Molecular Imaging, Corp. today announced PicoTREC™, a Topography and RECognition imaging system. PicoTREC combines real-time detection of molecular recognition events and single-molecule sensitivity with the imaging capability of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). PicoTREC is a powerful tool for the life sciences, biophysics, materials and polymer sciences, nanotechnology, or any field where it is useful to study molecular interactions in real-time. It can be used to image and map binding sites, study biological processes, or probe nanometer-scale areas on a variety of surfaces.
“The ability to view and understand events as they occur at the molecular level will increase our understanding of how systems work and lead to new discoveries in many fields, including life sciences, material sciences, and nanotechnology,” said Travis Johnson, Ph.D., Life Science Applications Manager at Molecular Imaging. “New developments in these fields are dependent to a large extent on better understanding how discrete molecular structures interact in molecular binding events. With PicoTREC we can already anticipate advances in pharmacology, polymers and other materials sciences, as well as immunology and bio-compatibility.”
“PicoTREC is a breakthrough tool that will allow researchers to pursue new avenues of discovery with AFM,” said Vance Nau, Ph.D., President and CEO of Molecular Imaging. “This technology will enable a new category of research for Atomic Force Microscopy.”
PicoTREC is used in conjunction with Molecular Imaging’s MAC Mode®, the most gentle and precise imaging technique available for AFM. This makes it ideal for extremely soft biological samples and samples in fluids. PicoTREC is also designed to work with samples in many other conditions, such as ambient atmospheres, controlled atmospheres and precisely controlled temperatures therefore it can be used to study a wide range of materials. PicoTREC is a label-less detection methodology, so sensitive samples are not altered by the introduction of radioactive material, fluorescent dyes, or other markers.
PicoTREC improves the speed, sensitivity, and accuracy of recognition and adhesion studies at the molecular level. As a result, it can be used to greatly accelerate existing research or to perform experiments that were not possible before. Dr. Nau added, “It is the only product available that delivers simultaneous topography and recognition imaging information separately and in real-time.”
PicoTREC allows the researcher to quickly determine where specific binding interactions occur on a sample. Single molecule binding interactions are detected and processed by PicoTREC and it resolves the signals for recognition interactions from surface topography information. Specific molecules can be attached to AFM cantilevers, making them chemically selective.
For example, when an antibody is attached to an AFM tip it can recognize weak recognition events with its target molecules. PicoTREC can replace the need for tedious and time consuming force-volume experiments. In addition, areas where binding interactions occur can be quickly identified so quantitative force experiments are made easier and faster.