Proteins able to detect small amounts of radiation


The research team from Institute of Biophysics (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences,, Krasnoyarsk State Agrarian University ( , Siberian Federal University, and Lomonosov Moscow State University developed a biosensor sensitive to low-dose ionizing radiation. This statement was made on Siberian Federal University website in July, 2017. The researchers published the results of the investigation in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry Journal.

The scientists studied the possibilities of application of fluorescent coelenteramide-containing proteins as color bioindicators for radiation. The developed biosensor is based on the protein complex, obelin, which is obtained from the phosphorescent marine polyp Obelia longissimi. Being irradiated with light, obelin luminesces in the wide frequency band, from violet to blue-green. The produced fluorescence spectrum depends on environment of protein molecules, so it could be used for detection of toxic influence, in particular, radiation.

In the experiment tritiated water (a radioactive form of water where the usual hydrogen atoms are replaced with tritium) was used as a model source of low-intensive ionizing radiation of beta type. The protein systems containing obelin were exposed to radiation during 18 days. Under these conditions an increase in ‘violet’ fluorescence was revealed. It was also demonstrated that the test systems are highly sensitive to low-dose ionizing radiation.

The researchers add that the results of the investigation could help to reveal physical and chemical mechanism of toxicity of low-dose radiation. For example, the increase in the ‘violet’ fluorescence could be caused by a change in three-dimensional configuration of the protein under the action of the high energy electron flow.


Last Modified: 2017/09/05