Scientists in Japan have developed a way of amplifying DNA on a scale suitable for use in the emerging fields of DNA-based computing and molecular robotics. By enabling highly sensitive nucleic acid detection, their method could improve disease diagnostics and accelerate the development of biosensors, for example, for food and environmental applications.
Antibiotics save countless human lives—modern medicine without them is unimaginable. The largest proportion by volume of industrially produced antibiotics today are cephalosporins, structural variants of the first antibiotic, penicillin. Unfortunately, their production generates a considerable amount of waste products, some of which are questionable. In the European Journal of Organic Chemistry, scientists have now demonstrated that a newly developed, more ecological synthetic route is suitable for the production of a wide variety of cephalosporin antibiotics.
A recent study published in the April 8 issue of Nature Chemical Biology improves on the "Cellular Reprogramming" method developed by Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, making it possible to produce cells in a considerably shorter time and with greater success. Yamanaka's method, which is referred to as "Cellular Reprogramming," obtains pluripotent cells, similar to the ones we know exist in the very early stages of the embryo.Since such cells are obtained by transforming existing cells of the body (such as skin cells), they are referred to as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS in short.
A study headed by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and published in the journal CHEM furthers the understanding of the asymmetry between nucleic acid hybrids. This advance may make a significant contribution to improving gene therapies.
Like airport security barriers that either clear authorized travelers or block unauthorized travelers and their luggage from accessing central operation areas, the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) tightly controls the transport of essential nutrients and energy metabolites into the brain and staves off unwanted substances circulating in the blood stream. Importantly, it's highly organized structure of thin blood vessels and supporting cells is also the major obstacle preventing life-saving drugs from reaching the brain in order to effectively treat cancer, neurodegeneration, and other diseases of the central nervous system. In a number of brain diseases, the BBB can also locally break down, causing neurotoxic substances, blood cells and pathogens to leak into the brain and wreak irreparable havoc.
Noroviruses are a leading cause of food-borne illness outbreaks, accounting for 58% of all outbreaks and cause 685 million cases worldwide each year. There is no effective therapeutic against them. Having knowledge of the intricate structure of the outer layer of noroviruses, the capsid, which allows the virus to attach to its human host, could help in vaccine development.
Microorganisms often assemble natural products similar to product assembly lines. Certain enzymes, non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS), play a key role in this process. Biotechnologists at Goethe University have now succeeded in changing these enzymes so that entirely new natural products, or even libraries of natural products, can be produced by microorganisms.
Lab-grown meat is getting a lot of attention along with plant-based meat substitutes. Technology is driving the industry toward providing alternatives to conventionally produced food products. Dairy proteins may be the next product produced in a lab, for use in fluid "milk" production and processed dairy products like yogurt and cheese, to name a few.