'Recordable' proteins as next-generation memory storage materials

February 11, 2008

Move over, compact discs, DVDs, and hard drives. Researchers in Japan report progress toward developing a new protein-based memory device that could provide an alternative to conventional magnetic and optical storage systems, which are quickly approaching their memory storage capacities. Their study is scheduled for the March 4 issue of ACS’ Langmuir.

Just as nature chose proteins as the memory storage medium of the brain, scientists have spent years exploring the possibility of similarly using proteins and other biological materials to build memory-based devices with the potential for processing information faster and providing greater storage capacity than existing materials.

Although a few protein-based memory materials have shown promise in experimental studies, developing such materials for practical use remains a challenge.

In the new study, Tetsuro Majima and colleagues used a special fluorescent protein to etch or “record” a specific information pattern on a glass slide. Using a novel combination of light and chemicals, the researchers demonstrated that they could “read” the pattern and subsequently erase it at will.

Thus, they demonstrated that the proteins could provide storage, playback, and erasure of information, the hallmarks of a successful memory device, the researchers say. In addition to conventional memory storage devices, the proteins also show promise for improved biosensors and diagnostic tests, they say.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: In defence of pathogenic proteins

Related Stories

In defence of pathogenic proteins

January 8, 2016

Protein deposits in cells, such as those associated with diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, can also be beneficial—at least for yeast cells, as biochemists at ETH Zurich have discovered. The researchers found a ...

Mutation improves memory, may lead to memory-enhancing pill

April 5, 2007

A mind-altering mutation in mice results in an enhanced long-term memory, researchers report in the April 6, 2007 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press. These findings point to a potential target for the development ...

Cancer drug enhances long-term memory

June 5, 2007

A drug used to treat cancer has been shown to enhance long-term memory and strengthen neural connections in the brain, according to a new study by UC Irvine scientists.

Researchers unravel brain's wiring to understand memory

September 28, 2009

Using a powerful microscope, Karel Svoboda, a brain scientist at the Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., peers through a plastic window in the top of a mouse's head to watch its brain's neurons sprout new connections ...

Recommended for you

Team first to solve well-known game theory scenario

February 11, 2016

A team of computer scientists from the University of Maryland, Stanford University and Microsoft Research is the first to solve a game theory scenario that has vexed researchers for nearly a century. The game, known as "Colonel ...

Gravitational waves found, black-hole models led the way

February 11, 2016

Gravitational waves were predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity in 1916, and now, almost exactly 100 years later, the faint ripples across space-time have been found. The advanced Laser Interferometric Gravitational-wave ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zevkirsh
not rated yet Feb 11, 2008
when i saw the title i first thought , this sounds like someone announcing the existance of the human brain on some new drug.
MoWright
not rated yet Feb 12, 2008
The potential for organic devices in our future is immense. Nature has many uses for us if we are persistent enough to find the answers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.