimode instrumentation can perform applications that are based on specialized chemistry using other detection modes such as AlphaScreen®, Fluorescence Polarization, Time-Resolved Fluorescence (TRF)TR-FRET/HTRF®, and Nephelometry

Learn more about BMG LABTECH's multimode microplate readers and learn more about the different detection modes here

Light-Scattering or nephelometry is a specialized detection mode that can be used
to measure drug solubility in the NEPHELOstar Plus microplate reader.