The natural ability of certain fungi to break down complex substances makes them very valuable microorganisms to use as cell factories in industrial processes. Advances in metabolic engineering and systems biology are helping to customize and optimize these fungi to produce specific bioproducts.
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with two other institutions, have identified a method for protein crystallography that reduces damage to the protein crystal. This will allow crystals to be studied for longer periods of time as researchers study protein structures for new pharmaceuticals.
Photoreactions are driven by light energy and are vital to the synthesis of many natural substances. Since many of these substances are also useful as active medical agents, chemists try to produce them synthetically. But in most cases only one of the possible products has the right spatial structure to make it effective. Researchers have now developed a methodology for one of these photoreactions that allows them to produce only the specific molecular variant desired.
Easily manufactured, low-cost artificial cells manufactured using microprinting may one day serve as drug and gene delivery devices and in biomaterials, biotechnology and biosensing applications, according to a team of Penn State biomedical engineers. These artificial cells will also allow researchers to explore actions that take place at the cell membrane.
Researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the NYU College of Dentistry have developed a carrier in their lab that is five times more efficient in delivering DNA into cells than today's commercial delivery methods - reagent vectors. This novel complex is a peptide-polymer hybrid, assembled from two separate, less effective vectors that are used to carry DNA into cells. The study helps researchers better understand gene function.
Researchers managed to overcome remaining key limitations of RNA interference (RNAi) - a unique method to specifically shut off genes. By using an optimized design, the scientists were able to inhibit genes with greatly enhanced efficiency and accuracy.