Thursday, 30 January 2014

Mirror-image nucleic acids as molecular scissors in biotechnology and molecular medicine..

The biochemist Professor Volker A. Erdmann at Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin succeeded for the first time in creating mirror-image enzymes -- so-called Spiegelzymes -- out of nucleic acids. The Spiegelzymes can be used in living cells for the targeted cutting of natural nucleic acids.

The biochemist Professor Volker A. Erdmann at Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin creates mirror-image enzymes – so-called Spiegelzymes – out of nucleic acids.

In an article published in PLOS ONE, Erdmann and his co-authors delineate how engineered Spiegelzymes have great potential for cutting up individual nucleic acids responsible for human diseases, and thus "deactivating" them. According to Erdmann Spiegelzymes, also called molecular scissors, have the advantage that they do not trigger side reactions of the immune system and they are extremely stable.
In the experiments Erdmann and his team were able to show that with specially constructed Spiegelzymes the production of a green glowing protein could be inhibited in the cells. The Spiegelzymes cut the messenger RNA, the molecule responsible for the production of the protein. Following similar procedures, it should be possible to prevent the synthesis of any one of the approximately 21,000 proteins anchored in the human genome, says Erdmann.
Volker A. Erdmann thinks it is plausible that in the future it will be possible to intervene in the processes of a cell to selectively cut RNA molecules that regulate the synthesis of proteins and other nucleic acids. Since RNA molecules are responsible for ensuring that a stem cell develops into a skin cell or muscle cell, or even a tumor cell, the targeted use of Spiegelzymes shows promise for completely new applications in basic research, biotechnology, and molecular medicine.
Journal Reference:
  1. Eliza Wyszko, Florian Mueller, Marta Gabryelska, Angelika Bondzio, Mariusz Popenda, Jan Barciszewski, Volker A. Erdmann. Spiegelzymes® Mirror-Image Hammerhead Ribozymes and Mirror-Image DNAzymes, an Alternative to siRNAs and microRNAs to Cleave mRNAs In Vivo? PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e86673 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086673

Posted by: Indian Biosciences and Research Institute

Engineered virus effective against triple negative breast cancer cells...

Scientists have discovered a potential cure for one of the most aggressive  and least treatable forms of breast cancer called "triple negative breast cancer." In laboratory experiments involving human cancer cells, scientists used a virus similar to the one that helped eradicate smallpox to coax cancer cells to produce a protein which makes them susceptible to radioactive iodine.

"We hope that the recent advances in virology, genetic engineering and targeted radiotherapy will soon translate into an entire class of novel oncolytic, virotherapies for the treatment of deadly cancers," said Yuman Fong, M.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY.

To make this discovery, Fong and colleagues successfully infected and killed TNBC cells using a vaccinia virus. In addition, the researchers were also able to use the virus to cause infected cancer cells produce a cell surface protein called hNIS that normally is used to concentrate iodine in thyroid cells. The hNIS protein, expressed in thyroid cancer, is why most thyroid cancers can be cured or successfully treated with a small dose of radioactive iodine (which kills thyroid cancer cells expressing hNIS). Armed with the ability to force TNBC cells to produce this protein, researchers now have a way to deliver anticancer therapies to this deadly and resistant form of cancer.
"This is an important and significant discovery that basically combines proven cures for two other diseases," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Even more exciting is that the effects of this virus and radioactive iodine are well known in people, hopefully reducing the amount of time it will take for it to reach the clinic.
The discovery was published in the February 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.
* Posted by: Indian Biosciences and Research Institute


Indian Biosciences and Research Institute, located in the National Capital Territory, Noida, is a versatile research & training institute running under the Indian National Education and Research Society. Since its inception, IBRI has reflected growing impact of new biological technologies. Through innovative research, the organization deals with the challenges in the bioscience domain.

IBRI aims to motivate and promote students by providing subject learning and the excellent hands on practical experience to meet the rapidly evolving opportunities and challenges in the field of biotechnology, bioinformatics and applied pharmaceuticals.