Top 10 Biotechnology News In 2017

Biotechnology News In 2017
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Biotechnology is the branch of biology that harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help enrich our lives and the well-being of our planet. In this article, we will explore top 10 biotechnology news in 2017.

Top 10 Biotechnology News In 2017

Clostridium botulinum’s Neurotoxin Role in Therapy

Clostridium botulinum

Researchers at the Quadram institute have discovered genes that encode a new version of the botulinum neurotoxin produced by bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This toxin is known to be deadly, causing neuroparalysis once ingested. It is also used for medical and cosmetic procedures. The potency of this new toxin and its role in therapy is yet to be determined and quantified.

Reference: “Identification of a novel botulinum neurotoxin gene cluster in Enterococcus – Brunt – 2018 – FEBS Letters – Wiley Online Library”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

New Study On Microbial Signal Recognition Systems

Nitrogen Cycle

A recent study published in Nature Communications has provided insight on microbial signal recognition systems. The findings from the study shed light on a protein that enables microorganisms to absorb ammonium from their environment as a nutrient and energy source.

Reference: “Signaling ammonium across membranes through an ammonium sensor histidine kinase | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Study Finds Prohibitin Protein Aids Virus In HFM Disease

Hand Foot Mouth Disease

Scientists at the University of Singapore have discovered a protein called prohibitin that seems to aid neuronal infection by the virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. Although the mechanism behind the infection is still unclear, researchers were able to elucidate the role this protein plays in aiding the virus.

Reference: “Prohibitin plays a critical role in Enterovirus 71 neuropathogenesis”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Plant’s Internal Clock Gets Regulated By A Protein

Plant Growth

Researchers at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics have discovered how a protein involved in regulating the internal clock of the plant, sets the pace of plant growth throughout the day, thus ensuring that plant growth is limited until the end of the day. Findings from this study can help look at how plants regulate their growth under stressful conditions like high temperature and drought.

Reference: “Circadian Waves of Transcriptional Repression Shape PIF-Regulated Photoperiod-Responsive Growth in Arabidopsis”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Scientists Discover Nettles & Ants Help In Destroying Cancer Cells

Ants

Scientists at the University of Warwick have discovered that a substance found in stinging nettles and ants can be used to destroy cancer cells. This compound is organic osmium based which gets activated by the non-toxic form of sodium formate. Sodium formate is the substance found in stinging nettles and ants.

Reference: “Asymmetric transfer hydrogenation by synthetic catalysts in cancer cells | Nature Chemistry”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

A breakthrough Study In Tissue Engineering

Tissue Engineering

A recent study published in Nature Communications, led by a team of researchers at the Duke University, has shown promise and potential in the field of tissue engineering. Scientists were successfully able to grow functional human muscle cells from non-muscle cells. This discovery can make genome editing and cellular therapies easier.

Reference: “Engineering human pluripotent stem cells into a functional skeletal muscle tissue | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Researchers Find Gut Bacteria Help Body Fight Off Infection

Immunity

Researchers at the Babraham Institute have elucidated the mechanism by which gut or intestinal bacteria can control the genes in our cells. Upon digestion of fruits and vegetables in the gut by intestinal bacteria, certain chemical signals are released that can alter chemical markers across the human genome. This mechanism is thought to help the body fight off infection and cancer.

Reference: “Microbiota derived short chain fatty acids promote histone crotonylation in the colon through histone deacetylases | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Plant Protein SOBER1 Helps Plants From Infection

Healthy Plant

Scientists at the Salk Institute have characterized different, unusual immune responses that plants display in response to infection. The team of researchers studied a specific protein called SOBER1, found in plants which seems to confer resistance to plants from infection.

Reference: “A hydrophobic anchor mechanism defines a deacetylase family that suppresses host response against YopJ effectors | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Adeno-Associated Viruses Deliver Nanopeptide Drugs In Cells

Adeno-Associated Viruses

A team of researchers at Rice University have successfully created adeno-associated viruses that can be programmed to deliver nanopeptide drugs into the cell. To make this possible, researchers created small versions of a specific protein found on the surface of the viral capsid of adeno-associated viruses.

Reference: “Reprogramming the Activatable Peptide Display Function of Adeno-Associated Virus Nanoparticles – ACS Nano (ACS Publications)”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Bacterium’s Role in Destruction of Melanoma Cells

Streptomyces Bacteria
Streptomyces Bacteria (Source: Wikimedia)

Scientists at the Oregon State University recently discovered the role of a bacterium that lives in the soil, in the destruction of melanoma cells. This bacterium produces a type of molecule which is a secondary metabolite and is naturally produced. The metabolite, known as mensacarcin targets the mitochondria of melanoma cells. It has powerful anti-cancer and anti-proliferative effects specifically against melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Reference: “The natural product mensacarcin induces mitochondrial toxicity and apoptosis in melanoma cells”. Accessed January 16, 2018. Link.

Cite this article as: "Top 10 Biotechnology News In 2017," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, January 17, 2018, https://www.bioexplorer.net/biotechnology-news-2017.html/.
Top 10 Biotechnology News In 2017
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