Getting Ready for Our Trip to SU!

                                Click the link at the bottom of this page if you need another copy of the permission slip for the field trip!

Henson School of Science . . . We can't wait!
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare metabolic disorder which occurs in people who are missing an enzyme that the body needs to use phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid (a building block for proteins in the body), meaning the body needs it for health but cannot make it. You have to get it from food. When someone does not have the enzyme, that causes high levels of phenylalanine to build up. If it is not treated before 3 weeks of age, PKU can cause severe, irreversible mental retardation. In the United States, newborns are tested for PKU during the first 48 - 72 hours of life. People with PKU must eat a diet that avoids phenylalanine and take tyrosine supplements to have optimum brain development and growth.

Green Fluorescent Protein
Learn about some interesting applications of GFP!
Click on the image to learn about some interesting applications of GFP!

What is green fluorescent protein?

Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) is a protein produced by a jellyfiish called Aequorea victoria, which produces glowing points of light around the edge of the umbrella-shaped body.  Green fluorescent protein, or GFP for short, has transformed biomedical research.  Using a gene that carries instructions to make GFP, scientists can attach harmless glow-in-the-dark tags to selected proteins, either in cells in lab petri dishes or inside living creatures, to track their activity.  It's like shining a flashlight on the inner workings of cells.  Flatworms, tadpoles and zebrafish are among creatures whose parts have been programmed to glow in the name of science.  
     Individual proteins in human cells are too small to see even under a microscope, but the ways they form, fold and interact are essential to life.  Therefore, catching a glimpse of the cells in action is invaluable!  For example, attaching GFP to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas has helped researches study how they're made.  This could provide new information for diabetes treatments.

Who won the Noble Prize in Chemistry in 2008 and why?  Watch and learn!

YouTube Video

Amanda Markos,
Mar 1, 2017, 3:55 PM