Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Vi Capsular Polysaccharide Enables Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi to Evade Microbe-Guided Neutrophil Chemotaxis

Tamding Wangdi, Cheng-Yuk Lee, Alanna M. Spees, Chenzhou Yu, Dawn D. Kingsbury, Sebastian E. Winter, Christine J. Hastey, R. Paul Wilson, Volkmar Heinrich, and Andreas J. Bäumler

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) causes typhoid fever, a disseminated infection, while the closely related pathogen S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) is associated with a localized gastroenteritis in humans. Here we investigated whether both pathogens differ in the chemotactic response they induce in neutrophils using a single-cell experimental approach. Surprisingly, neutrophils extended chemotactic pseudopodia toward Escherichia coli and S. Typhimurium, but not toward S. Typhi. Bacterial-guided chemotaxis was dependent on the presence of complement component 5a (C5a) and C5a receptor (C5aR). Deletion of S. Typhi capsule biosynthesis genes markedly enhanced the chemotactic response of neutrophils in vitro. Furthermore, deletion of capsule biosynthesis genes heightened the association of S. Typhi with neutrophils in vivo through a C5aR-dependent mechanism. Collectively, these data suggest that expression of the virulence-associated (Vi) capsular polysaccharide of S. Typhi obstructs bacterial-guided neutrophil chemotaxis.


Plasmonic graded nano-disks as nano-optical conveyor belt

Zhiwen Kang, Haifei Lu, Jiajie Chen, Kun Chen, Fang Xu, and Ho-Pui Ho

We propose a plasmonic system consisting of nano-disks (NDs) with graded diameters for the realization of nano-optical conveyor belt. The system contains a couple of NDs with individual elements coded with different resonant wavelengths. By sequentially switching the wavelength and polarization of the excitation source, optically trapped target nano-particle can be transferred from one ND to another. The feasibility of such function is verified based on the three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain technique and the Maxwell stress tensor method. Our design may provide an alternative way to construct nano-optical conveyor belt with which target molecules can be delivered between trapping sites, thus enabling many on-chip optofluidic applications.


Free-energy inference from partial work measurements in small systems

Marco Ribezzi-Crivellari and Felix Ritort

Fluctuation relations (FRs) are among the few existing general results in nonequilibrium systems. Their verification requires the measurement of the total work performed on a system. Nevertheless in many cases only a partial measurement of the work is possible. Here we consider FRs in dual-trap optical tweezers where two different forces (one per trap) are measured. With this setup we perform pulling experiments on single molecules by moving one trap relative to the other. We demonstrate that work should be measured using the force exerted by the trap that is moved. The force that is measured in the trap at rest fails to provide the full dissipation in the system, leading to a (incorrect) work definition that does not satisfy the FR. The implications to single-molecule experiments and free-energy measurements are discussed. In the case of symmetric setups a second work definition, based on differential force measurements, is introduced. This definition is best suited to measure free energies as it shows faster convergence of estimators. We discuss measurements using the (incorrect) work definition as an example of partial work measurement. We show how to infer the full work distribution from the partial one via the FR. The inference process does also yield quantitative information, e.g., the hydrodynamic drag on the dumbbell. Results are also obtained for asymmetric dual-trap setups. We suggest that this kind of inference could represent a previously unidentified and general application of FRs to extract information about irreversible processes in small systems.


Gold nanorod assisted intracellular optical manipulation of silica microspheres

P. Haro-González, P. Rodríguez Sevilla, F. Sanz-Rodríguez, E. Martín Rodríguez, Nicoleta Bogdan, J.A. Capobianco, K. Dholakia, and D. Jaque

We report on the improvement of the infrared optical trapping efficiency of dielectric microspheres by the controlled adhesion of gold nanorods to their surface. When trapping wavelength was equal to the surface plasmon resonance wavelength of the gold nanorods (808 nm), a 7 times improvement in the optical force acting on the microspheres was obtained. Such a gold nanorod assisted enhancement of the optical trapping efficiency enabled the intracellular manipulation of the decorated dielectric microsphere by using a low power (22 mW) infrared optical trap.


Driving corrugated donut rotors with Laguerre-Gauss beams

Vincent L. Y. Loke, Theodor Asavei, Alexander B. Stilgoe, Timo A. Nieminen, and Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop

Tightly-focused laser beams that carry angular momentum have been used to trap and rotate microrotors. In particular, a Laguerre-Gauss mode laser beam can be used to transfer its orbital angular momentum to drive microrotors. We increase the torque efficiency by a factor of about 2 by designing the rotor such that its geometry is compatible with the driving beam, when driving the rotation with the optimum beam, rather than beams of higher or lower orbital angular momentum. Based on Floquet’s theorem, the order of discrete rotational symmetry of the rotor can be made to couple with the azimuthal mode of the Laguerre-Gauss beam. We design corrugated donut rotors, that have a flat disc-like profile, with the help of the discrete dipole approximation and the T-matrix methods in parallel with experimental demonstrations of stable trapping and torque measurement. We produce and test such a rotor using two-photon photopolymerization. With a rotor that has 8-fold discrete rotational symmetry, an outer radius of 1.85 μm and a hollow core radius of 0.5 μm, we were able to transfer approximately 0.3 h̄ per photon of the orbital angular momentum from an LG04 beam.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Photoacoustic radiation force on a microbubble

Hakan Erkol, Esra Aytac-Kipergil, and Mehmet Burcin Unlu

We investigate the radiation force on a microbubble due to the photoacoustic wave which is generated by using a pulsed laser. In particular, we focus on the dependence of pulsed laser parameters on the radiation force. In order to do so, we first obtain a new and comprehensive analytical solution to the photoacoustic wave equation based on the Fourier transform for various absorption profiles. Then, we write an expression of the radiation force containing explicit laser parameters, pulse duration, and beamwidth of the laser. Furthermore, we calculate the primary radiation force acting on a microbubble. We show that laser parameters and the position of the microbubble relative to a photoacoustic source have a considerable effect on the primary radiation force. By means of recent developments in laser technologies that render tunability of pulse duration and repetition frequency possible, an adjustable radiation force can be applied to microbubbles. High spatial control of applied force is ensured on account of smaller focal spots achievable by focused optics. In this context, conventional piezoelectric acoustic source applications could be surpassed. In addition, it is possible to increase the radiation force by making source wavelength with the absorption peak of absorber concurrent. The application of photoacoustic radiation force can open a cache of opportunities such as manipulation of microbubbles used as contrast agents and as carrier vehicles for drugs and genes with a desired force along with in vivo applications.


Ultrasensitive Diagnostic Analysis of Au Nanoparticles Optically Trapped in Silicon Photonic Circuits at Sub-Milliwatt Powers

S. Hamed Mirsadeghi and Jeff F. Young

Silicon microcavity-based optical trapping of Au nanoparticles with diameters as small as ≈24 nm is achieved using optical powers <1 mW. By comparing measured and modeled histograms of transmission time series data obtained when a particle is trapped in the cavity, it is shown that the influence of backaction on the transmitted light dynamics alone can be used to determine the size of trapped particles with nanometer precision.


Determination of the elastic properties of short ssDNA molecules by mechanically folding and unfolding DNA hairpins

A. Alemany and F. Ritort
The characterization of ideal elastic properties of biopolymers is crucial to understand many molecular reactions determined by conformational bending fluctuations of the polymer. Direct measurement of such elastic properties using single molecule methods is usually hindered by the intrinsic tendency of such biopolymers to form high-order molecular structures. For example, single-stranded deoxyribonucleic acids (ssDNA) tend to form secondary structures such as local double helices that prevent the direct measurement of the ideal elastic response of the ssDNA. In this work we show how to extract the ideal elastic response in the entropic regime of short ssDNA molecules by mechanically pulling two-state DNA hairpins of different contour lengths. This is achieved by measuring the force dependence of the molecular extension and stiffness upon mechanically folding and unfolding the DNA hairpin. Both quantities are fit to the worm-like chain elastic model giving values for the persistence length and the interphosphate distance. This method can be used to unravel the elastic properties of short ssDNA and RNA sequences and, more generally, any biopolymer that can exhibit a cooperative two-state transition between mechanically folded and unfolded states (such as proteins).