Science.gov

Sample records for engineering molecular biology

  1. Molecular Biological Methods in Environmental Engineering.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guocai; Wei, Li; Chang, Chein-Chi; Zhang, Yuhua; Wei, Dong

    2016-10-01

    Bacteria, acting as catalysts, perform the function of degrading pollutants. Molecular biological techniques play an important role in research on the community analysis, the composition and the functions of complex microbial communities. The development of secondary high-throughput pyrosequencing techiniques enhances the understanding of the composition of the microbial community. The literatures of 2015 indicated that 16S rDNA gene as genetic tag is still the important method for bacteria identification and classification. 454 high throughput sequencing and Illumina MiSeq sequencing have been the primary and widely recognized methods to analyze the microbial. This review will provide environmental engineers and microbiologists an overview of important advancements in molecular techniques and highlight the application of these methods in diverse environments.

  2. Plant synthetic biology for molecular engineering of signalling and development

    PubMed Central

    Nemhauser, Jennifer L.; Torii, Keiko U.

    2016-01-01

    Molecular genetic studies of model plants in the past few decades have identified many key genes and pathways controlling development, metabolism and environmental responses. Recent technological and informatics advances have led to unprecedented volumes of data that may uncover underlying principles of plants as biological systems. The newly emerged discipline of synthetic biology and related molecular engineering approaches is built on this strong foundation. Today, plant regulatory pathways can be reconstituted in heterologous organisms to identify and manipulate parameters influencing signalling outputs. Moreover, regulatory circuits that include receptors, ligands, signal transduction components, epigenetic machinery and molecular motors can be engineered and introduced into plants to create novel traits in a predictive manner. Here, we provide a brief history of plant synthetic biology and significant recent examples of this approach, focusing on how knowledge generated by the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana has contributed to the rapid rise of this new discipline, and discuss potential future directions. PMID:27249346

  3. Molecular biology and genetic engineering in nitrogen fixation.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos, Patricia C

    2011-01-01

    Biological nitrogen fixation is a complex and tightly regulated process limited to a group of prokaryotic species known as diazotrophs. Among well-studied diazotrophs, Azotobacter vinelandii is the best studied for its convenience of aerobic growth, its high levels of nitrogenase expression, and its genetic tractability. This chapter includes protocols and strategies in the molecular biology and genetic engineering of A. vinelandii that have been used as valuable tools for advancing studies on the biosynthesis, mechanism, and regulation of nitrogen fixation.

  4. Incorporating Molecular and Cellular Biology into a Chemical Engineering Degree Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Connor, Kim C.

    2005-01-01

    There is a growing need for a workforce that can apply engineering principles to molecular based discovery and product development in the biological sciences. To this end, Tulane University established a degree program that incorporates molecular and cellular biology into the chemical engineering curriculum. In celebration of the tenth anniversary…

  5. Introducing Molecular Biology to Environmental Engineers through Development of a New Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oerther, Daniel B.

    2002-01-01

    Introduces a molecular biology course designed for environmental engineering majors using 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid-targeted technology that allows students to identify and study microorganisms in bioreactor environments. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)

  6. Methods of Genome Engineering: a New Era of Molecular Biology.

    PubMed

    Chugunova, A A; Dontsova, O A; Sergiev, P V

    2016-07-01

    Genome sequencing now progressing much faster than our understanding of the majority of gene functions. Studies of physiological functions of various genes would not be possible without the ability to manipulate the genome. Methods of genome engineering can now be used to inactivate a gene to study consequences, introduce heterologous genes into the genome for scientific and biotechnology applications, create genes coding for fusion proteins to study gene expression, protein localization, and molecular interactions, and to develop animal models of human diseases to find appropriate treatment. Finally, genome engineering might present the possibility to cure hereditary diseases. In this review, we discuss and compare the most important methods for gene inactivation and editing, as well as methods for incorporation of heterologous genes into the genome.

  7. Engineering molecular circuits using synthetic biology in mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Wieland, Markus; Fussenegger, Martin

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology has made significant leaps over the past decade, and it now enables rational and predictable reprogramming of cells to conduct complex physiological activities. The bases for cellular reprogramming are mainly genetic control components affecting gene expression. A huge variety of these modules, ranging from engineered fusion proteins regulating transcription to artificial RNA devices affecting translation, is available, and they often feature a highly modular scaffold. First endeavors to combine these modules have led to autoregulated expression systems and genetic cascades. Analogous to the rational engineering of electronic circuits, the existing repertoire of artificial regulatory elements has further enabled the ambitious reprogramming of cells to perform Boolean calculations or to mimic the oscillation of circadian clocks. Cells harboring synthetic gene circuits are not limited to cell culture, as they have been successfully implanted in animals to obtain tailor-made therapeutics that have made it possible to restore urea or glucose homeostasis as well as to offer an innovative approach to artificial insemination.

  8. Biological Activities of Natural and Engineered Cyclotides, a Novel Molecular Scaffold for Peptide-Based Therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Angie E.; Camarero, Julio A.

    2012-01-01

    Cyclotides are a growing family of large plant-derived backbone-cyclized polypeptides (≈30 amino acids long) that share a disulfide-stabilized core characterized by an unusual knotted structure. Their unique circular backbone topology and knotted arrangement of three disulfide bonds makes them exceptionally stable to thermal, chemical, and enzymatic degradation compared to other peptides of similar size. Currently more than 100 sequences of different cyclotides have been characterized and the number is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. Considering their stability, biological activities and ability to cross the cell membrane, cyclotides can be exploited to develop new peptide-based drugs with high potential for success. The cyclotide scaffold can be engineered or evolved using molecular evolution to inhibit protein-protein interactions implicated in cancer and other human diseases, or design new antimicrobial. The present review reports the biological diversity and therapeutic potential of natural and engineered cyclotides. PMID:20858197

  9. Teaching Applied Genetics and Molecular Biology to Agriculture Engineers. Application of the European Credit Transfer System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weiss, J.; Egea-Cortines, M.

    2008-01-01

    We have been teaching applied molecular genetics to engineers and adapted the teaching methodology to the European Credit Transfer System. We teach core principles of genetics that are universal and form the conceptual basis of most molecular technologies. The course then teaches widely used techniques and finally shows how different techniques…

  10. Engineering molecular machines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erman, Burak

    2016-04-01

    Biological molecular motors use chemical energy, mostly in the form of ATP hydrolysis, and convert it to mechanical energy. Correlated thermal fluctuations are essential for the function of a molecular machine and it is the hydrolysis of ATP that modifies the correlated fluctuations of the system. Correlations are consequences of the molecular architecture of the protein. The idea that synthetic molecular machines may be constructed by designing the proper molecular architecture is challenging. In their paper, Sarkar et al (2016 New J. Phys. 18 043006) propose a synthetic molecular motor based on the coarse grained elastic network model of proteins and show by numerical simulations that motor function is realized, ranging from deterministic to thermal, depending on temperature. This work opens up a new range of possibilities of molecular architecture based engine design.

  11. Structural and functional diversity among amyloid proteins: Agents of disease, building blocks of biology, and implications for molecular engineering.

    PubMed

    Bleem, Alissa; Daggett, Valerie

    2017-01-01

    Amyloids have long been associated with protein dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases, but recent research has demonstrated that some organisms utilize the unique properties of the amyloid fold to create functional structures with important roles in biological processes. Additionally, new engineering approaches have taken advantage of amyloid structures for implementation in a wide variety of materials and devices. In this review, the role of amyloid in human disease is discussed and compared to the functional amyloids, which serve a largely structural purpose. We then consider the use of amyloid constructs in engineering applications, including their utility as building blocks for synthetic biology and molecular engineering. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 7-20. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Molecular biomimetics: nanotechnology through biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarikaya, Mehmet; Tamerler, Candan; Jen, Alex K.-Y.; Schulten, Klaus; Baneyx, François

    2003-09-01

    Proteins, through their unique and specific interactions with other macromolecules and inorganics, control structures and functions of all biological hard and soft tissues in organisms. Molecular biomimetics is an emerging field in which hybrid technologies are developed by using the tools of molecular biology and nanotechnology. Taking lessons from biology, polypeptides can now be genetically engineered to specifically bind to selected inorganic compounds for applications in nano- and biotechnology. This review discusses combinatorial biological protocols, that is, bacterial cell surface and phage-display technologies, in the selection of short sequences that have affinity to (noble) metals, semiconducting oxides and other technological compounds. These genetically engineered proteins for inorganics (GEPIs) can be used in the assembly of functional nanostructures. Based on the three fundamental principles of molecular recognition, self-assembly and DNA manipulation, we highlight successful uses of GEPI in nanotechnology.

  13. Electrochemical reverse engineering: A systems-level tool to probe the redox-based molecular communication of biology.

    PubMed

    Li, Jinyang; Liu, Yi; Kim, Eunkyoung; March, John C; Bentley, William E; Payne, Gregory F

    2016-12-29

    The intestine is the site of digestion and forms a critical interface between the host and the outside world. This interface is composed of host epithelium and a complex microbiota which is "connected" through an extensive web of chemical and biological interactions that determine the balance between health and disease for the host. This biology and the associated chemical dialogues occur within a context of a steep oxygen gradient that provides the driving force for a variety of reduction and oxidation (redox) reactions. While some redox couples (e.g., catecholics) can spontaneously exchange electrons, many others are kinetically "insulated" (e.g., biothiols) allowing the biology to set and control their redox states far from equilibrium. It is well known that within cells, such non-equilibrated redox couples are poised to transfer electrons to perform reactions essential to immune defense (e.g., transfer from NADH to O2 for reactive oxygen species, ROS, generation) and protection from such oxidative stresses (e.g., glutathione-based reduction of ROS). More recently, it has been recognized that some of these redox-active species (e.g., H2O2) cross membranes and diffuse into the extracellular environment including lumen to transmit redox information that is received by atomically-specific receptors (e.g., cysteine-based sulfur switches) that regulate biological functions. Thus, redox has emerged as an important modality in the chemical signaling that occurs in the intestine and there have been emerging efforts to develop the experimental tools needed to probe this modality. We suggest that electrochemistry provides a unique tool to experimentally probe redox interactions at a systems level. Importantly, electrochemistry offers the potential to enlist the extensive theories established in signal processing in an effort to "reverse engineer" the molecular communication occurring in this complex biological system. Here, we review our efforts to develop this

  14. Multiplexed Engineering in Biology.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Jameson K; Church, George M

    2016-03-01

    Biotechnology is the manufacturing technology of the future. However, engineering biology is complex, and many possible genetic designs must be evaluated to find cells that produce high levels of a desired drug or chemical. Recent advances have enabled the design and construction of billions of genetic variants per day, but evaluation capacity remains limited to thousands of variants per day. Here we evaluate biological engineering through the lens of the design–build–test cycle framework and highlight the role that multiplexing has had in transforming the design and build steps. We describe a multiplexed solution to the ‘test’ step that is enabled by new research. Achieving a multiplexed test step will permit a fully multiplexed engineering cycle and boost the throughput of biobased product development by up to a millionfold.

  15. Biological engineering and systems biology--new opportunities for engineers in the pharmaceutical industry.

    PubMed

    Lauffenburger, Douglas A

    2004-01-01

    The consecutive life science revolutions of molecular biology and genomic biology have led to the promise for improving human health by molecular-level interventions--but the accompanying challenge of doing so in a rational, predictive manner. Addressing this challenge, and meeting this promise, requires understanding of complex biological processes with molecular detail but in integrative fashion; the emerging field aimed at this endeavor is now commonly termed 'systems biology'. In many ways, this field is an ideal application area for the biological engineering discipline, and offers tremendous opportunities for biology-based engineers. This talk will present a view of key aspects of this vision.

  16. Molecular biology in physiology

    SciTech Connect

    Chien, S.; Gargus, J.J.

    1987-08-01

    The aim of this symposium on molecular biology in physiology was to introduce molecular biology to physiologists who had relatively little exposure to the new developments in this field, so that they can become conversant on this topic and contribute to the advancement of physiology by incorporating molecular biological approaches as a part of their research arsenal. This report is a review of the symposium, which consisted of two four-part sessions. Each session had four papers. After the discussion of the basic concepts, terminology, and methodology used in molecular biology, it was shown how these basic principles have been applied to the study of the genes encoding two membrane proteins that have important transport functions (band 3 and ATPase). The second half of the symposium consisted of papers on the state-of-the-art developments in the application of molecular biology to the studies of the atrial natriuretic factor and renin genes, adenylate cyclase-coupled adrenergic receptors, acetylcholine receptors and sodium channel, and long-term and short-term memories. The ultimate goal is that these examples will provide an impetus for the opening of new frontiers of research in physiology by taking advantage of the tools developed from recent advances in molecular biology.

  17. Molecularly engineered surfaces for cell biology: from static to dynamic surfaces.

    PubMed

    Gooding, J Justin; Parker, Stephen G; Lu, Yong; Gaus, Katharina

    2014-04-01

    Surfaces with a well-defined presentation of ligands for receptors on the cell membrane can serve as models of the extracellular matrix for studying cell adhesion or as model cell surfaces for exploring cell-cell contacts. Because such surfaces can provide exquisite control over, for example, the density of these ligands or when the ligands are presented to the cell, they provide a very precise strategy for understanding the mechanisms by which cells respond to external adhesive cues. In the present feature article, we present an overview of the basic biology of cell adhesion before discussing surfaces that have a static presentation of immobile ligands. We outline the biological information that such surfaces have given us, before progressing to recently developed switchable surfaces and surfaces that mimic the lipid bilayer, having adhesive ligands that can move around the membrane and be remodeled by the cell. Finally, the feature article closes with some of the biological information that these new types of surfaces could provide.

  18. Reverse engineering molecular hypergraphs.

    PubMed

    Rahman, Ahsanur; Poirel, Christopher L; Badger, David J; Estep, Craig; Murali, T M

    2013-01-01

    Analysis of molecular interaction networks is pervasive in systems biology. This research relies almost entirely on graphs for modeling interactions. However, edges in graphs cannot represent multiway interactions among molecules, which occur very often within cells. Hypergraphs may be better representations for networks having such interactions, since hyperedges can naturally represent relationships among multiple molecules. Here, we propose using hypergraphs to capture the uncertainty inherent in reverse engineering gene-gene networks. Some subsets of nodes may induce highly varying subgraphs across an ensemble of networks inferred by a reverse engineering algorithm. We provide a novel formulation of hyperedges to capture this uncertainty in network topology. We propose a clustering-based approach to discover hyperedges. We show that our approach can recover hyperedges planted in synthetic data sets with high precision and recall, even for moderate amount of noise. We apply our techniques to a data set of pathways inferred from genetic interaction data in S. cerevisiae related to the unfolded protein response. Our approach discovers several hyperedges that capture the uncertain connectivity of genes in relevant protein complexes, suggesting that further experiments may be required to precisely discern their interaction patterns. We also show that these complexes are not discovered by an algorithm that computes frequent and dense subgraphs.

  19. ENGINEERING BULLETIN: BIOLOGICAL TOXICITY TESTING

    EPA Science Inventory

    This Engineering Bulletin is intended to provide site managers with information on ecological assessment and biological toxicity testing, applicability of biological toxicity testing, planning effective biological toxicity assessments, descriptions of test methods, limitations, c...

  20. Molecular Models in Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goodman, Richard E.

    1970-01-01

    Describes types of molecular models (ball-and-stick, framework, and space-filling) and evaluates commercially available kits. Gives instructions for constructive models from polystyrene balls and pipe-cleaners. Models are useful for class demonstrations although not sufficiently accurate for research use. Illustrations show biologically important…

  1. Molecular imaging with engineered physiology

    PubMed Central

    Desai, Mitul; Slusarczyk, Adrian L.; Chapin, Ashley; Barch, Mariya; Jasanoff, Alan

    2016-01-01

    In vivo imaging techniques are powerful tools for evaluating biological systems. Relating image signals to precise molecular phenomena can be challenging, however, due to limitations of the existing optical, magnetic and radioactive imaging probe mechanisms. Here we demonstrate a concept for molecular imaging which bypasses the need for conventional imaging agents by perturbing the endogenous multimodal contrast provided by the vasculature. Variants of the calcitonin gene-related peptide artificially activate vasodilation pathways in rat brain and induce contrast changes that are readily measured by optical and magnetic resonance imaging. CGRP-based agents induce effects at nanomolar concentrations in deep tissue and can be engineered into switchable analyte-dependent forms and genetically encoded reporters suitable for molecular imaging or cell tracking. Such artificially engineered physiological changes, therefore, provide a highly versatile means for sensitive analysis of molecular events in living organisms. PMID:27910951

  2. Molecular imaging with engineered physiology.

    PubMed

    Desai, Mitul; Slusarczyk, Adrian L; Chapin, Ashley; Barch, Mariya; Jasanoff, Alan

    2016-12-02

    In vivo imaging techniques are powerful tools for evaluating biological systems. Relating image signals to precise molecular phenomena can be challenging, however, due to limitations of the existing optical, magnetic and radioactive imaging probe mechanisms. Here we demonstrate a concept for molecular imaging which bypasses the need for conventional imaging agents by perturbing the endogenous multimodal contrast provided by the vasculature. Variants of the calcitonin gene-related peptide artificially activate vasodilation pathways in rat brain and induce contrast changes that are readily measured by optical and magnetic resonance imaging. CGRP-based agents induce effects at nanomolar concentrations in deep tissue and can be engineered into switchable analyte-dependent forms and genetically encoded reporters suitable for molecular imaging or cell tracking. Such artificially engineered physiological changes, therefore, provide a highly versatile means for sensitive analysis of molecular events in living organisms.

  3. Grand challenges for biological engineering.

    PubMed

    Yoon, Jeong-Yeol; Riley, Mark R

    2009-09-22

    Biological engineering will play a significant role in solving many of the world's problems in medicine, agriculture, and the environment. Recently the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) released a document "Grand Challenges in Engineering," covering broad realms of human concern from sustainability, health, vulnerability and the joy of living. Biological engineers, having tools and techniques at the interface between living and non-living entities, will play a prominent role in forging a better future. The 2010 Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE) conference in Cambridge, MA, USA will address, in part, the roles of biological engineering in solving the challenges presented by the NAE. This letter presents a brief outline of how biological engineers are working to solve these large scale and integrated problems of our society.

  4. Measurement Frontiers in Molecular Biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laderman, Stephen

    2009-03-01

    Developments of molecular measurements and manipulations have long enabled forefront research in evolution, genetics, biological development and its dysfunction, and the impact of external factors on the behavior of cells. Measurement remains at the heart of exciting and challenging basic and applied problems in molecular and cell biology. Methods to precisely determine the identity and abundance of particular molecules amongst a complex mixture of similar and dissimilar types require the successful design and integration of multiple steps involving biochemical manipulations, separations, physical probing, and data processing. Accordingly, today's most powerful methods for characterizing life at the molecular level depend on coordinated advances in applied physics, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, and engineering. This is well illustrated by recent approaches to the measurement of DNA, RNA, proteins, and intact cells. Such successes underlie well founded visions of how molecular biology can further assist in answering compelling scientific questions and in enabling the development of remarkable advances in human health. These visions, in turn, are motivating the interdisciplinary creation of even more comprehensive measurements. As a further and closely related consequence, they are motivating innovations in the conceptual and practical approaches to organizing and visualizing large, complex sets of interrelated experimental results and distilling from those data compelling, informative conclusions.

  5. Synthetic biology--putting engineering into biology.

    PubMed

    Heinemann, Matthias; Panke, Sven

    2006-11-15

    Synthetic biology is interpreted as the engineering-driven building of increasingly complex biological entities for novel applications. Encouraged by progress in the design of artificial gene networks, de novo DNA synthesis and protein engineering, we review the case for this emerging discipline. Key aspects of an engineering approach are purpose-orientation, deep insight into the underlying scientific principles, a hierarchy of abstraction including suitable interfaces between and within the levels of the hierarchy, standardization and the separation of design and fabrication. Synthetic biology investigates possibilities to implement these requirements into the process of engineering biological systems. This is illustrated on the DNA level by the implementation of engineering-inspired artificial operations such as toggle switching, oscillating or production of spatial patterns. On the protein level, the functionally self-contained domain structure of a number of proteins suggests possibilities for essentially Lego-like recombination which can be exploited for reprogramming DNA binding domain specificities or signaling pathways. Alternatively, computational design emerges to rationally reprogram enzyme function. Finally, the increasing facility of de novo DNA synthesis-synthetic biology's system fabrication process-supplies the possibility to implement novel designs for ever more complex systems. Some of these elements have merged to realize the first tangible synthetic biology applications in the area of manufacturing of pharmaceutical compounds.

  6. Molecular biology of potyviruses.

    PubMed

    Revers, Frédéric; García, Juan Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Potyvirus is the largest genus of plant viruses causing significant losses in a wide range of crops. Potyviruses are aphid transmitted in a nonpersistent manner and some of them are also seed transmitted. As important pathogens, potyviruses are much more studied than other plant viruses belonging to other genera and their study covers many aspects of plant virology, such as functional characterization of viral proteins, molecular interaction with hosts and vectors, structure, taxonomy, evolution, epidemiology, and diagnosis. Biotechnological applications of potyviruses are also being explored. During this last decade, substantial advances have been made in the understanding of the molecular biology of these viruses and the functions of their various proteins. After a general presentation on the family Potyviridae and the potyviral proteins, we present an update of the knowledge on potyvirus multiplication, movement, and transmission and on potyvirus/plant compatible interactions including pathogenicity and symptom determinants. We end the review providing information on biotechnological applications of potyviruses.

  7. Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Stephanopoulos, Gregory

    2012-11-16

    Metabolic engineering emerged 20 years ago as the discipline occupied with the directed modification of metabolic pathways for the microbial synthesis of various products. As such, it deals with the engineering (design, construction, and optimization) of native as well as non-natural routes of product synthesis, aided in this task by the availability of synthetic DNA, the core enabling technology of synthetic biology. The two fields, however, only partially overlap in their interest in pathway engineering. While fabrication of biobricks, synthetic cells, genetic circuits, and nonlinear cell dynamics, along with pathway engineering, have occupied researchers in the field of synthetic biology, the sum total of these areas does not constitute a coherent definition of synthetic biology with a distinct intellectual foundation and well-defined areas of application. This paper reviews the origins of the two fields and advances two distinct paradigms for each of them: that of unit operations for metabolic engineering and electronic circuits for synthetic biology. In this context, metabolic engineering is about engineering cell factories for the biological manufacturing of chemical and pharmaceutical products, whereas the main focus of synthetic biology is fundamental biological research facilitated by the use of synthetic DNA and genetic circuits.

  8. Synthetic Biological Engineering of Photosynthesis

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-11-16

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: The overall goal of the grant is to create a synthetic biology platform based on solar energy that can be used on a local...Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2211 Synthetic biology , photosynthesis, solar energy, biofuels REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE 11. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S...Synthetic Biological Engineering of Photosynthesis Report Title The overall goal of the grant is to create a synthetic biology platform based on solar

  9. Molecular biology references.

    PubMed

    2003-05-01

    Many of the units in this manual describe methods and techniques for the cloning, expression, and structural analysis of neural genes and proteins. We assume that users of these protocols have at least some introductory background in recombinant DNA technology (or are working with a collaborator who does); therefore, we have not provided comprehensive coverage of all of these topics, but rather have concentrated on presenting selected techniques that will be of the most interest and use to the general neuroscience laboratory. More comprehensive coverage of these topics can be found in Current Protocols in Molecular Biology (CPMB), which is extensively cross-referenced throughout this manual. These cross-references are summarized in this appendix.

  10. Molecular Biology of Nitrogen Fixation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shanmugam, K. T.; Valentine, Raymond C.

    1975-01-01

    Reports that as a result of our increasing knowledge of the molecular biology of nitrogen fixation it might eventually be possible to increase the biological production of nitrogenous fertilizer from atmospheric nitrogen. (GS)

  11. Data warehousing in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Schönbach, C; Kowalski-Saunders, P; Brusic, V

    2000-05-01

    In the business and healthcare sectors data warehousing has provided effective solutions for information usage and knowledge discovery from databases. However, data warehousing applications in the biological research and development (R&D) sector are lagging far behind. The fuzziness and complexity of biological data represent a major challenge in data warehousing for molecular biology. By combining experiences in other domains with our findings from building a model database, we have defined the requirements for data warehousing in molecular biology.

  12. Molecular biology of atherosclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Mannarino, Elmo; Pirro, Matteo

    2008-01-01

    The traditional view of atherosclerosis as a pathological lipid deposition within the artery wall has been redefined by a more complex concept of an ongoing inflammatory disease. The atherosclerotic process is initiated when cardiovascular risk factors, through a chemical, mechanical or immunological insult, activate and/or injury the endothelium, thus contributing to endothelial dysfunction and fragmentation. This triggers a cascade of inflammatory reactions, in which monocytes, macrophages, T lymphocytes, vascular smooth muscle cells actively participate. Particularly, atherosclerotic lesions have been seen to have increased expression of T helper-1 cells together with increased levels of the T helper-1 related pro-inflammatory cytokines. Along with pro-inflammatory cytokines, other molecular factors involved in atherosclerosis appearance, progression and complication include chemokines, growth factors, vasoactive substances, enzymes, apoptosis signals and many others. Many of these molecular factors are both involved as possible markers of the atherosclerotic disease activity and burden, but may also play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of the disease. In recent years, the discovery of progenitor cells of myeloid origin has offered the prospect of merging the most recent theories on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis with the evolving concept of a role of these progenitor cells in the repair of the injured vessel wall and the neovascularisation of ischemic tissues. This review summarizes current knowledge about the biology of atherosclerosis with emphasis on the mechanisms of endothelial damage and repair and on the concept that the turnover and replacement of endothelial cells is a major determinant in the maintenance of vascular integrity. PMID:22460847

  13. Synthetic biology meets tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Davies, Jamie A.; Cachat, Elise

    2016-01-01

    Classical tissue engineering is aimed mainly at producing anatomically and physiologically realistic replacements for normal human tissues. It is done either by encouraging cellular colonization of manufactured matrices or cellular recolonization of decellularized natural extracellular matrices from donor organs, or by allowing cells to self-organize into organs as they do during fetal life. For repair of normal bodies, this will be adequate but there are reasons for making unusual, non-evolved tissues (repair of unusual bodies, interface to electromechanical prostheses, incorporating living cells into life-support machines). Synthetic biology is aimed mainly at engineering cells so that they can perform custom functions: applying synthetic biological approaches to tissue engineering may be one way of engineering custom structures. In this article, we outline the ‘embryological cycle’ of patterning, differentiation and morphogenesis and review progress that has been made in constructing synthetic biological systems to reproduce these processes in new ways. The state-of-the-art remains a long way from making truly synthetic tissues, but there are now at least foundations for future work. PMID:27284030

  14. Teaching Molecular Biology with Microcomputers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reiss, Rebecca; Jameson, David

    1984-01-01

    Describes a series of computer programs that use simulation and gaming techniques to present the basic principles of the central dogma of molecular genetics, mutation, and the genetic code. A history of discoveries in molecular biology is presented and the evolution of these computer assisted instructional programs is described. (MBR)

  15. Biological and biomimetic molecular machines.

    PubMed

    Huang, Tony J; Juluri, Bala K

    2008-02-01

    The evolution of life facilitates the creation of biological molecular machines. In these so-called 'nanomachines,' nature elegantly shows that when precisely organized and assembled, simple molecular mechanical components can link motions efficiently from the nanometer scale to the macroscopic world, and achieve complex functions such as powering skeletal muscles, synthesizing ATP and producing DNA/RNA. Inspired by nature, researchers are creating artifical molecular machines with tailored structures and properties, with the aim of realizing man-made active nanosystems that operate with the same efficiency and complexity as biological nanomachines. It is anticipated that in the not-too-distant future, unique applications of biological and biomimetic molecular machines will emerge in areas such as biochemical instrumentation and nanomedicine.

  16. Molecular Biology of Archaebacteria

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1988-03-31

    elucidate at the molecular level some of the features that make archaebacteria unique and distinguish them from eubacteria and eucaryotes. Three types...regulate translation of the mRNA by a mechanism similar to that employed in eubacteria . Thus halophilic archaebacteria retain the same gene order and...possibly also the same regulatory mechanism for controlling ribosomal protein synthesis that is found in eubacteria . Ribosomal protein structure: The

  17. Molecular biology of hearing

    PubMed Central

    Stöver, Timo; Diensthuber, Marc

    2012-01-01

    The inner ear is our most sensitive sensory organ and can be subdivided into three functional units: organ of Corti, stria vascularis and spiral ganglion. The appropriate stimulus for the organ of hearing is sound, which travels through the external auditory canal to the middle ear where it is transmitted to the inner ear. The inner ear houses the hair cells, the sensory cells of hearing. The inner hair cells are capable of mechanotransduction, the transformation of mechanical force into an electrical signal, which is the basic principle of hearing. The stria vascularis generates the endocochlear potential and maintains the ionic homeostasis of the endolymph. The dendrites of the spiral ganglion form synaptic contacts with the hair cells. The spiral ganglion is composed of neurons that transmit the electrical signals from the cochlea to the central nervous system. In recent years there has been significant progress in research on the molecular basis of hearing. An increasing number of genes and proteins related to hearing are being identified and characterized. The growing knowledge of these genes contributes not only to greater appreciation of the mechanism of hearing but also to a deeper understanding of the molecular basis of hereditary hearing loss. This basic research is a prerequisite for the development of molecular diagnostics and novel therapies for hearing loss. PMID:22558056

  18. Molecular Imaging in Synthetic Biology, and Synthetic Biology in Molecular Imaging.

    PubMed

    Gilad, Assaf A; Shapiro, Mikhail G

    2017-02-17

    Biomedical synthetic biology is an emerging field in which cells are engineered at the genetic level to carry out novel functions with relevance to biomedical and industrial applications. This approach promises new treatments, imaging tools, and diagnostics for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal inflammatory syndromes to cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration. As these cellular technologies undergo pre-clinical and clinical development, it is becoming essential to monitor their location and function in vivo, necessitating appropriate molecular imaging strategies, and therefore, we have created an interest group within the World Molecular Imaging Society focusing on synthetic biology and reporter gene technologies. Here, we highlight recent advances in biomedical synthetic biology, including bacterial therapy, immunotherapy, and regenerative medicine. We then discuss emerging molecular imaging approaches to facilitate in vivo applications, focusing on reporter genes for noninvasive modalities such as magnetic resonance, ultrasound, photoacoustic imaging, bioluminescence, and radionuclear imaging. Because reporter genes can be incorporated directly into engineered genetic circuits, they are particularly well suited to imaging synthetic biological constructs, and developing them provides opportunities for creative molecular and genetic engineering.

  19. Engineering microbes with synthetic biology frameworks.

    PubMed

    Leonard, Effendi; Nielsen, David; Solomon, Kevin; Prather, Kristala Jones

    2008-12-01

    Typically, the outcome of biologically engineered unit operations cannot be controlled a priori due to the incorporation of ad hoc design into complex natural systems. To mitigate this problem, synthetic biology presents a systematic approach to standardizing biological components for the purpose of increasing their programmability and robustness when assembled with the aim to achieve novel biological functions. A complex engineered biological system using only standardized biological components is yet to exist. Nevertheless, current attempts to create and to implement modular, standardized biological components pave the way for the future creation of highly predictable artificial biological systems. Although synthetic biology frameworks can be applied to any biological engineering endeavor, this article will focus on providing a brief overview of advances in the field and its recent utilization for the engineering of microbes.

  20. 7th Annual Systems Biology Symposium: Systems Biology and Engineering

    SciTech Connect

    Galitski, Timothy P.

    2008-04-01

    Systems biology recognizes the complex multi-scale organization of biological systems, from molecules to ecosystems. The International Symposium on Systems Biology has been hosted by the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington, since 2002. The annual two-day event gathers the most influential researchers transforming biology into an integrative discipline investingating complex systems. Engineering and application of new technology is a central element of systems biology. Genome-scale, or very small-scale, biological questions drive the enigneering of new technologies, which enable new modes of experimentation and computational analysis, leading to new biological insights and questions. Concepts and analytical methods in engineering are now finding direct applications in biology. Therefore, the 2008 Symposium, funded in partnership with the Department of Energy, featured global leaders in "Systems Biology and Engineering."

  1. Biology: An Important Agricultural Engineering Mechanism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henderson, S. M.

    1974-01-01

    Describes the field of bioengineering with particular emphasis on agricultural engineering, and presents the results of a survey of schools that combine biology and engineering in their curricula. (JR)

  2. Developmental biology and tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Marga, Francoise; Neagu, Adrian; Kosztin, Ioan; Forgacs, Gabor

    2007-12-01

    Morphogenesis implies the controlled spatial organization of cells that gives rise to tissues and organs in early embryonic development. While morphogenesis is under strict genetic control, the formation of specialized biological structures of specific shape hinges on physical processes. Tissue engineering (TE) aims at reproducing morphogenesis in the laboratory, i.e., in vitro, to fabricate replacement organs for regenerative medicine. The classical approach to generate tissues/organs is by seeding and expanding cells in appropriately shaped biocompatible scaffolds, in the hope that the maturation process will result in the desired structure. To accomplish this goal more naturally and efficiently, we set up and implemented a novel TE method that is based on principles of developmental biology and employs bioprinting, the automated delivery of cellular composites into a three-dimensional (3D) biocompatible environment. The novel technology relies on the concept of tissue liquidity according to which multicellular aggregates composed of adhesive and motile cells behave in analogy with liquids: in particular, they fuse. We emphasize the major role played by tissue fusion in the embryo and explain how the parameters (surface tension, viscosity) that govern tissue fusion can be used both experimentally and theoretically to control and simulate the self-assembly of cellular spheroids into 3D living structures. The experimentally observed postprinting shape evolution of tube- and sheet-like constructs is presented. Computer simulations, based on a liquid model, support the idea that tissue liquidity may provide a mechanism for in vitro organ building.

  3. Biological engineering for sustainable biomass production

    SciTech Connect

    Shen, S.

    1986-09-01

    A new discipline has evolved in efforts to engineer photosynthetic production systems that produce biomass feedstocks efficiently, economically and with minimal adverse environmental impact. In this talk an overview is given of how biological engineering systems are designed to produce energy and novel material products within the framework of existing market infrastructure. Practical examples of biological engineering systems which employ components based on genetic engineering, species propagation, modern agricultural techniques, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering are analyzed for worldwide materials application and environmental conservation. 9 refs., 6 figs.

  4. The molecular biology of ilarviruses.

    PubMed

    Pallas, Vicente; Aparicio, Frederic; Herranz, Mari C; Sanchez-Navarro, Jesus A; Scott, Simon W

    2013-01-01

    Ilarviruses were among the first 16 groups of plant viruses approved by ICTV. Like Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV), bromoviruses, and cucumoviruses they are isometric viruses and possess a single-stranded, tripartite RNA genome. However, unlike these other three groups, ilarviruses were recognized as being recalcitrant subjects for research (their ready lability is reflected in the sigla used to create the group name) and were renowned as unpromising subjects for the production of antisera. However, it was recognized that they shared properties with AMV when the phenomenon of genome activation, in which the coat protein (CP) of the virus is required to be present to initiate infection, was demonstrated to cross group boundaries. The CP of AMV could activate the genome of an ilarvirus and vice versa. Development of the molecular information for ilarviruses lagged behind the knowledge available for the more extensively studied AMV, bromoviruses, and cucumoviruses. In the past 20 years, genomic data for most known ilarviruses have been developed facilitating their detection and allowing the factors involved in the molecular biology of the genus to be investigated. Much information has been obtained using Prunus necrotic ringspot virus and the more extensively studied AMV. A relationship between some ilarviruses and the cucumoviruses has been defined with the recognition that members of both genera encode a 2b protein involved in RNA silencing and long distance viral movement. Here, we present a review of the current knowledge of both the taxonomy and the molecular biology of this genus of agronomically and horticulturally important viruses.

  5. Marine molecular biology: an emerging field of biological sciences.

    PubMed

    Thakur, Narsinh L; Jain, Roopesh; Natalio, Filipe; Hamer, Bojan; Thakur, Archana N; Müller, Werner E G

    2008-01-01

    An appreciation of the potential applications of molecular biology is of growing importance in many areas of life sciences, including marine biology. During the past two decades, the development of sophisticated molecular technologies and instruments for biomedical research has resulted in significant advances in the biological sciences. However, the value of molecular techniques for addressing problems in marine biology has only recently begun to be cherished. It has been proven that the exploitation of molecular biological techniques will allow difficult research questions about marine organisms and ocean processes to be addressed. Marine molecular biology is a discipline, which strives to define and solve the problems regarding the sustainable exploration of marine life for human health and welfare, through the cooperation between scientists working in marine biology, molecular biology, microbiology and chemistry disciplines. Several success stories of the applications of molecular techniques in the field of marine biology are guiding further research in this area. In this review different molecular techniques are discussed, which have application in marine microbiology, marine invertebrate biology, marine ecology, marine natural products, material sciences, fisheries, conservation and bio-invasion etc. In summary, if marine biologists and molecular biologists continue to work towards strong partnership during the next decade and recognize intellectual and technological advantages and benefits of such partnership, an exciting new frontier of marine molecular biology will emerge in the future.

  6. Consistent design schematics for biological systems: standardization of representation in biological engineering

    PubMed Central

    Matsuoka, Yukiko; Ghosh, Samik; Kitano, Hiroaki

    2009-01-01

    The discovery by design paradigm driving research in synthetic biology entails the engineering of de novo biological constructs with well-characterized input–output behaviours and interfaces. The construction of biological circuits requires iterative phases of design, simulation and assembly, leading to the fabrication of a biological device. In order to represent engineered models in a consistent visual format and further simulating them in silico, standardization of representation and model formalism is imperative. In this article, we review different efforts for standardization, particularly standards for graphical visualization and simulation/annotation schemata adopted in systems biology. We identify the importance of integrating the different standardization efforts and provide insights into potential avenues for developing a common framework for model visualization, simulation and sharing across various tools. We envision that such a synergistic approach would lead to the development of global, standardized schemata in biology, empowering deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms as well as engineering of novel biological systems. PMID:19493898

  7. Consistent design schematics for biological systems: standardization of representation in biological engineering.

    PubMed

    Matsuoka, Yukiko; Ghosh, Samik; Kitano, Hiroaki

    2009-08-06

    The discovery by design paradigm driving research in synthetic biology entails the engineering of de novo biological constructs with well-characterized input-output behaviours and interfaces. The construction of biological circuits requires iterative phases of design, simulation and assembly, leading to the fabrication of a biological device. In order to represent engineered models in a consistent visual format and further simulating them in silico, standardization of representation and model formalism is imperative. In this article, we review different efforts for standardization, particularly standards for graphical visualization and simulation/annotation schemata adopted in systems biology. We identify the importance of integrating the different standardization efforts and provide insights into potential avenues for developing a common framework for model visualization, simulation and sharing across various tools. We envision that such a synergistic approach would lead to the development of global, standardized schemata in biology, empowering deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms as well as engineering of novel biological systems.

  8. Molecular biology of gastric cancer.

    PubMed

    Cervantes, A; Rodríguez Braun, E; Pérez Fidalgo, A; Chirivella González, I

    2007-04-01

    Despite its decreasing incidence overall, gastric cancer is still a challenging disease. Therapy is based mainly upon surgical resection when the tumour remains localised in the stomach. Conventional chemotherapy may play a role in treating micrometastatic disease and is effective as palliative therapy for recurrent or advanced disease. However, the knowledge of molecular pathways implicated in gastric cancer pathogenesis is still in its infancy and the contribution of molecular biology to the development of new targeted therapies in gastric cancer is far behind other more common cancers such as breast, colon or lung. This review will focus first on the difference of two well defined types of gastric cancer: intestinal and diffuse. A discussion of the cell of origin of gastric cancer with some intriguing data implicating bone marrow derived cells will follow, and a comprehensive review of different genetic alterations detected in gastric cancer, underlining those that may have clinical, therapeutic or prognostic implications.

  9. Network Reverse Engineering Approach in Synthetic Biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Haoqian; Liu, Ao; Lu, Yuheng; Sheng, Ying; Wu, Qianzhu; Yin, Zhenzhen; Chen, Yiwei; Liu, Zairan; Pan, Heng; Ouyang, Qi

    2013-12-01

    Synthetic biology is a new branch of interdisciplinary science that has been developed in recent years. The main purpose of synthetic biology is to apply successful principles that have been developed in electronic and chemical engineering to develop basic biological functional modules, and through rational design, develop man-made biological systems that have predicted useful functions. Here, we discuss an important principle in rational design of functional biological circuits: the reverse engineering design. We will use a research project that was conducted at Peking University for the International Genetic Engineering Machine Competition (iGEM) to illustrate the principle: synthesis a cell which has a semi-log dose-response to the environment. Through this work we try to demonstrate the potential application of network engineering in synthetic biology.

  10. Synthetic biology and its alternatives. Descartes, Kant and the idea of engineering biological machines.

    PubMed

    Kogge, Werner; Richter, Michael

    2013-06-01

    The engineering-based approach of synthetic biology is characterized by an assumption that 'engineering by design' enables the construction of 'living machines'. These 'machines', as biological machines, are expected to display certain properties of life, such as adapting to changing environments and acting in a situated way. This paper proposes that a tension exists between the expectations placed on biological artefacts and the notion of producing such systems by means of engineering; this tension makes it seem implausible that biological systems, especially those with properties characteristic of living beings, can in fact be produced using the specific methods of engineering. We do not claim that engineering techniques have nothing to contribute to the biotechnological construction of biological artefacts. However, drawing on Descartes's and Kant's thinking on the relationship between the organism and the machine, we show that it is considerably more plausible to assume that distinctively biological artefacts emerge within a paradigm different from the paradigm of the Cartesian machine that underlies the engineering approach. We close by calling for increased attention to be paid to approaches within molecular biology and chemistry that rest on conceptions different from those of synthetic biology's engineering paradigm.

  11. Photoactive molecules for applications in molecular imaging and cell biology.

    PubMed

    Shao, Qing; Xing, Bengang

    2010-08-01

    Photoactive technology has proven successful for non-invasive regulation of biological activities and processes in living cells. With the light-directed generation of biomaterials or signals, mechanisms in cell biology can be investigated at the molecular level with spatial and temporal resolution. In this tutorial review, we aim to introduce the important applications of photoactive molecules for elucidating cell biology on aspects of protein engineering, fluorescence labelling, gene regulation and cell physiological functions.

  12. Molecular characteristics versus biological activity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Applegate, Vernon C.; Smith, Manning A.; Willeford, Bennett R.

    1967-01-01

    The molecular characteristics of mononitrophenols containing halogens not only play a key role in their biological activity but provide a novel example of selective toxicity among vertebrate animals. It has been reported that efforts to control the parasitic sea lamprey in the Great Lakes are directed at present to the applications of a selective toxicant to streams inhabited by lamprey larvae. Since 1961, the larvicide that has been used almost exclusively in the control program has been 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM). However, this is only one of about 15 closely related compounds, all halogen-containing mononitrophenols, that display a selectively toxic action upon lampreys. Although not all of the halogenated mononitrophenols are selectively toxic to lampreys (in fact, fewer than half of those tested), no other group of related compounds has displayed any useful larvicidal activity except for the substituted nitrosalicylanilides.

  13. Enabling plant synthetic biology through genome engineering.

    PubMed

    Baltes, Nicholas J; Voytas, Daniel F

    2015-02-01

    Synthetic biology seeks to create new biological systems, including user-designed plants and plant cells. These systems can be employed for a variety of purposes, ranging from producing compounds of industrial or therapeutic value, to reducing crop losses by altering cellular responses to pathogens or climate change. To realize the full potential of plant synthetic biology, techniques are required that provide control over the genetic code - enabling targeted modifications to DNA sequences within living plant cells. Such control is now within reach owing to recent advances in the use of sequence-specific nucleases to precisely engineer genomes. We discuss here the enormous potential provided by genome engineering for plant synthetic biology.

  14. Molecular biomimetics: nanotechnology and bionanotechnology using genetically engineered peptides.

    PubMed

    Tamerler, Candan; Sarikaya, Mehmet

    2009-05-13

    Nature provides inspiration for designing materials and systems that derive their functions from highly organized structures. Biological hard tissues are hybrid materials having inorganics within a complex organic matrix, the molecular scaffold controlling the inorganic structures. Biocomposites incorporate both biomacromolecules such as proteins, lipids and polysaccharides, and inorganic materials, such as hydroxyapatite, silica, magnetite and calcite. The ordered organization of hierarchical structures in organisms begins via the molecular recognition of inorganics by proteins that control interactions and is followed by the highly efficient self-assembly across scales. Following the molecular biological principle, proteins could also be used in controlling materials formation in practical engineering via self-assembled, hybrid, functional materials structures. In molecular biomimetics, material-specific peptides could be the key in the molecular engineering of biology-inspired materials. With the recent developments of nanoscale engineering in physical sciences and the advances in molecular biology, we now combine genetic tools with synthetic nanoscale constructs to create a novel methodology. We first genetically select and/or design peptides with specific binding to functional solids, tailor their binding and assembly characteristics, develop bifunctional peptide/protein genetic constructs with both material binding and biological activity, and use these as molecular synthesizers, erectors and assemblers. Here, we give an overview of solid-binding peptides as novel molecular agents coupling bio- and nanotechnology.

  15. History of the molecular biology of cytomegaloviruses.

    PubMed

    Stinski, Mark F

    2014-01-01

    The history of the molecular biology of cytomegaloviruses from the purification of the virus and the viral DNA to the cloning and expression of the viral genes is reviewed. A key genetic element of cytomegalovirus (the CMV promoter) contributed to our understanding of eukaryotic cell molecular biology and to the development of lifesaving therapeutic proteins. The study of the molecular biology of cytomegaloviruses also contributed to the development of antivirals to control the viral infection.

  16. Engineering reduced evolutionary potential for synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Renda, Brian A; Hammerling, Michael J; Barrick, Jeffrey E

    2014-07-01

    The field of synthetic biology seeks to engineer reliable and predictable behaviors in organisms from collections of standardized genetic parts. However, unlike other types of machines, genetically encoded biological systems are prone to changes in their designed sequences due to mutations in their DNA sequences after these devices are constructed and deployed. Thus, biological engineering efforts can be confounded by undesired evolution that rapidly breaks the functions of parts and systems, particularly when they are costly to the host cell to maintain. Here, we explain the fundamental properties that determine the evolvability of biological systems. Then, we use this framework to review current efforts to engineer the DNA sequences that encode synthetic biology devices and the genomes of their microbial hosts to reduce their ability to evolve and therefore increase their genetic reliability so that they maintain their intended functions over longer timescales.

  17. Synthetic biology approaches to engineer T cells.

    PubMed

    Wu, Chia-Yung; Rupp, Levi J; Roybal, Kole T; Lim, Wendell A

    2015-08-01

    There is rapidly growing interest in learning how to engineer immune cells, such as T lymphocytes, because of the potential of these engineered cells to be used for therapeutic applications such as the recognition and killing of cancer cells. At the same time, our knowhow and capability to logically engineer cellular behavior is growing rapidly with the development of synthetic biology. Here we describe how synthetic biology approaches are being used to rationally alter the behavior of T cells to optimize them for therapeutic functions. We also describe future developments that will be important in order to construct safe and precise T cell therapeutics.

  18. Modular Tissue Engineering: Engineering Biological Tissues from the Bottom Up.

    PubMed

    Nichol, Jason W; Khademhosseini, Ali

    2009-01-01

    Tissue engineering creates biological tissues that aim to improve the function of diseased or damaged tissues. To enhance the function of engineered tissues there is a need to generate structures that mimic the intricate architecture and complexity of native organs and tissues. With the desire to create more complex tissues with features such as developed and functional microvasculature, cell binding motifs and tissue specific morphology, tissue engineering techniques are beginning to focus on building modular microtissues with repeated functional units. The emerging field known as modular tissue engineering focuses on fabricating tissue building blocks with specific microarchitectural features and using these modular units to engineer biological tissues from the bottom up. In this review we will examine the promise and shortcomings of "bottom-up" approaches to creating engineered biological tissues. Specifically, we will survey the current techniques for controlling cell aggregation, proliferation and extracellular matrix deposition, as well as approaches to generating shape-controlled tissue modules. We will then highlight techniques utilized to create macroscale engineered biological tissues from modular microscale units.

  19. Molecular biomimetics: GEPI-based biological routes to technology.

    PubMed

    Tamerler, Candan; Khatayevich, Dmitriy; Gungormus, Mustafa; Kacar, Turgay; Oren, E Emre; Hnilova, Marketa; Sarikaya, Mehmet

    2010-01-01

    In nature, the viability of biological systems is sustained via specific interactions among the tens of thousands of proteins, the major building blocks of organisms from the simplest single-celled to the most complex multicellular species. Biomolecule-material interaction is accomplished with molecular specificity and efficiency leading to the formation of controlled structures and functions at all scales of dimensional hierarchy. Through evolution, Mother Nature developed molecular recognition by successive cycles of mutation and selection. Molecular specificity of probe-target interactions, e.g., ligand-receptor, antigen-antibody, is always based on specific peptide molecular recognition. Using biology as a guide, we can now understand, engineer, and control peptide-material interactions and exploit them as a new design tool for novel materials and systems. We adapted the protocols of combinatorially designed peptide libraries, via both cell surface or phage display methods; using these we select short peptides with specificity to a variety of practical materials. These genetically engineered peptides for inorganics (GEPI) are then studied experimentally to establish their binding kinetics and surface stability. The bound peptide structure and conformations are interrogated both experimentally and via modeling, and self-assembly characteristics are tested via atomic force microscopy. We further engineer the peptide binding and assembly characteristics using a computational biomimetics approach where bioinformatics based peptide-sequence similarity analysis is developed to design higher generation function-specific peptides. The molecular biomimetic approach opens up new avenues for the design and utilization of multifunctional molecular systems in a wide-range of applications from tissue engineering, disease diagnostics, and therapeutics to various areas of nanotechnology where integration is required among inorganic, organic and biological materials. Here, we

  20. Monod and the spirit of molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Morange, Michel

    2015-06-01

    The founders of molecular biology shared views on the place of biology within science, as well as on the relations of molecular biology to Darwinism. Jacques Monod was no exception, but the study of his writings is particularly interesting because he expressed his point of view very clearly and pushed the implications of some of his choices further than most of his contemporaries. The spirit of molecular biology is no longer the same as in the 1960s but, interestingly, Monod anticipated some recent evolutions of this discipline.

  1. Forming and maintaining a heat engine for quantum biology.

    PubMed

    Matsuno, Koichiro

    2006-07-01

    Chemical reactions upholding biological functions and structures are the process of measurement taking place among the participating chemical reactants. Chemical reactions occurring in thermal environments are either endothermic or exothermic. In particular, exothermic reactions that can live with temperature gradients of exogenous origin could potentially be competent enough to synthesize a robust quantum as a heat engine. Molecular organizations leading to the origin of the phenomenon of life might have been associated with the emergence of a quantum coherence embodied in a robust heat engine feeding on quantum decoherence. Evolutionary maintenance of a robust quantum heat engine, once appeared, can further be empowered by the build-up of temperature gradients of endogenous origin. Biology enriches the repertoire of quantum mechanics so as to include a robust heat engine as a legitimate member of a quantum in addition to the already established member of a quantum including an atom, molecule, and macromolecule.

  2. Molecular ferroelectrics: where electronics meet biology

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jiangyu; Liu, Yuanming; Zhang, Yanhang; Cai, Hong-Ling; Xiong, Ren-Gen

    2013-01-01

    In the last several years, we have witnessed significant advances in molecular ferroelectrics, with ferroelectric properties of molecular crystals approaching those of barium titanate. In addition, ferroelectricity has been observed in biological systems, filling an important missing link in bioelectric phenomena. In this perspective, we will present short historical notes on ferroelectrics, followed by overview on the fundamentals of ferroelectricity. Latest development in molecular ferroelectrics and biological ferroelectricity will then be highlighted, and their implications and potential applications will be discussed. We close by noting molecular ferroelectric as an exciting frontier between electronics and biology, and a number of challenges ahead are also noted. PMID:24018952

  3. Molecular ferroelectrics: where electronics meet biology.

    PubMed

    Li, Jiangyu; Liu, Yuanming; Zhang, Yanhang; Cai, Hong-Ling; Xiong, Ren-Gen

    2013-12-28

    In the last several years, we have witnessed significant advances in molecular ferroelectrics, with the ferroelectric properties of molecular crystals approaching those of barium titanate. In addition, ferroelectricity has been observed in biological systems, filling an important missing link in bioelectric phenomena. In this perspective, we will present short historical notes on ferroelectrics, followed by an overview of the fundamentals of ferroelectricity. The latest developments in molecular ferroelectrics and biological ferroelectricity will then be highlighted, and their implications and potential applications will be discussed. We close by noting molecular ferroelectric as an exciting frontier between electronics and biology, and a number of challenges ahead are also described.

  4. Synthetic biology through biomolecular design and engineering.

    PubMed

    Channon, Kevin; Bromley, Elizabeth H C; Woolfson, Derek N

    2008-08-01

    Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing field that has emerged in a global, multidisciplinary effort among biologists, chemists, engineers, physicists, and mathematicians. Broadly, the field has two complementary goals: To improve understanding of biological systems through mimicry and to produce bio-orthogonal systems with new functions. Here we review the area specifically with reference to the concept of synthetic biology space, that is, a hierarchy of components for, and approaches to generating new synthetic and functional systems to test, advance, and apply our understanding of biological systems. In keeping with this issue of Current Opinion in Structural Biology, we focus largely on the design and engineering of biomolecule-based components and systems.

  5. Molecular biology of microbial ureases.

    PubMed Central

    Mobley, H L; Island, M D; Hausinger, R P

    1995-01-01

    progress in our understanding of the molecular biology of microbial ureases is reviewed. PMID:7565414

  6. Engineering colloidal assembly via biological adhesion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hiddessen, Amy Lynn

    Due to highly specialized recognition properties, biological receptor-ligand interactions offer valuable tools for engineering the assembly of novel colloidal materials. A unique sub-class of these macromolecules, called selectins, was exploited to develop binary suspensions where particles are programmed to associate reversibly or irreversibly via specific biomolecular cross-linking. Flow cytometry and videomicroscopy were used to examine factors controlling suspension assembly and structure, including biomolecular affinity and density, and individual and total particle volume fractions. By functionalizing small (RA = 0.47 mum) and larger (RB = 2.75 mum) particles with high surface densities of complementary E-selectin/sialyl Lewis X (sLeX) carbohydrate chemistry, a series of structures, from colloidal micelles (large particle coated with smaller particles) and clusters, to rings and elongated chains, was synthesized by decreasing the number ratio, NA/NB, of small (A) to large (B) particles (2 ≤ NA/NB ≤ 200) at low total volume fraction (10-4 ≤ φT ≤ 10-3 ). Using significantly lower surface densities, the low affinity binding between E-selectin and sLeX was exploited to create particles that interact reversibly, and average particle interaction lifetimes were tuned from minutes down to single selectin-carbohydrate bond lifetimes (≈1 s) by reducing sLeX density, a significant step toward assembling ordered microstructures. Particle binding lifetimes were analyzed with a receptor-ligand binding model, yielding estimates for molecular parameters, including on rate, 10-2 s-1 < kon < 10-1 s-1, and unstressed off rate, 0.25 s-1 ≤ kor ≤ 1.0 s-1, that characterize the docking dynamics of particles. Finally, at significantly higher volume fraction (φ T ≥ 10-1) and low number ratio, the rheology of space-filling networks crosslinked by high affinity streptavidin-biotin chemistry was probed to acquire knowledge on bulk properties of biocolloidal suspensions

  7. Addressing biological uncertainties in engineering gene circuits.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Carolyn; Tsoi, Ryan; You, Lingchong

    2016-04-18

    Synthetic biology has grown tremendously over the past fifteen years. It represents a new strategy to develop biological understanding and holds great promise for diverse practical applications. Engineering of a gene circuit typically involves computational design of the circuit, selection of circuit components, and test and optimization of circuit functions. A fundamental challenge in this process is the predictable control of circuit function due to multiple layers of biological uncertainties. These uncertainties can arise from different sources. We categorize these uncertainties into incomplete quantification of parts, interactions between heterologous components and the host, or stochastic dynamics of chemical reactions and outline potential design strategies to minimize or exploit them.

  8. The Molecular Biology Capstone Assessment: A Concept Assessment for Upper-Division Molecular Biology Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Couch, Brian A.; Wood, William B.; Knight, Jennifer K.

    2015-01-01

    Measuring students' conceptual understandings has become increasingly important to biology faculty members involved in evaluating and improving departmental programs. We developed the Molecular Biology Capstone Assessment (MBCA) to gauge comprehension of fundamental concepts in molecular and cell biology and the ability to apply these concepts in…

  9. Genetics and molecular biology of breast cancer

    SciTech Connect

    King, M.C.; Lippman, M.

    1992-12-31

    This volume contains the abstracts of oral presentations and poster sessions presented at the Cold Springs Harbor Meeting on Cancer Cells, this meeting entitled Genetics and Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer.

  10. Can biological complexity be reverse engineered?

    PubMed

    Green, Sara

    2015-10-01

    Concerns with the use of engineering approaches in biology have recently been raised. I examine two related challenges to biological research that I call the synchronic and diachronic underdetermination problem. The former refers to challenges associated with the inference of design principles underlying system capacities when the synchronic relations between lower-level processes and higher-level systems capacities are degenerate (many-to-many). The diachronic underdetermination problem regards the problem of reverse engineering a system where the non-linear relations between system capacities and lower-level mechanisms are changing over time. Braun and Marom argue that recent insights to biological complexity leave the aim of reverse engineering hopeless - in principle as well as in practice. While I support their call for systemic approaches to capture the dynamic nature of living systems, I take issue with the conflation of reverse engineering with naïve reductionism. I clarify how the notion of design principles can be more broadly conceived and argue that reverse engineering is compatible with a dynamic view of organisms. It may even help to facilitate an integrated account that bridges the gap between mechanistic and systems approaches.

  11. Seeing the Unseen: Molecular Visualization in Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Finnan, Jeff; Taylor-Papp, Kim; Duran, Mesut

    2005-01-01

    In high school biology, students are challenged by many molecular concepts and structures. They meander through a number of molecular structures, some in macromolecular form: carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, nucleotides. Student difficulties arise in part from inability to visualize what they can't easily see. Students struggle moving from…

  12. Protein dynamics: Moore's law in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Vendruscolo, Michele; Dobson, Christopher M

    2011-01-25

    The millisecond barrier has been broken in molecular dynamics simulations of proteins. Such simulations are increasingly revealing the inner workings of biological systems by generating atomic-level descriptions of their behaviour that make testable predictions about key molecular processes.

  13. Molecular biology of nuclear autoantigens.

    PubMed

    Saitta, M R; Keene, J D

    1992-05-01

    This article provides a historical overview of the application of molecular and immunologic techniques to the analysis of autoantigenic structure and function, as well as to autoantibody recognition of protein and nucleic acid autoantigens. Examples presented here illustrate the role of autoantibodies as tools in the elucidation of the autoimmune components of cellular ribonucleoproteins. In turn, the subsequent molecular dissection of autoantigenic ribonucleoproteins has advanced understanding of autoantibody specificities. The nature of autoantibodies reactive with various proteins and nucleic acids will be the subject of the following articles in this issue. Taken together, these studies of antibody-antigen interactions that arise during the autoimmune response have revealed novel mechanisms of molecular recognition within the RNP autoantigens. These findings are of general importance for understanding basic cellular processes and have contributed to our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of immunoregulatory abnormalities that arise in autoimmune diseases.

  14. Emerging molecular approaches in stem cell biology.

    PubMed

    Jaishankar, Amritha; Vrana, Kent

    2009-04-01

    Stem cells are characterized by their ability to self-renew and differentiate into multiple adult cell types. Although substantial progress has been made over the last decade in understanding stem cell biology, recent technological advances in molecular and systems biology may hold the key to unraveling the mystery behind stem cell self-renewal and plasticity. The most notable of these advances is the ability to generate induced pluripotent cells from somatic cells. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of molecular similarities and differences among various stem cell types. Moreover, we survey the current state of systems biology and forecast future needs and direction in the stem cell field.

  15. Molecular biological enhancement of coal biodesulfurization

    SciTech Connect

    Litchfield, J.H.; Zupancic, T.J.; Kittle, J.D. Jr.; Baker, B.; Palmer, D.T.; Traunero, C.G.; Wyza, R.E.; Schweitzer, A.; Conkle, H.N. ); Chakravarty, L.; Tuovinen, O.H. )

    1992-10-08

    Progress is reported in understanding Thiobacillus molecular biology, specifically in the area of vector development. At the initiation of this program, the basic elements needed for performing genetic engineering in T. ferrooxidans were either not yet developed. Improved techniques are described which will make it easier to construct and analyze the genetic structure and metabolism of recombinant T. ferrooxidans. The metabolism of the model organic sulfur compound dibenzothiophene (DBT) by certain heterotrophic bacteria was confirmed and characterized. Techniques were developed to analyze the metabolites of DBT, so that individual 4S pathway metabolites could be distinguished. These techniques are expected to be valuable when engineering organic sulfur metabolism in Thiobacillus. Strain isolation techniques were used to develop pure cultures of T. ferrooxidans seven of which were assessed as potential recombinant hosts. The mixotrophic strain T. coprinus was also characterized for potential use as an electroporation host. A family of related Thiobacillus plasmids was discovered in the seven strains of P. ferrooxidans mentioned above. One of these plasmids, pTFI91, was cloned into a pUC-based plasmid vector, allowing it to propagate in E. coli. A key portion of the cloned plasmid was sequenced. This segment, which is conserved in all of the related plasmids characterized, contains the vegetative origin of DNA replication, and fortuitously, a novel insertion sequence, designated IS3091. The sequence of the DNA origin revealed that these Thiobacillus plasmids represent a unique class of replicons not previously described. The potentially useful insertion sequence IS3091 was identified as a new member of a previously undefined family of insertion sequences which include the E. coli element IS30.

  16. Synthetic biology in cyanobacteria engineering and analyzing novel functions.

    PubMed

    Heidorn, Thorsten; Camsund, Daniel; Huang, Hsin-Ho; Lindberg, Pia; Oliveira, Paulo; Stensjö, Karin; Lindblad, Peter

    2011-01-01

    Cyanobacteria are the only prokaryotes capable of using sunlight as their energy, water as an electron donor, and air as a source of carbon and, for some nitrogen-fixing strains, nitrogen. Compared to algae and plants, cyanobacteria are much easier to genetically engineer, and many of the standard biological parts available for Synthetic Biology applications in Escherichia coli can also be used in cyanobacteria. However, characterization of such parts in cyanobacteria reveals differences in performance when compared to E. coli, emphasizing the importance of detailed characterization in the cellular context of a biological chassis. Furthermore, cyanobacteria possess special characteristics (e.g., multiple copies of their chromosomes, high content of photosynthetically active proteins in the thylakoids, the presence of exopolysaccharides and extracellular glycolipids, and the existence of a circadian rhythm) that have to be taken into account when genetically engineering them. With this chapter, the synthetic biologist is given an overview of existing biological parts, tools and protocols for the genetic engineering, and molecular analysis of cyanobacteria for Synthetic Biology applications.

  17. Singlet molecular oxygen generated by biological hydroperoxides.

    PubMed

    Miyamoto, Sayuri; Martinez, Glaucia R; Medeiros, Marisa H G; Di Mascio, Paolo

    2014-10-05

    The chemistry behind the phenomenon of ultra-weak photon emission has been subject of considerable interest for decades. Great progress has been made on the understanding of the chemical generation of electronically excited states that are involved in these processes. Proposed mechanisms implicated the production of excited carbonyl species and singlet molecular oxygen in the mechanism of generation of chemiluminescence in biological system. In particular, attention has been focused on the potential generation of singlet molecular oxygen in the recombination reaction of peroxyl radicals by the Russell mechanism. In the last ten years, our group has demonstrated the generation of singlet molecular oxygen from reactions involving the decomposition of biologically relevant hydroperoxides, especially from lipid hydroperoxides in the presence of metal ions, peroxynitrite, HOCl and cytochrome c. In this review we will discuss details on the chemical aspects related to the mechanism of singlet molecular oxygen generation from different biological hydroperoxides.

  18. From Gene to Protein: A 3-Week Intensive Course in Molecular Biology for Physical Scientists

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nadeau, Jay L.

    2009-01-01

    This article describes a 3-week intensive molecular biology methods course based upon fluorescent proteins, which is successfully taught at the McGill University to advanced undergraduates and graduates in physics, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and medicine. No previous knowledge of biological terminology or methods is expected, so…

  19. Systems biology: the role of engineering in the reverse engineering of biological signaling.

    PubMed

    Iglesias, Pablo A

    2013-05-31

    One of the principle tasks of systems biology has been the reverse engineering of signaling networks. Because of the striking similarities to engineering systems, a number of analysis and design tools from engineering disciplines have been used in this process. This review looks at several examples including the analysis of homeostasis using control theory, the attenuation of noise using signal processing, statistical inference and the use of information theory to understand both binary decision systems and the response of eukaryotic chemotactic cells.

  20. Glycan Engineering for Cell and Developmental Biology.

    PubMed

    Griffin, Matthew E; Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C

    2016-01-21

    Cell-surface glycans are a diverse class of macromolecules that participate in many key biological processes, including cell-cell communication, development, and disease progression. Thus, the ability to modulate the structures of glycans on cell surfaces provides a powerful means not only to understand fundamental processes but also to direct activity and elicit desired cellular responses. Here, we describe methods to sculpt glycans on cell surfaces and highlight recent successes in which artificially engineered glycans have been employed to control biological outcomes such as the immune response and stem cell fate.

  1. Glycan Engineering for Cell and Developmental Biology

    PubMed Central

    Griffin, Matthew E.; Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C.

    2016-01-01

    Cell-surface glycans are a diverse class of macromolecules that participate in many key biological processes, including cell-cell communication, development, and disease progression. Thus, the ability to modulate the structures of glycans on cell surfaces provides a powerful means not only to understand fundamental processes but also to direct activity and elicit desired cellular responses. Here, we describe methods to sculpt glycans on cell surfaces and highlight recent successes in which artificially engineered glycans have been employed to control biological outcomes such as the immune response and stem cell fate. PMID:26933739

  2. Mapping the moral boundaries of biological engineering

    PubMed Central

    Russ, Zachary N

    2009-01-01

    The following essay was written by a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, Mr. Zachary Russ. Mr. Russ was one of 174 students who submitted a 1000–1200 word essay to the 4th Annual Bioethics Contest sponsored by the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE). A group of professionals in Biological Engineering assessed and ranked the essays in a blinded process. Five semi-finalists were invited to present their essays at a session at the annual meeting of IBE in Santa Clara, CA on March 21, 2009. Five judges scored all the presentation at the annual meeting and selected Mr. Russ's contribution as the overall winner (1st Place). PMID:19422721

  3. [Molecular biology methods in immunohematology].

    PubMed

    Tournamille, C

    2013-05-01

    The molecular basis of almost all antigens of the 33 blood group systems are known. These knowledge and the advent of the PCR technology have allowed the DNA-based genotyping in order to predict the presence or absence of a blood group antigen on the cell membrane of red blood cells. DNA genotyping is required in cases where red blood cells patient cannot be used for serological typing either after a recent transfusion or because of the presence of autoantibodies on the red blood cells. Numerous DNA assays are available to detect any nucleotide polymorphism on the genes encoding blood group antigens. The technologies have improved to answer quickly to any case of transfusion emergency and to limit the risk of DNA contamination in a molecular diagnostic laboratory. Some technologies are ready for high-throughput blood group genotyping. They will be used in the future to obtain a fully typed blood group card of each donor but also to detect blood donors with rare phenotypes to register them to the Banque Nationale de Sang de Phénotype Rare (BNSPR).

  4. Biological spectra analysis: Linking biological activity profiles to molecular structure

    PubMed Central

    Fliri, Anton F.; Loging, William T.; Thadeio, Peter F.; Volkmann, Robert A.

    2005-01-01

    Establishing quantitative relationships between molecular structure and broad biological effects has been a longstanding challenge in science. Currently, no method exists for forecasting broad biological activity profiles of medicinal agents even within narrow boundaries of structurally similar molecules. Starting from the premise that biological activity results from the capacity of small organic molecules to modulate the activity of the proteome, we set out to investigate whether descriptor sets could be developed for measuring and quantifying this molecular property. Using a 1,567-compound database, we show that percent inhibition values, determined at single high drug concentration in a battery of in vitro assays representing a cross section of the proteome, provide precise molecular property descriptors that identify the structure of molecules. When broad biological activity of molecules is represented in spectra form, organic molecules can be sorted by quantifying differences between biological spectra. Unlike traditional structure–activity relationship methods, sorting of molecules by using biospectra comparisons does not require knowledge of a molecule's putative drug targets. To illustrate this finding, we selected as starting point the biological activity spectra of clotrimazole and tioconazole because their putative target, lanosterol demethylase (CYP51), was not included in the bioassay array. Spectra similarity obtained through profile similarity measurements and hierarchical clustering provided an unbiased means for establishing quantitative relationships between chemical structures and biological activity spectra. This methodology, which we have termed biological spectra analysis, provides the capability not only of sorting molecules on the basis of biospectra similarity but also of predicting simultaneous interactions of new molecules with multiple proteins. PMID:15625110

  5. Molecular biology of epilepsy genes.

    PubMed

    Williams, Charles A; Battaglia, Agatino

    2013-06-01

    Multifactorial inheritance is the most important model accounting for the genetic behavior of the common epilepsies. Important to this model is the concept that many cumulative or synergistic risk genes ultimately lead to a threshold effect. Sophisticated molecular testing indicates that the common epilepsies are very polygenic without evidence of any single gene having even a mild-to-modest risk effect. However, enrichment of copy number variants in cohorts of individuals with epilepsy indicates that certain structural changes in the genome can confer significant risk for epilepsy. The mechanisms whereby copy number variants confer this effect are not yet known. The study of epilepsy due to single gene defects however has helped clarify certain seizure mechanisms. For example, discoveries using animal models of SCN1A or ARX mutations implicate a predominant role for interneurons due to disturbed GABAergic function. It is hoped that future genetic and neurobiological studies will provide better insight into how multiple genes contribute to the common epilepsies.

  6. Physics and the origins of molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Holliday, Robin

    2006-08-01

    Bohr, Delbrück and Schrödinger were physicists who had important influences on biology in the second half of the twentieth century. They thought that future studies of the gene might reveal new principles or paradoxes, analogous to the wave/particle paradox of light propagation, or even new physical laws. This stimulated several physicists to enter the field of biology. Delbrück founded the bacteriophage group which provided one of the roots of molecular biology. Another was X-ray crystallography which led to the discovery of DNA structure. The strength and success of molecular biology came from the many interactions between geneticists, physicists, chemists and biochemists. It was also characterized by a powerful combination of theoretical and experimental approaches.

  7. Molecular plasmonics for biology and nanomedicine.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Yue Bing; Kiraly, Brian; Weiss, Paul S; Huang, Tony Jun

    2012-05-01

    The optical excitation of surface plasmons in metal nanoparticles leads to nanoscale spatial confinement of electromagnetic fields. The confined electromagnetic fields can generate intense, localized thermal energy and large near-field optical forces. The interaction between these effects and nearby molecules has led to the emerging field known as molecular plasmonics. Recent advances in molecular plasmonics have enabled novel optical materials and devices with applications in biology and nanomedicine. In this article, we categorize three main types of interactions between molecules and surface plasmons: optical, thermal and mechanical. Within the scope of each type of interaction, we will review applications of molecular plasmonics in biology and nanomedicine. We include a wide range of applications that involve sensing, spectral analysis, imaging, delivery, manipulation and heating of molecules, biomolecules or cells using plasmonic effects. We also briefly describe the physical principles of molecular plasmonics and progress in the nanofabrication, surface functionalization and bioconjugation of metal nanoparticles.

  8. Frontiers of NMR in Molecular Biology

    SciTech Connect

    1999-08-25

    NMR spectroscopy is expanding the horizons of structural biology by determining the structures and describing the dynamics of blobular proteins in aqueous solution, as well as other classes of proteins including membrane proteins and the polypeptides that form the aggregates diagnostic of prion and amyloid diseases. Significant results are also emerging on DNA and RNA oligomers and their complexes with proteins. This meeting focused attention on key structural questions emanating from molecular biology and how NMR spectroscopy can be used to answer them.

  9. Molecular Mechanism of Biological Proton Transport

    SciTech Connect

    Pomes, R.

    1998-09-01

    Proton transport across lipid membranes is a fundamental aspect of biological energy transduction (metabolism). This function is mediated by a Grotthuss mechanism involving proton hopping along hydrogen-bonded networks embedded in membrane-spanning proteins. Using molecular simulations, the authors have explored the structural, dynamic, and thermodynamic properties giving rise to long-range proton translocation in hydrogen-bonded networks involving water molecules, or water wires, which are emerging as ubiquitous H{sup +}-transport devices in biological systems.

  10. Multiplexed genome engineering and genotyping methods applications for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Wang, Harris H; Church, George M

    2011-01-01

    Engineering at the scale of whole genomes requires fundamentally new molecular biology tools. Recent advances in recombineering using synthetic oligonucleotides enable the rapid generation of mutants at high efficiency and specificity and can be implemented at the genome scale. With these techniques, libraries of mutants can be generated, from which individuals with functionally useful phenotypes can be isolated. Furthermore, populations of cells can be evolved in situ by directed evolution using complex pools of oligonucleotides. Here, we discuss ways to utilize these multiplexed genome engineering methods, with special emphasis on experimental design and implementation.

  11. Engineered ion channels as emerging tools for chemical biology.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Michael; Yang, Jerry

    2013-12-17

    Over the last 25 years, researchers have developed exogenously expressed, genetically engineered, semi-synthetic, and entirely synthetic ion channels. These structures have sufficient fidelity to serve as unique tools that can reveal information about living organisms. One of the most exciting success stories is optogenetics: the use of light-gated channels to trigger action potentials in specific neurons combined with studies of the response from networks of cells or entire live animals. Despite this breakthrough, the use of molecularly engineered ion channels for studies of biological systems is still in its infancy. Historically, researchers studied ion channels in the context of their own function in single cells or in multicellular signaling and regulation. Only recently have researchers considered ion channels and pore-forming peptides as responsive tools to report on the chemical and physical changes produced by other biochemical processes and reactions. This emerging class of molecular probes has a number of useful characteristics. For instance, these structures can greatly amplify the signal of chemical changes: the binding of one molecule to a ligand-gated ion channel can result in flux of millions of ions across a cell membrane. In addition, gating occurs on sub-microsecond time scales, resulting in fast response times. Moreover, the signal is complementary to existing techniques because the output is ionic current rather than fluorescence or radioactivity. And finally, ion channels are also localized at the membrane of cells where essential processes such as signaling and regulation take place. This Account highlights examples, mostly from our own work, of uses of ion channels and pore-forming peptides such as gramicidin in chemical biology. We discuss various strategies for preparing synthetically tailored ion channels that range from de novo designed synthetic molecules to genetically engineered or simply exogenously expressed or reconstituted wild

  12. Mechanistic modeling confronts the complexity of molecular cell biology.

    PubMed

    Phair, Robert D

    2014-11-05

    Mechanistic modeling has the potential to transform how cell biologists contend with the inescapable complexity of modern biology. I am a physiologist-electrical engineer-systems biologist who has been working at the level of cell biology for the past 24 years. This perspective aims 1) to convey why we build models, 2) to enumerate the major approaches to modeling and their philosophical differences, 3) to address some recurrent concerns raised by experimentalists, and then 4) to imagine a future in which teams of experimentalists and modelers build-and subject to exhaustive experimental tests-models covering the entire spectrum from molecular cell biology to human pathophysiology. There is, in my view, no technical obstacle to this future, but it will require some plasticity in the biological research mind-set.

  13. Molecular Biology and Prevention of Endometrial Cancer

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-07-01

    of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP). Project 1: Objectives completed and data previously submitted with 2004 report. Data published this past year...molecular aberrations associated with endometrial carcinogenesis and the biologic mechanisms underlying the protective effect of oral contraceptive (OC...not been altered appreciably. Despite the known protective effect of oral contraceptives , little has been learned regarding the underlying mechanism

  14. Rabies vaccine. Developments employing molecular biology methods.

    PubMed

    Paolazzi, C C; Pérez, O; De Filippo, J

    1999-04-01

    Rabies vaccines produced by means of molecular biology are described. Recombinant vaccines employing either viruses as vectors (vaccinia, adenovirus, poxvirus, baculovirus, plant viruses) or a plasmid vector carrying the rabies virus glycoprotein gene are discussed. Synthetic peptide technology directed to rabies vaccine production is also presented.

  15. Book review: Baculovirus Molecular Biology, Second Edition

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The application of cell culture and molecular biology methodologies to the study of baculoviruses has resulted in an explosion of information on this group of insect pathogens. The quantity of the corresponding literature on baculoviruses has reached a level difficult for any one researcher to mast...

  16. Molecular profiles to biology and pathways: a systems biology approach.

    PubMed

    Van Laere, Steven; Dirix, Luc; Vermeulen, Peter

    2016-06-16

    Interpreting molecular profiles in a biological context requires specialized analysis strategies. Initially, lists of relevant genes were screened to identify enriched concepts associated with pathways or specific molecular processes. However, the shortcoming of interpreting gene lists by using predefined sets of genes has resulted in the development of novel methods that heavily rely on network-based concepts. These algorithms have the advantage that they allow a more holistic view of the signaling properties of the condition under study as well as that they are suitable for integrating different data types like gene expression, gene mutation, and even histological parameters.

  17. Molecular trafficking in tissue engineered cartilage constructs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Rosa, Enrica

    2005-03-01

    Tissue processing in vitro requires an effective trafficking of biologically active agents within three-dimensional constructs for induction of appropriate and enhanced cellular growth, biosynthesis and tissue remodeling. Moreover, nutrients and waste products need to move freely through the cellular constructs to minimize the presence of regions with necrotic and/or apoptotic cells. In tissue-engineered cartilage, for example, during the time of culture, cells seeded within the three-dimensional constructs lay-down their own extracellular matrix and this may lead to a heterogeneous distribution of transport properties both in time and space. In this work the diffusion coefficient of BSA and 500kDa dextran has been measured with FRAP thecnique in agarose gel chondrocytes constructs at different position and time during the culture. The diffusion coefficient of both molecular probes within the developing tissue well correlated with the ECM production and assembly. Moreover the comparision between BSA and dextran transport parameters revealed a selective hindrance effect of the neo tissue on high interacting molecules.

  18. Application of molecular modeling to biological processing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowrey, Alfred H.; Famini, George R.; Wick, Charles

    1993-07-01

    Detailed understanding of the molecular basis for biological processes is now available through computational modeling techniques. Advances in computational algorithms and technology allow applications to large biological macromolecules and permits the study of such problems as binding mechanisms, chemical reactivity, structural and conformational effects, and simulations of molecular motions. Recent crystallographic data provides access to detailed structural information that allows analysis and comparison of various computational techniques. Preliminary semiempirical studies on N-acetylneuraminic acid are presented as an example of computational studies on binding mechanisms. N-acetylneuraminic acid is a substituted carbohydrate, which is a recognition site for binding of proteins (i.e., cholera toxin). These calculations provide some insight into electronic effects on bin in a crystal complex and the effect of the molecular charge on hydrogen bonding the crystal complex.

  19. [Endophenotypes: the molecular biology point of view].

    PubMed

    Belzeaux, R; Ibrahim, E C; Cermolacce, M; Fakra, E; Azorin, J M

    2012-12-01

    Endophenotypes are proposed for a better understanding of the molecular substrate underlying psychiatric disorders vulnerability. In this review, we discuss key points of the definition of endophenotypes from the molecular biology point of view. First, we examine the concept of heritability of endophenotype, which does not directly explain the molecular mechanisms responsible for the studied disorder Indeed, we discuss the necessity to better decipher the functional role of polymorphisms associated to endophenotypes, especially if those endophenotypes would be assigned a clinical and biological value. The complexity of endophenotypes definition and use in psychiatric research is also illustrated by the complexity of the human genome organization and gene networks as well as by the gene x environment interactions and also the possible existence of phenocopies.

  20. Recent Advances in Engineering Polyvalent Biological Interactions

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Polyvalent interactions, where multiple ligands and receptors interact simultaneously, are ubiquitous in nature. Synthetic polyvalent molecules, therefore, have the ability to affect biological processes ranging from protein–ligand binding to cellular signaling. In this review, we discuss recent advances in polyvalent scaffold design and applications. First, we will describe recent developments in the engineering of polyvalent scaffolds based on biomolecules and novel materials. Then, we will illustrate how polyvalent molecules are finding applications as toxin and pathogen inhibitors, targeting molecules, immune response modulators, and cellular effectors. PMID:25426695

  1. Recent advances in engineering polyvalent biological interactions.

    PubMed

    Varner, Chad T; Rosen, Tania; Martin, Jacob T; Kane, Ravi S

    2015-01-12

    Polyvalent interactions, where multiple ligands and receptors interact simultaneously, are ubiquitous in nature. Synthetic polyvalent molecules, therefore, have the ability to affect biological processes ranging from protein-ligand binding to cellular signaling. In this review, we discuss recent advances in polyvalent scaffold design and applications. First, we will describe recent developments in the engineering of polyvalent scaffolds based on biomolecules and novel materials. Then, we will illustrate how polyvalent molecules are finding applications as toxin and pathogen inhibitors, targeting molecules, immune response modulators, and cellular effectors.

  2. Ship diesel emission aerosols: A comprehensive study on the chemical composition, the physical properties and the molecular biological and toxicological effects on human lung cells of aerosols from a ship diesel engine operated with heavy or light diesel fuel oil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmermann, R.; Buters, J.; Öder, S.; Dietmar, G.; Kanashova, T.; Paur, H.; Dilger, M.; Mülhopt, S.; Harndorf, H.; Stengel, B.; Rabe, R.; Hirvonen, M.; Jokiniemi, J.; Hiller, K.; Sapcariu, S.; Berube, K.; Sippula, O.; Streibel, T.; Karg, E.; Schnelle-Kreis, J.; Lintelmann, J.; Sklorz, M.; Arteaga Salas, M.; Orasche, J.; Müller, L.; Reda, A.; Passig, J.; Radischat, C.; Gröger, T.; Weiss, C.

    2013-12-01

    The Virtual Helmholtz Institute-HICE (www.hice-vi.eu) addresses chemical & physical properties, transformation processes and health effects of anthropogenic combustion emissions. This is performed by thorough comprehensive chemical and physical characterization of combustion aerosols (including application of advantageous on-line methods) and studying of biological effects on human lung cell-cultures. A new ALI air-liquid-interface (ALI) exposition system and a mobile S2-biological laboratory were developed for the HICE-measurements. Human alveolar basal epithelial cells (A549 etc.) are ALI-exposed to fresh, diluted (1:40-1:100) combustion aerosols and subsequently were toxicologically and molecular-biologically characterized (e.g. proteomics). By using stable isotope labeling technologies (13C-Glucose/metabolomics; 2H-Lysine/SILAC-proteomics), high sensitivity and accuracy for detection of molecular-biological effects is achievable even at sub-toxic effect dose levels. Aerosols from wood combustion and ship diesel engine (heavy/light fuel oil) have been investigated. The effect of wood combustion and ship diesel PM e.g. on the protein expression of ALI-exposed A549 cells was compared. Filtered aerosol is used as gas-reference for the isotope labeling based method (SILAC). Therefore the effects of wood combustion- and shipping diesel-PM can be directly compared. Ship diesel aerosol causes a broader distribution in the observed fold changes (log2), i.e. more proteins are significantly up-/down-regulated in case of shipping diesel PM-exposure. This corresponds to a stronger biological reaction if compared to wood combustion-PM exposure. The chemical analysis results on wood combustion- and ship diesel-PM depict more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)/oxidized-PAH but less of some transition metals (V, Fe) in the wood combustion case. Interestingly, alkylated PAH are considerably more abundant in shipping PM, suggesting that PAH/Oxy-PAH may be less relevant for

  3. Engineering biological systems toward a sustainable bioeconomy.

    PubMed

    Lopes, Mateus Schreiner Garcez

    2015-06-01

    The nature of our major global risks calls for sustainable innovations to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gases emission. The development of sustainable technologies has been negatively impacted by several factors including sugar production costs, production scale, economic crises, hydraulic fracking development and the market inability to capture externality costs. However, advances in engineering of biological systems allow bridging the gap between exponential growth of knowledge about biology and the creation of sustainable value chains for a broad range of economic sectors. Additionally, industrial symbiosis of different biobased technologies can increase competitiveness and sustainability, leading to the development of eco-industrial parks. Reliable policies for carbon pricing and revenue reinvestments in disruptive technologies and in the deployment of eco-industrial parks could boost the welfare while addressing our major global risks toward the transition from a fossil to a biobased economy.

  4. Engineering simulations for cancer systems biology.

    PubMed

    Bown, James; Andrews, Paul S; Deeni, Yusuf; Goltsov, Alexey; Idowu, Michael; Polack, Fiona A C; Sampson, Adam T; Shovman, Mark; Stepney, Susan

    2012-11-01

    Computer simulation can be used to inform in vivo and in vitro experimentation, enabling rapid, low-cost hypothesis generation and directing experimental design in order to test those hypotheses. In this way, in silico models become a scientific instrument for investigation, and so should be developed to high standards, be carefully calibrated and their findings presented in such that they may be reproduced. Here, we outline a framework that supports developing simulations as scientific instruments, and we select cancer systems biology as an exemplar domain, with a particular focus on cellular signalling models. We consider the challenges of lack of data, incomplete knowledge and modelling in the context of a rapidly changing knowledge base. Our framework comprises a process to clearly separate scientific and engineering concerns in model and simulation development, and an argumentation approach to documenting models for rigorous way of recording assumptions and knowledge gaps. We propose interactive, dynamic visualisation tools to enable the biological community to interact with cellular signalling models directly for experimental design. There is a mismatch in scale between these cellular models and tissue structures that are affected by tumours, and bridging this gap requires substantial computational resource. We present concurrent programming as a technology to link scales without losing important details through model simplification. We discuss the value of combining this technology, interactive visualisation, argumentation and model separation to support development of multi-scale models that represent biologically plausible cells arranged in biologically plausible structures that model cell behaviour, interactions and response to therapeutic interventions.

  5. Engineering and Biology: Counsel for a Continued Relationship

    PubMed Central

    Levy, Arnon; Siegal, Mark L.; Soyer, Orkun S.; Wagner, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Biologists frequently draw on ideas and terminology from engineering. Evolutionary systems biology—with its circuits, switches, and signal processing—is no exception. In parallel with the frequent links drawn between biology and engineering, there is ongoing criticism against this cross-fertilization, using the argument that over-simplistic metaphors from engineering are likely to mislead us as engineering is fundamentally different from biology. In this article, we clarify and reconfigure the link between biology and engineering, presenting it in a more favorable light. We do so by, first, arguing that critics operate with a narrow and incorrect notion of how engineering actually works, and of what the reliance on ideas from engineering entails. Second, we diagnose and diffuse one significant source of concern about appeals to engineering, namely that they are inherently and problematically metaphorical. We suggest that there is plenty of fertile ground left for a continued, healthy relationship between engineering and biology. PMID:26085824

  6. Molecular knots in biology and chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lim, Nicole C. H.; Jackson, Sophie E.

    2015-09-01

    Knots and entanglements are ubiquitous. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these fascinating topological entities can be either useful or cumbersome. In recent decades, the importance and prevalence of molecular knots have been increasingly recognised by scientists from different disciplines. In this review, we provide an overview on the various molecular knots found in naturally occurring biological systems (DNA, RNA and proteins), and those created by synthetic chemists. We discuss the current knowledge in these fields, including recent developments in experimental and, in some cases, computational studies which are beginning to shed light into the complex interplay between the structure, formation and properties of these topologically intricate molecules.

  7. Molecular biology of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, E.G.

    1988-01-01

    This book examines new methods of molecular biology that are providing valuable insights into the human brain, the genes that govern its assembly and function, and the many genetic defects that cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Cri du Chat syndrome, Huntington's disease, and bipolar depression disorder. In addition, the book reviews techniques in molecular neurobiological research, including the use of affinity reagents, chimeric receptors, and site-directed mutagenesis in localizing the ion channel and cholinergic binding site, and the application of somatic cell genetics in isolating specific chromosomes or chromosomal segments.

  8. Molecular and chemical engineering of bacteriophages for potential medical applications.

    PubMed

    Hodyra, Katarzyna; Dąbrowska, Krystyna

    2015-04-01

    Recent progress in molecular engineering has contributed to the great progress of medicine. However, there are still difficult problems constituting a challenge for molecular biology and biotechnology, e.g. new generation of anticancer agents, alternative biosensors or vaccines. As a biotechnological tool, bacteriophages (phages) offer a promising alternative to traditional approaches. They can be applied as anticancer agents, novel platforms in vaccine design, or as target carriers in drug discovery. Phages also offer solutions for modern cell imaging, biosensor construction or food pathogen detection. Here we present a review of bacteriophage research as a dynamically developing field with promising prospects for further development of medicine and biotechnology.

  9. Bottom-Up Biology: Harnessing Engineering to Understand Nature.

    PubMed

    Fletcher, Daniel A

    2016-09-26

    Engineering as a field has fundamentally different goals than biology, but the perspective that engineers take-that systems can be designed and built-is helping to advance biological sciences by motivating and equipping efforts to construct biological systems from the bottom up.

  10. Molecular neurodegeneration: basic biology and disease pathways.

    PubMed

    Vassar, Robert; Zheng, Hui

    2014-09-23

    The field of neurodegeneration research has been advancing rapidly over the past few years, and has provided intriguing new insights into the normal physiological functions and pathogenic roles of a wide range of molecules associated with several devastating neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington's disease, and Down syndrome. Recent developments have also facilitated initial efforts to translate preclinical discoveries toward novel therapeutic approaches and clinical trials in humans. These recent developments are reviewed in the current Review Series on "Molecular Neurodegeneration: Basic Biology and Disease Pathways" in a number of state-of-the-art manuscripts that cover themes presented at the Third International Conference on Molecular Neurodegeneration: "Basic biology and disease pathways" held in Cannes, France, September, 2013.

  11. 2004 Reversible Associations in Structure & Molecular Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Edward Eisenstein Nancy Ryan Gray

    2005-03-23

    The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on 2004 Gordon Research Conference on Reversible Associations in Structure & Molecular Biology was held at Four Points Sheraton, CA, 1/25-30/2004. The Conference was well attended with 82 participants (attendees list attached). The attendees represented the spectrum of endeavor in this field coming from academia, industry, and government laboratories, both U.S. and foreign scientists, senior researchers, young investigators, and students.

  12. Molecular Biology and Prevention of Endometrial Cancer

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-07-01

    and analyzed, which would most likely take an additional 3-6 months after enrollment. Aim 2: To analyze vaginal and cervical adenocarcinomas...Endometrial Cancer PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: LTC George Larry Maxwell, M.D. CONTRACTING ORGANIZATION: Henry M. Jackson Foundation for...Annual 3. DATES COVERED 117 Jun 2005 – 16 Jun 2006 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER Molecular Biology and Prevention of Endometrial Cancer

  13. Reverse engineering the embryo: a graduate course in developmental biology for engineering students at the University of Manitoba, Canada.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Richard; Melvin, Cameron A

    2003-01-01

    Our desire to educate engineers to be able to understand the component processes of embryogenesis, is driven by the notion that only when principles borrowed from mathematics, fluid mechanics, materials science, etc. are applied to classical problems in developmental biology, will sufficient comprehension be achieved to permit successful understanding and therapeutic manipulation of embryos. As it now stands, biologists seldom possess either skills or interest in those areas of endeavor. Thus, we have determined that it is easier to educate engineers in the principles of developmental biology than to help biologists deal with the complexities of engineering. We describe a graduate course that has been taken, between 1999 and 2002, by 17 engineering students. Our goal is to prepare them to reverse engineer the embryo, i.e., to look at it as an object or process whose construction, albeit self-construction, might be explicable in terms of engineering principles applied at molecular, cellular and whole embryo levels.

  14. Molecular biology research in neuropsychiatry: India's contribution.

    PubMed

    Sathyanarayana Rao, T S; Ramesh, B N; Vasudevaraju, P; Rao, K S J

    2010-01-01

    Neuropsychiatric disorders represent the second largest cause of morbidity worldwide. These disorders have complex etiology and patho-physiology. The major lacunae in the biology of the psychiatric disorders include genomics, biomarkers and drug discovery, for the early detection of the disease, and have great application in the clinical management of disease. Indian psychiatrists and scientists played a significant role in filling the gaps. The present annotation provides in depth information related to research contributions on the molecular biology research in neuropsychiatric disorders in India. There is a great need for further research in this direction as to understand the genetic association of the neuropsychiatric disorders; molecular biology has a tremendous role to play. The alterations in gene expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction and depression. The development of transgenic neuropsychiatric animal models is of great thrust areas. No studies from India in this direction. Biomarkers in neuropsychiatric disorders are of great help to the clinicians for the early diagnosis of the disorders. The studies related to gene-environment interactions, DNA instability, oxidative stress are less studied in neuropsychiatric disorders and making efforts in this direction will lead to pioneers in these areas of research in India. In conclusion, we provided an insight for future research direction in molecular understanding of neuropsychiatry disorders.

  15. Discovering the intelligence in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Uberbacher, E

    1995-12-01

    The Third International Conference on Intelligent Systems in Molecular Biology was truly an outstanding event. Computational methods in molecular biology have reached a new level of maturity and utility, resulting in many high-impact applications. The success of this meeting bodes well for the rapid and continuing development of computational methods, intelligent systems and information-based approaches for the biosciences. The basic technology, originally most often applied to 'feasibility' problems, is now dealing effectively with the most difficult real-world problems. Significant progress has been made in understanding protein-structure information, structural classification, and how functional information and the relevant features of active-site geometry can be gleaned from structures by automated computational approaches. The value and limits of homology-based methods, and the ability to classify proteins by structure in the absence of homology, have reached a new level of sophistication. New methods for covariation analysis in the folding of large structures such as RNAs have shown remarkably good results, indicating the long-term potential to understand very complicated molecules and multimolecular complexes using computational means. Novel methods, such as HMMs, context-free grammars and the uses of mutual information theory, have taken center stage as highly valuable tools in our quest to represent and characterize biological information. A focus on creative uses of intelligent systems technologies and the trend toward biological application will undoubtedly continue and grow at the 1996 ISMB meeting in St Louis.

  16. Biologically inspired highly efficient buoyancy engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akle, Barbar; Habchi, Wassim; Abdelnour, Rita; Blottman, John, III; Leo, Donald

    2012-04-01

    Undersea distributed networked sensor systems require a miniaturization of platforms and a means of both spatial and temporal persistence. One aspect of this system is the necessity to modulate sensor depth for optimal positioning and station-keeping. Current approaches involve pneumatic bladders or electrolysis; both require mechanical subsystems and consume significant power. These are not suitable for the miniaturization of sensor platforms. Presented in this study is a novel biologically inspired method that relies on ionic motion and osmotic pressures to displace a volume of water from the ocean into and out of the proposed buoyancy engine. At a constant device volume, the displaced water will alter buoyancy leading to either sinking or floating. The engine is composed of an enclosure sided on the ocean's end by a Nafion ionomer and by a flexible membrane separating the water from a gas enclosure. Two electrodes are placed one inside the enclosure and the other attached to the engine on the outside. The semi-permeable membrane Nafion allows water motion in and out of the enclosure while blocking anions from being transferred. The two electrodes generate local concentration changes of ions upon the application of an electrical field; these changes lead to osmotic pressures and hence the transfer of water through the semi-permeable membrane. Some aquatic organisms such as pelagic crustacean perform this buoyancy control using an exchange of ions through their tissue to modulate its density relative to the ambient sea water. In this paper, the authors provide an experimental proof of concept of this buoyancy engine. The efficiency of changing the engine's buoyancy is calculated and optimized as a function of electrode surface area. For example electrodes made of a 3mm diameter Ag/AgCl proved to transfer approximately 4mm3 of water consuming 4 Joules of electrical energy. The speed of displacement is optimized as a function of the surface area of the Nafion

  17. From Cellular Mechanotransduction to Biologically Inspired Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Ingber, Donald E.

    2010-01-01

    This article is based on a lecture I presented as the recipient of the 2009 Pritzker Distinguished Lecturer Award at the Biomedical Engineering Society annual meeting in October 2009. Here, I review more than thirty years of research from my laboratory, beginning with studies designed to test the theory that cells use tensegrity (tensional integrity) architecture to stabilize their shape and sense mechanical signals, which I believed to be critical for control of cell function and tissue development. Although I was trained as a cell biologist, I found that the tools I had at my disposal were insufficient to experimentally test these theories, and thus I ventured into engineering to find critical solutions. This path has been extremely fruitful as it has led to confirmation of the critical role that physical forces play in developmental control, as well as how cells sense and respond to mechanical signals at the molecular level through a process known as cellular mechanotransduction. Many of the predictions of the cellular tensegrity model relating to cell mechanical behaviors have been shown to be valid, and this vision of cell structure led to discovery of the central role that transmembrane adhesion receptors, such as integrins, and the cytoskeleton play in mechanosensing and mechanochemical conversion. In addition, these fundamental studies have led to significant unexpected technology fallout, including development of micromagnetic actuators for non-invasive control of cellular signaling, microfluidic systems as therapeutic extracorporeal devices for sepsis therapy, and new DNA-based nanobiotechnology approaches that permit construction of artificial tensegrities that mimic properties of living materials for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. PMID:20140519

  18. Biological Moleculars: Have Most of Our Problems Already Been Solved?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Downey, James P.; Rose, M. Franklin (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Evolution has resulted in biological machinery that engineers have great reason to envy and at present can only poorly mimic. This is not just a curiosity as biological systems perform many functions that are desired industrial processes. Examples include photosynthesis, chemosynthesis, energy storage, low temperature chemical conversion, reproducible manufacture of chemical compounds, etc. The bases of biological machinery are the proteins and nucleic acids that comprise living organisms. Each molecule functions as a part of a biological machine. In many cases the molecule can be properly regarded as a stand alone machine of its own. Concepts and methods for harnessing the power of biological molecules exist but are often overlooked in the industrial world. Some are old and appear crude but are quite effective, e.g. the fermentation of grains and fruits. Currently, there is a revolution in progress regarding the harnessing biological processes. These include techniques such as genetic manipulation via polymerase chain reaction, forced evolution also known as evolution in a test tube, determination of molecular structure, and combinatorial chemistry. The following is a brief discussion on how these processes are performed and how they may relate to industrial and aerospace processes.

  19. Toward metabolic engineering in the context of system biology and synthetic biology: advances and prospects.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yanfeng; Shin, Hyun-dong; Li, Jianghua; Liu, Long

    2015-02-01

    Metabolic engineering facilitates the rational development of recombinant bacterial strains for metabolite overproduction. Building on enormous advances in system biology and synthetic biology, novel strategies have been established for multivariate optimization of metabolic networks in ensemble, spatial, and dynamic manners such as modular pathway engineering, compartmentalization metabolic engineering, and metabolic engineering guided by genome-scale metabolic models, in vitro reconstitution, and systems and synthetic biology. Herein, we summarize recent advances in novel metabolic engineering strategies. Combined with advancing kinetic models and synthetic biology tools, more efficient new strategies for improving cellular properties can be established and applied for industrially important biochemical production.

  20. Reverse engineering chemical structures from molecular descriptors : how many solutions?

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, William Michael; Martin, Shawn Bryan; Faulon, Jean-Loup Michel

    2005-06-01

    Physical, chemical and biological properties are the ultimate information of interest for chemical compounds. Molecular descriptors that map structural information to activities and properties are obvious candidates for information sharing. In this paper, we consider the feasibility of using molecular descriptors to safely exchange chemical information in such a way that the original chemical structures cannot be reverse engineered. To investigate the safety of sharing such descriptors, we compute the degeneracy (the number of structure matching a descriptor value) of several 2D descriptors, and use various methods to search for and reverse engineer structures. We examine degeneracy in the entire chemical space taking descriptors values from the alkane isomer series and the PubChem database. We further use a stochastic search to retrieve structures matching specific topological index values. Finally, we investigate the safety of exchanging of fragmental descriptors using deterministic enumeration.

  1. 2009 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism & Molecular Biology GRC

    SciTech Connect

    Dr. Julie Maupin- Furlow

    2009-07-26

    Archaea, one of three major evolutionary lineages of life, are a fascinating and diverse group of microbes with deep roots overlapping those of eukaryotes. The focus of the 'Archaea: Ecology Metabolism & Molecular Biology' GRC conference expands on a number of emerging topics highlighting new paradigms in archaeal metabolism, genome function and systems biology; information processing; evolution and the tree of life; the ecology and diversity of archaea and their viruses; and industrial applications. The strength of this conference lies in its ability to couple a field with a rich history in high quality research with new scientific findings in an atmosphere of stimulating exchange. This conference remains an excellent opportunity for younger scientists to interact with world experts in this field.

  2. 2011 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism, & Molecular Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Keneth Stedman

    2011-08-05

    Archaea, one of three major evolutionary lineages of life, are a fascinating and diverse group of microbes with deep roots overlapping those of eukaryotes. The focus of the 'Archaea: Ecology Metabolism & Molecular Biology' GRC conference expands on a number of emerging topics highlighting new paradigms in archaeal metabolism, genome function and systems biology; information processing; evolution and the tree of life; the ecology and diversity of archaea and their viruses. The strength of this conference lies in its ability to couple a field with a rich history in high quality research with new scientific findings in an atmosphere of stimulating exchange. This conference remains an excellent opportunity for younger scientists to interact with world experts in this field.

  3. Engineering imaging probes and molecular machines for nanomedicine.

    PubMed

    Tong, Sheng; Cradick, Thomas J; Ma, Yan; Dai, Zhifei; Bao, Gang

    2012-10-01

    Nanomedicine is an emerging field that integrates nanotechnology, biomolecular engineering, life sciences and medicine; it is expected to produce major breakthroughs in medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Due to the size-compatibility of nano-scale structures and devices with proteins and nucleic acids, the design, synthesis and application of nanoprobes, nanocarriers and nanomachines provide unprecedented opportunities for achieving a better control of biological processes, and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy, and prevention. Recent advances in nanomedicine include the development of functional nanoparticle based molecular imaging probes, nano-structured materials as drug/gene carriers for in vivo delivery, and engineered molecular machines for treating single-gene disorders. This review focuses on the development of molecular imaging probes and engineered nucleases for nanomedicine, including quantum dot bioconjugates, quantum dot-fluorescent protein FRET probes, molecular beacons, magnetic and gold nanoparticle based imaging contrast agents, and the design and validation of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and TAL effector nucleases (TALENs) for gene targeting. The challenges in translating nanomedicine approaches to clinical applications are discussed.

  4. Engineering controllable bidirectional molecular motors based on myosin.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lu; Nakamura, Muneaki; Schindler, Tony D; Parker, David; Bryant, Zev

    2012-02-19

    Cytoskeletal motors drive the transport of organelles and molecular cargoes within cells and have potential applications in molecular detection and diagnostic devices. Engineering molecular motors with controllable properties will allow selective perturbation of mechanical processes in living cells and provide optimized device components for tasks such as molecular sorting and directed assembly. Biological motors have previously been modified by introducing activation/deactivation switches that respond to metal ions and other signals. Here, we show that myosin motors can be engineered to reversibly change their direction of motion in response to a calcium signal. Building on previous protein engineering studies and guided by a structural model for the redirected power stroke of myosin VI, we have constructed bidirectional myosins through the rigid recombination of structural modules. The performance of the motors was confirmed using gliding filament assays and single fluorophore tracking. Our strategy, in which external signals trigger changes in the geometry and mechanics of myosin lever arms, should make it possible to achieve spatiotemporal control over a range of motor properties including processivity, stride size and branchpoint turning.

  5. The Molecular Biology of Brain Metastasis

    PubMed Central

    Rahmathulla, Gazanfar; Toms, Steven A.; Weil, Robert J.

    2012-01-01

    Metastasis to the central nervous system (CNS) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic cancers. Various crucial interactions between the brain environment and tumor cells take place during the development of the cancer at its new location. The rapid expansion in molecular biology and genetics has advanced our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms involved, from invasion to final colonization of new organ tissues. Understanding the various events occurring at each stage should enable targeted drug delivery and individualized treatments for patients, with better outcomes and fewer side effects. This paper summarizes the principal molecular and genetic mechanisms that underlie the development of brain metastasis (BrM). PMID:22481931

  6. Genetics and molecular biology of hypotension

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robertson, D.

    1994-01-01

    Major strides in the molecular biology of essential hypertension are currently underway. This has tended to obscure the fact that a number of inherited disorders associated with low blood pressure exist and that these diseases may have milder and underrecognized phenotypes that contribute importantly to blood pressure variation in the general population. This review highlights some of the gene products that, if abnormal, could cause hypotension in some individuals. Diseases due to abnormalities in the catecholamine enzymes are discussed in detail. It is likely that genetic abnormalities with hypotensive phenotypes will be as interesting and diverse as those that give rise to hypertensive disorders.

  7. 2007 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Imke Schroeder Nancy Ryan Gray

    2008-09-18

    The Archaea are a fascinating and diverse group of prokaryotic organisms with deep roots overlapping those of eukaryotes. The focus of this GRC conference, 'Archaea: Ecology Metabolism & Molecular Biology', expands on a number of emerging topics highlighting the evolution and composition of microbial communities and novel archaeal species, their impact on the environment, archaeal metabolism, and research that stems from sequence analysis of archaeal genomes. The strength of this conference lies in its ability to couple reputable areas with new scientific topics in an atmosphere of stimulating exchange. This conference remains an excellent opportunity for younger scientists to interact with world experts in this field.

  8. Systematic technology transfer from biology to engineering.

    PubMed

    Vincent, Julian F V; Mann, Darrell L

    2002-02-15

    Solutions to problems move only very slowly between different disciplines. Transfer can be greatly speeded up with suitable abstraction and classification of problems. Russian researchers working on the TRIZ (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch) method for inventive problem solving have identified systematic means of transferring knowledge between different scientific and engineering disciplines. With over 1500 person years of effort behind it, TRIZ represents the biggest study of human creativity ever conducted, whose aim has been to establish a system into which all known solutions can be placed, classified in terms of function. At present, the functional classification structure covers nearly 3 000 000 of the world's successful patents and large proportions of the known physical, chemical and mathematical knowledge-base. Additional tools are the identification of factors which prevent the attainment of new technology, leading directly to a system of inventive principles which will resolve the impasse, a series of evolutionary trends of development, and to a system of methods for effecting change in a system (Su-fields). As yet, the database contains little biological knowledge despite early recognition by the instigator of TRIZ (Genrich Altshuller) that one day it should. This is illustrated by natural systems evolved for thermal stability and the maintenance of cleanliness.

  9. Dynamical Systems and Control Theory Inspired by Molecular Biology

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-10-02

    AFRL-OSR-VA-TR-2014-0282 DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS AND CONTROL THEORY INSPIRED BY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Eduardo Sontag RUTGERS THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY...Standard Form 298 (Re . 8-98) v Prescribed by ANSI Std. Z39.18 DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS AND CONTROL THEORY INSPIRED BY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AFOSR FA9550-11-1-0247...is to develop new concepts, theory, and algorithms for control and signal processing using ideas inspired by molecular systems biology. Cell biology

  10. [The molecular biology of distraction osteogenesis].

    PubMed

    Boulétreau, P; Longaker, M T

    2004-02-01

    Distraction osteogenesis has become a mainstay in bone engineering and the recent application of this technique to the membranous craniofacial skeleton has significantly improved our armamentarium for reconstructive craniomaxillofacial procedures. However, if the biomechanical, histological and ultrastructural changes associated with distraction osteogenesis have been widely described, the molecular mechanisms governing the formation of new bone in the interfragmental gap of gradually distracted bone segments remain largely unclear. Recently, our laboratory has described a rat mandibular distraction model that provides an excellent environment for deciphering the molecular mechanisms that mediate distraction osteogenesis. In this Article, we present the hypotheses and current research that have furthered our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that govern distraction osteogenesis. Recent studies have implicated a growing number of cytokines that are intimately involved in the regulation of bone synthesis and turnover. The gene regulation of numerous cytokines (Transforming Growth Factor-B, Bone Morphogenetic Proteins, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1, Fibroblast Growth Factor-2) during distraction osteogenesis have been best characterized and will be discussed in this text. We believe that novel systems like the rat model will facilitate our understanding of the biomolecular mechanisms that mediate membranous distraction osteogenesis and will ultimately guide the development of targeted-strategies designed to accelerate bone healing.

  11. The molecular biology of distraction osteogenesis.

    PubMed

    Bouletreau, Pierre J; Warren, Stephen M; Longaker, Michael T

    2002-02-01

    Distraction osteogenesis has become a mainstay in bone tissue engineering and has significantly improved our armamentarium for reconstructive craniomaxillofacial procedures. However, although the biomechanical, histological, and ultrastructural changes associated with distraction osteogenesis have been widely described, the molecular mechanisms governing the formation of new bone in the interfragmental gap of gradually distracted bone segments remain largely unclear. Recently, a rat model of mandibular distraction was described that provides an excellent environment for deciphering the molecular mechanisms that mediate distraction osteogenesis. This article presents the hypotheses and current research that have furthered knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that govern distraction osteogenesis. Recent studies have implicated a growing number of cytokines that are intimately involved in the regulation of bone synthesis and turnover. The gene regulation of numerous cytokines (transforming growth factor-beta1, -beta2, -beta3, bone morphogenetic proteins, insulin-like growth factor-1, fibroblast growth factor-2) and extracellular matrix proteins (osteonectin, osteopontin) during distraction osteogenesis have been best characterized and are discussed in this article. It is believed that understanding the biomolecular mechanisms that mediate membranous distraction osteogenesis may guide the development of targeted strategies designed to improve distraction osteogenesis and accelerate bone healing.

  12. Molecular biology of the peptide hormone families.

    PubMed

    Pearson, R K; Anderson, B; Dixon, J E

    1993-12-01

    The application of recombinant molecular biology has lead to remarkable advances in our understanding of the basic mechanisms of cell function in general and of the polarized GI endocrine cell in particular. This article focuses on some of the advances made towards determining the contribution of peptide hormone gene regulation to the regulation of physiological events in the GI tract. Application of these techniques to other subcellular processes involved in peptide hormone physiology such as subcellular trafficing in the regulated secretory pathway and post-translational processing have been equally impressive. For example, many of the key enzymes in the peptide hormone processing cascade have been cloned and are being studied at a molecular level. We have focused this article on the SS and gastrin peptides because of their known physiologic importance and interactions, and the depth of analysis accomplished to date. Studies using SS and gastrin as models have established principals that cover the spectrum of luminal regulation of gene activity to the identification of a single amino acid residue responsible for cAMP induction of SS gene expression. Many genes in the GI endocrine system have been cloned and the article by Dr. Habener (elsewhere in this issue) discusses progress made in understanding the complex regulation of the glucagon gene. We anticipate similar advances in studies of cholecystokinin, secretin, motilin, VIP, pancreatic polypeptide, and neuropeptide Y, whose genes have been cloned and initially characterized. Finally, as outlined in this article, the mechanisms of regulation of a specific gene often differ between sites of expression, even within the GI tract. Direct studies of the subcellular mechanisms regulating gene expression and other processes in GI endocrine cells await novel methods to maintain and propagate these cells. These studies will almost certainly involve new and creative uses of recombinant molecular biology.

  13. Ins and outs of systems biology vis-à-vis molecular biology: continuation or clear cut?

    PubMed

    De Backer, Philippe; De Waele, Danny; Van Speybroeck, Linda

    2010-03-01

    The comprehension of living organisms in all their complexity poses a major challenge to the biological sciences. Recently, systems biology has been proposed as a new candidate in the development of such a comprehension. The main objective of this paper is to address what systems biology is and how it is practised. To this end, the basic tools of a systems biological approach are explored and illustrated. In addition, it is questioned whether systems biology 'revolutionizes' molecular biology and 'transcends' its assumed reductionism. The strength of this claim appears to depend on how molecular and systems biology are characterised and on how reductionism is interpreted. Doing credit to molecular biology and to methodological reductionism, it is argued that the distinction between molecular and systems biology is gradual rather than sharp. As such, the classical challenge in biology to manage, interpret and integrate biological data into functional wholes is further intensified by systems biology's use of modelling and bioinformatics, and by its scale enlargement.

  14. The molecular biology capstone assessment: a concept assessment for upper-division molecular biology students.

    PubMed

    Couch, Brian A; Wood, William B; Knight, Jennifer K

    2015-03-02

    Measuring students' conceptual understandings has become increasingly important to biology faculty members involved in evaluating and improving departmental programs. We developed the Molecular Biology Capstone Assessment (MBCA) to gauge comprehension of fundamental concepts in molecular and cell biology and the ability to apply these concepts in novel scenarios. Targeted at graduating students, the MBCA consists of 18 multiple-true/false (T/F) questions. Each question consists of a narrative stem followed by four T/F statements, which allows a more detailed assessment of student understanding than the traditional multiple-choice format. Questions were iteratively developed with extensive faculty and student feedback, including validation through faculty reviews and response validation through student interviews. The final assessment was taken online by 504 students in upper-division courses at seven institutions. Data from this administration indicate that the MBCA has acceptable levels of internal reliability (α=0.80) and test-retest stability (r=0.93). Students achieved a wide range of scores with a 67% overall average. Performance results suggest that students have an incomplete understanding of many molecular biology concepts and continue to hold incorrect conceptions previously documented among introductory-level students. By pinpointing areas of conceptual difficulty, the MBCA can provide faculty members with guidance for improving undergraduate biology programs.

  15. Protein design in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Pleiss, Jürgen

    2011-10-01

    Starting from experimental data on sequence, structure or biochemical properties of enzymes, protein design seeks to construct enzymes with desired activity, stability, specificity and selectivity. Two strategies are widely used to investigate sequence-structure-function relationships: statistical methods to analyse protein families or mutant libraries, and molecular modelling methods to study proteins and their interaction with ligands or substrates. On the basis of these methods, protein design has been successfully applied to fine-tune bottleneck enzymes in metabolic engineering and to design enzymes with new substrate spectra and new functions. However, constructing efficient metabolic pathways by integrating individual enzymes into a complex system is challenging. The field of synthetic biology is still in its infancy, but promising results have demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of the concept.

  16. Challenges and opportunities in synthetic biology for chemical engineers

    PubMed Central

    Luo, Yunzi; Lee, Jung-Kul; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology provides numerous great opportunities for chemical engineers in the development of new processes for large-scale production of biofuels, value-added chemicals, and protein therapeutics. However, challenges across all scales abound. In particular, the modularization and standardization of the components in a biological system, so-called biological parts, remain the biggest obstacle in synthetic biology. In this perspective, we will discuss the main challenges and opportunities in the rapidly growing synthetic biology field and the important roles that chemical engineers can play in its advancement. PMID:24222925

  17. Challenges and opportunities in synthetic biology for chemical engineers

    SciTech Connect

    Luo, YZ; Lee, JK; Zhao, HM

    2013-11-15

    Synthetic biology provides numerous great opportunities for chemical engineers in the development of new processes for large-scale production of biofuels, value-added chemicals, and protein therapeutics. However, challenges across all scales abound. In particular, the modularization and standardization of the components in a biological system, so-called biological parts, remain the biggest obstacle in synthetic biology. In this perspective, we will discuss the main challenges and opportunities in the rapidly growing synthetic biology field and the important roles that chemical engineers can play in its advancement. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Traditional engineering in the biological century: the biotraditional engineer.

    PubMed

    Friedman, M H

    2001-12-01

    The increasing importance of life science in all engineering is prompting departments in the traditional engineering disciplines to offer life science as part of their curricula. Students who take advantage of this opportunity--"biotraditional engineers"--will be well positioned for careers in their discipline and in related areas of bioengineering. The founder engineering societies, such as the Bioengineering Division of ASME, are responding to this trend by broadening their scope and working increasingly across interdisciplinary borders.

  19. A plea for more theory in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Wolkenhauer, O; Mesarović, M; Wellstead, P

    2007-01-01

    The integrationist principles of systems theory have proven hugely successful in the physical sciences and engineering. It is an underlying assumption made in the systems approach to biology that they can also be used to understand biological phenomena at the level of an entire organism or organ. Within this holistic vision, the vast majority of systems biology research projects investigate phenomena at the level of the cell, with the belief that unifying principles established at the most basic level can establish a framework within which we may understand phenomena at higher levels of organization. In this spirit, and to use a celestial analogy, if a disease--effecting an organ or entire body--is our universe of discourse, then the cell is the star we gaze at. In building an understanding of disease and the effect of drugs, systems biology makes an implicit assumption about direct causal entailment between cell function and physiology. A skeptic might argue that this is about the same as trying to predict the world economy from observations made at a local supermarket. However, assuming for the moment that the money and hope we are investing in molecular biology, genomics, and systems biology is justified, how should this amazing intellectual achievement be possible? In this chapter we argue that an essential tool to progress is a systems theory that allows biological objects and their operational characteristics to be captured in a succinct yet general form. Armed with this conceptual framework, we construct mathematical representations of standard cellular and intercellular functions which can be integrated to describe more general processes of cell complexes, and potentially entire organs.

  20. Teaching Molecular Biological Techniques in a Research Content

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stiller, John W.; Coggins, T. Chad

    2006-01-01

    Molecular biological methods, such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis, are now commonly taught to students in introductory biology courses at the college and even high school levels. This often includes hands-on experience with one or more molecular techniques as part of a general biology laboratory. To assure that most…

  1. A National Comparison of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Capstone Experiences

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Aguanno, Ann; Mertz, Pamela; Martin, Debra; Bell, Ellis

    2015-01-01

    Recognizing the increasingly integrative nature of the molecular life sciences, the "American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology" (ASBMB) recommends that Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) programs develop curricula based on concepts, content, topics, and expected student outcomes, rather than courses. To that end,…

  2. IntegromeDB: an integrated system and biological search engine

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background With the growth of biological data in volume and heterogeneity, web search engines become key tools for researchers. However, general-purpose search engines are not specialized for the search of biological data. Description Here, we present an approach at developing a biological web search engine based on the Semantic Web technologies and demonstrate its implementation for retrieving gene- and protein-centered knowledge. The engine is available at http://www.integromedb.org. Conclusions The IntegromeDB search engine allows scanning data on gene regulation, gene expression, protein-protein interactions, pathways, metagenomics, mutations, diseases, and other gene- and protein-related data that are automatically retrieved from publicly available databases and web pages using biological ontologies. To perfect the resource design and usability, we welcome and encourage community feedback. PMID:22260095

  3. Systems biology as an integrated platform for bioinformatics, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Wu, Chia-Chou

    2013-10-11

    Systems biology aims at achieving a system-level understanding of living organisms and applying this knowledge to various fields such as synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and medicine. System-level understanding of living organisms can be derived from insight into: (i) system structure and the mechanism of biological networks such as gene regulation, protein interactions, signaling, and metabolic pathways; (ii) system dynamics of biological networks, which provides an understanding of stability, robustness, and transduction ability through system identification, and through system analysis methods; (iii) system control methods at different levels of biological networks, which provide an understanding of systematic mechanisms to robustly control system states, minimize malfunctions, and provide potential therapeutic targets in disease treatment; (iv) systematic design methods for the modification and construction of biological networks with desired behaviors, which provide system design principles and system simulations for synthetic biology designs and systems metabolic engineering. This review describes current developments in systems biology, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering for engineering and biology researchers. We also discuss challenges and future prospects for systems biology and the concept of systems biology as an integrated platform for bioinformatics, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering.

  4. Systems Biology as an Integrated Platform for Bioinformatics, Systems Synthetic Biology, and Systems Metabolic Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Bor-Sen; Wu, Chia-Chou

    2013-01-01

    Systems biology aims at achieving a system-level understanding of living organisms and applying this knowledge to various fields such as synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and medicine. System-level understanding of living organisms can be derived from insight into: (i) system structure and the mechanism of biological networks such as gene regulation, protein interactions, signaling, and metabolic pathways; (ii) system dynamics of biological networks, which provides an understanding of stability, robustness, and transduction ability through system identification, and through system analysis methods; (iii) system control methods at different levels of biological networks, which provide an understanding of systematic mechanisms to robustly control system states, minimize malfunctions, and provide potential therapeutic targets in disease treatment; (iv) systematic design methods for the modification and construction of biological networks with desired behaviors, which provide system design principles and system simulations for synthetic biology designs and systems metabolic engineering. This review describes current developments in systems biology, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering for engineering and biology researchers. We also discuss challenges and future prospects for systems biology and the concept of systems biology as an integrated platform for bioinformatics, systems synthetic biology, and systems metabolic engineering. PMID:24709875

  5. Teaching Cell and Molecular Biology for Gender Equity

    PubMed Central

    Wilhelm, Dayna E.; Lederman, Muriel

    2006-01-01

    Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, including cell biology, are characterized by the “leaky pipeline” syndrome in which, over time, women leave the discipline. The pipeline itself and the pond into which it empties may not be neutral. Explicating invisible norms, attitudes, and practices by integrating social studies of science into science education may be the necessary first step in helping female students persist in STEM disciplines. In 2003 and 2004, a sophomore Cell and Molecular Biology course at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) was taught integrating social studies of science with standard material. The course was successfully implemented, teaching students factual content while increasing awareness of the cultures of science and their self-confidence in engaging with the subject. Course evaluation data indicated that females in particular perceived greater gains in logical thinking and problem-solving abilities than females in a traditional cell biology course. Consistent with K–12 studies, males in this class were likely to view scientists as male only, whereas females viewed scientists as male and female. This pilot project demonstrates that social studies can be integrated successfully in a cell biology course. Longitudinal studies of this cohort of students will indicate whether this approach contributes to the retention of women in the field. PMID:17012214

  6. 2010 Plant Molecular Biology Gordon Research Conference

    SciTech Connect

    Michael Sussman

    2010-07-23

    The Plant Molecular Biology Conference has traditionally covered a breadth of exciting topics and the 2010 conference will continue in that tradition. Emerging concerns about food security have inspired a program with three main themes: (1) genomics, natural variation and breeding to understand adaptation and crop improvement, (2) hormonal cross talk, and (3) plant/microbe interactions. There are also sessions on epigenetics and proteomics/metabolomics. Thus this conference will bring together a range of disciplines, will foster the exchange of ideas and enable participants to learn of the latest developments and ideas in diverse areas of plant biology. The conference provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to discuss their research because additional speakers in each session will be selected from submitted abstracts. There will also be a poster session each day for a two-hour period prior to dinner. In particular, this conference plays a key role in enabling students and postdocs (the next generation of research leaders) to mingle with pioneers in multiple areas of plant science.

  7. Biological (molecular and cellular) markers of toxicity

    SciTech Connect

    Shugart, L.R.

    1990-10-01

    The overall objective of this study is to evaluate the use of the small aquarium fish, Japanese Medaka (Oryzias latipes), as a predictor of potential genotoxicity following exposure to carcinogens. This will be accomplished by quantitatively investigating the early molecular events associated with genotoxicity of various tissues of Medaka subsequent to exposure of the organism to several known carcinogens, such as diethylnitrosamine (DEN) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). Because of the often long latent period between initial contact with certain chemical and physical agents in our environment and subsequent expression of deleterious health or ecological impact, the development of sensitive methods for detecting and estimating early exposure is needed so that necessary interventions can ensue. A promising biological endpoint for detecting early exposure to damaging chemicals is the interaction of these compounds with cellular macromolecules such as Deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). This biological endpoint assumes significance because it can be one of the critical early events leading eventually to adverse effects (neoplasia) in the exposed organism.

  8. Myeloproliferative neoplasms: Current molecular biology and genetics.

    PubMed

    Saeidi, Kolsoum

    2016-02-01

    Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are clonal disorders characterized by increased production of mature blood cells. Philadelphia chromosome-negative MPNs (Ph-MPNs) consist of polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), and primary myelofibrosis (PMF). A number of stem cell derived mutations have been identified in the past 10 years. These findings showed that JAK2V617F, as a diagnostic marker involving JAK2 exon 14 with a high frequency, is the best molecular characterization of Ph-MPNs. Somatic mutations in an endoplasmic reticulum chaperone, named calreticulin (CALR), is the second most common mutation in patients with ET and PMF after JAK2 V617F mutation. Discovery of CALR mutations led to the increased molecular diagnostic of ET and PMF up to 90%. It has been shown that JAK2V617F is not the unique event in disease pathogenesis. Some other genes' location such as TET oncogene family member 2 (TET2), additional sex combs-like 1 (ASXL1), casitas B-lineage lymphoma proto-oncogene (CBL), isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2 (IDH1/IDH2), IKAROS family zinc finger 1 (IKZF1), DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A), suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS), enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), tumor protein p53 (TP53), runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1) and high mobility group AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) have also identified to be involved in MPNs phenotypes. Here, current molecular biology and genetic mechanisms involved in MNPs with a focus on the aforementioned factors is presented.

  9. Third international congress of plant molecular biology: Molecular biology of plant growth and development

    SciTech Connect

    Hallick, R.B.

    1995-02-01

    The Congress was held October 6-11, 1991 in Tucson with approximately 3000 scientists attending and over 300 oral presentations and 1800 posters. Plant molecular biology is one of the most rapidly developing areas of the biological sciences. Recent advances in the ability to isolate genes, to study their expression, and to create transgenic plants have had a major impact on our understanding of the many fundamental plant processes. In addition, new approaches have been created to improve plants for agricultural purposes. This is a book of presentation and posters from the conference.

  10. Genetics and molecular biology of deafness. Update.

    PubMed

    Grundfast, K M; Siparsky, N; Chuong, D

    2000-12-01

    This article discusses the latest research in the molecular biology and genetics of hearing impairment and its importance to otolaryngologists. Recent research has led to the discovery of many of the genes and gene products that are responsible for hereditary hearing impairment. State mandated screening of newborn infants for hearing loss ensures that a large number of hearing-impaired children will be detected at a very early age. Additionally, these children often will be referred to the otolaryngologist for evaluation of the hearing impairment. It is the otolaryngologist who must gather a detailed family history and perform a thorough physical examination to fully assess the cause of the hearing impairment. In taking the family history, it is important to note that the diagnosis of a hereditary hearing impairment often involves the evaluation of a large-sized family that has a history of hearing disorders. A history of an affected individual in a small family does not necessarily support a diagnosis of hearing impairment in later affected offspring because of the small sample size. Often, a hearing impairment that is part of a syndrome may not be detected because the physical findings associated with a syndrome are subtle in a young infant. For example, the white forelock seen in patients with Waardenburg's syndrome type I cannot be visualized in the infant who lacks hair. Additionally, some patients with syndromic hearing impairment do not present with physical findings, but rather they exhibit abnormal laboratory studies. Additional points to remember include the following: As infectious iatrogenic causes of hearing impairment decrease, the relative incidence of hereditary hearing impairment will increase. Hereditary hearing impairment can present as an isolated finding, or in association with a number of anomalies recognizable as a syndrome. The study of genetics and molecular biology has led to the identification of genes associated with hearing impairment

  11. Opportunities for yeast metabolic engineering: Lessons from synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Krivoruchko, Anastasia; Siewers, Verena; Nielsen, Jens

    2011-03-01

    Constant progress in genetic engineering has given rise to a number of promising areas of research that facilitated the expansion of industrial biotechnology. The field of metabolic engineering, which utilizes genetic tools to manipulate microbial metabolism to enhance the production of compounds of interest, has had a particularly strong impact by providing new platforms for chemical production. Recent developments in synthetic biology promise to expand the metabolic engineering toolbox further by creating novel biological components for pathway design. The present review addresses some of the recent advances in synthetic biology and how these have the potential to affect metabolic engineering in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. While S. cerevisiae for years has been a robust industrial organism and the target of multiple metabolic engineering trials, its potential for synthetic biology has remained relatively unexplored and further research in this field could strongly contribute to industrial biotechnology. This review also addresses are general considerations for pathway design, ranging from individual components to regulatory systems, overall pathway considerations and whole-organism engineering, with an emphasis on potential contributions of synthetic biology to these areas. Some examples of applications for yeast synthetic biology and metabolic engineering are also discussed.

  12. Advancing metabolic engineering through systems biology of industrial microorganisms.

    PubMed

    Dai, Zongjie; Nielsen, Jens

    2015-12-01

    Development of sustainable processes to produce bio-based compounds is necessary due to the severe environmental problems caused by the use of fossil resources. Metabolic engineering can facilitate the development of highly efficient cell factories to produce these compounds from renewable resources. The objective of systems biology is to gain a comprehensive and quantitative understanding of living cells and can hereby enhance our ability to characterize and predict cellular behavior. Systems biology of industrial microorganisms is therefore valuable for metabolic engineering. Here we review the application of systems biology tools for the identification of metabolic engineering targets which may lead to reduced development time for efficient cell factories. Finally, we present some perspectives of systems biology for advancing metabolic engineering further.

  13. Acellular assessments of engineered-manufactured nanoparticle biological surface reactivity

    EPA Science Inventory

    It is critical to assess the surface properties and reactivity of engineered-manufactured nanoparticles (NPs) as these will influence their interactions with biological systems, biokinetics and toxicity. We examined the physicochemical properties and surface reactivity of metal o...

  14. 2003 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Richard F. Shand

    2004-09-21

    The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on 2003 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology was held at Proctor Academy, Andover, NH from August 3-8, 2003. The Conference was well-attended with 150 participants (attendees list attached). The attendees represented the spectrum of endeavor in this field coming from academia, industry, and government laboratories, both U.S. and foreign scientists, senior researchers, young investigators, and students. In designing the formal speakers program, emphasis was placed on current unpublished research and discussion of the future target areas in this field. There was a conscious effort to stimulate lively discussion about the key issues in the field today. Time for formal presentations was limited in the interest of group discussions. In order that more scientists could communicate their most recent results, poster presentation time was scheduled. Attached is a copy of the formal schedule and speaker program and the poster program. In addition to these formal interactions, ''free time'' was scheduled to allow informal discussions. Such discussions are fostering new collaborations and joint efforts in the field. I want to personally thank you for your support of this Conference. As you know, in the interest of promoting the presentation of unpublished and frontier-breaking research, Gordon Research Conferences does not permit publication of meeting proceedings. If you wish any further details, please feel free to contact me. Thank you, Dr. Richard F. Shand, 2003 Conference Chair.

  15. [The molecular biology of hepatitis C virus].

    PubMed

    Koutsoudakis, George; Forns, Xavier; Pérez-Del-Pulgar, Sofía

    2013-04-01

    Since the discovery of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a plethora of experimental models have evolved, allowing the virus's life cycle and the pathogenesis of associated liver diseases to be investigated. These models range from inoculation of cultured cells with serum from patients with hepatitis C to the use of surrogate models for the study of specific stages of the HCV life cycle: retroviral pseudoparticles for the study of HCV entry, replicons for the study of HCV replication, and the HCV cell culture model, which reproduces the entire life cycle (replication and production of infectious particles). The use of these tools has been and remains crucial to identify potential therapeutic targets in the different stages of the virus's life cycle and to screen new antiviral drugs. A clear example is the recent approval of two viral protease inhibitors (boceprevir and telaprevir) in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. This review analyzes the advances made in the molecular biology of HCV and highlights possible candidates as therapeutic targets for the treatment of HCV infection.

  16. Zika virus genome biology and molecular pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Wang, Anyou; Thurmond, Stephanie; Islas, Leonel; Hui, Kingyung; Hai, Rong

    2017-03-22

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging RNA virus in the widespread Flavivirus genus. Recently, ZIKV has rapidly spread around the world and has been implicated in human disease, including neurological disorders, triggering public and scientific attention. Understanding how ZIKV causes disease is the highest priority, yet little is known about this virus. Here we examine the currently published data from ZIKV studies to provide the latest understanding of ZIKV genome biology and molecular pathogenesis. The ZIKV genome evolved rapidly from the Flavivirus genus and diverged from the members of this genus, even within the dengue virus cluster to which ZIKV belongs. Genome variations and divergences also exist among ZIKV strains/isolates. These genome divergences might account for the uniqueness of Zika disease. ZIKV infection activates not only the antiviral immune response but also the pro-inflammatory responses associated with disease symptoms. Strikingly, ZIKV activates protein complexes that are functionally associated with disease process, such as glial cell activation and proliferation (for example, Toll-like receptors), apoptosis and cell death, and inflammation. The activation of these complexes may critically contribute to Zika disease. The novel insights into ZIKV genome divergence and disease mechanisms summarized in this review will help accelerate the development of anti-ZIKV strategies.

  17. Vibrio natriegens as a fast-growing host for molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Weinstock, Matthew T; Hesek, Eric D; Wilson, Christopher M; Gibson, Daniel G

    2016-10-01

    A rapidly growing bacterial host would be desirable for a range of routine applications in molecular biology and biotechnology. The bacterium Vibrio natriegens has the fastest growth rate of any known organism, with a reported doubling time of <10 min. We report the development of genetic tools and methods to engineer V. natriegens and demonstrate the advantages of using these engineered strains in common biotech processes.

  18. Biological and biomedical applications of engineered nucleases.

    PubMed

    Pan, Yunzhi; Xiao, Li; Li, Alice S S; Zhang, Xu; Sirois, Pierre; Zhang, Jia; Li, Kai

    2013-09-01

    The development of engineered nucleases is the fruit of a new technological approach developed in the last two decades which has led to significant benefits on genome engineering, particularly on gene therapy. These applications enable efficient and specific genetic modifications via the induction of a double-strand break (DSB) in a specific genomic target sequence, followed by the homology-directed repair (HDR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathways. In addition to the application on gene modification in cells and intact organisms, a number of recent papers have reported that this gene editing technology can be applied effectively to human diseases. With the promising data obtained using engineered endonucleases in gene therapy, it appears reasonable to expect that more diseases could be treated and even be cured in this new era of individualized medicine. This paper first brief introduces the development of engineered nucleases with a special emphasis on zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector (TALE) nucleases (TALENs), and then takes CCR5-based gene therapy as an example to discuss the therapeutic applications of engineered nucleases.

  19. Digital Learning Material for Model Building in Molecular Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Aegerter-Wilmsen, Tinri; Janssen, Fred; Hartog, Rob; Bisseling, Ton

    2005-01-01

    Building models to describe processes forms an essential part of molecular biology research. However, in molecular biology curricula little attention is generally being paid to the development of this skill. In order to provide students the opportunity to improve their model building skills, we decided to develop a number of digital cases about…

  20. A Diagnostic Assessment for Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shi, Jia; Wood, William B.; Martin, Jennifer M.; Guild, Nancy A.; Vicens, Quentin; Knight, Jennifer K.

    2010-01-01

    We have developed and validated a tool for assessing understanding of a selection of fundamental concepts and basic knowledge in undergraduate introductory molecular and cell biology, focusing on areas in which students often have misconceptions. This multiple-choice Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology Assessment (IMCA) instrument is designed…

  1. Commentary: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Educators Launch National Network

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bailey, Cheryl; Bell, Ellis; Johnson, Margaret; Mattos, Carla; Sears, Duane; White, Harold B.

    2010-01-01

    The American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) has launched an National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded 5 year project to support biochemistry and molecular biology educators learning what and how students learn. As a part of this initiative, hundreds of life scientists will plan and develop a rich central resource for…

  2. [New concepts in molecular biology applied to traslational research].

    PubMed

    Mengual, Lourdes

    2013-06-01

    This chapter intends to introduce the new concepts that have been established in molecular biology over the last years and are being applied in translational research. The chapter is divided in four big blocks, which treat the molecular biology concepts and techniques in relation to DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, respectively. Moreover, we give examples of translational application of these new methodologies described.

  3. Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference 2015

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-12-01

    2015 Synthetic Biology : Engineering, Evolution & Design June 10-13, 2015 Boston Park Plaza, Boston, MA TABLE OF CONTENTS Program Overview...AM Keynote: Designing Biology for a Healthy World — Pam Silver, Harvard University Imperial Ballroom 9:30-10:00 AM Coffee Break Mezzanine Foyer 10...Sensors Imperial Ballroom 3:00-3:30 PM Coffee Break Mezzanine Foyer 3:30-5:30 PM Session 6: Advancing Synthetic Biology Tools, Automation and

  4. Infusing Bioinformatics and Research-Like Experience into a Molecular Biology Laboratory Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nogaj, Luiza A.

    2014-01-01

    A nine-week laboratory project designed for a sophomore level molecular biology course is described. Small groups of students (3-4 per group) choose a tumor suppressor gene (TSG) or an oncogene for this project. Each group researches the role of their TSG/oncogene from primary literature articles and uses bioinformatics engines to find the gene…

  5. Engineering RNA-binding proteins for biology.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yu; Varani, Gabriele

    2013-08-01

    RNA-binding proteins play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression. Many have modular structures and combine relatively few common domains in various arrangements to recognize RNA sequences and/or structures. Recent progress in engineering the specificity of the PUF class RNA-binding proteins has shown that RNA-binding domains may be combined with various effector or functional domains to regulate the metabolism of targeted RNAs. Designer RNA-binding proteins with tailored sequence specificity will provide valuable tools for biochemical research as well as potential therapeutic applications. In this review, we discuss the suitability of various RNA-binding domains for engineering RNA-binding specificity, based on the structural basis for their recognition. We also compare various protein engineering and design methods applied to RNA-binding proteins, and discuss future applications of these proteins.

  6. Engineering crystals by the strategy of molecular tectonics.

    PubMed

    Wuest, James D

    2005-12-21

    Detailed structures of molecular crystals cannot yet be predicted with consistent accuracy, but the strategy of molecular tectonics offers crystal engineers a powerful tool for designing molecules that are predisposed to form crystals with particular structural features and properties.

  7. Industrial waste treatment process engineering. Volume 2: Biological processes

    SciTech Connect

    Celenza, G.J.

    1999-11-01

    Industrial Waste Treatment Process Engineering is a step-by-step implementation manual in three volumes, detailing the selection and design of industrial liquid and solid waste treatment systems. It consolidates all the process engineering principles required to evaluate a wide range of industrial facilities, starting with pollution prevention and source control and ending with end-of-pipe treatment technologies. This three-volume set is a practical guide for environmental engineers with process implementation responsibilities; a one-stop resource for process engineering requirements--from plant planning to implementing specific treatment technologies for unit operations; a comprehensive reference for industrial waste treatment technologies; and includes calculations and worked problems based on industry cases. The contents of Volume 2 include: aeration; aerobic biological oxidation; activated sludge system; biological oxidation: lagoons; biological oxidation: fixed film processes; aerobic digesters; anaerobic waste treatment, anaerobic sludge treatment; and sedimentation.

  8. Recent applications of synthetic biology tools for yeast metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Michael K; Keasling, Jay D

    2015-02-01

    The last 20 years of metabolic engineering has enabled bio-based production of fuels and chemicals from renewable carbon sources using cost-effective bioprocesses. Much of this work has been accomplished using engineered microorganisms that act as chemical factories. Although the time required to engineer microbial chemical factories has steadily decreased, improvement is still needed. Through the development of synthetic biology tools for key microbial hosts, it should be possible to further decrease the development times and improve the reliability of the resulting microorganism. Together with continuous decreases in price and improvements in DNA synthesis, assembly and sequencing, synthetic biology tools will rationalize time-consuming strain engineering, improve control of metabolic fluxes, and diversify screening assays for cellular metabolism. This review outlines some recently developed synthetic biology tools and their application to improve production of chemicals and fuels in yeast. Finally, we provide a perspective for the challenges that lie ahead.

  9. Molecular Biology and Pathogenicity of Mycoplasmas

    PubMed Central

    Razin, Shmuel; Yogev, David; Naot, Yehudith

    1998-01-01

    The recent sequencing of the entire genomes of Mycoplasma genitalium and M. pneumoniae has attracted considerable attention to the molecular biology of mycoplasmas, the smallest self-replicating organisms. It appears that we are now much closer to the goal of defining, in molecular terms, the entire machinery of a self-replicating cell. Comparative genomics based on comparison of the genomic makeup of mycoplasmal genomes with those of other bacteria, has opened new ways of looking at the evolutionary history of the mycoplasmas. There is now solid genetic support for the hypothesis that mycoplasmas have evolved as a branch of gram-positive bacteria by a process of reductive evolution. During this process, the mycoplasmas lost considerable portions of their ancestors’ chromosomes but retained the genes essential for life. Thus, the mycoplasmal genomes carry a high percentage of conserved genes, greatly facilitating gene annotation. The significant genome compaction that occurred in mycoplasmas was made possible by adopting a parasitic mode of life. The supply of nutrients from their hosts apparently enabled mycoplasmas to lose, during evolution, the genes for many assimilative processes. During their evolution and adaptation to a parasitic mode of life, the mycoplasmas have developed various genetic systems providing a highly plastic set of variable surface proteins to evade the host immune system. The uniqueness of the mycoplasmal systems is manifested by the presence of highly mutable modules combined with an ability to expand the antigenic repertoire by generating structural alternatives, all compressed into limited genomic sequences. In the absence of a cell wall and a periplasmic space, the majority of surface variable antigens in mycoplasmas are lipoproteins. Apart from providing specific antimycoplasmal defense, the host immune system is also involved in the development of pathogenic lesions and exacerbation of mycoplasma induced diseases. Mycoplasmas are

  10. Basic science through engineering? Synthetic modeling and the idea of biology-inspired engineering.

    PubMed

    Knuuttila, Tarja; Loettgers, Andrea

    2013-06-01

    Synthetic biology is often understood in terms of the pursuit for well-characterized biological parts to create synthetic wholes. Accordingly, it has typically been conceived of as an engineering dominated and application oriented field. We argue that the relationship of synthetic biology to engineering is far more nuanced than that and involves a sophisticated epistemic dimension, as shown by the recent practice of synthetic modeling. Synthetic models are engineered genetic networks that are implanted in a natural cell environment. Their construction is typically combined with experiments on model organisms as well as mathematical modeling and simulation. What is especially interesting about this combinational modeling practice is that, apart from greater integration between these different epistemic activities, it has also led to the questioning of some central assumptions and notions on which synthetic biology is based. As a result synthetic biology is in the process of becoming more "biology inspired."

  11. A Structural Biology and Protein Engineering Approach to the Engineering Highly Proficient Catalytic Bioscavengers for In Vivo Detoxification of a Broad Spectrum of Nerve Agents

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-06-30

    Final 7 Aug 2015-31 May 2016 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Sa. CONTRACT NUMBER A Structural Biology and Protein Engineering Approach to the HDTRA1-11-C...computationally focused libraries. ACS chemical biology , 8 , 2394-2403 Davis IW, and D. Baker, 2009, Rosettaligand docking with full ligand and receptor...flexibility. Journal of molecular biology , 385 , 381-392. Dyguda-Kazimierowicz E, Sokalski WA, Leszczynski L, 2008, Gas-phase mechanisms of degradation

  12. How to prepare engineers in medicine and biology?

    PubMed

    Kwok, Ezra; Marshall, Greg; Chan, Anthony

    2008-01-01

    Biomedical Engineering education has become very popular in the past two decades. New biomedical engineering programs have been developed to prepare students for this emerging field of study. Due to its highly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature, combined with the fact that many engineering students have limited life sciences backgrounds, preparing graduates for an engineering career incorporating medicine and biology is not straight forward. The University of British Columbia established a graduate level biomedical engineering program in the fall of 2006 after an industry survey and extensive consultation process. The program curriculum also employs a device-based approach to the education of life science components including anatomy and physiology. Feedback from current students, industry sponsors, and practicing biomedical engineers favour this UBC approach. The program will continually update its curriculum and delivery style in response to the industry needs and student evaluation.

  13. Regenerative biology and engineering: strategies for tissue restoration.

    PubMed

    Stocum, D L

    1998-01-01

    Over the past 50 years, we have made remarkable advances in the use of bionic devices and solid organ transplants as replacement parts for failing tissues and organs. These approaches to tissue restoration, however, have a number of drawbacks. Thus, a new approach, regenerative biology and engineering, has been developed, consisting of the strategies of cell transplantation, bioartificial tissue constructs, and stimulation of regeneration in vivo. Cell transplants have been successfully used to restore articular cartilage and to treat Parkinson's disease in humans. In rats, transplanted fetal and embryonic stem cell line-derived cardiomyocytes have been shown to differentiate and integrate well with the ventricular myocardium, suggesting the feasibility of using such transplants to restore damaged cardiac muscle. Diabetic symptoms in humans have been alleviated by implanting a bioartificial pancreas consisting of islet cells microencapsulated in alginate. Hydroxyapatite matrixes can stimulate the regeneration of bone across large gaps. Collagenous artificial matrixes can stimulate the regeneration of dermis, and peripheral nerve grafts embedded in a fibrin clot containing fibroblast growth factor-1 stimulate some regeneration of spinal cord axons in adult rats. Future research in regenerative biology will focus on several issues: (1) providing adequate sources of cells for transplantation and bioartificial tissue construction and determining ways to prevent these cells from coming under attack by the immune system, (2) developing new and better materials to build better bionic devices and bioartificial constructs and to stimulate regeneration in vivo, (3) determining how many tissues of the body might contain reserve cells for regeneration in vivo, (4) analyzing the molecular differences between cells and environments of regenerating versus nonregenerating tissues, and (5) understanding the factors and mechanisms involved in the proliferation and patterning of

  14. Tissue Engineering Organs for Space Biology Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vandenburgh, H. H.; Shansky, J.; DelTatto, M.; Lee, P.; Meir, J.

    1999-01-01

    Long-term manned space flight requires a better understanding of skeletal muscle atrophy resulting from microgravity. Atrophy most likely results from changes at both the systemic level (e.g. decreased circulating growth hormone, increased circulating glucocorticoids) and locally (e.g. decreased myofiber resting tension). Differentiated skeletal myofibers in tissue culture have provided a model system over the last decade for gaining a better understanding of the interactions of exogenous growth factors, endogenous growth factors, and muscle fiber tension in regulating protein turnover rates and muscle cell growth. Tissue engineering these cells into three dimensional bioartificial muscle (BAM) constructs has allowed us to extend their use to Space flight studies for the potential future development of countermeasures.

  15. Assessment of knowledge of participants on basic molecular biology techniques after 5-day intensive molecular biology training workshops in Nigeria.

    PubMed

    Yisau, J I; Adagbada, A O; Bamidele, T; Fowora, M; Brai, B I C; Adebesin, O; Bamidele, M; Fesobi, T; Nwaokorie, F O; Ajayi, A; Smith, S I

    2017-02-01

    The deployment of molecular biology techniques for diagnosis and research in Nigeria is faced with a number of challenges, including the cost of equipment and reagents coupled with the dearth of personnel skilled in the procedures and handling of equipment. Short molecular biology training workshops were conducted at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), to improve the knowledge and skills of laboratory personnel and academics in health, research, and educational facilities. Five-day molecular biology workshops were conducted annually between 2011 and 2014, with participants drawn from health, research facilities, and the academia. The courses consisted of theoretical and practical sessions. The impact of the workshops on knowledge and skill acquisition was evaluated by pre- and post-tests which consisted of 25 multiple choice and other questions. Sixty-five participants took part in the workshops. The mean knowledge of molecular biology as evaluated by the pre- and post-test assessments were 8.4 (95% CI 7.6-9.1) and 13.0 (95 CI 11.9-14.1), respectively. The mean post-test score was significantly greater than the mean pre-test score (p < 0.0001). The five-day molecular biology workshop significantly increased the knowledge and skills of participants in molecular biology techniques. © 2017 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2017.

  16. The fusion of biology, computer science, and engineering: towards efficient and successful synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Linshiz, Gregory; Goldberg, Alex; Konry, Tania; Hillson, Nathan J

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology is a nascent field that emerged in earnest only around the turn of the millennium. It aims to engineer new biological systems and impart new biological functionality, often through genetic modifications. The design and construction of new biological systems is a complex, multistep process, requiring multidisciplinary collaborative efforts from "fusion" scientists who have formal training in computer science or engineering, as well as hands-on biological expertise. The public has high expectations for synthetic biology and eagerly anticipates the development of solutions to the major challenges facing humanity. This article discusses laboratory practices and the conduct of research in synthetic biology. It argues that the fusion science approach, which integrates biology with computer science and engineering best practices, including standardization, process optimization, computer-aided design and laboratory automation, miniaturization, and systematic management, will increase the predictability and reproducibility of experiments and lead to breakthroughs in the construction of new biological systems. The article also discusses several successful fusion projects, including the development of software tools for DNA construction design automation, recursive DNA construction, and the development of integrated microfluidics systems.

  17. From Biology to Mathematical Models and Back: Teaching Modeling to Biology Students, and Biology to Math and Engineering Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chiel, Hillel J.; McManus, Jeffrey M.; Shaw, Kendrick M.

    2010-01-01

    We describe the development of a course to teach modeling and mathematical analysis skills to students of biology and to teach biology to students with strong backgrounds in mathematics, physics, or engineering. The two groups of students have different ways of learning material and often have strong negative feelings toward the area of knowledge…

  18. Creating to understand - developmental biology meets engineering in Paris.

    PubMed

    Kicheva, Anna; Rivron, Nicolas C

    2017-03-01

    In November 2016, developmental biologists, synthetic biologists and engineers gathered in Paris for a meeting called 'Engineering the embryo'. The participants shared an interest in exploring how synthetic systems can reveal new principles of embryonic development, and how the in vitro manipulation and modeling of development using stem cells can be used to integrate ideas and expertise from physics, developmental biology and tissue engineering. As we review here, the conference pinpointed some of the challenges arising at the intersection of these fields, along with great enthusiasm for finding new approaches and collaborations.

  19. Cell and molecular biology of Chlamydomonas

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1988-01-01

    This document contains only the abstracts of 92 presentations on the biology of Chlamydomonas. Topics include gene transformations, gene regulation, biosynthetic pathways, cell surfaces, circadian clocks, and the development and structure of the flagellar apparatus. (TEM)

  20. Structural Biology and Molecular Applications Research

    Cancer.gov

    Part of NCI's Division of Cancer Biology's research portfolio, research and development in this area focuses on enabling technologies, models, and methodologies to support basic and applied cancer research.

  1. Computer Analogies: Teaching Molecular Biology and Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rice, Stanley; McArthur, John

    2002-01-01

    Suggests that computer science analogies can aid the understanding of gene expression, including the storage of genetic information on chromosomes. Presents a matrix of biology and computer science concepts. (DDR)

  2. CellNet: network biology applied to stem cell engineering.

    PubMed

    Cahan, Patrick; Li, Hu; Morris, Samantha A; Lummertz da Rocha, Edroaldo; Daley, George Q; Collins, James J

    2014-08-14

    Somatic cell reprogramming, directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, and direct conversions between differentiated cell lineages represent powerful approaches to engineer cells for research and regenerative medicine. We have developed CellNet, a network biology platform that more accurately assesses the fidelity of cellular engineering than existing methodologies and generates hypotheses for improving cell derivations. Analyzing expression data from 56 published reports, we found that cells derived via directed differentiation more closely resemble their in vivo counterparts than products of direct conversion, as reflected by the establishment of target cell-type gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Furthermore, we discovered that directly converted cells fail to adequately silence expression programs of the starting population and that the establishment of unintended GRNs is common to virtually every cellular engineering paradigm. CellNet provides a platform for quantifying how closely engineered cell populations resemble their target cell type and a rational strategy to guide enhanced cellular engineering.

  3. The extracellular matrix of plants: Molecular, cellular and developmental biology

    SciTech Connect

    1996-12-31

    A symposium entitled ``The Extracellular Matrix of Plants: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology was held in Tamarron, Colorado, March 15--21, 1996. The following topics were explored in addresses by 43 speakers: structure and biochemistry of cell walls; biochemistry, molecular biology and biosynthesis of lignin; secretory pathway and synthesis of glycoproteins; biosynthesis of matrix polysaccharides, callose and cellulose; role of the extracellular matrix in plant growth and development; plant cell walls in symbiosis and pathogenesis.

  4. Molecular biology and cytopathology. Principles and applications.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Fernando C; Vielh, Philippe

    2012-12-01

    Some of the main applications of molecular techniques using cellular materials obtained from tumors by means of non-gynecological exfoliative cytology or fine-needle aspiration are briefly described in this review.

  5. Bottom-up synthetic biology: engineering in a tinkerer's world.

    PubMed

    Schwille, Petra

    2011-09-02

    How synthetic can "synthetic biology" be? A literal interpretation of the name of this new life science discipline invokes expectations of the systematic construction of biological systems with cells being built module by module--from the bottom up. But can this possibly be achieved, taking into account the enormous complexity and redundancy of living systems, which distinguish them quite remarkably from design features that characterize human inventions? There are several recent developments in biology, in tight conjunction with quantitative disciplines, that may bring this literal perspective into the realm of the possible. However, such bottom-up engineering requires tools that were originally designed by nature's greatest tinkerer: evolution.

  6. The Research Proposal in Biomechanical and Biological Engineering Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harrison, Roger G.; Nollert, Matthias U.; Schmidtke, David W.; Sikavitsas, Vassilios I.

    2006-01-01

    Students in four biochemical and biological engineering courses for upper-­level undergraduates and graduate students were required to write a research proposal. Breaking the requirements down into segments (such as a summary with specific aims, rough draft, and final draft) due on different dates helped make the assignment more manageable for the…

  7. Computer-Based Semantic Network in Molecular Biology: A Demonstration.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Callman, Joshua L.; And Others

    This paper analyzes the hardware and software features that would be desirable in a computer-based semantic network system for representing biology knowledge. It then describes in detail a prototype network of molecular biology knowledge that has been developed using Filevision software and a Macintosh computer. The prototype contains about 100…

  8. The molecular biology of Bluetongue virus replication.

    PubMed

    Patel, Avnish; Roy, Polly

    2014-03-01

    The members of Orbivirus genus within the Reoviridae family are arthropod-borne viruses which are responsible for high morbidity and mortality in ruminants. Bluetongue virus (BTV) which causes disease in livestock (sheep, goat, cattle) has been in the forefront of molecular studies for the last three decades and now represents the best understood orbivirus at a molecular and structural level. The complex nature of the virion structure has been well characterised at high resolution along with the definition of the virus encoded enzymes required for RNA replication; the ordered assembly of the capsid shell as well as the protein and genome sequestration required for it; and the role of host proteins in virus entry and virus release. More recent developments of Reverse Genetics and Cell-Free Assembly systems have allowed integration of the accumulated structural and molecular knowledge to be tested at meticulous level, yielding higher insight into basic molecular virology, from which the rational design of safe efficacious vaccines has been possible. This article is centred on the molecular dissection of BTV with a view to understanding the role of each protein in the virus replication cycle. These areas are important in themselves for BTV replication but they also indicate the pathways that related viruses, which includes viruses that are pathogenic to man and animals, might also use providing an informed starting point for intervention or prevention.

  9. Fundamental Approaches in Molecular Biology for Communication Sciences and Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bartlett, Rebecca S.; Jette, Marie E.; King, Suzanne N.; Schaser, Allison; Thibeault, Susan L.

    2012-01-01

    Purpose: This contemporary tutorial will introduce general principles of molecular biology, common deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA), and protein assays and their relevance in the field of communication sciences and disorders. Method: Over the past 2 decades, knowledge of the molecular pathophysiology of human disease has…

  10. [Application of molecular biological techniques in Taenia identification].

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Liu, Hang; Yang, Yi-Mei

    2011-10-01

    The traditional identification of Taenia spp. based on morphological features of adult and cysticercus has difficulties in identifying the morphologically similar species. The recent development of molecular techniques provides more scientific ways for distinguishing Taenia species. This paper summarizes the application of molecular biological techniques in the identification of Taenia, such as analysis of DNA sequence, PCR-RFLP and LAMP.

  11. Using a Computer Animation to Teach High School Molecular Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rotbain, Yosi; Marbach-Ad, Gili; Stavy, Ruth

    2008-01-01

    We present an active way to use a computer animation in secondary molecular genetics class. For this purpose we developed an activity booklet that helps students to work interactively with a computer animation which deals with abstract concepts and processes in molecular biology. The achievements of the experimental group were compared with those…

  12. Molecular engineering of industrial enzymes: recent advances and future prospects.

    PubMed

    Yang, Haiquan; Li, Jianghua; Shin, Hyun-Dong; Du, Guocheng; Liu, Long; Chen, Jian

    2014-01-01

    Many enzymes are efficiently produced by microbes. However, the use of natural enzymes as biocatalysts has limitations such as low catalytic efficiency, low activity, and low stability, especially under industrial conditions. Many protein engineering technologies have been developed to modify natural enzymes and eliminate these limitations. Commonly used protein engineering strategies include directed evolution, site-directed mutagenesis, truncation, and terminal fusion. This review summarizes recent advances in the molecular engineering of industrial enzymes and discusses future prospects in this field. We expect this review to increase interest in and advance the molecular engineering of industrial enzymes.

  13. Using the Power of Organic Synthesis for Engineering the Interactions of Nanoparticles with Biological Systems.

    PubMed

    Mizuhara, Tsukasa; Moyano, Daniel F; Rotello, Vincent M

    2016-02-01

    The surface properties of nanoparticles (NPs) dictate their interaction with the outside world. The use of precisely designed molecular ligands to control NP surface properties provides an important toolkit for modulating their interaction with biological systems, facilitating their use in biomedicine. In this review we will discuss the application of the atom-by-atom control provided by organic synthesis to the generation of engineered nanoparticles, with emphasis on how the functionalization of NPs with these "small" organic molecules (Mw < 1,000) can be used to engineer NPs for a wide range of applications.

  14. Molecular biology of human muscle disease

    SciTech Connect

    Dunne, P.W.; Epstein, H.F. )

    1991-01-01

    The molecular revolution that is transforming the entire biomedical field has had far-reaching impact in its application to inherited human muscle disease. The gene for Duchenne muscular dystrophy was one of the first cloned without knowledge of the defective protein product. This success was based upon the availability of key chromosomal aberrations that provided molecular landmarks for the disease locus. Subsequent discoveries regarding the mode of expression for this gene, the structure and localization of its protein product dystrophin, and molecular diagnosis of affected and carrier individuals constitute a paradigm for investigation of human genetics. Finding the gene for myotonic muscular dystrophy is requiring the brute force approach of cloning several million bases of DNA, identifying expressed sequences, and characterizing candidate genes. The gene that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been found serendipitously to be one of the genetic markers on chromosome 14, the {beta} myosin heavy chain.

  15. Engineering Titanium for Improved Biological Response

    SciTech Connect

    Orme, C; Bearinger, J; Dimasi, E; Gilbert, J

    2002-01-23

    The human body and its aggressive environment challenge the survival of implanted foreign materials. Formidable biocompatibility issues arise from biological, chemical, electrical, and tribological origins. The body's electrolytic solution provides the first point of contact with any kind of implant, and is responsible for transport, healing, integration, or attack. Therefore, determining how to successfully control the integration of a biomaterial should begin with an analysis of the early interfacial dynamics involved. setting, a complicated feedback system of solution chemistry, pH, ions, and solubility exists. The introduction of a fixation device instantly confounds this system. The body is exposed to a range of voltages, and wear can bring about significant shifts in potentials across an implant. In the environment of a new implant the solution pH becomes acidic, ionic concentrations shift, cathodic currents can lead to corrosion, and oxygen levels can be depleted; all of these impact the ability of the implant to retain its protective oxide layer and to present a stable interface for the formation of a biolayer. Titanium has been used in orthopedic and maxilofacial surgery for many years due to its reputation as being biocompatible and its ability to osseointegrate. Osseointegration is defined as direct structural and functional connection between ordered, living bone, and the surface of a load carrying implant. Branemark discovered this phenomenon in the 60's while examining titanium juxtaposed to bone. The mechanism by which titanium and its passivating oxide encourage osseosynthetic activity remains unknown. However in general terms the oxide film serves two purposes: first to provide a kinetic barrier that prevents titanium from corroding and second to provide a substrate that allows the constituents of bone (calcium phosphate crystals, cells, proteins, and collagen) to bond to it. We believe that the electrochemical environment dictates the titanium

  16. Using biological inspiration to engineer functional nanostructured materials.

    PubMed

    Wendell, David W; Patti, Jordan; Montemagno, Carlo D

    2006-11-01

    Humans have always looked to nature for design inspiration, and material design on the molecular level is no different. Here we explore how this idea applies to nanoscale biomimicry, specifically examining both recent advances and our own work on engineering lipid and polymer membrane systems with cellular processes.

  17. NANOPARTICLES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS IN CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Edina C.; Wang, Andrew Z.

    2013-01-01

    Nanoparticles can be engineered with distinctive compositions, sizes, shapes, and surface chemistries to enable novel techniques in a wide range of biological applications. The unique properties of nanoparticles and their behavior in biological milieu also enable exciting and integrative approaches to studying fundamental biological questions. This review will provide an overview of various types of nanoparticles and concepts of targeting nanoparticles. We will also discuss the advantages and recent applications of using nanoparticles as tools for drug delivery, imaging, sensing, and for the understanding of basic biological processes. PMID:24104563

  18. Methods in molecular biology: plant cytogenetics

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cytogenetic studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of genetics, biology, reproduction, and evolution. From early studies in basic chromosome behavior the field has expanded enabling whole genome analysis to the manipulation of chromosomes and their organization. This book covers a ran...

  19. Genetics and molecular biology in laboratory medicine, 1963-2013.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, John B

    2013-01-01

    The past 50 years have seen many changes in laboratory medicine, either as causes or consequences of increases in productivity and expansion of the range of information which can be provided. The drivers and facilitators of change in relation to clinical applications of molecular biology included the need for diagnostic tools for genetic diseases and technical advances such as PCR and sequencing. However, molecular biology techniques have proved to have far wider applications, from detection of infectious agents to molecular characterization of tumors. Journals such as Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine play an important role in communication of these advances to the laboratory medicine community and in publishing evaluations of their practical value.

  20. Molecular biological enhancement of coal biodesulfurization. Final technical report

    SciTech Connect

    Litchfield, J.H.; Zupancic, T.J.; Kittle, J.D. Jr.; Baker, B.; Palmer, D.T.; Traunero, C.G.; Wyza, R.E.; Schweitzer, A.; Conkle, H.N.; Chakravarty, L.; Tuovinen, O.H.

    1992-10-08

    Progress is reported in understanding Thiobacillus molecular biology, specifically in the area of vector development. At the initiation of this program, the basic elements needed for performing genetic engineering in T. ferrooxidans were either not yet developed. Improved techniques are described which will make it easier to construct and analyze the genetic structure and metabolism of recombinant T. ferrooxidans. The metabolism of the model organic sulfur compound dibenzothiophene (DBT) by certain heterotrophic bacteria was confirmed and characterized. Techniques were developed to analyze the metabolites of DBT, so that individual 4S pathway metabolites could be distinguished. These techniques are expected to be valuable when engineering organic sulfur metabolism in Thiobacillus. Strain isolation techniques were used to develop pure cultures of T. ferrooxidans seven of which were assessed as potential recombinant hosts. The mixotrophic strain T. coprinus was also characterized for potential use as an electroporation host. A family of related Thiobacillus plasmids was discovered in the seven strains of P. ferrooxidans mentioned above. One of these plasmids, pTFI91, was cloned into a pUC-based plasmid vector, allowing it to propagate in E. coli. A key portion of the cloned plasmid was sequenced. This segment, which is conserved in all of the related plasmids characterized, contains the vegetative origin of DNA replication, and fortuitously, a novel insertion sequence, designated IS3091. The sequence of the DNA origin revealed that these Thiobacillus plasmids represent a unique class of replicons not previously described. The potentially useful insertion sequence IS3091 was identified as a new member of a previously undefined family of insertion sequences which include the E. coli element IS30.

  1. Molecular biological enhancement of coal biodesulfurization

    SciTech Connect

    Kilbane, J.J. II; Bielaga, B.A.

    1991-12-01

    The overall objective of this project was to use molecular genetics to develop strains of bacteria with enhanced ability to remove sulfur from coal, and to obtain data that will allow the performance and economics of a coal biodesulfurization process to be predicted. (VC)

  2. Engineering plant metabolism into microbes: from systems biology to synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Xu, Peng; Bhan, Namita; Koffas, Mattheos A G

    2013-04-01

    Plant metabolism represents an enormous repository of compounds that are of pharmaceutical and biotechnological importance. Engineering plant metabolism into microbes will provide sustainable solutions to produce pharmaceutical and fuel molecules that could one day replace substantial portions of the current fossil-fuel based economy. Metabolic engineering entails targeted manipulation of biosynthetic pathways to maximize yields of desired products. Recent advances in Systems Biology and the emergence of Synthetic Biology have accelerated our ability to design, construct and optimize cell factories for metabolic engineering applications. Progress in predicting and modeling genome-scale metabolic networks, versatile gene assembly platforms and delicate synthetic pathway optimization strategies has provided us exciting opportunities to exploit the full potential of cell metabolism. In this review, we will discuss how systems and synthetic biology tools can be integrated to create tailor-made cell factories for efficient production of natural products and fuel molecules in microorganisms.

  3. The nucleic acid revolution continues – will forensic biology become forensic molecular biology?

    PubMed Central

    Gunn, Peter; Walsh, Simon; Roux, Claude

    2014-01-01

    Molecular biology has evolved far beyond that which could have been predicted at the time DNA identity testing was established. Indeed we should now perhaps be referring to “forensic molecular biology.” Aside from DNA’s established role in identifying the “who” in crime investigations, other developments in medical and developmental molecular biology are now ripe for application to forensic challenges. The impact of DNA methylation and other post-fertilization DNA modifications, plus the emerging role of small RNAs in the control of gene expression, is re-writing our understanding of human biology. It is apparent that these emerging technologies will expand forensic molecular biology to allow for inferences about “when” a crime took place and “what” took place. However, just as the introduction of DNA identity testing engendered many challenges, so the expansion of molecular biology into these domains will raise again the issues of scientific validity, interpretation, probative value, and infringement of personal liberties. This Commentary ponders some of these emerging issues, and presents some ideas on how they will affect the conduct of forensic molecular biology in the foreseeable future. PMID:24634675

  4. The nucleic acid revolution continues - will forensic biology become forensic molecular biology?

    PubMed

    Gunn, Peter; Walsh, Simon; Roux, Claude

    2014-01-01

    Molecular biology has evolved far beyond that which could have been predicted at the time DNA identity testing was established. Indeed we should now perhaps be referring to "forensic molecular biology." Aside from DNA's established role in identifying the "who" in crime investigations, other developments in medical and developmental molecular biology are now ripe for application to forensic challenges. The impact of DNA methylation and other post-fertilization DNA modifications, plus the emerging role of small RNAs in the control of gene expression, is re-writing our understanding of human biology. It is apparent that these emerging technologies will expand forensic molecular biology to allow for inferences about "when" a crime took place and "what" took place. However, just as the introduction of DNA identity testing engendered many challenges, so the expansion of molecular biology into these domains will raise again the issues of scientific validity, interpretation, probative value, and infringement of personal liberties. This Commentary ponders some of these emerging issues, and presents some ideas on how they will affect the conduct of forensic molecular biology in the foreseeable future.

  5. Genome-scale engineering for systems and synthetic biology

    PubMed Central

    Esvelt, Kevin M; Wang, Harris H

    2013-01-01

    Genome-modification technologies enable the rational engineering and perturbation of biological systems. Historically, these methods have been limited to gene insertions or mutations at random or at a few pre-defined locations across the genome. The handful of methods capable of targeted gene editing suffered from low efficiencies, significant labor costs, or both. Recent advances have dramatically expanded our ability to engineer cells in a directed and combinatorial manner. Here, we review current technologies and methodologies for genome-scale engineering, discuss the prospects for extending efficient genome modification to new hosts, and explore the implications of continued advances toward the development of flexibly programmable chasses, novel biochemistries, and safer organismal and ecological engineering. PMID:23340847

  6. Genome-scale engineering for systems and synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Esvelt, Kevin M; Wang, Harris H

    2013-01-01

    Genome-modification technologies enable the rational engineering and perturbation of biological systems. Historically, these methods have been limited to gene insertions or mutations at random or at a few pre-defined locations across the genome. The handful of methods capable of targeted gene editing suffered from low efficiencies, significant labor costs, or both. Recent advances have dramatically expanded our ability to engineer cells in a directed and combinatorial manner. Here, we review current technologies and methodologies for genome-scale engineering, discuss the prospects for extending efficient genome modification to new hosts, and explore the implications of continued advances toward the development of flexibly programmable chasses, novel biochemistries, and safer organismal and ecological engineering.

  7. Biological (molecular and cellular) markers of toxicity

    SciTech Connect

    McCarthy, J.F.

    1990-04-01

    The overall objective of this study is to evaluate the use of the small aquarium fish, Japanese Medaka, as a predictor of potential genotoxicity following exposure to carcinogens. This will be accomplished by quantitatively investigating the early molecular events associated with genotoxicity of various tissues of Medaka subsequent to exposure of the organism to several known carcinogens, such as diethylnitrosamine (DEN) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). 11 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  8. Application of Molecular Modeling to Biological Processes

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1993-07-01

    informa- tion. DNA is the storehouse for the information that ultimately governs the synthesis of all biomolecules. It is generally found in the Watson ... Crick double helix . Breakthroughs in computer graphics and simulations have discovered that intercalation of flat aromatic rings is a major mechanism...for mutations.’ 0 Using molecular mechanics, docking studies show that molecules (e.g., acridine) can insert through the edge of the DNA helix . This

  9. Advances and Computational Tools towards Predictable Design in Biological Engineering

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    The design process of complex systems in all the fields of engineering requires a set of quantitatively characterized components and a method to predict the output of systems composed by such elements. This strategy relies on the modularity of the used components or the prediction of their context-dependent behaviour, when parts functioning depends on the specific context. Mathematical models usually support the whole process by guiding the selection of parts and by predicting the output of interconnected systems. Such bottom-up design process cannot be trivially adopted for biological systems engineering, since parts function is hard to predict when components are reused in different contexts. This issue and the intrinsic complexity of living systems limit the capability of synthetic biologists to predict the quantitative behaviour of biological systems. The high potential of synthetic biology strongly depends on the capability of mastering this issue. This review discusses the predictability issues of basic biological parts (promoters, ribosome binding sites, coding sequences, transcriptional terminators, and plasmids) when used to engineer simple and complex gene expression systems in Escherichia coli. A comparison between bottom-up and trial-and-error approaches is performed for all the discussed elements and mathematical models supporting the prediction of parts behaviour are illustrated. PMID:25161694

  10. The molecular biology of WHO grade I astrocytomas.

    PubMed

    Marko, Nicholas F; Weil, Robert J

    2012-12-01

    World Health Organization (WHO) grade I astrocytomas include pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA). As technologies in pharmacologic neo-adjuvant therapy continue to progress and as molecular characteristics are progressively recognized as potential markers of both clinically significant tumor subtypes and response to therapy, interest in the biology of these tumors has surged. An updated review of the current knowledge of the molecular biology of these tumors is needed. We conducted a Medline search to identify published literature discussing the molecular biology of grade I astrocytomas. We then summarized this literature and discuss it in a logical framework through which the complex biology of these tumors can be clearly understood. A comprehensive review of the molecular biology of WHO grade I astrocytomas is presented. The past several years have seen rapid progress in the level of understanding of PA in particular, but the molecular literature regarding both PA and SEGA remains nebulous, ambiguous, and occasionally contradictory. In this review we provide a comprehensive discussion of the current understanding of the chromosomal, genomic, and epigenomic features of both PA and SEGA and provide a logical framework in which these data can be more readily understood.

  11. Asymmetry at the molecular level in biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Louise N.

    2005-10-01

    Naturally occurring biological molecules are made of homochiral building blocks. Proteins are composed of L-amino acids (and not D-amino acids); nucleic acids such as DNA have D-ribose sugars (and not L-ribose sugars). It is not clear why nature selected a particular chirality. Selection could have occurred by chance or as a consequence of basic physical chemistry. Possible proposals, including the contribution of the parity violating the weak nuclear force, are discussed together with the mechanisms by which this very small contribution might be amplified. Homochirality of the amino acids has consequences for protein structure. Helices are right handed and beta sheets have a left-hand twist. When incorporated into the tertiary structure of a protein these chiralities limit the topologies of connections between helices and sheets. Polypeptides comprised of D-amino acids can be synthesized chemically and have been shown to adopt stable structures that are the mirror image of the naturally occurring L-amino acid polypeptides. Chirality is important in drug design. Three examples are discussed: penicillin; the CD4 antagonistic peptides; and thalidomide. The absolute hand of a biological structure can only be established by X-ray crystallographic methods using the technique of anomalous scattering.

  12. Evolution of egg coats: linking molecular biology and ecology.

    PubMed

    Shu, Longfei; Suter, Marc J-F; Räsänen, Katja

    2015-08-01

    One central goal of evolutionary biology is to explain how biological diversity emerges and is maintained in nature. Given the complexity of the phenotype and the multifaceted nature of inheritance, modern evolutionary ecological studies rely heavily on the use of molecular tools. Here, we show how molecular tools help to gain insight into the role of egg coats (i.e. the extracellular structures surrounding eggs and embryos) in evolutionary diversification. Egg coats are maternally derived structures that have many biological functions from mediating fertilization to protecting the embryo from environmental hazards. They show great molecular, structural and functional diversity across species, but intraspecific variability and the role of ecology in egg coat evolution have largely been overlooked. Given that much of the variation that influences egg coat function is ultimately determined by their molecular phenotype, cutting-edge molecular tools (e.g. proteomics, glycomics and transcriptomics), combined with functional assays, are needed for rigorous inferences on their evolutionary ecology. Here, we identify key research areas and highlight emerging molecular techniques that can increase our understanding of the role of egg coats in the evolution of biological diversity, from adaptation to speciation.

  13. Engineering the robustness of industrial microbes through synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Linjiang; Zhu, Yan; Zhang, Yanping; Li, Yin

    2012-02-01

    Microbial fermentations and bioconversions play a central role in the production of pharmaceuticals, enzymes and chemicals. To meet the demands of industrial production, it is desirable that microbes maintain a maximized carbon flux towards target metabolites regardless of fluctuations in intracellular or extracellular environments. This requires cellular systems that maintain functional stability and dynamic homeostasis in a given physiological state, or manipulate transitions between different physiological states. Stable maintenance or smooth transition can be achieved through engineering of dynamic controllability, modular and hierarchical organization, or functional redundancy, three key features of biological robustness in a cellular system. This review summarizes how synthetic biology can be used to improve the robustness of industrial microbes.

  14. Systems biology of molecular chaperone networks.

    PubMed

    Csermely, Péter; Korcsmáros, Tamás; Kovács, István A; Szalay, Máté S; Soti, Csaba

    2008-01-01

    Molecular chaperones are not only fascinating molecular machines that help the folding, refolding, activation or assembly of other proteins, but also have a number of functions. These functions can be understood only by considering the emergent properties of cellular networks--and that of chaperones as special network constituents. As a notable example for the network-related roles of chaperones they may act as genetic buffers stabilizing the phenotype of various cells and organisms, and may serve as potential regulators of evolvability. Why are chaperones special in the context of cellular networks? Chaperones: (1) have weak links, i.e. low affinity, transient interactions with most of their partners; (2) connect hubs, i.e. act as 'masterminds' of the cell being close to several centre proteins with a lot of neighbours; and (3) are in the overlaps of network modules, which confers upon them a special regulatory role. Importantly, chaperones may uncouple or even quarantine modules of protein-protein interaction networks, signalling networks, genetic regulatory networks and membrane organelle networks during stress, which gives an additional chaperone-mediated protection for the cell at the network-level. Moreover, chaperones are essential to rebuild inter-modular contacts after stress by their low affinity, 'quasi-random' sampling of the potential interaction partners in different cellular modules. This opens the way to the chaperone-regulated modular evolution of cellular networks, and helps us to design novel therapeutic and anti-ageing strategies.

  15. pGLO Mutagenesis: A Laboratory Procedure in Molecular Biology for Biology Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bassiri, Eby A.

    2011-01-01

    A five-session laboratory project was designed to familiarize or increase the laboratory proficiency of biology students and others with techniques and instruments commonly used in molecular biology research laboratories and industries. In this project, the EZ-Tn5 transposon is used to generate and screen a large number of cells transformed with…

  16. Overview of selected molecular biological databases

    SciTech Connect

    Rayl, K.D.; Gaasterland, T.

    1994-11-01

    This paper presents an overview of the purpose, content, and design of a subset of the currently available biological databases, with an emphasis on protein databases. Databases included in this summary are 3D-ALI, Berlin RNA databank, Blocks, DSSP, EMBL Nucleotide Database, EMP, ENZYME, FSSP, GDB, GenBank, HSSP, LiMB, PDB, PIR, PKCDD, ProSite, and SWISS-PROT. The goal is to provide a starting point for researchers who wish to take advantage of the myriad available databases. Rather than providing a complete explanation of each database, we present its content and form by explaining the details of typical entries. Pointers to more complete ``user guides`` are included, along with general information on where to search for a new database.

  17. The molecular biology of WHO grade II gliomas.

    PubMed

    Marko, Nicholas F; Weil, Robert J

    2013-02-01

    The WHO grading scheme for glial neoplasms assigns Grade II to 5 distinct tumors of astrocytic or oligodendroglial lineage: diffuse astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, oligoastrocytoma, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, and pilomyxoid astrocytoma. Although commonly referred to collectively as among the "low-grade gliomas," these 5 tumors represent molecularly and clinically unique entities. Each is the subject of active basic research aimed at developing a more complete understanding of its molecular biology, and the pace of such research continues to accelerate. Additionally, because managing and predicting the course of these tumors has historically proven challenging, translational research regarding Grade II gliomas continues in the hopes of identifying novel molecular features that can better inform diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic strategies. Unfortunately, the basic and translational literature regarding the molecular biology of WHO Grade II gliomas remains nebulous. The authors' goal for this review was to present a comprehensive discussion of current knowledge regarding the molecular characteristics of these 5 WHO Grade II tumors on the chromosomal, genomic, and epigenomic levels. Additionally, they discuss the emerging evidence suggesting molecular differences between adult and pediatric Grade II gliomas. Finally, they present an overview of current strategies for using molecular data to classify low-grade gliomas into clinically relevant categories based on tumor biology.

  18. Recent advances of molecular toolbox construction expand Pichia pastoris in synthetic biology applications.

    PubMed

    Kang, Zhen; Huang, Hao; Zhang, Yunfeng; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2017-01-01

    Pichia pastoris: (reclassified as Komagataella phaffii), a methylotrophic yeast strain has been widely used for heterologous protein production because of its unique advantages, such as readily achievable high-density fermentation, tractable genetic modifications and typical eukaryotic post-translational modifications. More recently, P. pastoris as a metabolic pathway engineering platform has also gained much attention. In this mini-review, we addressed recent advances of molecular toolboxes, including synthetic promoters, signal peptides, and genome engineering tools that established for P. pastoris. Furthermore, the applications of P. pastoris towards synthetic biology were also discussed and prospected especially in the context of genome-scale metabolic pathway analysis.

  19. [Molecular biology of von Willebrand disease].

    PubMed

    Melo-Nava, Brenda; Peñaloza, Rosenda

    2007-01-01

    Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) is a large multimeric glycoprotein expressed in the megakaryocytes and endothelial cells of all vertebrates. It participates fundamentally in the primary and secondary hemostasis because it induces the adhesion of platelets to vascular subendothelium and promotes aggregation of platelets when blood vessels and capillaries are damaged. In addition, VWF links to factor VIII which avoids its proteolysis. The deficiency or the inadequate synthesis of the VWF causes von Willebrand disease (VWD), which is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder in humans principally from mucous and cutaneous sites. VWD is difficult to detect with accuracy due to interrelation among VWF with different components of hemostasis, although it is performed by different tests of haemostatic system, and the basic mechanisms in VWD are herein emphasized. The diagnosis of VWD is difficult due to the heterogeneous manifestation of the disease, which also complicates its classification. This article focuses on the molecular aspects of the disease and discusses their possible clinical implications.

  20. Comparative molecular modelling of biologically active sterols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baran, Mariusz; Mazerski, Jan

    2015-04-01

    Membrane sterols are targets for a clinically important antifungal agent - amphotericin B. The relatively specific antifungal action of the drug is based on a stronger interaction of amphotericin B with fungal ergosterol than with mammalian cholesterol. Conformational space occupied by six sterols has been defined using the molecular dynamics method to establish if the conformational features correspond to the preferential interaction of amphotericin B with ergosterol as compared with cholesterol. The compounds studied were chosen on the basis of structural features characteristic for cholesterol and ergosterol and on available experimental data on the ability to form complexes with the antibiotic. Statistical analysis of the data obtained has been performed. The results show similarity of the conformational spaces occupied by all the sterols tested. This suggests that the conformational differences of sterol molecules are not the major feature responsible for the differential sterol - drug affinity.

  1. Molecular biology of testicular germ cell tumors.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Exposito, R; Merino, M; Aguayo, C

    2016-06-01

    Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are the most common solid tumors in young adult men. They constitute a unique pathology because of their embryonic and germ origin and their special behavior. Genetic predisposition, environmental factors involved in their development and genetic aberrations have been under study in many works throughout the last years trying to explain the susceptibility and the transformation mechanism of TGCTs. Despite the high rate of cure in this type of tumors because its particular sensitivity to cisplatin, there are tumors resistant to chemotherapy for which it is needed to find new therapies. In the present work, it has been carried out a literature review on the most important molecular aspects involved in the onset and development of such tumors, as well as a review of the major developments regarding prognostic factors, new prognostic biomarkers and the possibility of new targeted therapies.

  2. Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference 2014

    SciTech Connect

    Voigt, Christopher

    2014-07-01

    SEED2014 focused on advances in the science and technology emerging from the field of synthetic biology. We broadly define this as technologies that accelerate the process of genetic engineering. It highlighted new tool development, as well as the application of these tools to diverse problems in biotechnology, including therapeutics, industrial chemicals and fuels, natural products, and agriculture. Systems spanned from in vitro experiments and viruses, through diverse bacteria, to eukaryotes (yeast, mammalian cells, plants).

  3. Engineered elastomeric proteins with dual elasticity can be controlled by a molecular regulator.

    PubMed

    Cao, Yi; Li, Hongbin

    2008-08-01

    Elastomeric proteins are molecular springs that confer excellent mechanical properties to many biological tissues and biomaterials. Depending on the role performed by the tissue or biomaterial, elastomeric proteins can behave as molecular springs or shock absorbers. Here we combine single-molecule atomic force microscopy and protein engineering techniques to create elastomeric proteins that can switch between two distinct types of mechanical behaviour in response to the binding of a molecular regulator. The proteins are mechanically labile by design and behave as entropic springs with an elasticity that is governed by their configurational entropy. However, when a molecular regulator binds to the protein, it switches into a mechanically stable state and can act as a shock absorber. These engineered proteins effectively mimic and combine the two extreme forms of elastic behaviour found in natural elastomeric proteins, and thus represent a new type of smart nanomaterial that will find potential applications in nanomechanics and material sciences.

  4. Teaching Cell and Molecular Biology for Gender Equity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sible, Jill C.; Wilhelm, Dayna E.; Lederman, Muriel

    2006-01-01

    Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, including cell biology, are characterized by the "leaky pipeline" syndrome in which, over time, women leave the discipline. The pipeline itself and the pond into which it empties may not be neutral. Explicating invisible norms, attitudes, and practices by integrating social…

  5. Molecular engineering and characterization of self-assembled biorecognition surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Sheng

    The development of molecular engineering techniques for the fabrication of biomaterial surfaces is of importance in the field of biomaterials. It offers opportunities for better understanding of biological processes on material surfaces and rational design of contemporary biomaterials. Our work in this area aims to develop novel engineering strategies to design biorecognition surfaces via self-assembly and surface derivatization. Fundamental issues regarding self-assembled monolayer (SAM) structure, formation kinetics, and chemical derivatization were investigated systematically using electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRAS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and contact angle measurements. Novel engineering concepts based on multifunctionality and statistical pattern matching were introduced and applied to develop biomimetic surfaces. Our study illustrated that molecules underwent structural transition and orientation development during self-assembly formation, from a disordered, low-density, more liquid-like structure to a highly ordered, closed-packed crystalline-like structure. Surface properties, such as wettability and the reactivity of outermost functional groups can be related to film structure, packing density, as well as molecular orientation. Given the order and organization of SAMs, the accessibility and reactivity of the outermost functional groups, reaction kinetics, stoichiometry, and SAMs stability were studied systematically by surface derivatization of trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA). The TFAA derivatization reactions exhibited rapid kinetics on the hydroxyl-terminated SAMs. The data from complementary surface analytical techniques consistently indicated a nearly complete surface reaction. Biomimetic surfaces were made by random immobilization of amino acid of arginine (R), glycine (G), and aspartic acid (D) on well-defined SAMs

  6. Multispectral optical tweezers for molecular diagnostics of single biological cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butler, Corey; Fardad, Shima; Sincore, Alex; Vangheluwe, Marie; Baudelet, Matthieu; Richardson, Martin

    2012-03-01

    Optical trapping of single biological cells has become an established technique for controlling and studying fundamental behavior of single cells with their environment without having "many-body" interference. The development of such an instrument for optical diagnostics (including Raman and fluorescence for molecular diagnostics) via laser spectroscopy with either the "trapping" beam or secondary beams is still in progress. This paper shows the development of modular multi-spectral imaging optical tweezers combining Raman and Fluorescence diagnostics of biological cells.

  7. A decade of molecular cell biology: achievements and challenges.

    PubMed

    Akhtar, Asifa; Fuchs, Elaine; Mitchison, Tim; Shaw, Reuben J; St Johnston, Daniel; Strasser, Andreas; Taylor, Susan; Walczak, Claire; Zerial, Marino

    2011-09-23

    Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology celebrated its 10-year anniversary during this past year with a series of specially commissioned articles. To complement this, here we have asked researchers from across the field for their insights into how molecular cell biology research has evolved during this past decade, the key concepts that have emerged and the most promising interfaces that have developed. Their comments highlight the broad impact that particular advances have had, some of the basic understanding that we still require, and the collaborative approaches that will be essential for driving the field forward.

  8. B13+: Photodriven Molecular Wankel Engine

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Jin; Sergeeva, Alina P.; Sparta, Manuel; Alexandrova, Anastassia N.

    2012-07-09

    Synthetic molecular motors that are capable of delivering controlled movement upon energy input are one of the key building blocks in nanomachinery. The major energy sources of molecular motors are from chemical reactions, photon beams, or electric current, which are converted into mechanical forces through the excitation of the electronic states of the molecule. The energy scale of the electronic excitation is normally two orders of magnitude larger than the molecular vibrational frequencies. To reduce the heat dissipation and increase the energy utilization efficiency, a motor running purely on the electronic ground-state (GS) potential energy surfaces is highly desirable.

  9. Epidemiology and molecular biology of Barrett esophagus.

    PubMed

    Casson, Alan G; Williams, Lara; Guernsey, Duane L

    2005-01-01

    Over the past three decades, there has been a marked change in the epidemiology of esophageal malignancy, with an increasing incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma. The reasons for this are largely unknown and remain controversial, but several lifestyle risk factors have been proposed, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is hypothesized that chronic GERD results in acute mucosal injury, promotes cellular proliferation, and induces specialized columnar metaplasia (Barrett esophagus). Progression of Barrett esophagus to invasive adenocarcinoma is reflected histologically by the metaplasia-dysplasia-carcinoma sequence. Dysplasia is widely regarded as the precursor of invasive cancer, and high-grade dysplasia in Barrett epithelium is frequently associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma. Although several molecular alterations have been described in Barrett esophagus, it is anticipated that relatively few will prove to be clinically useful. To date, biomarkers which currently appear to predict the progression of Barrett esophagus to invasive malignancy include aneuploidy, loss of heterozygosity of 17p (implicating the p53 tumor suppressor gene), and cyclin D1 protein overexpression, and with further validation, will most likely be incorporated into routine clinical practice. It is anticipated that models incorporating objective scores of sociodemographic and lifestyle risk factors (ie, age, gender, body mass index), severity of reflux symptoms, endoscopic and histologic findings, and an assessment of a panel of biomarkers will be developed to further define subsets of patients with Barrett esophagus at increased risk for malignant progression, thereby permitting the development of more rational endoscopic surveillance and screening programs.

  10. [Molecular biology of haemostasis: fibrinogen, factor XIII].

    PubMed

    Meyer, M

    2004-05-01

    Genetic defects of fibrinogen are caused by a broad spectrum of mutations in one of the three structural genes FGA, FGB and FGG. They result in complete or partial lack of plasma fibrinogen (a- or hypofibrinogenaemia) or in structural abnormalities affecting protein function (dysfibrinogenaemia). In contrast to afibrinogenaemia mainly caused by nonsense, frameshift, and splice site mutations resulting in substantially truncated polypeptide chains (mainly Aalpha), in hypo- and dysfibrinogenaemias missense mutations lead to the exchange of single amino acids as dominating underlying defect. In the cases with quantitative disorders, bleeding with various degrees of severity is generally observed. Dysfibrinogenaemia is associated with both bleeding or thrombosis or even a combination of haemorrhagic and thromboembolic symptoms. About one half of the dysfibrinogenaemic cases is clinically asymptomatic. The plasmatic factor XIII (FXIII) is a heterotetramer composed of two A and two B subunits encoded by two different genes. FXIII deficiency is associated with bleeding, wound dehiscence and recurrent spontaneous abortions. The most frequent form is caused by defects in the A subunit with a broad spectrum of underlying mutations. Defects of the B subunit are very rare and were molecularly elucidated in only a few cases.

  11. Biological surface engineering: a simple system for cell pattern formation.

    PubMed

    Zhang, S; Yan, L; Altman, M; Lässle, M; Nugent, H; Frankel, F; Lauffenburger, D A; Whitesides, G M; Rich, A

    1999-07-01

    Biological surface engineering using synthetic biological materials has a great potential for advances in our understanding of complex biological phenomena. We developed a simple system to engineer biologically relevant surfaces using a combination of self-assembling oligopeptide monolayers and microcontact printing (muCP). We designed and synthesized two oligopeptides containing a cell adhesion motif (RADS)n (n = 2 and 3) at the N-terminus, followed by an oligo(alanine) linker and a cysteine residue at the C-terminus. The thiol group of cysteine allows the oligopeptides to attach covalently onto a gold-coated surface to form monolayers. We then microfabricated a variety of surface patterns using the cell adhesion peptides in combination with hexa-ethylene glycol thiolate which resist non-specific adsorption of proteins and cells. The resulting patterns consist of areas either supporting or inhibiting cell adhesion, thus they are capable of aligning cells in a well-defined manner, leading to specific cell array and pattern formations.

  12. Hepatitis B virus molecular biology and pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Lamontagne, R. Jason; Bagga, Sumedha; Bouchard, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    As obligate intracellular parasites, viruses need a host cell to provide a milieu favorable to viral replication. Consequently, viruses often adopt mechanisms to subvert host cellular signaling processes. While beneficial for the viral replication cycle, virus-induced deregulation of host cellular signaling processes can be detrimental to host cell physiology and can lead to virus-associated pathogenesis, including, for oncogenic viruses, cell transformation and cancer progression. Included among these oncogenic viruses is the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Despite the availability of an HBV vaccine, 350–500 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HBV, and a significant number of these chronically infected individuals will develop hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Epidemiological studies indicate that chronic infection with HBV is the leading risk factor for the development of HCC. Globally, HCC is the second highest cause of cancer-associated deaths, underscoring the need for understanding mechanisms that regulate HBV replication and the development of HBV-associated HCC. HBV is the prototype member of the Hepadnaviridae family; members of this family of viruses have a narrow host range and predominately infect hepatocytes in their respective hosts. The extremely small and compact hepadnaviral genome, the unique arrangement of open reading frames, and a replication strategy utilizing reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate to generate the DNA genome are distinguishing features of the Hepadnaviridae. In this review, we provide a comprehensive description of HBV biology, summarize the model systems used for studying HBV infections, and highlight potential mechanisms that link a chronic HBV-infection to the development of HCC. For example, the HBV X protein (HBx), a key regulatory HBV protein that is important for HBV replication, is thought to play a cofactor role in the development of HBV-induced HCC, and we highlight the functions of HBx that may

  13. Human papillomavirus molecular biology and disease association

    PubMed Central

    Egawa, Nagayasu; Griffin, Heather; Kranjec, Christian; Murakami, Isao

    2015-01-01

    Summary Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) have evolved over millions of years to propagate themselves in a range of different animal species including humans. Viruses that have co‐evolved slowly in this way typically cause chronic inapparent infections, with virion production in the absence of apparent disease. This is the case for many Beta and Gamma HPV types. The Alpha papillomavirus types have however evolved immunoevasion strategies that allow them to cause persistent visible papillomas. These viruses activate the cell cycle as the infected epithelial cell differentiates in order to create a replication competent environment that allows viral genome amplification and packaging into infectious particles. This is mediated by the viral E6, E7, and E5 proteins. High‐risk E6 and E7 proteins differ from their low‐risk counterparts however in being able to drive cell cycle entry in the upper epithelial layers and also to stimulate cell proliferation in the basal and parabasal layers. Deregulated expression of these cell cycle regulators underlies neoplasia and the eventual progression to cancer in individuals who cannot resolve high‐risk HPV infection. Most work to date has focused on the study of high‐risk HPV types such as HPV 16 and 18, which has led to an understanding of the molecular pathways subverted by these viruses. Such approaches will lead to the development of better strategies for disease treatment, including targeted antivirals and immunotherapeutics. Priorities are now focused toward understanding HPV neoplasias at sites other than the cervix (e.g. tonsils, other transformation zones) and toward understanding the mechanisms by which low‐risk HPV types can sometimes give rise to papillomatosis and under certain situations even cancers. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:25752814

  14. Zsyntax: a formal language for molecular biology with projected applications in text mining and biological prediction.

    PubMed

    Boniolo, Giovanni; D'Agostino, Marcello; Di Fiore, Pier Paolo

    2010-03-03

    We propose a formal language that allows for transposing biological information precisely and rigorously into machine-readable information. This language, which we call Zsyntax (where Z stands for the Greek word zetaomegaeta, life), is grounded on a particular type of non-classical logic, and it can be used to write algorithms and computer programs. We present it as a first step towards a comprehensive formal language for molecular biology in which any biological process can be written and analyzed as a sort of logical "deduction". Moreover, we illustrate the potential value of this language, both in the field of text mining and in that of biological prediction.

  15. Cell and molecular biology of epidermal growth factor receptor.

    PubMed

    Ceresa, Brian P; Peterson, Joanne L

    2014-01-01

    The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been one of the most intensely studied cell surface receptors due to its well-established roles in developmental biology, tissue homeostasis, and cancer biology. The EGFR has been critical for creating paradigms for numerous aspects of cell biology, such as ligand binding, signal transduction, and membrane trafficking. Despite this history of discovery, there is a continual stream of evidence that only the surface has been scratched. New ways of receptor regulation continue to be identified, each of which is a potential molecular target for manipulating EGFR signaling and the resultant changes in cell and tissue biology. This chapter is an update on EGFR-mediated signaling, and describes some recent developments in the regulation of receptor biology.

  16. Biological networks 101: computational modeling for molecular biologists.

    PubMed

    Scholma, Jetse; Schivo, Stefano; Urquidi Camacho, Ricardo A; van de Pol, Jaco; Karperien, Marcel; Post, Janine N

    2014-01-01

    Computational modeling of biological networks permits the comprehensive analysis of cells and tissues to define molecular phenotypes and novel hypotheses. Although a large number of software tools have been developed, the versatility of these tools is limited by mathematical complexities that prevent their broad adoption and effective use by molecular biologists. This study clarifies the basic aspects of molecular modeling, how to convert data into useful input, as well as the number of time points and molecular parameters that should be considered for molecular regulatory models with both explanatory and predictive potential. We illustrate the necessary experimental preconditions for converting data into a computational model of network dynamics. This model requires neither a thorough background in mathematics nor precise data on intracellular concentrations, binding affinities or reaction kinetics. Finally, we show how an interactive model of crosstalk between signal transduction pathways in primary human articular chondrocytes allows insight into processes that regulate gene expression.

  17. Molecular Engineering of Self-assembled Nanoreactors

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-08-15

    with the ability to control enzyme encapsulation/release through conformational shifts in the nanostructure in response to environmental changes; (2...Assembly of enzyme and cofactor on a DNA nanostructure to evaluate the essential parameters for modulating catalysis; (3) Switchable enzyme ...structural DNA nanotechnology with the functionality of biological enzymes to produce 1. REPORT DATE (DD-MM-YYYY) 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE 13

  18. An Inquiry-based Introduction to Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Levy, Foster

    2000-01-01

    Presents investigative approaches to teaching molecular biology. Emphasizes a deductive determination of the nature of nucleic acids visualized in a gel, and a comparison of different genomes. Asks why students should take it on faith that what they view on a gel is DNA. (SAH)

  19. Frontiers in nuclear medicine symposium: Nuclear medicine & molecular biology

    SciTech Connect

    1995-04-01

    This document contains the abstracts from the American College of Nuclear Physicians 1993 Fall Meeting entitled, `Frontiers in Nuclear Medicine Symposium: Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Biology`. This meeting was sponsored by the US DOE, Office of Health and Environmental Research, Office of Energy Research. The program chairman was Richard C. Reba, M.D.

  20. Proceedings: Second international conference on intelligent systems for molecular biology

    SciTech Connect

    Altman, R.; Brutlag, D.; Karp, P.; Lathrop, R.; Searls, D.

    1994-12-31

    This volume provided full papers for presentations at the Second International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology held August 14-17, 1994 at Stanford University, Stanford, California. Each individual paper has been separately abstracted and indexed for the database.

  1. Web Based Learning Support for Experimental Design in Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilmsen, Tinri; Bisseling, Ton; Hartog, Rob

    An important learning goal of a molecular biology curriculum is a certain proficiency level in experimental design. Currently students are confronted with experimental approaches in textbooks, in lectures and in the laboratory. However, most students do not reach a satisfactory level of competence in the design of experimental approaches. This…

  2. Gene Concepts in Higher Education Cell and Molecular Biology Textbooks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Albuquerque, Pitombo Maiana; de Almeida, Ana Maria Rocha; El-Hani, Nino Charbel

    2008-01-01

    Despite being a landmark of 20th century biology, the "classical molecular gene concept," according to which a gene is a stretch of DNA encoding a functional product, which may be a single polypeptide or RNA molecule, has been recently challenged by a series of findings (e.g., split genes, alternative splicing, overlapping and nested…

  3. Assessing Practical Laboratory Skills in Undergraduate Molecular Biology Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hunt, Lynne; Koenders, Annette; Gynnild, Vidar

    2012-01-01

    This study explored a new strategy of assessing laboratory skills in a molecular biology course to improve: student effort in preparation for and participation in laboratory work; valid evaluation of learning outcomes; and students' employment prospects through provision of evidence of their skills. Previously, assessment was based on written…

  4. A Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Course for Secondary School Teachers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fernandez-Novell, J. M.; Cid, E.; Gomis, R.; Barbera, A.; Guinovart, J. J.

    2004-01-01

    This article describes a course for reinforcing the knowledge of biochemistry in secondary school science teachers. The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Barcelona designed a course to bring these teachers up to date with this discipline. In addition to updating their knowledge of biochemistry and molecular…

  5. A Streamlined Molecular Biology Module for Undergraduate Biochemistry Labs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Muth, Gregory W.; Chihade, Joseph W.

    2008-01-01

    Site-directed mutagenesis and other molecular biology techniques, including plasmid manipulation and restriction analysis, are commonly used tools in the biochemistry research laboratory. In redesigning our biochemistry lab curricula, we sought to integrate these techniques into a term-long, project-based course. In the module presented here,…

  6. From Biology to Mathematical Models and Back: Teaching Modeling to Biology Students, and Biology to Math and Engineering Students

    PubMed Central

    McManus, Jeffrey M.; Shaw, Kendrick M.

    2010-01-01

    We describe the development of a course to teach modeling and mathematical analysis skills to students of biology and to teach biology to students with strong backgrounds in mathematics, physics, or engineering. The two groups of students have different ways of learning material and often have strong negative feelings toward the area of knowledge that they find difficult. To give students a sense of mastery in each area, several complementary approaches are used in the course: 1) a “live” textbook that allows students to explore models and mathematical processes interactively; 2) benchmark problems providing key skills on which students make continuous progress; 3) assignment of students to teams of two throughout the semester; 4) regular one-on-one interactions with instructors throughout the semester; and 5) a term project in which students reconstruct, analyze, extend, and then write in detail about a recently published biological model. Based on student evaluations and comments, an attitude survey, and the quality of the students' term papers, the course has significantly increased the ability and willingness of biology students to use mathematical concepts and modeling tools to understand biological systems, and it has significantly enhanced engineering students' appreciation of biology. PMID:20810957

  7. From biology to mathematical models and back: teaching modeling to biology students, and biology to math and engineering students.

    PubMed

    Chiel, Hillel J; McManus, Jeffrey M; Shaw, Kendrick M

    2010-01-01

    We describe the development of a course to teach modeling and mathematical analysis skills to students of biology and to teach biology to students with strong backgrounds in mathematics, physics, or engineering. The two groups of students have different ways of learning material and often have strong negative feelings toward the area of knowledge that they find difficult. To give students a sense of mastery in each area, several complementary approaches are used in the course: 1) a "live" textbook that allows students to explore models and mathematical processes interactively; 2) benchmark problems providing key skills on which students make continuous progress; 3) assignment of students to teams of two throughout the semester; 4) regular one-on-one interactions with instructors throughout the semester; and 5) a term project in which students reconstruct, analyze, extend, and then write in detail about a recently published biological model. Based on student evaluations and comments, an attitude survey, and the quality of the students' term papers, the course has significantly increased the ability and willingness of biology students to use mathematical concepts and modeling tools to understand biological systems, and it has significantly enhanced engineering students' appreciation of biology.

  8. Using argument notation to engineer biological simulations with increased confidence.

    PubMed

    Alden, Kieran; Andrews, Paul S; Polack, Fiona A C; Veiga-Fernandes, Henrique; Coles, Mark C; Timmis, Jon

    2015-03-06

    The application of computational and mathematical modelling to explore the mechanics of biological systems is becoming prevalent. To significantly impact biological research, notably in developing novel therapeutics, it is critical that the model adequately represents the captured system. Confidence in adopting in silico approaches can be improved by applying a structured argumentation approach, alongside model development and results analysis. We propose an approach based on argumentation from safety-critical systems engineering, where a system is subjected to a stringent analysis of compliance against identified criteria. We show its use in examining the biological information upon which a model is based, identifying model strengths, highlighting areas requiring additional biological experimentation and providing documentation to support model publication. We demonstrate our use of structured argumentation in the development of a model of lymphoid tissue formation, specifically Peyer's Patches. The argumentation structure is captured using Artoo (www.york.ac.uk/ycil/software/artoo), our Web-based tool for constructing fitness-for-purpose arguments, using a notation based on the safety-critical goal structuring notation. We show how argumentation helps in making the design and structured analysis of a model transparent, capturing the reasoning behind the inclusion or exclusion of each biological feature and recording assumptions, as well as pointing to evidence supporting model-derived conclusions.

  9. Using argument notation to engineer biological simulations with increased confidence

    PubMed Central

    Alden, Kieran; Andrews, Paul S.; Polack, Fiona A. C.; Veiga-Fernandes, Henrique; Coles, Mark C.; Timmis, Jon

    2015-01-01

    The application of computational and mathematical modelling to explore the mechanics of biological systems is becoming prevalent. To significantly impact biological research, notably in developing novel therapeutics, it is critical that the model adequately represents the captured system. Confidence in adopting in silico approaches can be improved by applying a structured argumentation approach, alongside model development and results analysis. We propose an approach based on argumentation from safety-critical systems engineering, where a system is subjected to a stringent analysis of compliance against identified criteria. We show its use in examining the biological information upon which a model is based, identifying model strengths, highlighting areas requiring additional biological experimentation and providing documentation to support model publication. We demonstrate our use of structured argumentation in the development of a model of lymphoid tissue formation, specifically Peyer's Patches. The argumentation structure is captured using Artoo (www.york.ac.uk/ycil/software/artoo), our Web-based tool for constructing fitness-for-purpose arguments, using a notation based on the safety-critical goal structuring notation. We show how argumentation helps in making the design and structured analysis of a model transparent, capturing the reasoning behind the inclusion or exclusion of each biological feature and recording assumptions, as well as pointing to evidence supporting model-derived conclusions. PMID:25589574

  10. Synthetic biology and regulatory networks: where metabolic systems biology meets control engineering.

    PubMed

    He, Fei; Murabito, Ettore; Westerhoff, Hans V

    2016-04-01

    Metabolic pathways can be engineered to maximize the synthesis of various products of interest. With the advent of computational systems biology, this endeavour is usually carried out through in silico theoretical studies with the aim to guide and complement further in vitro and in vivo experimental efforts. Clearly, what counts is the result in vivo, not only in terms of maximal productivity but also robustness against environmental perturbations. Engineering an organism towards an increased production flux, however, often compromises that robustness. In this contribution, we review and investigate how various analytical approaches used in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are related to concepts developed by systems and control engineering. While trade-offs between production optimality and cellular robustness have already been studied diagnostically and statically, the dynamics also matter. Integration of the dynamic design aspects of control engineering with the more diagnostic aspects of metabolic, hierarchical control and regulation analysis is leading to the new, conceptual and operational framework required for the design of robust and productive dynamic pathways.

  11. Synthetic biology and regulatory networks: where metabolic systems biology meets control engineering

    PubMed Central

    He, Fei; Murabito, Ettore; Westerhoff, Hans V.

    2016-01-01

    Metabolic pathways can be engineered to maximize the synthesis of various products of interest. With the advent of computational systems biology, this endeavour is usually carried out through in silico theoretical studies with the aim to guide and complement further in vitro and in vivo experimental efforts. Clearly, what counts is the result in vivo, not only in terms of maximal productivity but also robustness against environmental perturbations. Engineering an organism towards an increased production flux, however, often compromises that robustness. In this contribution, we review and investigate how various analytical approaches used in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are related to concepts developed by systems and control engineering. While trade-offs between production optimality and cellular robustness have already been studied diagnostically and statically, the dynamics also matter. Integration of the dynamic design aspects of control engineering with the more diagnostic aspects of metabolic, hierarchical control and regulation analysis is leading to the new, conceptual and operational framework required for the design of robust and productive dynamic pathways. PMID:27075000

  12. Systems biology and metabolic engineering of Arthrospira cell factories.

    PubMed

    Klanchui, Amornpan; Vorapreeda, Tayvich; Vongsangnak, Wanwipa; Khannapho, Chiraphan; Cheevadhanarak, Supapon; Meechai, Asawin

    2012-01-01

    Arthrospira are attractive candidates to serve as cell factories for production of many valuable compounds useful for food, feed, fuel and pharmaceutical industries. In connection with the development of sustainable bioprocessing, it is a challenge to design and develop efficient Arthrospira cell factories which can certify effective conversion from the raw materials (i.e. CO2 and sun light) into desired products. With the current availability of the genome sequences and metabolic models of Arthrospira, the development of Arthrospira factories can now be accelerated by means of systems biology and the metabolic engineering approach. Here, we review recent research involving the use of Arthrospira cell factories for industrial applications, as well as the exploitation of systems biology and the metabolic engineering approach for studying Arthrospira. The current status of genomics and proteomics through the development of the genome-scale metabolic model of Arthrospira, as well as the use of mathematical modeling to simulate the phenotypes resulting from the different metabolic engineering strategies are discussed. At the end, the perspective and future direction on Arthrospira cell factories for industrial biotechnology are presented.

  13. Systems biology and metabolic engineering of Arthrospira cell factories

    PubMed Central

    Klanchui, Amornpan; Vorapreeda, Tayvich; Vongsangnak, Wanwipa; Khannapho, Chiraphan; Cheevadhanarak, Supapon; Meechai, Asawin

    2012-01-01

    Arthrospira are attractive candidates to serve as cell factories for production of many valuable compounds useful for food, feed, fuel and pharmaceutical industries. In connection with the development of sustainable bioprocessing, it is a challenge to design and develop efficient Arthrospira cell factories which can certify effective conversion from the raw materials (i.e. CO2 and sun light) into desired products. With the current availability of the genome sequences and metabolic models of Arthrospira, the development of Arthrospira factories can now be accelerated by means of systems biology and the metabolic engineering approach. Here, we review recent research involving the use of Arthrospira cell factories for industrial applications, as well as the exploitation of systems biology and the metabolic engineering approach for studying Arthrospira. The current status of genomics and proteomics through the development of the genome-scale metabolic model of Arthrospira, as well as the use of mathematical modeling to simulate the phenotypes resulting from the different metabolic engineering strategies are discussed. At the end, the perspective and future direction on Arthrospira cell factories for industrial biotechnology are presented. PMID:24688675

  14. Molecular Biology of Gallbladder Cancer: Potential Clinical Implications

    PubMed Central

    Andrén-Sandberg, Åke

    2012-01-01

    Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is a common malignancy of the biliary tract and involves the changes in multiple oncogenes and multiple genetic genes. Since over the past decade there has been an advance in the knowledge of the genetic basis of cancer, mainly as a result of the rapid progression of molecular technology; however, conventional therapeutic approaches have not had much impact on the course of this aggressive neoplasm. Knowledge of the molecular biology of GBC is rapidly growing. Genetic alterations in GBC include adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter ABCG8, membrane-bound enzyme ADAM-17 of multi-functional gene family, and other genes including p53, COX2, XPC, and RASSF1A. The advances in molecular biology have potential implications for the detection of this disease, using Synuclein-gamma, Syndecan-1, glycoprotein 72 (TAG-72), tumor endothelial marker 8 protein (TEM8) and TNF-alpha. The use of these molecular diagnostic methods is of clinical importance for the gene replacement therapy, genetic prodrug activation therapy, and antisense immunology technology for the treatment of malignancy. The author reviewed recent publications on PubMed, and summarized molecular biology of GBC, with an emphasis on features of potential clinical implications for diagnosis and management. PMID:23112962

  15. Engineering molecular crystals with abnormally weak cohesion.

    PubMed

    Maly, Kenneth E; Gagnon, Eric; Wuest, James D

    2011-05-14

    Adding astutely placed methyl groups to hexaphenylbenzene increases molecular weight but simultaneously weakens key C-H···π interactions, thereby leading to decreased enthalpies of sublimation and showing that materials with abnormally weak cohesion can be made by identifying and then obstructing interactions that help control association.

  16. tRNA--the golden standard in molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Barciszewska, Mirosława Z; Perrigue, Patrick M; Barciszewski, Jan

    2016-01-01

    Transfer RNAs (tRNAs) represent a major class of RNA molecules. Their primary function is to help decode a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence in order to synthesize protein and thus ensures the precise translation of genetic information that is imprinted in DNA. The discovery of tRNA in the late 1950's provided critical insight into a genetic machinery when little was known about the central dogma of molecular biology. In 1965, Robert Holley determined the first nucleotide sequence of alanine transfer RNA (tRNA(Ala)) which earned him the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Today, tRNA is one of the best described and characterized biological molecules. Here we review some of the key historical events in tRNA research which led to breakthrough discoveries and new developments in molecular biology.

  17. Membrane curvature in cell biology: An integration of molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Jarsch, Iris K; Daste, Frederic; Gallop, Jennifer L

    2016-08-15

    Curving biological membranes establishes the complex architecture of the cell and mediates membrane traffic to control flux through subcellular compartments. Common molecular mechanisms for bending membranes are evident in different cell biological contexts across eukaryotic phyla. These mechanisms can be intrinsic to the membrane bilayer (either the lipid or protein components) or can be brought about by extrinsic factors, including the cytoskeleton. Here, we review examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants. We showcase the molecular mechanisms involved and how they collaborate and go on to highlight contexts of curvature that are exciting areas of future research. Lessons from how membranes are bent in yeast and mammals give hints as to the molecular mechanisms we expect to see used by plants and protists.

  18. Cellular and Molecular Biological Approaches to Interpreting Ancient Biomarkers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newman, Dianne K.; Neubauer, Cajetan; Ricci, Jessica N.; Wu, Chia-Hung; Pearson, Ann

    2016-06-01

    Our ability to read the molecular fossil record has advanced significantly in the past decade. Improvements in biomarker sampling and quantification methods, expansion of molecular sequence databases, and the application of genetic and cellular biological tools to problems in biomarker research have enabled much of this progress. By way of example, we review how attempts to understand the biological function of 2-methylhopanoids in modern bacteria have changed our interpretation of what their molecular fossils tell us about the early history of life. They were once thought to be biomarkers of cyanobacteria and hence the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, but we now believe that 2-methylhopanoid biosynthetic capacity originated in the Alphaproteobacteria, that 2-methylhopanoids are regulated in response to stress, and that hopanoid 2-methylation enhances membrane rigidity. We present a new interpretation of 2-methylhopanes that bridges the gap between studies of the functions of 2-methylhopanoids and their patterns of occurrence in the rock record.

  19. [Molecular biology in myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemias "smoldering"].

    PubMed

    Martinelli, Giovanni; Sartor, Chiara; Papayannidis, Cristina; Iacobucci, Ilaria; Paolini, Stefania; Clissa, Cristina; Ottaviani, Emanuela; Finelli, Carlo

    2014-03-01

    Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of clonal hematopoietic disorders of the myeloid lineage characterized by peripheral cytopenias and frequent leukemic evolution. MDS differ for clinical presentation, disease behavior and progression and this is the reflection of remarkable variability at molecular level. To this moment disease diagnosis is still dependent on bone marrow morphology that, although high concordance rates among experts are reported, remains subjective. Karyotype analysis is mandatory but diagnosis may be difficult in presence of normal karyotype or non-informative cytogenetics. Standardized molecular markers are needed to better define diagnosis, prediction of disease progression and prognosis. Furthermore, a molecular biology analysis could provide an important therapeutic tool towards tailored therapy and new insights in the disease's biology.

  20. Membrane curvature in cell biology: An integration of molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Daste, Frederic

    2016-01-01

    Curving biological membranes establishes the complex architecture of the cell and mediates membrane traffic to control flux through subcellular compartments. Common molecular mechanisms for bending membranes are evident in different cell biological contexts across eukaryotic phyla. These mechanisms can be intrinsic to the membrane bilayer (either the lipid or protein components) or can be brought about by extrinsic factors, including the cytoskeleton. Here, we review examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants. We showcase the molecular mechanisms involved and how they collaborate and go on to highlight contexts of curvature that are exciting areas of future research. Lessons from how membranes are bent in yeast and mammals give hints as to the molecular mechanisms we expect to see used by plants and protists. PMID:27528656

  1. Molecular engineering of antibodies for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes

    PubMed Central

    Ducancel, Frédéric; Muller, Bruno H.

    2012-01-01

    During the past ten years, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have taken center stage in the field of targeted therapy and diagnosis. This increased interest in mAbs is due to their binding accuracy (affinity and specificity) together with the original molecular and structural rules that govern interactions with their cognate antigen. In addition, the effector properties of antibodies constitute a second major advantage associated with their clinical use. The development of molecular and structural engineering and more recently of in vitro evolution of antibodies has opened up new perspectives in the de novo design of antibodies more adapted to clinical and diagnostic use. Thus, efforts are regularly made by researchers to improve or modulate antibody recognition properties, to adapt their pharmacokinetics, engineer their stability, and control their immunogenicity. This review presents the latest molecular engineering results on mAbs with therapeutic and diagnostic applications. PMID:22684311

  2. Teaching Molecular Biology to Undergraduate Biology Students: An Illustration of Protein Expression and Purification

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sommer, Cesar Adolfo; Silva, Flavio Henrique; Novo, Maria Teresa Marques

    2004-01-01

    Practical classes on protein expression and purification were given to undergraduate biology students enrolled in the elective course "Introduction to Genetic Engineering." The heterologous expression of the green fluorescent protein (GFP)* of "Aequorea victoria" is an interesting system for didactic purposes because it can be viewed easily during…

  3. Recent Progress on Systems and Synthetic Biology Approaches to Engineer Fungi As Microbial Cell Factories

    PubMed Central

    Amores, Gerardo Ruiz; Guazzaroni, María-Eugenia; Arruda, Letícia Magalhães; Silva-Rocha, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    Filamentous fungi are remarkable organisms naturally specialized in deconstructing plant biomass and this feature has a tremendous potential for biofuel production from renewable sources. The past decades have been marked by a remarkable progress in the genetic engineering of fungi to generate industry-compatible strains needed for some biotech applications. In this sense, progress in this field has been marked by the utilization of high-throughput techniques to gain deep understanding of the molecular machinery controlling the physiology of these organisms, starting thus the Systems Biology era of fungi. Additionally, genetic engineering has been extensively applied to modify wellcharacterized promoters in order to construct new expression systems with enhanced performance under the conditions of interest. In this review, we discuss some aspects related to significant progress in the understating and engineering of fungi for biotechnological applications, with special focus on the construction of synthetic promoters and circuits in organisms relevant for industry. Different engineering approaches are shown, and their potential and limitations for the construction of complex synthetic circuits in these organisms are examined. Finally, we discuss the impact of engineered promoter architecture in the single-cell behavior of the system, an often-neglected relationship with a tremendous impact in the final performance of the process of interest. We expect to provide here some new directions to drive future research directed to the construction of high-performance, engineered fungal strains working as microbial cell factories. PMID:27226765

  4. Recent Progress on Systems and Synthetic Biology Approaches to Engineer Fungi As Microbial Cell Factories.

    PubMed

    Amores, Gerardo Ruiz; Guazzaroni, María-Eugenia; Arruda, Letícia Magalhães; Silva-Rocha, Rafael

    2016-04-01

    Filamentous fungi are remarkable organisms naturally specialized in deconstructing plant biomass and this feature has a tremendous potential for biofuel production from renewable sources. The past decades have been marked by a remarkable progress in the genetic engineering of fungi to generate industry-compatible strains needed for some biotech applications. In this sense, progress in this field has been marked by the utilization of high-throughput techniques to gain deep understanding of the molecular machinery controlling the physiology of these organisms, starting thus the Systems Biology era of fungi. Additionally, genetic engineering has been extensively applied to modify wellcharacterized promoters in order to construct new expression systems with enhanced performance under the conditions of interest. In this review, we discuss some aspects related to significant progress in the understating and engineering of fungi for biotechnological applications, with special focus on the construction of synthetic promoters and circuits in organisms relevant for industry. Different engineering approaches are shown, and their potential and limitations for the construction of complex synthetic circuits in these organisms are examined. Finally, we discuss the impact of engineered promoter architecture in the single-cell behavior of the system, an often-neglected relationship with a tremendous impact in the final performance of the process of interest. We expect to provide here some new directions to drive future research directed to the construction of high-performance, engineered fungal strains working as microbial cell factories.

  5. Recent advances in developing molecular tools for targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Lim, Kwang-il

    2015-01-01

    Various biological molecules naturally existing in diversified species including fungi, bacteria, and bacteriophage have functionalities for DNA binding and processing. The biological molecules have been recently actively engineered for use in customized genome editing of mammalian cells as the molecule-encoding DNA sequence information and the underlying mechanisms how the molecules work are unveiled. Excitingly, multiple novel methods based on the newly constructed artificial molecular tools have enabled modifications of specific endogenous genetic elements in the genome context at efficiencies that are much higher than that of the conventional homologous recombination based methods. This minireview introduces the most recently spotlighted molecular genome engineering tools with their key features and ongoing modifications for better performance. Such ongoing efforts have mainly focused on the removal of the inherent DNA sequence recognition rigidity from the original molecular platforms, the addition of newly tailored targeting functions into the engineered molecules, and the enhancement of their targeting specificity. Effective targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells will enable not only sophisticated genetic studies in the context of the genome, but also widely-applicable universal therapeutics based on the pinpointing and correction of the disease-causing genetic elements within the genome in the near future.

  6. Engineering the Feedback Dynamics of in vitro Synthetic Biological Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, Joshua D.

    Building a biochemical system from scratch that rivals a living cell in ability to robustly perform many complex tasks in response to environmental signals is beyond the state-of-the- art. However, feedback is clearly a principle widely employed by cells---as it is by engineers---to enable robust dynamical behaviors, although a limited system-level understanding of feedback regulation and dynamical behavior in biochemical contexts hampers our ability to engineer such systems. Studying simple feedback systems in a rich, yet fully synthetic, biochemical context---like that provided by DNA nanotechnology---may therefore lead to a new state-of-the-art for synthetic biological systems. This thesis, in keeping with this philosophy, describes basic efforts in engineering bio- chemical feedback control systems in the form of simple, in vitro, nucleic-acid-based devices. I describe two such devices, which provide basic test-beds for engineering feedback dynamics in vitro. The first device is a DNA nanomotor, previously described in the literature, that is built from and operated by nucleic acid components, and that I modify by the introduction of a protein enzyme to improve the performance of the device in experimental tests. The second device I design and build from nucleic acid components and two protein enzymes to regulate the free quantity of an RNA molecule, which in turn can be used to dynamically drive the operation of other nucleic-acid-based systems---such as the first device---in a robust manner.

  7. Reverse engineering for biologically inspired cognitive architectures: a critical analysis.

    PubMed

    Schierwagen, Andreas

    2011-01-01

    Research initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic try to utilize the operational principles of organisms and brains to develop biologically inspired, artificial cognitive systems. This paper describes the standard way bio-inspiration is gained, i.e. decompositional analysis or reverse engineering. The indisputable complexity of brain and mind raise the issue of whether they can be understood by applying the standard method. Using Robert Rosen's modeling relation, the scientific analysis method itself is made a subject of discussion. It is concluded that the fundamental assumption of cognitive science, i.e. complex cognitive systems are decomposable, must be abandoned. Implications for investigations of organisms and behavior as well as for engineering artificial cognitive systems are discussed.

  8. Molecular engineering of semiconductor surfaces and devices.

    PubMed

    Ashkenasy, Gonen; Cahen, David; Cohen, Rami; Shanzer, Abraham; Vilan, Ayelet

    2002-02-01

    Grafting organic molecules onto solid surfaces can transfer molecular properties to the solid. We describe how modifications of semiconductor or metal surfaces by molecules with systematically varying properties can lead to corresponding trends in the (electronic) properties of the resulting hybrid (molecule + solid) materials and devices made with them. Examples include molecule-controlled diodes and sensors, where the electrons need not to go through the molecules (action at a distance), suggesting a new approach to molecule-based electronics.

  9. Cell Engineering and Molecular Pharming for Biopharmaceuticals

    PubMed Central

    Abdullah, M.A; Rahmah, Anisa ur; Sinskey, A.J; Rha, C.K

    2008-01-01

    Biopharmaceuticals are often produced by recombinant E. coli or mammalian cell lines. This is usually achieved by the introduction of a gene or cDNA coding for the protein of interest into a well-characterized strain of producer cells. Naturally, each recombinant production system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This paper examines the current practices, developments, and future trends in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Platform technologies for rapid screening and analyses of biosystems are reviewed. Strategies to improve productivity via metabolic and integrated engineering are also highlighted. PMID:19662143

  10. Mesoscopic Fluorescence Molecular Tomography for Evaluating Engineered Tissues

    PubMed Central

    Ozturk, Mehmet S.; Chen, Chao-Wei; Ji, Robin; Zhao, Lingling; Nguyen, Bao-Ngoc B.; Fisher, John P.; Chen, Yu; Intes, Xavier

    2015-01-01

    Optimization of regenerative medicine strategies includes the design of biomaterials, development of cell-seeding methods, and control of cell-biomaterial interactions within the engineered tissues. Among these steps, one paramount challenge is to non-destructively image the engineered tissues in their entirety to assess structure, function, and molecular expression. It is especially important to be able to enable cell phenotyping and monitor the distribution and migration of cells throughout the bulk scaffold. Advanced fluorescence microscopic techniques are commonly employed to perform such tasks; however, they are limited to superficial examination of tissue constructs. Therefore, the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine would greatly benefit from the development of molecular imaging techniques which are capable of non-destructive imaging of three-dimensional cellular distribution and maturation within a tissue-engineered scaffold beyond the limited depth of current microscopic techniques. In this review, we focus on an emerging depth-resolved optical mesoscopic imaging technique, termed Laminar Optical Tomography (LOT) or Mesoscopic Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (MFMT), which enables longitudinal imaging of cellular distribution in thick tissue engineering constructs at depths of a few millimeters and with relatively high resolution. The physical principle, image formation, and instrumentation of LOT/MFMT systems are introduced. Representative applications in tissue engineering include imaging the distribution of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) embedded in hydrogels, imaging of bio-printed tissues, and in vivo applications. PMID:26645079

  11. BIO2010 and beyond: What undergraduate physics does the next generation of molecular biology researchers need?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howard, Jonathon

    2004-03-01

    What fundamental skills in mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science and engineering are required at the undergraduate level to prepare the next generation of biology majors who will become research scientists? To address this question, Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, established BIO2010, a committee of the National Research Council (USA), chaired by Lubert Stryer. The report of the committee was published in 2003 as BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists (National Academies Press, Washington DC, www.national-academies.com). I will summarize the recommendations of the Physics and Engineering Panel that was chaired by John Hopfield and give my own views of what physics is essential for researchers in cell and molecular biology.

  12. ``Recycling'' Geophysics: Monitoring and Isotopic Analysis of Engineered Biological Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doherty, R.; Singh, K. P.; Ogle, N.; Ntarlagiannis, D.

    2010-12-01

    The emerging sub discipline of biogeophysics has provoked debate on the mechanisms of microbial processes that may contribute to geophysical signatures. At field scales geophysical signatures are often non unique due to the many parameters (physical, chemical, and biological) that are involved. It may be easier to apply geophysical techniques such as electrodic potential (EP), self potential (SP) and induced polarization (IP) to engineered biological systems where there is a degree of control over the design of the physical and chemical domain. Here we present results of a column experiment that was designed to anaerobically biodegrade dissolved organic matter in landfill leachate. The column utilises a recycled porous media (concrete) to help sequester organic carbon. Electrodic potential, self potential and induced polarisation are used in conjunction with chemical and isotopic techniques to monitor the effectiveness of this approach. Preliminary carbon and oxygen isotopic analysis on concrete from the column in contact with leachate show isotopic enrichment suggesting abiotic precipitation of carbonates.

  13. Systems biology for understanding and engineering of heterotrophic oleaginous microorganisms.

    PubMed

    Park, Beom Gi; Kim, Minsuk; Kim, Joonwon; Yoo, Heewang; Kim, Byung-Gee

    2017-01-01

    Heterotrophic oleaginous microorganisms continue to draw interest as they can accumulate a large amount of lipids which is a promising feedstock for the production of biofuels and oleochemicals. Nutrient limitation, especially nitrogen limitation, is known to effectively trigger the lipid production in these microorganisms. For the aim of developing improved strains, the mechanisms behind the lipid production have been studied for a long time. Nowadays, system-level understanding of their metabolism and associated metabolic switches is attainable with modern systems biology tools. This work reviews the systems biology studies, based on (i) top-down, large-scale 'omics' tools, and (ii) bottom-up, mathematical modeling methods, on the heterotrophic oleaginous microorganisms with an emphasis on further application to metabolic engineering.

  14. A diagnostic assessment for introductory molecular and cell biology.

    PubMed

    Shi, Jia; Wood, William B; Martin, Jennifer M; Guild, Nancy A; Vicens, Quentin; Knight, Jennifer K

    2010-01-01

    We have developed and validated a tool for assessing understanding of a selection of fundamental concepts and basic knowledge in undergraduate introductory molecular and cell biology, focusing on areas in which students often have misconceptions. This multiple-choice Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology Assessment (IMCA) instrument is designed for use as a pre- and posttest to measure student learning gains. To develop the assessment, we first worked with faculty to create a set of learning goals that targeted important concepts in the field and seemed likely to be emphasized by most instructors teaching these subjects. We interviewed students using open-ended questions to identify commonly held misconceptions, formulated multiple-choice questions that included these ideas as distracters, and reinterviewed students to establish validity of the instrument. The assessment was then evaluated by 25 biology experts and modified based on their suggestions. The complete revised assessment was administered to more than 1300 students at three institutions. Analysis of statistical parameters including item difficulty, item discrimination, and reliability provides evidence that the IMCA is a valid and reliable instrument with several potential uses in gauging student learning of key concepts in molecular and cell biology.

  15. Enhanced Sampling Techniques in Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biological Systems

    PubMed Central

    Bernardi, Rafael C.; Melo, Marcelo C. R.; Schulten, Klaus

    2014-01-01

    Background Molecular Dynamics has emerged as an important research methodology covering systems to the level of millions of atoms. However, insufficient sampling often limits its application. The limitation is due to rough energy landscapes, with many local minima separated by high-energy barriers, which govern the biomolecular motion. Scope of review In the past few decades methods have been developed that address the sampling problem, such as replica-exchange molecular dynamics, metadynamics and simulated annealing. Here we present an overview over theses sampling methods in an attempt to shed light on which should be selected depending on the type of system property studied. Major Conclusions Enhanced sampling methods have been employed for a broad range of biological systems and the choice of a suitable method is connected to biological and physical characteristics of the system, in particular system size. While metadynamics and replica-exchange molecular dynamics are the most adopted sampling methods to study biomolecular dynamics, simulated annealing is well suited to characterize very flexible systems. The use of annealing methods for a long time was restricted to simulation of small proteins; however, a variant of the method, generalized simulated annealing, can be employed at a relatively low computational cost to large macromolecular complexes. General Significance Molecular dynamics trajectories frequently do not reach all relevant conformational substates, for example those connected with biological function, a problem that can be addressed by employing enhanced sampling algorithms. PMID:25450171

  16. International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB)

    SciTech Connect

    Goldberg, Debra; Hibbs, Matthew; Kall, Lukas; Komandurglayavilli, Ravikumar; Mahony, Shaun; Marinescu, Voichita; Mayrose, Itay; Minin, Vladimir; Neeman, Yossef; Nimrod, Guy; Novotny, Marian; Opiyo, Stephen; Portugaly, Elon; Sadka, Tali; Sakabe, Noboru; Sarkar, Indra; Schaub, Marc; Shafer, Paul; Shmygelska, Olena; Singer, Gregory; Song, Yun; Soumyaroop, Bhattacharya; Stadler, Michael; Strope, Pooja; Su, Rong; Tabach, Yuval; Tae, Hongseok; Taylor, Todd; Terribilini, Michael; Thomas, Asha; Tran, Nam; Tseng, Tsai-Tien; Vashist, Akshay; Vijaya, Parthiban; Wang, Kai; Wang, Ting; Wei, Lai; Woo, Yong; Wu, Chunlei; Yamanishi, Yoshihiro; Yan, Changhui; Yang, Jack; Yang, Mary; Ye, Ping; Zhang, Miao

    2009-12-29

    The Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference has provided a general forum for disseminating the latest developments in bioinformatics on an annual basis for the past 13 years. ISMB is a multidisciplinary conference that brings together scientists from computer science, molecular biology, mathematics and statistics. The goal of the ISMB meeting is to bring together biologists and computational scientists in a focus on actual biological problems, i.e., not simply theoretical calculations. The combined focus on "intelligent systems" and actual biological data makes ISMB a unique and highly important meeting, and 13 years of experience in holding the conference has resulted in a consistently well organized, well attended, and highly respected annual conference. The ISMB 2005 meeting was held June 25-29, 2005 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. The meeting attracted over 1,730 attendees. The science presented was exceptional, and in the course of the five-day meeting, 56 scientific papers, 710 posters, 47 Oral Abstracts, 76 Software demonstrations, and 14 tutorials were presented. The attendees represented a broad spectrum of backgrounds with 7% from commercial companies, over 28% qualifying for student registration, and 41 countries were represented at the conference, emphasizing its important international aspect. The ISMB conference is especially important because the cultures of computer science and biology are so disparate. ISMB, as a full-scale technical conference with refereed proceedings that have been indexed by both MEDLINE and Current Contents since 1996, bridges this cultural gap.

  17. Time scale of diffusion in molecular and cellular biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holcman, D.; Schuss, Z.

    2014-05-01

    Diffusion is the driver of critical biological processes in cellular and molecular biology. The diverse temporal scales of cellular function are determined by vastly diverse spatial scales in most biophysical processes. The latter are due, among others, to small binding sites inside or on the cell membrane or to narrow passages between large cellular compartments. The great disparity in scales is at the root of the difficulty in quantifying cell function from molecular dynamics and from simulations. The coarse-grained time scale of cellular function is determined from molecular diffusion by the mean first passage time of molecular Brownian motion to a small targets or through narrow passages. The narrow escape theory (NET) concerns this issue. The NET is ubiquitous in molecular and cellular biology and is manifested, among others, in chemical reactions, in the calculation of the effective diffusion coefficient of receptors diffusing on a neuronal cell membrane strewn with obstacles, in the quantification of the early steps of viral trafficking, in the regulation of diffusion between the mother and daughter cells during cell division, and many other cases. Brownian trajectories can represent the motion of a molecule, a protein, an ion in solution, a receptor in a cell or on its membrane, and many other biochemical processes. The small target can represent a binding site or an ionic channel, a hidden active site embedded in a complex protein structure, a receptor for a neurotransmitter on the membrane of a neuron, and so on. The mean time to attach to a receptor or activator determines diffusion fluxes that are key regulators of cell function. This review describes physical models of various subcellular microdomains, in which the NET coarse-grains the molecular scale to a higher cellular-level, thus clarifying the role of cell geometry in determining subcellular function.

  18. New Tools and New Biology: Recent Miniaturized Systems for Molecular and Cellular Biology

    PubMed Central

    Hamon, Morgan; Hong, Jong Wook

    2013-01-01

    Recent advances in applied physics and chemistry have led to the development of novel microfluidic systems. Microfluidic systems allow minute amounts of reagents to be processed using μm-scale channels and offer several advantages over conventional analytical devices for use in biological sciences: faster, more accurate and more reproducible analytical performance, reduced cell and reagent consumption, portability, and integration of functional components in a single chip. In this review, we introduce how microfluidics has been applied to biological sciences. We first present an overview of the fabrication of microfluidic systems and describe the distinct technologies available for biological research. We then present examples of microsystems used in biological sciences, focusing on applications in molecular and cellular biology. PMID:24305843

  19. The mismeasure of machine: Synthetic biology and the trouble with engineering metaphors.

    PubMed

    Boudry, Maarten; Pigliucci, Massimo

    2013-12-01

    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the "blueprint" of an organism, organisms are "reverse engineered" to discover their functionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adaptations, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In particular, the analogy with human-made machines falters when we move down to the level of molecular biology and genetics. Living organisms are far more messy and less transparent than human-made machines. Notoriously, evolution is an opportunistic tinkerer, blindly stumbling on "designs" that no sensible engineer would come up with. Despite impressive technological innovation, the prospect of artificially designing new life forms from scratch has proven more difficult than the superficial analogy with "programming" the right "software" would suggest. The idea of applying straightforward engineering approaches to living systems and their genomes-isolating functional components, designing new parts from scratch, recombining and assembling them into novel life forms-pushes the analogy with human artifacts beyond its limits. In the absence of a one-to-one correspondence between genotype and phenotype, there is no straightforward way to implement novel biological functions and design new life forms. Both the developmental complexity of gene expression and the multifarious interactions of genes and environments are serious obstacles for "engineering" a particular phenotype. The problem of reverse-engineering a desired phenotype to its genetic "instructions" is probably intractable for any but the most simple phenotypes. Recent developments in the field of bio-engineering and synthetic biology reflect these

  20. Biological responses to engineered nanomaterials: Needs for the next decade

    DOE PAGES

    Murphy, Catherine J.; Vartanian, Ariane M.; Geiger, Franz M.; ...

    2015-06-09

    In this study, the interaction of nanomaterials with biomolecules, cells, and organisms is an enormously vital area of current research, with applications in nanoenabled diagnostics, imaging agents, therapeutics, and contaminant removal technologies. Yet the potential for adverse biological and environmental impacts of nanomaterial exposure is considerable and needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable development of nanomaterials. In this Outlook four research needs for the next decade are outlined: (i) measurement of the chemical nature of nanomaterials in dynamic, complex aqueous environments; (ii) real-time measurements of nanomaterial-biological interactions with chemical specificity; (iii) delineation of molecular modes of action for nanomaterialmore » effects on living systems as functions of nanomaterial properties; and (iv) an integrated systems approach that includes computation and simulation across orders of magnitude in time and space.« less

  1. Biological Responses to Engineered Nanomaterials: Needs for the Next Decade.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Catherine J; Vartanian, Ariane M; Geiger, Franz M; Hamers, Robert J; Pedersen, Joel; Cui, Qiang; Haynes, Christy L; Carlson, Erin E; Hernandez, Rigoberto; Klaper, Rebecca D; Orr, Galya; Rosenzweig, Ze'ev

    2015-06-24

    The interaction of nanomaterials with biomolecules, cells, and organisms is an enormously vital area of current research, with applications in nanoenabled diagnostics, imaging agents, therapeutics, and contaminant removal technologies. Yet the potential for adverse biological and environmental impacts of nanomaterial exposure is considerable and needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable development of nanomaterials. In this Outlook four research needs for the next decade are outlined: (i) measurement of the chemical nature of nanomaterials in dynamic, complex aqueous environments; (ii) real-time measurements of nanomaterial-biological interactions with chemical specificity; (iii) delineation of molecular modes of action for nanomaterial effects on living systems as functions of nanomaterial properties; and (iv) an integrated systems approach that includes computation and simulation across orders of magnitude in time and space.

  2. Biological responses to engineered nanomaterials: Needs for the next decade

    SciTech Connect

    Murphy, Catherine J.; Vartanian, Ariane M.; Geiger, Franz M.; Hamers, Robert J.; Pedersen, Joel A.; Cui, Qiang; Haynes, Christy L.; Carlson, Erin E.; Hernandez, Rigoberto; Klaper, Rebecca D.; Orr, Galya; Rosenzweig, Ze'ev

    2015-06-09

    In this study, the interaction of nanomaterials with biomolecules, cells, and organisms is an enormously vital area of current research, with applications in nanoenabled diagnostics, imaging agents, therapeutics, and contaminant removal technologies. Yet the potential for adverse biological and environmental impacts of nanomaterial exposure is considerable and needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable development of nanomaterials. In this Outlook four research needs for the next decade are outlined: (i) measurement of the chemical nature of nanomaterials in dynamic, complex aqueous environments; (ii) real-time measurements of nanomaterial-biological interactions with chemical specificity; (iii) delineation of molecular modes of action for nanomaterial effects on living systems as functions of nanomaterial properties; and (iv) an integrated systems approach that includes computation and simulation across orders of magnitude in time and space.

  3. Biological Responses to Engineered Nanomaterials: Needs for the Next Decade

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The interaction of nanomaterials with biomolecules, cells, and organisms is an enormously vital area of current research, with applications in nanoenabled diagnostics, imaging agents, therapeutics, and contaminant removal technologies. Yet the potential for adverse biological and environmental impacts of nanomaterial exposure is considerable and needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable development of nanomaterials. In this Outlook four research needs for the next decade are outlined: (i) measurement of the chemical nature of nanomaterials in dynamic, complex aqueous environments; (ii) real-time measurements of nanomaterial–biological interactions with chemical specificity; (iii) delineation of molecular modes of action for nanomaterial effects on living systems as functions of nanomaterial properties; and (iv) an integrated systems approach that includes computation and simulation across orders of magnitude in time and space. PMID:27162961

  4. Grete Kellenberger-Gujer: Molecular biology research pioneer.

    PubMed

    Citi, Sandra; Berg, Douglas E

    2016-01-01

    Grete Kellenberger-Gujer was a Swiss molecular biologist who pioneered fundamental studies of bacteriophage in the mid-20(th) century at the University of Geneva. Her life and career stories are reviewed here, focusing on her fundamental contributions to our early understanding of phage biology via her insightful analyses of phenomena such as the lysogenic state of a temperate phage (λ), genetic recombination, radiation's in vivo consequences, and DNA restriction-modification; on her creative personality and interactions with peers; and how her academic advancement was affected by gender, societal conditions and cultural attitudes of the time. Her story is important scientifically, putting into perspective features of the scientific community from just before the molecular biology era started through its early years, and also sociologically, in illustrating the numerous "glass ceilings" that, especially then, often hampered the advancement of creative women.

  5. Molecular biology of thermosensory transduction in C. elegans.

    PubMed

    Aoki, Ichiro; Mori, Ikue

    2015-10-01

    As the environmental temperature prominently influences diverse biological aspects of the animals, thermosensation and the subsequent information processing in the nervous system has attracted much attention in biology. Thermotaxis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an ideal behavioral paradigm by which to address the molecular mechanism underlying thermosensory transduction. Molecular genetic analysis in combination with other physiological and behavioral studies revealed that sensation of ambient temperature is mediated mainly by cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling in thermosensory neurons. The information of the previously perceived temperature is also stored within the thermosensory neurons, and the consequence of the comparison between the past and the present temperature is conveyed to the downstream interneurons to further regulate the motor-circuits that encode the locomotion.

  6. Grete Kellenberger-Gujer: Molecular biology research pioneer

    PubMed Central

    Citi, Sandra; Berg, Douglas E.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Grete Kellenberger-Gujer was a Swiss molecular biologist who pioneered fundamental studies of bacteriophage in the mid-20th century at the University of Geneva. Her life and career stories are reviewed here, focusing on her fundamental contributions to our early understanding of phage biology via her insightful analyses of phenomena such as the lysogenic state of a temperate phage (λ), genetic recombination, radiation's in vivo consequences, and DNA restriction-modification; on her creative personality and interactions with peers; and how her academic advancement was affected by gender, societal conditions and cultural attitudes of the time. Her story is important scientifically, putting into perspective features of the scientific community from just before the molecular biology era started through its early years, and also sociologically, in illustrating the numerous “glass ceilings” that, especially then, often hampered the advancement of creative women. PMID:27607140

  7. Future of Chemical Engineering: Integrating Biology into the Undergraduate ChE Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mosto, Patricia; Savelski, Mariano; Farrell, Stephanie H.; Hecht, Gregory B.

    2007-01-01

    Integrating biology in the chemical engineering curriculum seems to be the future for chemical engineering programs nation and worldwide. Rowan University's efforts to address this need include a unique chemical engineering curriculum with an intensive biology component integrated throughout from freshman to senior years. Freshman and Sophomore…

  8. Experiential Engineering through iGEM--An Undergraduate Summer Competition in Synthetic Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mitchell, Rudolph; Dori, Yehudit Judy; Kuldell, Natalie H.

    2011-01-01

    Unlike students in other engineering disciplines, undergraduates in biological engineering typically have limited opportunity to develop design competencies, and even fewer chances to implement their designed projects. The international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition is a student Synthetic Biology competition that, in 2009,…

  9. In focus: molecular and cell biology research in China.

    PubMed

    Yao, Xuebiao; Li, Dangsheng; Pei, Gang

    2013-09-01

    An interactive, intellectual environment with good funding opportunities is essential for the development and success of basic research. The fast-growing economy and investment in science, together with a visionary plan, have attracted foreign scholars to work in China, motivated world-class Chinese scientists to return and strengthened the country's international collaborations. As a result, molecular and cell biology research in China has evolved rapidly over the past decade.

  10. [Molecular biology of renal cancer: bases for genetic directed therapy in advanced disease].

    PubMed

    Maroto Rey, José Pablo; Cillán Narvaez, Elena

    2013-06-01

    There has been expansion of therapeutic options in the management of metastatic renal cell carcinoma due to a better knowledge of the molecular biology of kidney cancers. There are different tumors grouped under the term renal cell carcinoma, being clear cell cancer the most frequent and accounting for 80% of kidney tumors. Mutations in the Von Hippel-Lindau gene can be identified in up to 80% of sporadic clear cell cancer, linking a genetically inheritable disease where vascular tumors are frequent, with renal cell cancer. Other histologic types present specific alterations in molecular pathways, like c-MET in papillary type I tumors, and Fumarase Hydratase in papillary type II tumors. Identification of the molecular alteration for a specific tumor may offer an opportunity for treatment selection based on biomarkers, and, in the future, for developing an engineering designed genetic treatment.

  11. Physical and chemical mechanisms in molecular radiation biology

    SciTech Connect

    Glass, W.A.; Varma, M.N.

    1991-01-01

    Through its Radiological and Chemical Physics Program, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been a primary source of funding for research in radiation physics and radiochemistry, supporting a wide range of explorations of the link between physical, chemical and biological events. This book is a series of articles by authors working within this field, most of whom have been central to the DOE-sponsored research. The opening papers focus on radiological physics; the second section covers radiation chemistry in a discussion that extends from the initial energy transfer to the production of intermediate chemical species and DNA damage. The third section explores the link between the physical and chemical events and the production of biological effects. Finally the book closes with a series of papers on molecular radiation biology.

  12. Molecular biology in studies of oceanic primary production

    SciTech Connect

    LaRoche, J.; Falkowski, P.G.; Geider, R.

    1992-07-01

    Remote sensing and the use of moored in situ instrumentation has greatly improved our ability to measure phytoplankton chlorophyll and photosynthesis on global scales with high temporal resolution. However, the interpretation of these measurements and their significance with respect to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon relies on their relationship with physiological and biochemical processes in phytoplankton. For example, the use of satellite images of surface chlorophyll to estimate primary production is often based on the functional relationship between photosynthesis and irradiance. A variety of environmental factors such as light, temperature, nutrient availability affect the photosynthesis/irradiance (P vs I) relationship in phytoplankton. We present three examples showing how molecular biology can be used to provide basic insight into the factors controlling primary productivity at three different levels of complexity: 1. Studies of light intensity regulation in unicellular alga show how molecular biology can help understand the processing of environmental cues leading to the regulation of photosynthetic gene expression. 2. Probing of the photosynthetic apparatus using molecular techniques can be used to test existing mechanistic models derived from the interpretation of physiological and biophysical measurements. 3. Exploratory work on the expression of specific proteins during nutrient-limited growth of phytoplankton may lead to the identification and production of molecular probes for field studies.

  13. Molecular biology in studies of oceanic primary production

    SciTech Connect

    LaRoche, J.; Falkowski, P.G. ); Geider, R. . Coll. of Marine Studies)

    1992-01-01

    Remote sensing and the use of moored in situ instrumentation has greatly improved our ability to measure phytoplankton chlorophyll and photosynthesis on global scales with high temporal resolution. However, the interpretation of these measurements and their significance with respect to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon relies on their relationship with physiological and biochemical processes in phytoplankton. For example, the use of satellite images of surface chlorophyll to estimate primary production is often based on the functional relationship between photosynthesis and irradiance. A variety of environmental factors such as light, temperature, nutrient availability affect the photosynthesis/irradiance (P vs I) relationship in phytoplankton. We present three examples showing how molecular biology can be used to provide basic insight into the factors controlling primary productivity at three different levels of complexity: 1. Studies of light intensity regulation in unicellular alga show how molecular biology can help understand the processing of environmental cues leading to the regulation of photosynthetic gene expression. 2. Probing of the photosynthetic apparatus using molecular techniques can be used to test existing mechanistic models derived from the interpretation of physiological and biophysical measurements. 3. Exploratory work on the expression of specific proteins during nutrient-limited growth of phytoplankton may lead to the identification and production of molecular probes for field studies.

  14. A comparative cellular and molecular biology of longevity database.

    PubMed

    Stuart, Jeffrey A; Liang, Ping; Luo, Xuemei; Page, Melissa M; Gallagher, Emily J; Christoff, Casey A; Robb, Ellen L

    2013-10-01

    Discovering key cellular and molecular traits that promote longevity is a major goal of aging and longevity research. One experimental strategy is to determine which traits have been selected during the evolution of longevity in naturally long-lived animal species. This comparative approach has been applied to lifespan research for nearly four decades, yielding hundreds of datasets describing aspects of cell and molecular biology hypothesized to relate to animal longevity. Here, we introduce a Comparative Cellular and Molecular Biology of Longevity Database, available at ( http://genomics.brocku.ca/ccmbl/ ), as a compendium of comparative cell and molecular data presented in the context of longevity. This open access database will facilitate the meta-analysis of amalgamated datasets using standardized maximum lifespan (MLSP) data (from AnAge). The first edition contains over 800 data records describing experimental measurements of cellular stress resistance, reactive oxygen species metabolism, membrane composition, protein homeostasis, and genome homeostasis as they relate to vertebrate species MLSP. The purpose of this review is to introduce the database and briefly demonstrate its use in the meta-analysis of combined datasets.

  15. A national comparison of biochemistry and molecular biology capstone experiences.

    PubMed

    Aguanno, Ann; Mertz, Pamela; Martin, Debra; Bell, Ellis

    2015-01-01

    Recognizing the increasingly integrative nature of the molecular life sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) recommends that Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) programs develop curricula based on concepts, content, topics, and expected student outcomes, rather than courses. To that end, ASBMB conducted a series of regional workshops to build a BMB Concept Inventory containing validated assessment tools, based on foundational and discipline-specific knowledge and essential skills, for the community to use. A culminating activity, which integrates the educational experience, is often part of undergraduate molecular life science programs. These "capstone" experiences are commonly defined as an attempt to measure student ability to synthesize and integrate acquired knowledge. However, the format, implementation, and approach to outcome assessment of these experiences are quite varied across the nation. Here we report the results of a nation-wide survey on BMB capstone experiences and discuss this in the context of published reports about capstones and the findings of the workshops driving the development of the BMB Concept Inventory. Both the survey results and the published reports reveal that, although capstone practices do vary, certain formats for the experience are used more frequently and similarities in learning objectives were identified. The use of rubrics to measure student learning is also regularly reported, but details about these assessment instruments are sparse in the literature and were not a focus of our survey. Finally, we outline commonalities in the current practice of capstones and suggest the next steps needed to elucidate best practices.

  16. Defining the molecular biology of inflammatory breast cancer.

    PubMed

    Charafe-Jauffret, Emmanuelle; Tarpin, Carole; Viens, Patrice; Bertucci, François

    2008-02-01

    Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, but aggressive form of breast cancer. Despite the progress related to the introduction of primary combination chemotherapy (CT) to the multimodality treatment regimen, the prognosis of IBC remains poor with long-term survival inferior to 50%. Until recently, IBC remained understudied at the molecular level. In the past 10 years, advances have been made in the molecular characterization of the disease. Recently, the use of experimental models and new high-throughput molecular profiling technologies have led to the identification of genes or pathways potentially involved in disease development, which might represent new clinically relevant targets. The aim of this review is to present and discuss what is known about the biology of this particularly aggressive form of breast cancer and to discuss how this knowledge could improve its management.

  17. From gene to protein: A 3-week intensive course in molecular biology for physical scientists.

    PubMed

    Nadeau, Jay L

    2009-07-01

    This article describes a 3-week intensive molecular biology methods course based upon fluorescent proteins, which is successfully taught at the McGill University to advanced undergraduates and graduates in physics, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and medicine. No previous knowledge of biological terminology or methods is expected, so the material could readily be adapted to earlier undergraduates or students in other fields. The course emphasizes hands-on experience with one half-hour of lecture and 3 and a half hours of laboratory 4 days per week, for a total of 39 hours. The materials are simple and low in cost and all software used is free, making the budget accessible to small universities and community colleges that possess basic teaching wet labs. Conceptual understanding is reinforced with lab reports and an independent final paper on a subject of the student's choice. The final paper describes a possible thesis project, not necessarily the student's own, with assessment based upon grasping of key concepts and methods of molecular biology.

  18. Applications of molecular self-assembly in tissue engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrington, Daniel Anton

    This thesis studied the application of three self-assembling molecular systems, as potential biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Cholesteryl-(L-lactic acid)n molecules form thermotropic liquid crystals, which could be coated onto the inner and outer pores of biodegradable PLLA scaffolds, while retaining the lamellar order of the neat material. Primary bovine chondrocytes were cultured on these structures, demonstrating improved attachment and extended retention of phenotype on the C-LA-coated scaffolds. No difference in fibronectin adsorption to C-LA and PLLA surfaces was observed, suggesting a strong role for cholesterol in influencing cell phenotype. A family of peptide-amphiphiles, bearing the "RGD" adhesion sequence from fibronectin, was also assessed in the contexts of cartilage and bladder repair. These molecules self-assemble into one-dimensional fibers, with diameters of 6--8 nm, and lengths of 500 nm or greater. Chondrocytes were seeded and cultured on covalently-crosslinked PA gels and embedded within calcium-triggered PA gels. Cells became dormant over time, but remained viable, suggesting an inappropriate display of the adhesion sequence to cells. A family of "branched" PA molecules with lysine dendron headgroups was designed, in an effort to increase the spatial separation between molecules in the assembled state, and to theoretically improve epitope accessibility. These molecules coated reliably onto PGA fiber scaffolds, and dramatically increased the attachment of human bladder smooth muscle cells, possibly through better epitope display or electrostatic attraction. They also formed strong gels with several negatively-charged biologically-relevant macromolecules. In a third system, amphiphilic segmented dendrimers based on phenylene vinylene and L-lysine entered cells through an endocytic pathway with no discernible toxic effect on cell proliferation or morphology. These amphiphiles formed complex aggregates in aqueous solution, likely

  19. Genomic Signal Processing: Predicting Basic Molecular Biological Principles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alter, Orly

    2005-03-01

    Advances in high-throughput technologies enable acquisition of different types of molecular biological data, monitoring the flow of biological information as DNA is transcribed to RNA, and RNA is translated to proteins, on a genomic scale. Future discovery in biology and medicine will come from the mathematical modeling of these data, which hold the key to fundamental understanding of life on the molecular level, as well as answers to questions regarding diagnosis, treatment and drug development. Recently we described data-driven models for genome-scale molecular biological data, which use singular value decomposition (SVD) and the comparative generalized SVD (GSVD). Now we describe an integrative data-driven model, which uses pseudoinverse projection (1). We also demonstrate the predictive power of these matrix algebra models (2). The integrative pseudoinverse projection model formulates any number of genome-scale molecular biological data sets in terms of one chosen set of data samples, or of profiles extracted mathematically from data samples, designated the ``basis'' set. The mathematical variables of this integrative model, the pseudoinverse correlation patterns that are uncovered in the data, represent independent processes and corresponding cellular states (such as observed genome-wide effects of known regulators or transcription factors, the biological components of the cellular machinery that generate the genomic signals, and measured samples in which these regulators or transcription factors are over- or underactive). Reconstruction of the data in the basis simulates experimental observation of only the cellular states manifest in the data that correspond to those of the basis. Classification of the data samples according to their reconstruction in the basis, rather than their overall measured profiles, maps the cellular states of the data onto those of the basis, and gives a global picture of the correlations and possibly also causal coordination of

  20. Special conference of the American Association for Cancer Research on molecular imaging in cancer: linking biology, function, and clinical applications in vivo.

    PubMed

    Luker, Gary D

    2002-04-01

    The AACR Special Conference on Molecular Imaging in Cancer: Linking Biology, Function, and Clinical Applications In Vivo, was held January 23-27, 2002, at the Contemporary Hotel, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL. Co-Chairs David Piwnica-Worms, Patricia Price and Thomas Meade brought together researchers with diverse expertise in molecular biology, gene therapy, chemistry, engineering, pharmacology, and imaging to accelerate progress in developing and applying technologies for imaging specific cellular and molecular signals in living animals and humans. The format of the conference was the presentation of research that focused on basic and translational biology of cancer and current state-of-the-art techniques for molecular imaging in animal models and humans. This report summarizes the special conference on molecular imaging, highlighting the interfaces of molecular biology with animal models, instrumentation, chemistry, and pharmacology that are essential to convert the dreams and promise of molecular imaging into improved understanding, diagnosis, and management of cancer.

  1. Reverse engineering the mechanical and molecular pathways in stem cell morphogenesis.

    PubMed

    Lu, Kai; Gordon, Richard; Cao, Tong

    2015-03-01

    The formation of relevant biological structures poses a challenge for regenerative medicine. During embryogenesis, embryonic cells differentiate into somatic tissues and undergo morphogenesis to produce three-dimensional organs. Using stem cells, we can recapitulate this process and create biological constructs for therapeutic transplantation. However, imperfect imitation of nature sometimes results in in vitro artifacts that fail to recapitulate the function of native organs. It has been hypothesized that developing cells may self-organize into tissue-specific structures given a correct in vitro environment. This proposition is supported by the generation of neo-organoids from stem cells. We suggest that morphogenesis may be reverse engineered to uncover its interacting mechanical pathway and molecular circuitry. By harnessing the latent architecture of stem cells, novel tissue-engineering strategies may be conceptualized for generating self-organizing transplants.

  2. [Molecular Biology on the Mechanisms of Autism Spectrum Disorder for Clinical Psychiatrists].

    PubMed

    Makinodan, Manabu

    2015-01-01

    While, in general, a certain number of clinical psychiatrists might not be familiar with molecular biology, the mechanisms of mental illnesses have been uncovered by molecular biology for decades. Among mental illnesses, even biological psychiatrists and neuroscientists have paid less attention to the biological treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia since ASD has been regarded as a developmental disorder that was seemingly untreatable. However, multifaceted methods of molecular biology have revealed the mechanisms that would lead to the medication of ASD. In this article, how molecular biology dissects the pathobiology of ASD is described in order to announce the possibilities of biological treatment for clinical psychiatrists.

  3. Synthetic metabolism: engineering biology at the protein and pathway scales.

    PubMed

    Martin, Collin H; Nielsen, David R; Solomon, Kevin V; Prather, Kristala L Jones

    2009-03-27

    Biocatalysis has become a powerful tool for the synthesis of high-value compounds, particularly so in the case of highly functionalized and/or stereoactive products. Nature has supplied thousands of enzymes and assembled them into numerous metabolic pathways. Although these native pathways can be use to produce natural bioproducts, there are many valuable and useful compounds that have no known natural biochemical route. Consequently, there is a need for both unnatural metabolic pathways and novel enzymatic activities upon which these pathways can be built. Here, we review the theoretical and experimental strategies for engineering synthetic metabolic pathways at the protein and pathway scales, and highlight the challenges that this subfield of synthetic biology currently faces.

  4. Engineered biological nanofactories trigger quorum sensing response in targeted bacteria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, Rohan; Roy, Varnika; Wu, Hsuan-Chen; Bentley, William E.

    2010-03-01

    Biological nanofactories, which are engineered to contain modules that can target, sense and synthesize molecules, can trigger communication between different bacterial populations. These communications influence biofilm formation, virulence, bioluminescence and many other bacterial functions in a process called quorum sensing. Here, we show the assembly of a nanofactory that can trigger a bacterial quorum sensing response in the absence of native quorum molecules. The nanofactory comprises an antibody (for targeting) and a fusion protein that produces quorum molecules when bound to the targeted bacterium. Our nanofactory selectively targets the appropriate bacteria and triggers a quorum sensing response when added to two populations of bacteria. The nanofactories also trigger communication between two bacterial populations that are otherwise non-communicating. We envision the use of these nanofactories in generating new antimicrobial treatments that target the communication networks of bacteria rather than their viability.

  5. Tissue Engineering a Biological Repair Strategy for Lumbar Disc Herniation

    PubMed Central

    O'Connell, Grace D.; Leach, J. Kent; Klineberg, Eric O.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The intervertebral disc is a critical part of the intersegmental soft tissue of the spinal column, providing flexibility and mobility, while absorbing large complex loads. Spinal disease, including disc herniation and degeneration, may be a significant contributor to low back pain. Clinically, disc herniations are treated with both nonoperative and operative methods. Operative treatment for disc herniation includes removal of the herniated material when neural compression occurs. While this strategy may have short-term advantages over nonoperative methods, the remaining disc material is not addressed and surgery for mild degeneration may have limited long-term advantage over nonoperative methods. Furthermore, disc herniation and surgery significantly alter the mechanical function of the disc joint, which may contribute to progression of degeneration in surrounding tissues. We reviewed recent advances in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies that may have a significant impact on disc herniation repair. Our review on tissue engineering strategies focuses on cell-based and inductive methods, each commonly combined with material-based approaches. An ideal clinically relevant biological repair strategy will significantly reduce pain and repair and restore flexibility and motion of the spine. PMID:26634189

  6. Application and Analysis of Biological Electrospray in Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Yunmin, Ma; Yuanyuan, Liu; Haiping, Chen; Qingxi, Hu

    2015-01-01

    Nan-fiber scaffolds are suitable tools for tissue engineering. Electro spinning materials together with cells presents not adequate to obtain a high cellular zing tissue constructs as the shear force, tensile force, and other physical effects excited in the electro spinning process, which are harmful to cellular differentiation, development and function. However, this limitation has been overcome by a micro integration system of simultaneously bio-electro spraying human adipose stem cells (ASCs) and electro spinning Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Then it was compared to the single electro spinning nan-fiber scaffolds in relation to cell viability, which showed that the scaffolds by micro integration approach has a larger number of surviving cells and more suitable for cell growth and proliferation. In addition, the relationship between different parameters of biological electrospray (voltage, flow rate and distance of the needle from the collecting board) and droplet size of cell suspension was elucidated and the droplets with a near-mono distribution (<50um) could be generated to deposit a single living cell within a droplet. The association of bio-electro spraying with electro spinning (a scaffold preparation technique) has been demonstrated to be a promising and suitable tissue engineering approach in producing nan-fiber based three-dimensional (3-D) cell seeded scaffolds. PMID:26089992

  7. Support of the IMA summer program molecular biology. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Friedman, A.

    1995-08-01

    The revolutionary progress in molecular biology within the last 30 years opens the way to full understanding of the molecular structures and mechanisms of living organisms. The mathematical sciences accompany and support much of the progress achieved by experiment and computation, as well as provide insight into geometric and topological properties of biomolecular structure and processes. The 4 week program at the IMA brought together biologists and mathematicians leading researchers, postdocs, and graduate students. It focused on genetic mapping and DNA sequencing, followed by biomolecular structure and dynamics. High-resolution linkage maps of genetic marker were discussed extensively in relation to the human genome project. The next level of DNA mapping is physical mapping, consisting of overlapping clones spanning the genome. These maps are extremely useful for genetic analysis. They provide the material for less redundant sequencing and for detailed searches for a gene among other things. This topic was also extensively studied by the participants. From there, the program moved to consider protein structure and dynamics; this is a broad field with a large array of interesting topics. It is of key importance in answering basic scientific questions about the nature of all living organisms, and has practical biomedical applications. The major subareas of structure prediction and classification, techniques and heuristics for the simulation of protein folding, and molecular dynamics provide a rich problem domain where mathematics can be helpful in analysis, modeling, and simulation. One of the important problems in molecular biology is the three-dimensional structure of proteins, DNA and RNA in the cell, and the relationship between structure and function. The program helped increased the understanding of the topology of cellular DNA, RNA and proteins and the various life-sustaining mechanisms used by the cell which modify this molecular topology.

  8. Towards molecular computers that operate in a biological environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kahan, Maya; Gil, Binyamin; Adar, Rivka; Shapiro, Ehud

    2008-07-01

    important consequences when performed in a proper context. We envision that molecular computers that operate in a biological environment can be the basis of “smart drugs”, which are potent drugs that activate only if certain environmental conditions hold. These conditions could include abnormalities in the molecular composition of the biological environment that are indicative of a particular disease. Here we review the research direction that set this vision and attempts to realize it.

  9. [Tools of molecular biology, what can be expected from them?].

    PubMed

    Delpech, M

    1993-01-01

    The techniques of molecular biology represent a new tool for research and diagnosis. They have been used routinely since the middle 80s. The first applications were mainly in hereditary diseases. These techniques investigated an information and not direct biological activity and so new strategies had to be developed. Two techniques have played key roles. They are Southern's method which enables the detection of specific sequences among DNA fragments in any individual within a few days, and the method of in vitro selective amplification (PCR) which is the equivalent of cloning a sequence of several hundred pairs of bases in any individual in less than 3 hours. In hereditary diseases, molecular biological techniques enable diagnosis of the genetic abnormality responsible for the condition, even when the defect is not known. To this end, two strategies are available. The first, and the most satisfactory, is the direct strategy of characterising the genetic defect itself. This is possible when the mutation is a major alteration of the DNA molecule such as a deletion, an insertion or a recombination or when the mutation is isolated and known. In other cases, an indirect approach may be used which consists of determining whether the subject has received normal or defective chromosomes from his or her parents. The identification of good or bad chromosomes is based on the study of DNA markers: polymorphism. The indirect strategy can only be used under certain conditions: presence of an index case, informativity of polymorphisms, complete family study.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  10. Beyond nature and culture: a note on medicine in the age of molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Rheinberger, H J

    1995-01-01

    This paper is divided into two parts. In the first, I examine the relations among molecular biology, gene technology, and medicine, as well as some aspects of the consequences of these relations with respect to the human genome project. I argue that the prevailing momentum of early molecular biology resided in creating the technical means for an extracellular representation of intracellular configurations. As such, its medical impact was rather limited. With the advent of recombinant DNA technologies, a radical change of perspective ensued. The momentum of gene technology is based on the prospects of an intracellular representation of extracellular projects--the "rewriting" of life. Its medical impact is potentially unlimited. In the second part, I question the very opposition between nature and culture that implicitly underlies the notion of medicine as a "cultural system." I argue that both on a macroscopic level (global ecological changes) and on a microscopic level (genetic engineering), the "natural" and the "social" are no longer to be seen as ontologically different. In its uncanny oscillation between retrospection and foresight, between description and proclamation, and between assertion and hesitatiion, this essay translates an uneasiness that I have not been able to overcome while writing it. The essay conveys the tangled views of a hybrid author who himself cannot but oscillate between the perspectives of an actor in the field of molecular biology, a participant in the field of science studies, and a citizen.

  11. The bioartificial pancreas (BAP): Biological, chemical and engineering challenges.

    PubMed

    Iacovacci, Veronica; Ricotti, Leonardo; Menciassi, Arianna; Dario, Paolo

    2016-01-15

    The bioartificial pancreas (BAP) represents a viable solution for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D). By encapsulating pancreatic cells in a semipermeable membrane to allow nutrient, insulin and glucose exchange, the side effects produced by islets and whole organ transplantation-related immunosuppressive therapy can be circumvented. Several factors, mainly related to materials properties, capsule morphology and biological environment, play a key role in optimizing BAP systems. The BAP is an extremely complex delivery system for insulin. Despite considerable efforts, in some instances meeting with limited degree of success, a BAP capable of restoring physiological pancreas functions without the need for immunosuppressive drugs and of controlling blood glucose levels especially in large animal models and a few clinical trials, does not exist. The state of the art in terms of materials, fabrication techniques and cell sources, as well as the current status of commercial devices and clinical trials, are described in this overview from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. In addition, challenges to the creation of effective BAP systems are highlighted including future perspectives in terms of component integration from both a biological and an engineering viewpoint.

  12. Bioimage informatics: a new area of engineering biology.

    PubMed

    Peng, Hanchuan

    2008-09-01

    In recent years, the deluge of complicated molecular and cellular microscopic images creates compelling challenges for the image computing community. There has been an increasing focus on developing novel image processing, data mining, database and visualization techniques to extract, compare, search and manage the biological knowledge in these data-intensive problems. This emerging new area of bioinformatics can be called 'bioimage informatics'. This article reviews the advances of this field from several aspects, including applications, key techniques, available tools and resources. Application examples such as high-throughput/high-content phenotyping and atlas building for model organisms demonstrate the importance of bioimage informatics. The essential techniques to the success of these applications, such as bioimage feature identification, segmentation and tracking, registration, annotation, mining, image data management and visualization, are further summarized, along with a brief overview of the available bioimage databases, analysis tools and other resources.

  13. Simulational nanoengineering: Molecular dynamics implementation of an atomistic Stirling engine.

    PubMed

    Rapaport, D C

    2009-04-01

    A nanoscale-sized Stirling engine with an atomistic working fluid has been modeled using molecular dynamics simulation. The design includes heat exchangers based on thermostats, pistons attached to a flywheel under load, and a regenerator. Key aspects of the behavior, including the time-dependent flows, are described. The model is shown to be capable of stable operation while producing net work at a moderate level of efficiency.

  14. Biodiversity: molecular biological domains, symbiosis and kingdom origins.

    PubMed

    Margulis, L

    1992-01-01

    The number of extant species of organisms is estimated to be from fewer than 3 to more than 30 x 10(6) (May, 1992). Molecular biology, comparative genetics and ultrastructural analyses provide new insights into evolutionary relationships between these species, including increasingly precise ideas of how species and higher taxa have evolved from common ancestors. Accumulation of random mutations and large macromolecular sequence change in all organisms since the Proterozoic Eon has been importantly supplemented by acquisition of inherited genomes ('symbiogenesis'). Karyotypic alterations (polyploidization and karyotypic fissioning) have been added to these other mechanisms of species origin in plants and animals during the Phanerozoic Eon. The new evolution concepts (coupled with current rapid rates of species extinction and ignorance of the extent of biodiversity) prompted this analysis of the field of systematic biology and its role in the reorganization of extant species into higher taxa. Two superkingdoms (= Domains: Prokaryotae and Eukaryotae) and five kingdoms (Monera = Procaryotae or Bacteria; Protoctista: algae, amoebae, ciliates, foraminifera, oomycetes, slime molds, etc.; Mychota: 'true' fungi; Plantae: one phylum (division) of bryophytes and nine phyla of tracheophytes; and Animalia) are recognized. Two subkingdoms comprise the monera: the great diverse lineages are Archaebacteria and Eubacteria. The criteria for classification using molecular, ultrastructural and genetic data for this scheme are mentioned. For the first time since the nineteenth century, logical, technical definitions for each group are given with their time of appearance as inferred from the fossil record in the primary scientific literature. This classification scheme, which most closely reflects the evolutionary history, molecular biology, genetics and ultrastructure of extant life, requires changes in social organization of biologists, many of whom as botanists and zoologists, still

  15. Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Aging in Intervertebral Discs

    PubMed Central

    Vo, Nam V.; Hartman, Robert A.; Patil, Prashanti R.; Risbud, Makarand V.; Kletsas, Dimitris; Iatridis, James C.; Hoyland, Judith A.; Le Maitre, Christine L.; Sowa, Gwendolyn A.; Kang, James D.

    2016-01-01

    Advanced age is the greatest risk factor for the majority of human ailments, including spine-related chronic disability and back pain, which stem from age-associated intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). Given the rapid global rise in the aging population, understanding the biology of intervertebral disc aging in order to develop effective therapeutic interventions to combat the adverse effects of aging on disc health is now imperative. Fortunately, recent advances in aging research have begun to shed light on the basic biological process of aging. Here we review some of these insights and organize the complex process of disc aging into three different phases to guide research efforts to understand the biology of disc aging. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the current knowledge and the recent progress made to elucidate specific molecular mechanisms underlying disc aging. In particular, studies over the last few years have uncovered cellular senescence and genomic instability as important drivers of disc aging. Supporting evidence comes from DNA repair-deficient animal models that show increased disc cellular senescence and accelerated disc aging. Additionally, stress-induced senescent cells have now been well documented to secrete catabolic factors, which can negatively impact the physiology of neighboring cells and ECM. These along with other molecular drivers of aging are reviewed in depth to shed crucial insights into the underlying mechanisms of age-related disc degeneration. We also highlight molecular targets for novel therapies and emerging candidate therapeutics that may mitigate age-associated IDD. PMID:26890203

  16. Biodiversity: molecular biological domains, symbiosis and kingdom origins

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.

    1992-01-01

    The number of extant species of organisms is estimated to be from fewer than 3 to more than 30 x 10(6) (May, 1992). Molecular biology, comparative genetics and ultrastructural analyses provide new insights into evolutionary relationships between these species, including increasingly precise ideas of how species and higher taxa have evolved from common ancestors. Accumulation of random mutations and large macromolecular sequence change in all organisms since the Proterozoic Eon has been importantly supplemented by acquisition of inherited genomes ('symbiogenesis'). Karyotypic alterations (polyploidization and karyotypic fissioning) have been added to these other mechanisms of species origin in plants and animals during the Phanerozoic Eon. The new evolution concepts (coupled with current rapid rates of species extinction and ignorance of the extent of biodiversity) prompted this analysis of the field of systematic biology and its role in the reorganization of extant species into higher taxa. Two superkingdoms (= Domains: Prokaryotae and Eukaryotae) and five kingdoms (Monera = Procaryotae or Bacteria; Protoctista: algae, amoebae, ciliates, foraminifera, oomycetes, slime molds, etc.; Mychota: 'true' fungi; Plantae: one phylum (division) of bryophytes and nine phyla of tracheophytes; and Animalia) are recognized. Two subkingdoms comprise the monera: the great diverse lineages are Archaebacteria and Eubacteria. The criteria for classification using molecular, ultrastructural and genetic data for this scheme are mentioned. For the first time since the nineteenth century, logical, technical definitions for each group are given with their time of appearance as inferred from the fossil record in the primary scientific literature. This classification scheme, which most closely reflects the evolutionary history, molecular biology, genetics and ultrastructure of extant life, requires changes in social organization of biologists, many of whom as botanists and zoologists, still

  17. Biological effects of high molecular weight lignin derivatives.

    PubMed

    Pessala, Piia; Schultz, Eija; Kukkola, Jukka; Nakari, Tarja; Knuutinen, Juha; Herve, Sirpa; Paasivirta, Jaakko

    2010-10-01

    A number of high molecular weight (HMW) lignin derivatives possessing varied chemical properties were screened for their biological effects in order to obtain more information on the possible structural features of HMW lignin-related effects. The studied compounds were both commercial and in-house extracted lignin derivatives. Bioassays used include reverse electron transport (RET), Vibrio fischeri, Daphnia magna, and juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hepatocytes. The studied lignin derivatives inhibited the in vitro systems and luminescence of V. fischeri bacteria to some extent-daphnids were not affected. It seems that, at least in the RET assay, certain pH-dependent functional groups in lignin may be of importance regarding the biological effects.

  18. Research Applications of Proteolytic Enzymes in Molecular Biology

    PubMed Central

    Mótyán, János András; Tóth, Ferenc; Tőzsér, József

    2013-01-01

    Proteolytic enzymes (also termed peptidases, proteases and proteinases) are capable of hydrolyzing peptide bonds in proteins. They can be found in all living organisms, from viruses to animals and humans. Proteolytic enzymes have great medical and pharmaceutical importance due to their key role in biological processes and in the life-cycle of many pathogens. Proteases are extensively applied enzymes in several sectors of industry and biotechnology, furthermore, numerous research applications require their use, including production of Klenow fragments, peptide synthesis, digestion of unwanted proteins during nucleic acid purification, cell culturing and tissue dissociation, preparation of recombinant antibody fragments for research, diagnostics and therapy, exploration of the structure-function relationships by structural studies, removal of affinity tags from fusion proteins in recombinant protein techniques, peptide sequencing and proteolytic digestion of proteins in proteomics. The aim of this paper is to review the molecular biological aspects of proteolytic enzymes and summarize their applications in the life sciences. PMID:24970197

  19. Diagnosis of Whipple's disease using molecular biology techniques.

    PubMed

    Cosme, Ángel; Ojeda, Evelia; Muñagorri, Ana I; Gaminde, Eduardo; Bujanda, Luis; Larzabal, Mikel; Gil, Inés

    2011-04-01

    The diagnosis of Whipple's disease (WD) is based on the existence of clinical signs and symptoms compatible with the disease and in the presence of PAS-positive diastase-resistant granules in the macrophages of the small intestine. If there is suspicion of the disease but no histological findings or only isolated extraintestinal manifestations, species-specific PCR using different sequences of the T. whippleii genome from different tissue types and biological fluids is recommended.This study reports two cases: the first patient had diarrhea and the disease was suspected after an endoscopic examination of the ileum, while the second patient had multi-systemic manifestations,particularly abdominal, thoracic, and peripheral lymphadenopathies. In both cases, the diagnosis was confirmed using molecular biology techniques to samples from the small intestine or from a retroperineal lymph node, respectively.

  20. Deep-UV biological imaging by lanthanide ion molecular protection

    PubMed Central

    Kumamoto, Yasuaki; Fujita, Katsumasa; Smith, Nicholas Isaac; Kawata, Satoshi

    2015-01-01

    Deep-UV (DUV) light is a sensitive probe for biological molecules such as nucleobases and aromatic amino acids due to specific absorption. However, the use of DUV light for imaging is limited because DUV can destroy or denature target molecules in a sample. Here we show that trivalent ions in the lanthanide group can suppress molecular photodegradation under DUV exposure, enabling a high signal-to-noise ratio and repetitive DUV imaging of nucleobases in cells. Underlying mechanisms of the photodegradation suppression can be excitation relaxation of the DUV-absorptive molecules due to energy transfer to the lanthanide ions, and/or avoiding ionization and reactions with surrounding molecules, including generation of reactive oxygen species, which can modify molecules that are otherwise transparent to DUV light. This approach, directly removing excited energy at the fundamental origin of cellular photodegradation, indicates an important first step towards the practical use of DUV imaging in a variety of biological applications. PMID:26819825

  1. Electrophoretic gel image analysis software for the molecular biology laboratory.

    PubMed

    Redman, T; Jacobs, T

    1991-06-01

    We present GelReader 1.0, a microcomputer program designed to make precision, digital analysis of one-dimensional electrophoretic gels accessible to the molecular biology laboratory of modest means. Images of electrophoretic gels are digitized via a desktop flatbed scanner from instant photographs, autoradiograms or chromogenically stained blotting media. GelReader is then invoked to locate lanes and bands and generate a report of molecular weights of unknowns, based on specified sets of standards. Frequently used standards can be stored in the program. Lanes and bands can be added or removed, based upon users' subjective preferences. A unique lane histogram feature facilitates precise manual addition of bands missed by the software. Image enhancement features include palette manipulation, histogram equalization, shadowing and magnification. The user interface strikes a balance between program autonomy and user intervention, in recognition of the variability in electrophoretic gel quality and users' analytical needs.

  2. The Human Glucocorticoid Receptor: Molecular Basis of Biologic Function

    PubMed Central

    Nicolaides, Nicolas C.; Galata, Zoi; Kino, Tomoshige; Chrousos, George P.; Charmandari, Evangelia

    2009-01-01

    The characterization of the subfamily of steroid hormone receptors has enhanced our understanding of how a set of hormonally derived lipophilic ligands controls cellular and molecular functions to influence development and help achieve homeostasis. The glucocorticopid receptor (GR), the first member of this subfamily, is a ubiquitously expressed intracellular protein, which functions as a ligand-dependent transcription factor that regulates the expression of glucocorticoid-responsive genes. The effector domains of the GR mediate transcriptional activation by recruiting coregulatory multi-subunit complexes that remodel chromatin, target initiation sites, and stabilize the RNA polymerase II machinery for repeated rounds of transcription of target genes. This review summarizes the basic aspects of the structure and of the human (h) GR, and the molecular basis of its biologic function. PMID:19818358

  3. The human glucocorticoid receptor: molecular basis of biologic function.

    PubMed

    Nicolaides, Nicolas C; Galata, Zoi; Kino, Tomoshige; Chrousos, George P; Charmandari, Evangelia

    2010-01-01

    The characterization of the subfamily of steroid hormone receptors has enhanced our understanding of how a set of hormonally derived lipophilic ligands controls cellular and molecular functions to influence development and help achieve homeostasis. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR), the first member of this subfamily, is a ubiquitously expressed intracellular protein, which functions as a ligand-dependent transcription factor that regulates the expression of glucocorticoid-responsive genes. The effector domains of the GR mediate transcriptional activation by recruiting coregulatory multi-subunit complexes that remodel chromatin, target initiation sites, and stabilize the RNA-polymerase II machinery for repeated rounds of transcription of target genes. This review summarizes the basic aspects of the structure and actions of the human (h) GR, and the molecular basis of its biologic functions.

  4. Molecular Requirements for the Biological Activity of Ethylene 1

    PubMed Central

    Burg, Stanley P.; Burg, Ellen A.

    1967-01-01

    The molecular requirements for ethylene action were investigated using the pea straight growth test. Biological activity requires an unsaturated bond adjacent to a terminal carbon atom, is inversely related to molecular size, and is decreased by substitutions which lower the electron density in the unsaturated position. Evidence is presented that ethylene binds to a metal containing receptor site. CO2 is a competitive inhibitor of ethylene action, and prevents high concentrations of auxin (which stimulate ethylene formation) from retarding the elongation of etiolated pea stem sections. It is suggested that CO2 delays fruit ripening by displacing the ripening hormone, ethylene, from its receptor site. Binding of ethylene to the receptor site is also impeded when the O2 concentration is lowered, and this may explain why fruit ripening is delayed at low O2 tensions. PMID:16656478

  5. Molecular engineering of glycosaminoglycan chemistry for biomolecule delivery

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Tobias; Goude, Melissa C.; McDevitt, Todd C.

    2013-01-01

    Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear, negatively charged polysaccharid es that interact with a variety of positively-charged growth factors. In this review article, the effects of engineering GAG chemistry for molecular delivery applications in regenerative medicine are presented. Three major areas of focus at the structure-function-property interface are discussed: 1) macromolecular properties of GAGs, 2) effects of chemical modifications on protein binding, and 3) degradation mechanisms of GAGs. GAG-protein interactions can be based on 1) GAG sulfation pattern, 2) GAG carbohydrate conformation, and 3) GAG polyelectrolyte behavior. Chemical modifications of GAGs, which are commonly performed to engineer molecular delivery systems, affect protein binding and are highly dependent on the site of modification on the GAG molecules. The rate and mode of degradation can determine the release of molecules as well as the length of GAG fragments to which the cargo is electrostatically coupled and eventually released from the delivery system. Overall, GAG-based polymers are a versatile biomaterial platform offering novel means to engineer molecular delivery systems with a high degree of control in order to better treat a range of degenerate or injured tissues. PMID:24121191

  6. Mutants of Arabidopsis as tools for physiology and molecular biology

    SciTech Connect

    Somerville, C.R.; Artus, N.; Browse, J.; Caspar, T.; Estelle, M.; Haughn, G.; Kunst, L.; Martinez, J.; McCourt, P.; Moffatt, B.

    1986-04-01

    The authors discuss the importance of developing a facile system for genetic analysis in higher plants which can be used to approach problems specific to plant biology in much the same way that molecular genetic approaches have been used in other classes of organisms such as yeast and Drosophila. Toward this end, they have developed methods for the isolation and analysis of mutants of Arabidopsis with specific alterations in photosynthesis, photorespiration, starch metabolism, lipid metabolism, purine metabolism, amino acid metabolism and phytohormone responses. The utility of this collection of mutants for studying problems in physiology and biochemistry is illustrated with selected examples.

  7. [Applications of molecular biology in the wine industry].

    PubMed

    Ramón, D; González-Candelas, L; Pérez-González, J A; González, R; Ventura, L; Sánchez-Torres, P; Vallés, S; Piñaga, F; Gallego, M V; Fernández-Espinar, M T

    1995-03-01

    Population dynamics of natural and inoculated industrial wine fermentations have been studied by using a simple molecular biology technique based on mitochondrial DNA restriction analysis profile. The predominance of the inoculated strain in the inoculated fermentations is obvious. A genetic transformation system has been developed for an industrial wine yeast strain named T73. By using this technique, different fungal hydrolases in this industrial strain have been expressed. Problems and benefits of the application of recombinant DNA techniques in wine yeast strains are also discussed here.

  8. A complex systems approach to computational molecular biology

    SciTech Connect

    Lapedes, A. |

    1993-09-01

    We report on the containing research program at Santa Fe Institute that applies complex systems methodology to computational molecular biology. Two aspects are stressed here are the use of co-evolving adaptive neutral networks for determining predictable protein structure classifications, and the use of information theory to elucidate protein structure and function. A ``snapshot`` of the current state of research in these two topics is presented, representing the present state of two major research thrusts in the program of Genetic Data and Sequence Analysis at the Santa Fe Institute.

  9. Molecular genetics of glioblastomas: defining subtypes and understanding the biology.

    PubMed

    Renault, Ilana Zalcberg; Golgher, Denise

    2015-02-01

    Despite comprehensive therapy, which includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, the prognosis of glioblastoma multiforme is very poor. Diagnosed individuals present an average of 12 to 18 months of life. This article provides an overview of the molecular genetics of these tumors. Despite the overwhelming amount of data available, so far little has been translated into real benefits for the patient. Because this is such a complex topic, the goal is to point out the main alterations in the biological pathways that lead to tumor formation, and how this can contribute to the development of better therapies and clinical care.

  10. Medical and molecular biological application in the FELI

    SciTech Connect

    Nishimura, E.; Ogino, S.; Suzuki, T.

    1995-12-31

    Some of the user`s rooms of the FELI have been equipped for medical and molecular biological research. Main subjects are immunological reaction and cell fusion induced by IR FEL. We are beginning to do the preliminary irradiation experiments. The cultured T lymphocytes (Molt-4, human) are irradiated to FEL at wavelength 6.3{mu}m with the power density approximate 500mW/mm{sup 2} for 10 minutes, in the culture media (RPMI-1640) including 10% fetal bovine serum. Swelling and consequent collapse of the cells can be observed, probably due to abrasion of the cell membranes.

  11. Molecular Biology of Pediatric Hydrocephalus and Hydrocephalus-related Diseases

    PubMed Central

    YAMASAKI, Mami; KANEMURA, Yonehiro

    2015-01-01

    We are beginning to understand the molecular biology of hydrocephalus and its related diseases. X-linked hydrocephalus (XLH), holoprosencephaly (HPE), Dandy–Walker malformation (DWM), and neural tube defect (NTD) can all be discussed with respect to their available molecular genetics knowledge base and its clinical applications. XLH is single gene disorder caused by mutations in the neural cell adhesion molecule-encoding L1CAM (L1) gene. Our knowledge of the molecular basis of XLH is already being applied clinically in disease diagnosis, disease classification, and prenatal diagnosis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying XLH-related hydrocephalus still needs to be clarified. Sixteen causative genes for HPE have been identified, of which mutations are most often found in SHH, ZIC2, SIX3, and TGIF. Genetic interactions, gene complexity, and the wide variety of HPE phenotypes and genotypes are topics for future study. For DWM, two important loci, 3q24, which includes the FOXC1 gene, and 6q25.3, which includes the ZIC1 and ZIC4 genes, were recently identified as causative areas. The planar cell polarity (PCP) genes CELSR1, CELSR2, VANGL1, and VANGL2 have been implicated in NTD; these genes have roles in neural tube closure and ependymal ciliary movement. PMID:26227058

  12. Quantitative molecular sensing in biological tissues: an approach to non-invasive optical characterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chandra, Malavika; Vishwanath, Karthik; Fichter, Greg D.; Liao, Elly; Hollister, Scott J.; Mycek, Mary-Ann

    2006-06-01

    A method to non-invasively and quantitatively characterize thick biological tissues by combining both experimental and computational approaches in tissue optical spectroscopy was developed and validated on fifteen porcine articular cartilage (AC) tissue samples. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to couple non-invasive reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopic measurements on freshly harvested tissues with Monte Carlo computational modeling of time-resolved propagation of both excitation light and multi-fluorophore emission. For reflectance, quantitative agreement between simulation and experiment was achieved to better than 11%. Fluorescence data and simulations were used to extract the ratio of the absorption coefficients of constituent fluorophores for each measured AC tissue sample. This ratio could be used to monitor relative changes in concentration of the constituent fluorophores over time. The samples studied possessed the complexity and variability not found in artificial tissue-simulating phantoms and serve as a model for future optical molecular sensing studies on tissue engineered constructs intended for use in human therapeutics. An optical technique that could non-invasively and quantitatively assess soft tissue composition or physiologic status would represent a significant advance in tissue engineering. Moreover, the general approach described here for optical characterization should be broadly applicable to quantitative, non-invasive molecular sensing applications in complex, three-dimensional biological tissues.

  13. An improved failure criterion for biological and engineered staggered composites.

    PubMed

    Barthelat, Francois; Dastjerdi, Ahmad Khayer; Rabiei, Reza

    2013-02-01

    High-performance biological materials such as nacre, spider silk or bone have evolved a staggered microstructure consisting of stiff and strong elongated inclusions aligned with the direction of loading. This structure leads to useful combinations of stiffness, strength and toughness, and it is therefore increasingly mimicked in bio-inspired composites. The performance of staggered composites can be tuned; for example, their mechanical properties increase when the overlap between the inclusions is increased. However, larger overlaps may lead to excessive tensile stress and fracture of the inclusions themselves, a highly detrimental failure mode. Fracture of the inclusions has so far only been predicted using highly simplified models, which hinder our ability to properly design and optimize engineered staggered composites. In this work, we develop a new failure criterion that takes into account the complex stress field within the inclusions as well as initial defects. The model leads to an 'optimum criterion' for cases where the shear tractions on the inclusions is uniform, and a 'conservative' criterion for which the tractions are modelled as point forces at the ends of the overlap regions. The criterion can therefore be applied for a wide array of material behaviour at the interface, even if the details of the shear load transfer is not known. The new criterion is validated with experiments on staggered structures made of millimetre-thick alumina tablets, and by comparison with data on nacre. Formulated in a non-dimensional form, our new criterion can be applied on a wide variety of engineered staggered composites at any length scale. It also reveals new design guidelines, for example high aspect ratio inclusions with weak interfaces are preferable over inclusions with low aspect ratio and stronger interfaces. Together with existing models, this new criterion will lead to optimal designs that harness the full potential of bio-inspired staggered composites.

  14. The role of molecular biology in veterinary parasitology.

    PubMed

    Prichard, R; Tait, A

    2001-07-12

    The tools of molecular biology are increasingly relevant to veterinary parasitology. The sequencing of the complete genomes of Caenorhabditis elegans and other helminths and protozoa is allowing great advances in studying the biology, and improving diagnosis and control of parasites. Unique DNA sequences provide very high levels of specificity for the diagnosis and identification of parasite species and strains, and PCR allows extremely high levels of sensitivity. New techniques, such as the use of uniquely designed molecular beacons and DNA microarrays will eventually allow rapid screening for specific parasite genotypes and assist in diagnostic and epidemiological studies of veterinary parasites. The ability to use genome data to clone and sequence genes which when expressed will provide antigens for vaccine screening and receptors and enzymes for mechanism-based chemotherapy screening will increase our options for parasite control. In addition, DNA vaccines can have desirable characteristics, such as sustained stimulation of the host immune system compared with protein based vaccines. One of the greatest threats to parasite control has been the development of drug resistance in parasites. Our knowledge of the basis of drug resistance and our ability to monitor its development with highly sensitive and specific DNA-based assays for 'resistance'-alleles will help maintain the effectiveness of existing antiparasitic drugs and provide hope that we can maintain control of parasitic disease outbreaks.

  15. Errant life, molecular biology, and biopower: Canguilhem, Jacob, and Foucault.

    PubMed

    Talcott, Samuel

    2014-01-01

    This paper considers the theoretical circumstances that urged Michel Foucault to analyse modern societies in terms of biopower. Georges Canguilhem's account of the relations between science and the living forms an essential starting point for Foucault's own later explorations, though the challenges posed by the molecular revolution in biology and François Jacob's history of it allowed Foucault to extend and transform Canguilhem's philosophy of error. Using archival research into his 1955-1956 course on "Science and Error," I show that, for Canguilhem, it is inauthentic to treat a living being as an error, even if living things are capable of making errors in the domain of knowledge. The emergent molecular biology in the 1960s posed a grave challenge, however, since it suggested that individuals could indeed be errors of genetic reproduction. The paper discusses how Canguilhem and Foucault each responded to this by examining, among other texts, their respective reviews of Jacob's The Logic of the Living. For Canguilhem this was an opportunity to reaffirm the creativity of life in the living individual, which is not a thing to be evaluated, but the source of values. For Foucault, drawing on Jacob's work, this was the opportunity to develop a transformed account of valuation by posing biopower as the DNA of society. Despite their disagreements, the paper examines these three authors as different iterations of a historical epistemology attuned to errancy, error, and experimentation.

  16. Holism and life manifestations: molecular and space-time biology.

    PubMed

    Krecek, J

    2010-01-01

    Appeals of philosophers to look for new concepts in sciences are being met with a weak response. Limited attention is paid to the relation between synthetic and analytic approach in solving problems of biology. An attempt is presented to open a discussion on a possible role of holism. The term "life manifestations" is used in accordance with phenomenology. Multicellular creatures maintain milieu intérieur to keep an aqueous milieu intracellulair in order to transform the energy of nutrients into the form utilizable for driving cellular life manifestations. Milieu intérieur enables to integrate this kind of manifestations into life manifestations of the whole multicellular creatures. The integration depends on a uniqueness and uniformity of the genome of cells, on their mutual recognition and adherence. The processes of ontogenetic development represent the natural mode of integration of cellular life manifestations. Functional systems of multicellular creatures are being established by organization of integrable cells using a wide range of developmental processes. Starting from the zygote division the new being displays all properties of a whole creature, although its life manifestations vary. Therefore, the whole organism is not only more than its parts, as supposed by holism, but also more than developmental stages of its life manifestations. Implicitly, the units of whole multicellular creature are rather molecular and developmental events than the cells per se. Holism, taking in mind the existence of molecular and space-time biology, could become a guide in looking for a new mode of the combination of analytical and synthetic reasoning in biology.

  17. Embryonic stem cell biology: insights from molecular imaging.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Karim; Wu, Joseph C

    2010-01-01

    Embryonic stem (ES) cells have therapeutic potential in disorders of cellular loss such as myocardial infarction, type I diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. ES cell biology in living subjects was largely poorly understood until incorporation of molecular imaging into the field. Reporter gene imaging works by integrating a reporter gene into ES cells and using a reporter probe to induce a signal detectable by normal imaging modalities. Reporter gene imaging allows for longitudinal tracking of ES cells within the same host for a prolonged period of time. This has advantages over postmortem immunohistochemistry and traditional imaging modalities. The advantages include expression of reporter gene is limited to viable cells, expression is conserved between generations of dividing cells, and expression can be linked to a specific population of cells. These advantages were especially useful in studying a dynamic cell population such as ES cells and proved useful in elucidating the biology of ES cells. Reporter gene imaging identified poor integration of differentiated ES cells transplanted into host tissue as well as delayed donor cell death as reasons for poor long-term survival in vivo. This imaging technology also confirmed that ES cells indeed have immunogenic properties that factor into cell survival and differentiation. Finally, reporter gene imaging improved our understanding of the neoplastic risk of undifferentiated ES cells in forming teratomas. Despite such advances, much remains to be understood about ES cell biology to translate this technology to the bedside, and reporter gene imaging will certainly play a key role in formulating this understanding.

  18. Transmission electron microscopy in molecular structural biology: A historical survey.

    PubMed

    Harris, J Robin

    2015-09-01

    In this personal, historic account of macromolecular transmission electron microscopy (TEM), published data from the 1940s through to recent times is surveyed, within the context of the remarkable progress that has been achieved during this time period. The evolution of present day molecular structural biology is described in relation to the associated biological disciplines. The contribution of numerous electron microscope pioneers to the development of the subject is discussed. The principal techniques for TEM specimen preparation, thin sectioning, metal shadowing, negative staining and plunge-freezing (vitrification) of thin aqueous samples are described, with a selection of published images to emphasise the virtues of each method. The development of digital image analysis and 3D reconstruction is described in detail as applied to electron crystallography and reconstructions from helical structures, 2D membrane crystals as well as single particle 3D reconstruction of icosahedral viruses and macromolecules. The on-going development of new software, algorithms and approaches is highlighted before specific examples of the historical progress of the structural biology of proteins and viruses are presented.

  19. Review and application of group theory to molecular systems biology

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    In this paper we provide a review of selected mathematical ideas that can help us better understand the boundary between living and non-living systems. We focus on group theory and abstract algebra applied to molecular systems biology. Throughout this paper we briefly describe possible open problems. In connection with the genetic code we propose that it may be possible to use perturbation theory to explore the adjacent possibilities in the 64-dimensional space-time manifold of the evolving genome. With regards to algebraic graph theory, there are several minor open problems we discuss. In relation to network dynamics and groupoid formalism we suggest that the network graph might not be the main focus for understanding the phenotype but rather the phase space of the network dynamics. We show a simple case of a C6 network and its phase space network. We envision that the molecular network of a cell is actually a complex network of hypercycles and feedback circuits that could be better represented in a higher-dimensional space. We conjecture that targeting nodes in the molecular network that have key roles in the phase space, as revealed by analysis of the automorphism decomposition, might be a better way to drug discovery and treatment of cancer. PMID:21696623

  20. Advances in the cellular and molecular biology of angiogenesis.

    PubMed

    Egginton, Stuart; Bicknell, Roy

    2011-12-01

    Capillaries have been recognized for over a century as one of the most important components in regulating tissue oxygen transport, and their formation or angiogenesis a pivotal element of tissue remodelling during development and adaptation. Clinical interest stems from observations that both excessive and inadequate vascular growth plays a major role in human diseases, and novel developments in treatments for cancer and eye disease increasingly rely on anti-angiogenic therapies. Although the discovery of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) provided the first clue for specificity of signalling in endothelial cell activation, understanding the integrative response that drives angiogenesis requires a much broader perspective. The Advances in the Cellular and Molecular Biology of Angiogenesis meeting brought together researchers at the forefront of this rapidly moving field to provide an update on current understanding, and the most recent insights into molecular and cellular mechanisms of vascular growth. The plenary lecture highlighted the integrative nature of the angiogenic process, whereas invited contributions from basic and clinician scientists described fundamental mechanisms and disease-associated issues of blood vessel formation, grouped under a number of themes to aid discussion. These articles will appeal to academic, clinical and pharmaceutical scientists interested in the molecular and cellular basis of angiogenesis, their modulation or dysfunction in human diseases, and application of these findings towards translational medicine.

  1. Molecular biology of insect sodium channels and pyrethroid resistance.

    PubMed

    Dong, Ke; Du, Yuzhe; Rinkevich, Frank; Nomura, Yoshiko; Xu, Peng; Wang, Lingxin; Silver, Kristopher; Zhorov, Boris S

    2014-07-01

    Voltage-gated sodium channels are essential for the initiation and propagation of the action potential in neurons and other excitable cells. Because of their critical roles in electrical signaling, sodium channels are targets of a variety of naturally occurring and synthetic neurotoxins, including several classes of insecticides. This review is intended to provide an update on the molecular biology of insect sodium channels and the molecular mechanism of pyrethroid resistance. Although mammalian and insect sodium channels share fundamental topological and functional properties, most insect species carry only one sodium channel gene, compared to multiple sodium channel genes found in each mammalian species. Recent studies showed that two posttranscriptional mechanisms, alternative splicing and RNA editing, are involved in generating functional diversity of sodium channels in insects. More than 50 sodium channel mutations have been identified to be responsible for or associated with knockdown resistance (kdr) to pyrethroids in various arthropod pests and disease vectors. Elucidation of molecular mechanism of kdr led to the identification of dual receptor sites of pyrethroids on insect sodium channels. Many of the kdr mutations appear to be located within or close to the two receptor sites. The accumulating knowledge of insect sodium channels and their interactions with insecticides provides a foundation for understanding the neurophysiology of sodium channels in vivo and the development of new and safer insecticides for effective control of arthropod pests and human disease vectors.

  2. Detection of biological threats. A challenge for directed molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Petrenko, Valery A; Sorokulova, Iryna B

    2004-08-01

    The probe technique originated from early attempts of Anton van Leeuwenhoek to contrast microorganisms under the microscope using plant juices, successful staining of tubercle bacilli with synthetic dyes by Paul Ehrlich and discovery of a stain for differentiation of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria by Hans Christian Gram. The technique relies on the principle that pathogens have unique structural features, which can be recognized by specifically labeled organic molecules. A hundred years of extensive screening efforts led to discovery of a limited assortment of organic probes that are used for identification and differentiation of bacteria. A new challenge--continuous monitoring of biological threats--requires long lasting molecular probes capable of tight specific binding of pathogens in unfavorable conditions. To respond to the challenge, probe technology is being revolutionized by utilizing methods of combinatorial chemistry, phage display and directed molecular evolution. This review describes how molecular evolution methods are applied for development of peptide, antibody and phage probes, and summarizes the author's own data on development of landscape phage probes against Salmonella typhimurium. The performance of the probes in detection of Salmonella is illustrated by a precipitation test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and fluorescent, optical and electron microscopy.

  3. Molecular Biology of Insect Sodium Channels and Pyrethroid Resistance

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Ke; Du, Yuzhe; Rinkevich, Frank; Nomura, Yoshiko; Xu, Peng; Wang, Lingxin; Silver, Kristopher; Zhorov, Boris S.

    2015-01-01

    Voltage-gated sodium channels are essential for the initiation and propagation of the action potential in neurons and other excitable cells. Because of their critical roles in electrical signaling, sodium channels are targets of a variety of naturally occurring and synthetic neurotoxins, including several classes of insecticides. This review is intended to provide an update on the molecular biology of insect sodium channels and the molecular mechanism of pyrethroid resistance. Although mammalian and insect sodium channels share fundamental topological and functional properties, most insect species carry only one sodium channel gene, compared to multiple sodium channel genes found in each mammalian species. Recent studies showed that two posttranscriptional mechanisms, alternative splicing and RNA editing, are involved in generating functional diversity of sodium channels in insects. More than 50 sodium channel mutations have been identified to be responsible for or associated with knockdown resistance (kdr) to pyrethroids in various arthropod pests and disease vectors. Elucidation of molecular mechanism of kdr led to the identification of dual receptor sites of pyrethroids on insect sodium channels. Most of the kdr mutations appear to be located within or close to the two receptor sites. The accumulating knowledge of insect sodium channels and their interactions with insecticides provides a foundation for understanding the neurophysiology of sodium channels in vivo and the development of new and safer insecticides for effective control of arthropod pests and human disease vectors. PMID:24704279

  4. Controlling the conductance of molecular wires by defect engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nozaki, D.; Pastawski, H. M.; Cuniberti, G.

    2010-06-01

    Understanding the charge transport mechanisms in nanoscale structures is essential for the development of molecular electronic devices. Charge transport through one-dimensional (1D) molecular systems connected between two contacts is influenced by several parameters, such as the electronic structure of the molecule and the presence of disorder and defects. In this work, we have modeled 1D molecular wires connected between electrodes and systematically investigated the influence of both soliton formation and the presence of defects on properties such as conductance and the density of states. Our numerical calculations have shown that the transport properties are highly sensitive to the positions of both the solitons and the defects. Interestingly, the introduction of a single defect in the molecular wire that divides it into two fragments, both consisting of an odd number of sites, creates a new conduction channel at the center of the band gap, resulting in higher zero-bias conductance than for defect-free systems. This phenomenon suggests alternative routes for the engineering of molecular wires with enhanced conductance.

  5. [Biological characteristics of defensin and its disease-resistance genetic engineering].

    PubMed

    Fu, Lan-Bao; Yu, Jia-Lin; Liu, Wei-Hua

    2011-05-01

    Defensin is a kind of cysteine-rich small peptide, which has a broad spectrum of resistance to bacteria with a special resistance mechanism. So far, a large number of studies on defensins have been reported, and the different types of defensins have been isolated from various organisms. A broad prospect of application on defensins has been displayed both in genetic engineering and medicine field. This article reviewed the classification and the biological characteristics of defensins, including mammalian α-, β-, θ-defensins, insect defensins, and plant defensins. The molecular structures, antibacterial activities, and antibacterial mechanisms of these definsins were summarized. The two mechanisms of de-fensin, including independent membrane mechanism and targeting of intracellular compounds by defensins, are ex-pounded. This paper also summarized the researches on isolation and expression of defensin genes and disease resistance genetic engineering of mammal and plant defensins. A prospect of the future applications of defensin both in biophar-maceutical sciences and plant disease resistance genetic engineering was discussed.

  6. Molecularly defined plasmonic engineering to visualize antibody binding events by eye

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, A. W.; Cooper, J. M.

    2013-02-01

    We report a novel plasmonic tuning technique which allows colorimetric, naked-eye detection of protein-protein binding at extreme sensitivities. Utilizing an engineered approach to molecularly-driven plasmonic-coupling, we construct three-part plasmonic "bowtie" structures within protein nanoarrays using single biomolecular binding events. Precise molecular positioning of single gold nanaoparticles inside plasmonic bowties allows us to shape the plasmon supported by each array element in order to engineer a visible color-shift. By ensuring that only a single binding site is available inside each feature, we ensure plasmon homogeneity across the array, a unique technological solution which is essential to providing the sensitivity and observability we demonstrate here. This work represents a step-change in molecularly-mediated plasmonics and colorimetric biosensing, enabling biologically-controlled nanoengineering at single-protein resolutions. The potential applications of this powerful technique are not limited to biosensing and point-of-care diagnostics, and will also impact the emerging fields of molecularly driven nanoengineering and electronics.

  7. Energetics of a heat engine: a molecular dynamics simulation study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tadele, Kumneger; Tatek, Yergou B.; Bekele, Mulugeta

    2016-11-01

    We perform a classical molecular dynamics simulation study of a heat engine operating between two heat reservoirs and performing a Carnot-like cycle in a finite time over a wide range of process rates. The working substance of the heat engine is made of highly concentrated interacting Lennard-Jones particles with the aim to simulate a real gas. The piston speed and temperature ratio of the cold and hot heat reservoirs are used as control parameters whereas efficiency and power output per cycle are the physical quantities of interest. The variation of these quantities as a function of the independent parameters is studied with the objective to investigate the validity of relevant theoretical predictions. For instance, for small process rates, the linear dependence of the heat engine efficiency with temperature ratio, in agreement with theory, has been demonstrated. Finally, a unified optimization criterion is applied to determine optimum operation conditions of the engine that make the best trade-off between efficiency and power output.

  8. Genetic engineering of modular PKSs: from combinatorial biosynthesis to synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Weissman, Kira J

    2016-02-01

    Multienzyme polyketide synthases (PKSs) are molecular-scale assembly lines which construct complex natural products in bacteria. The underlying modular architecture of these gigantic catalysts inspired, from the moment of their discovery, attempts to modify them by genetic engineering to produce analogues of predictable structure. These efforts have resulted in hundreds of metabolites new to nature, as detailed in this review. However, in the face of many failures, the heady days of imagining the possibilities for a truly 'combinatorial biosynthesis' of polyketides have faded. It is now more appropriate to talk about 'PKS synthetic biology' with its more modest goals of delivering specific derivatives of known structure in combination with and as a complement to synthetic chemistry approaches. The reasons for these failures will be discussed in terms of our growing understanding of the three-dimensional architectures and mechanisms of these systems. Finally, some thoughts on the future of the field will be presented.

  9. Implementation and Assessment of a Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Undergraduate Degree Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pham, Daphne Q. -D.; Higgs, David C.; Statham, Anne; Schleiter, Mary Kay

    2008-01-01

    The Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has developed and implemented an innovative, multidisciplinary undergraduate curriculum in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics (MBB). The objective of the MBB program is to give students a hands-on facility with molecular biology theories and laboratory techniques, an…

  10. Molecular engineering of polymer actuators for biomedical and industrial use

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banister, Mark; Eichorst, Rebecca; Gurr, Amy; Schweitzer, Georgette; Geronov, Yordan; Rao, Pavalli; McGrath, Dominic

    2012-04-01

    Five key materials engineering components and how each component impacted the working performance of a polymer actuator material are investigated. In our research we investigated the change of actuation performance that occurred with each change we made to the material. We investigated polymer crosslink density, polymer chain length, polymer gelation, type and density of reactive units, as well as the addition of binders to the polymer matrix. All five play a significant role and need to be addressed at the molecular level to optimize a polymer gel for use as a practical actuator material for biomedical and industrial use.

  11. Molecular biological characterization of equine surfactant protein A.

    PubMed

    Hospes, R; Hospes, B I L; Reiss, I; Bostedt, H; Gortner, L

    2002-12-01

    In the following, we describe the isolation and sequencing of the equine surfactant protein A (Sp-A) as found in both the cDNA and the genomic DNA. We found a length of the cDNA sequence of 747 bp (base pairs), in translation into amino acids of 248. Compared with the known molecular biological facts about Sp-A in other species, the cDNA sequence obtained showed highest homology with that of sheep (85.01%). The genomic DNA of equine Sp-A, as in other species, includes three introns. There were no hints for the existence of two different Sp-A genes. These results should form the basis for a better understanding of respiratory failure in foals and adult horses, and also lead to further studies on this item.

  12. Biomarkers of Aging: From Function to Molecular Biology.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Karl-Heinz; Cameron-Smith, David; Wessner, Barbara; Franzke, Bernhard

    2016-06-02

    Aging is a major risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional impairments. Within a homogeneous age sample there is a considerable variation in the extent of disease and functional impairment risk, revealing a need for valid biomarkers to aid in characterizing the complex aging processes. The identification of biomarkers is further complicated by the diversity of biological living situations, lifestyle activities and medical treatments. Thus, there has been no identification of a single biomarker or gold standard tool that can monitor successful or healthy aging. Within this short review the current knowledge of putative biomarkers is presented, focusing on their application to the major physiological mechanisms affected by the aging process including physical capability, nutritional status, body composition, endocrine and immune function. This review emphasizes molecular and DNA-based biomarkers, as well as recent advances in other biomarkers such as microRNAs, bilirubin or advanced glycation end products.

  13. Molecular biology and inhibitors of hepatitis A virus.

    PubMed

    Debing, Yannick; Neyts, Johan; Thibaut, Hendrik Jan

    2014-09-01

    Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a faeco-orally transmitted picornavirus and is one of the main causes of acute hepatitis worldwide. An overview of the molecular biology of HAV is presented with an emphasis on recent findings. Immune evasion strategies and a possible correlation between HAV and atopy are discussed as well. Despite the availability of efficient vaccines, antiviral drugs targeting HAV are required to treat severe cases of fulminant hepatitis, contain outbreaks, and halt the potential spread of vaccine-escape variants. Additionally, such drugs could be used to shorten the period of illness and decrease associated economical costs. Several known inhibitors of HAV with various mechanisms of action will be discussed. Since none of these molecules is readily useable in the clinic and since the availability of an anti-HAV drug would be of clinical importance, increased efforts should be targeted toward discovery and development of such antivirals.

  14. Obstructive renal injury: from fluid mechanics to molecular cell biology.

    PubMed

    Ucero, Alvaro C; Gonçalves, Sara; Benito-Martin, Alberto; Santamaría, Beatriz; Ramos, Adrian M; Berzal, Sergio; Ruiz-Ortega, Marta; Egido, Jesus; Ortiz, Alberto

    2010-04-22

    Urinary tract obstruction is a frequent cause of renal impairment. The physiopathology of obstructive nephropathy has long been viewed as a mere mechanical problem. However, recent advances in cell and systems biology have disclosed a complex physiopathology involving a high number of molecular mediators of injury that lead to cellular processes of apoptotic cell death, cell injury leading to inflammation and resultant fibrosis. Functional studies in animal models of ureteral obstruction using a variety of techniques that include genetically modified animals have disclosed an important role for the renin-angiotensin system, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and other mediators of inflammation in this process. In addition, high throughput techniques such as proteomics and transcriptomics have identified potential biomarkers that may guide clinical decision-making.

  15. Application of mitochondrial DNA polymorphism to meloidogyne molecular population biology.

    PubMed

    Hyman, B C; Whipple, L E

    1996-09-01

    Recent advances in molecular biology have enabled the genotyping of individual nematodes, facilitating the analysis of genetic variability within and among plant-pathogenic nematode isolates. This review first describes representative examples of how RFLP, RAPD, AFLP, and DNA sequence analysis have been employed to describe populations of several phytonematodes, including the pinewood, burrowing, root-knot, and cyst nematodes. The second portion of this paper evaluates the utility of a size-variable mitochondrial DNA locus to examine the genetic structure of Meloidogyne isolates using two alternate methodologies, variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) and repeat associated poiymorphism (RAP) analysis. VNTR analysis has revealed genetic variation among individual nematodes, whereas RAP may provide useful markers for species and population differentiation.

  16. Biomarkers of Aging: From Function to Molecular Biology

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Karl-Heinz; Cameron-Smith, David; Wessner, Barbara; Franzke, Bernhard

    2016-01-01

    Aging is a major risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional impairments. Within a homogeneous age sample there is a considerable variation in the extent of disease and functional impairment risk, revealing a need for valid biomarkers to aid in characterizing the complex aging processes. The identification of biomarkers is further complicated by the diversity of biological living situations, lifestyle activities and medical treatments. Thus, there has been no identification of a single biomarker or gold standard tool that can monitor successful or healthy aging. Within this short review the current knowledge of putative biomarkers is presented, focusing on their application to the major physiological mechanisms affected by the aging process including physical capability, nutritional status, body composition, endocrine and immune function. This review emphasizes molecular and DNA-based biomarkers, as well as recent advances in other biomarkers such as microRNAs, bilirubin or advanced glycation end products. PMID:27271660

  17. Obstructive renal injury: from fluid mechanics to molecular cell biology

    PubMed Central

    Ucero, Alvaro C; Gonçalves, Sara; Benito-Martin, Alberto; Santamaría, Beatriz; Ramos, Adrian M; Berzal, Sergio; Ruiz-Ortega, Marta; Egido, Jesus; Ortiz, Alberto

    2010-01-01

    Urinary tract obstruction is a frequent cause of renal impairment. The physiopathology of obstructive nephropathy has long been viewed as a mere mechanical problem. However, recent advances in cell and systems biology have disclosed a complex physiopathology involving a high number of molecular mediators of injury that lead to cellular processes of apoptotic cell death, cell injury leading to inflammation and resultant fibrosis. Functional studies in animal models of ureteral obstruction using a variety of techniques that include genetically modified animals have disclosed an important role for the renin-angiotensin system, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and other mediators of inflammation in this process. In addition, high throughput techniques such as proteomics and transcriptomics have identified potential biomarkers that may guide clinical decision-making. PMID:24198613

  18. Nanoindentation in crystal engineering: quantifying mechanical properties of molecular crystals.

    PubMed

    Varughese, Sunil; Kiran, M S R N; Ramamurty, Upadrasta; Desiraju, Gautam R

    2013-03-04

    Nanoindentation is a technique for measuring the elastic modulus and hardness of small amounts of materials. This method, which has been used extensively for characterizing metallic and inorganic solids, is now being applied to organic and metal-organic crystals, and has also become relevant to the subject of crystal engineering, which is concerned with the design of molecular solids with desired properties and functions. Through nanoindentation it is possible to correlate molecular-level properties such as crystal packing, interaction characteristics, and the inherent anisotropy with micro/macroscopic events such as desolvation, domain coexistence, layer migration, polymorphism, and solid-state reactivity. Recent developments and exciting opportunities in this area are highlighted in this Minireview.

  19. Molecular synchronization, the Kai system, and biological oscillators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lubensky, David K.

    2008-03-01

    In most textbook examples, oscillations in cell biology are driven by the periodic creation and destruction of one or more chemical species. The past few years, however, have seen growing interest in a different sort of oscillator. In these systems, the total concentrations of the major protein components are constant, but the molecules move sequentially through a cycle of different states (e.g. covalent modifications). Macroscopic oscillations appear when the progress of the many individual molecules becomes synchronized. The recently-characterized cyanobacterial circadian clock provides a particularly elegant example of such molecular synchronization. Remarkably, with only the 3 proteins KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC, a ˜24 hour oscillation in KaiC phosphorylation can be reconstituted in vitro. We can thus dissect this biochemical circuit in almost unprecedented detail. Here, we give an overview of the Kai system and its relationship to other oscillators. We begin with a review of the major experimental facts about the Kai system, emphasizing possible mechanisms to synchronize KaiC phosphorylation. We then examine in more detail models in which this synchronization occurs through sequestration of KaiA via differential affinity: KaiA, which stimulates KaiC phosphorylation, has a higher affinity for KaiC during certain stages of the phosphorylation cycle; as long as some KaiC molecules at these stages are present in the reaction mixture, they bind all the available KaiA, thereby preventing the other KaiC's from being phosphorylated and proceeding through the cycle. We also discuss the implications of this mechanism for phenomena such as temperature compensation. Finally, we suggest that, in light of lessons learned from the Kai system, a number of other biological oscillators can fruitfully be viewed as examples of molecular synchronization.

  20. Molecular Biology and Infection of Hepatitis E Virus

    PubMed Central

    Nan, Yuchen; Zhang, Yan-Jin

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a viral pathogen transmitted primarily via fecal-oral route. In humans, HEV mainly causes acute hepatitis and is responsible for large outbreaks of hepatitis across the world. The case fatality rate of HEV-induced hepatitis ranges from 0.5 to 3% in young adults and up to 30% in infected pregnant women. HEV strains infecting humans are classified into four genotypes. HEV strains from genotypes 3 and 4 are zoonotic, whereas those from genotypes 1 and 2 have no known animal reservoirs. Recently, notable progress has been accomplished for better understanding of HEV biology and infection, such as chronic HEV infection, in vitro cell culture system, quasi-enveloped HEV virions, functions of the HEV proteins, mechanism of HEV antagonizing host innate immunity, HEV pathogenesis and vaccine development. However, further investigation on the cross-species HEV infection, host tropism, vaccine efficacy, and HEV-specific antiviral strategy is still needed. This review mainly focuses on molecular biology and infection of HEV and offers perspective new insight of this enigmatic virus. PMID:27656178

  1. Molecular biology of endometriosis: from aromatase to genomic abnormalities.

    PubMed

    Bulun, Serdar E; Monsivais, Diana; Kakinuma, Toshiyuki; Furukawa, Yuichi; Bernardi, Lia; Pavone, Mary Ellen; Dyson, Matthew

    2015-05-01

    Endometriosis has been initially described as the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue on pelvic organs or in extrapelvic sites; and this has been used as its key pathologic feature ever since. Endometriosis responds to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone by growth and inflammation, leading to pain aggravated by menses. It was proposed that pelvic endometriosis primarily originate from retrograde menstruation of a critical number of eutopic endometrial cells with stem characteristics. This postulate is supported by the molecular defects found in ectopic endometriotic tissue. Genome-wide differences in CpG methylation between eutopic endometrial and endometriotic stromal cells are present. Defective CpG methylation affecting several genes that encode key transcription factors such as GATA6, steroidogenic factor-1, and estrogen receptor-β in endometriosis gives rise to overproduction of local estrogen and prostaglandins and suppression of progesterone receptor. Progesterone receptor deficiency leads to progesterone resistance, resulting in decreased retinol uptake and retinoic acid production and altered retinoic acid action. These molecular defects collectively give rise to poor cellular differentiation, enhanced survival, and increased inflammation, which are the biological hallmarks of endometriotic tissue.

  2. Molecular codes in biological and chemical reaction networks.

    PubMed

    Görlich, Dennis; Dittrich, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Shannon's theory of communication has been very successfully applied for the analysis of biological information. However, the theory neglects semantic and pragmatic aspects and thus cannot directly be applied to distinguish between (bio-) chemical systems able to process "meaningful" information from those that do not. Here, we present a formal method to assess a system's semantic capacity by analyzing a reaction network's capability to implement molecular codes. We analyzed models of chemical systems (martian atmosphere chemistry and various combustion chemistries), biochemical systems (gene expression, gene translation, and phosphorylation signaling cascades), an artificial chemistry, and random reaction networks. Our study suggests that different chemical systems possess different semantic capacities. No semantic capacity was found in the model of the martian atmosphere chemistry, the studied combustion chemistries, and highly connected random networks, i.e. with these chemistries molecular codes cannot be implemented. High semantic capacity was found in the studied biochemical systems and in random reaction networks where the number of second order reactions is twice the number of species. We conclude that our approach can be applied to evaluate the information processing capabilities of a chemical system and may thus be a useful tool to understand the origin and evolution of meaningful information, e.g. in the context of the origin of life.

  3. Molecular biology of normal melanocytes and melanoma cells.

    PubMed

    Bandarchi, Bizhan; Jabbari, Cyrus Aleksandre; Vedadi, Ali; Navab, Roya

    2013-08-01

    Malignant melanoma is one of the most aggressive malignancies in humans and is responsible for 60-80% of deaths from skin cancers. The 5-year survival of patients with metastatic malignant melanoma is about 14%. Its incidence has been increasing in the white population over the past two decades. The mechanisms leading to malignant transformation of melanocytes and melanocytic lesions are poorly understood. In developing malignant melanoma, there is a complex interaction of environmental and endogenous (genetic) factors, including: dysregulation of cell proliferation, programmed cell death (apoptosis) and cell-to-cell interactions. The understanding of genetic alterations in signalling pathways of primary and metastatic malignant melanoma and their interactions may lead to therapeutics modalities, including targeted therapies, particularly in advanced melanomas that have high mortality rates and are often resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Our knowledge regarding the molecular biology of malignant melanoma has been expanding. Even though several genes involved in melanocyte development may also be associated with melanoma cell development, it is still unclear how a normal melanocyte becomes a melanoma cell. This article reviews the molecular events and recent findings associated with malignant melanoma.

  4. Molecularly imprinted polymers for 5-fluorouracil release in biological fluids.

    PubMed

    Puoci, Francesco; Iemma, Francesca; Cirillo, Giuseppe; Picci, Nevio; Matricardi, Pietro; Alhaiqu, Franco

    2007-04-18

    The aim of this work was to investigate the possibility of employing Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) as a controlled release device for 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in biological fluids, especially gastrointestinal ones, compared to Non Imprinted Polymers (NIPs). MIPs were synthesized using methacrylic acid (MAA) as functional monomer and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) as crosslinking agent. The capacity of the polymer to recognize and to bind the template selectively in both organic and aqueous media was evaluated. An in vitro release study was performed both in gastrointestinal and in plasma simulating fluids. The imprinted polymers bound much more 5-Fu than the corresponding non-imprinted ones and showed a controlled/sustained drug release, with MIPs release rate being indeed much more sustained than that obtained from NIPs. These polymers represent a potential valid system for drug delivery and this study indicates that the selective binding characteristic of molecularly imprinted polymers is promising for the preparation of novel controlled release drug dosage form.

  5. Molecular biology and its applications in orthodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

    PubMed

    Ren, Yi-jin

    2005-06-01

    Molecular biology is an exciting, rapidly expanding field, which has enabled enormously greater understanding of the biology of diseases and malfunctions in many fields. It chiefly concerns itself with understanding the interactions between the various systems of a cell, including the interrelationship of DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and how these interactions are regulated. Since the introduction of molecular biology into modern science, numerous other fields have been enabled to go "molecular". Advanced molecular biological techniques showed us new avenue towards finding answers to the questions asked for decades. The first part of this article described the history of molecular biology. It started as a joined discipline of other areas of biology, i.e. genetics and biochemistry in the 1930s and 1940s, and enjoyed its classical period and became institutionalized in the 1950s and 1960s. Major molecular techniques manipulating proteins, DNA and RNA were introduced and their mechanisms were concisely illustrated. The current knowledge of molecular biology and their applications in orthodontic and oral and maxillofacial surgery, i.e. osteoclast differentiation and function, regulation of tooth movement, mechanotransduction/cell-signalling, bone fracture healing, oral cancer as well as craniofacial/dental anomalies and distraction osteogenesis were discussed. Although the problems of introducing molecular technologies are still substantial, it is anticipated that the future of medicine/dentistry will be "molecular": molecular prevention, molecular diagnosis and molecular therapy.

  6. Second International Meeting on the Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of the Clostridia.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1998-06-01

    AD GRANT NUMBER DAMD17-97-1-7043 TITLE: Second International Meeting on the Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of the Clostridia PRINCIPAL...7 Apr 97 - 6 Apr 98) 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Second International Meeting on the Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of the Clostridia 6.AUTH0RI.S...Maximum 200 words) The second International Meeting on the Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of the Clostridia was held at.’Seillac, France during

  7. Avian Metapneumovirus Molecular Biology and Development of Genetically Engineered Vaccines

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) is an economically important pathogen of turkeys with a worldwide distribution. aMPV is a member of the genus Metapneumovirus within the subfamily Pneumovirinae of the family Paramyxoviridae. The genome of aMPV is a non-segmented, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA of 1...

  8. Mathematical biology modules based on modern molecular biology and modern discrete mathematics.

    PubMed

    Robeva, Raina; Davies, Robin; Hodge, Terrell; Enyedi, Alexander

    2010-01-01

    We describe an ongoing collaborative curriculum materials development project between Sweet Briar College and Western Michigan University, with support from the National Science Foundation. We present a collection of modules under development that can be used in existing mathematics and biology courses, and we address a critical national need to introduce students to mathematical methods beyond the interface of biology with calculus. Based on ongoing research, and designed to use the project-based-learning approach, the modules highlight applications of modern discrete mathematics and algebraic statistics to pressing problems in molecular biology. For the majority of projects, calculus is not a required prerequisite and, due to the modest amount of mathematical background needed for some of the modules, the materials can be used for an early introduction to mathematical modeling. At the same time, most modules are connected with topics in linear and abstract algebra, algebraic geometry, and probability, and they can be used as meaningful applied introductions into the relevant advanced-level mathematics courses. Open-source software is used to facilitate the relevant computations. As a detailed example, we outline a module that focuses on Boolean models of the lac operon network.

  9. Mathematical Biology Modules Based on Modern Molecular Biology and Modern Discrete Mathematics

    PubMed Central

    Davies, Robin; Hodge, Terrell; Enyedi, Alexander

    2010-01-01

    We describe an ongoing collaborative curriculum materials development project between Sweet Briar College and Western Michigan University, with support from the National Science Foundation. We present a collection of modules under development that can be used in existing mathematics and biology courses, and we address a critical national need to introduce students to mathematical methods beyond the interface of biology with calculus. Based on ongoing research, and designed to use the project-based-learning approach, the modules highlight applications of modern discrete mathematics and algebraic statistics to pressing problems in molecular biology. For the majority of projects, calculus is not a required prerequisite and, due to the modest amount of mathematical background needed for some of the modules, the materials can be used for an early introduction to mathematical modeling. At the same time, most modules are connected with topics in linear and abstract algebra, algebraic geometry, and probability, and they can be used as meaningful applied introductions into the relevant advanced-level mathematics courses. Open-source software is used to facilitate the relevant computations. As a detailed example, we outline a module that focuses on Boolean models of the lac operon network. PMID:20810955

  10. Protein engineering: a new frontier for biological therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Tobin, Peter H; Richards, David H; Callender, Randolph A; Wilson, Corey J

    2014-01-01

    Protein engineering holds the potential to transform the metabolic drug landscape through the development of smart, stimulusresponsive drug systems. Protein therapeutics are a rapidly expanding segment of Food and Drug Administration approved drugs that will improve clinical outcomes over the long run. Engineering of protein therapeutics is still in its infancy, but recent general advances in protein engineering capabilities are being leveraged to yield improved control over both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Stimulus- responsive protein therapeutics are drugs which have been designed to be metabolized under targeted conditions. Protein engineering is being utilized to develop tailored smart therapeutics with biochemical logic. This review focuses on applications of targeted drug neutralization, stimulus-responsive engineered protein prodrugs, and emerging multicomponent smart drug systems (e.g., antibody-drug conjugates, responsive engineered zymogens, prospective biochemical logic smart drug systems, drug buffers, and network medicine applications).

  11. Protein Engineering: A New Frontier for Biological Therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Tobin, Peter H.; Richards, David H.; Callender, Randolph A.

    2016-01-01

    Protein engineering holds the potential to transform the metabolic drug landscape through the development of smart, stimulus-responsive drug systems. Protein therapeutics are a rapidly expanding segment of Food and Drug Administration approved drugs that will improve clinical outcomes over the long run. Engineering of protein therapeutics is still in its infancy, but recent general advances in protein engineering capabilities are being leveraged to yield improved control over both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Stimulus-responsive protein therapeutics are drugs which have been designed to be metabolized under targeted conditions. Protein engineering is being utilized to develop tailored smart therapeutics with biochemical logic. This review focuses on applications of targeted drug neutralization, stimulus-responsive engineered protein prodrugs, and emerging multicomponent smart drug systems (e.g., antibody-drug conjugates, responsive engineered zymogens, prospective biochemical logic smart drug systems, drug buffers, and network medicine applications). PMID:25495737

  12. Molecular structure of photosynthetic microbial biofuels for improved engine combustion and emissions characteristics.

    PubMed

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes.

  13. Molecular Structure of Photosynthetic Microbial Biofuels for Improved Engine Combustion and Emissions Characteristics

    PubMed Central

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes. PMID:25941673

  14. Molecular mechanisms and metabolic engineering of glutamate overproduction in Corynebacterium glutamicum.

    PubMed

    Hirasawa, Takashi; Kim, Jongpill; Shirai, Tomokazu; Furusawa, Chikara; Shimizu, Hiroshi

    2012-01-01

    Glutamate is a commercially important chemical. It is used as a flavor enhancer and is a major raw material for producing industrially useful chemicals. A coryneform bacterium, Corynebacterium glutamicum, was isolated in 1956 by Japanese researchers as a glutamate-overproducing bacterium and since then, remarkable progress in glutamate production has been made using this microorganism. Currently, the global market for glutamate is over 2.5 million tons per year. Glutamate overproduction by C. glutamicum is induced by specific treatments-biotin limitation, addition of fatty acid ester surfactants such as Tween 40, and addition of β-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin. Molecular biology and metabolic engineering studies on glutamate overproduction have revealed that metabolic flow is significantly altered by these treatments. These studies have also provided insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying these changes. In this chapter, we review our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of glutamate overproduction in C. glutamicum, and we discuss the advances made by metabolic engineering of this microorganism.

  15. Engineering and Evolution of Molecular Chaperones and Protein Disaggregases with Enhanced Activity

    PubMed Central

    Mack, Korrie L.; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

    Cells have evolved a sophisticated proteostasis network to ensure that proteins acquire and retain their native structure and function. Critical components of this network include molecular chaperones and protein disaggregases, which function to prevent and reverse deleterious protein misfolding. Nevertheless, proteostasis networks have limits, which when exceeded can have fatal consequences as in various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A promising strategy is to engineer proteostasis networks to counter challenges presented by specific diseases or specific proteins. Here, we review efforts to enhance the activity of individual molecular chaperones or protein disaggregases via engineering and directed evolution. Remarkably, enhanced global activity or altered substrate specificity of various molecular chaperones, including GroEL, Hsp70, ClpX, and Spy, can be achieved by minor changes in primary sequence and often a single missense mutation. Likewise, small changes in the primary sequence of Hsp104 yield potentiated protein disaggregases that reverse the aggregation and buffer toxicity of various neurodegenerative disease proteins, including α-synuclein, TDP-43, and FUS. Collectively, these advances have revealed key mechanistic and functional insights into chaperone and disaggregase biology. They also suggest that enhanced chaperones and disaggregases could have important applications in treating human disease as well as in the purification of valuable proteins in the pharmaceutical sector. PMID:27014702

  16. Chemical biology at the crossroads of molecular structure and mechanism.

    PubMed

    Doudna, Jennifer A

    2005-11-01

    Chemical insight into biological function is the holy grail of structural biology. Small molecules are central players as building blocks, effectors and probes of macromolecular structure and function.

  17. Molecular self-assembly for biological investigations and nanoscale lithography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheunkar, Sarawut

    Small, diffusible molecules when recognized by their binding partners, such as proteins and antibodies, trigger enzymatic activity, cell communication, and immune response. Progress in analytical methods enabling detection, characterization, and visualization of biological dynamics at the molecular level will advance our exploration of complex biological systems. In this dissertation, analytical platforms were fabricated to capture membrane-associated receptors, which are essential proteins in cell signaling pathways. The neurotransmitter serotonin and its biological precursor were immobilized on gold substrates coated with self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of oligo(ethylene glycol)alkanethiols and their reactive derivatives. The SAM-coated substrates present the biologically selective affinity of immobilized molecules to target native membrane-associated receptors. These substrates were also tested for biospecificity using antibodies. In addition, small-molecule-functionalized platforms, expressing neurotransmitter pharmacophores, were employed to examine kinetic interactions between G-protein-coupled receptors and their associated neurotransmitters. The binding interactions were monitored using a quartz crystal microbalance equipped with liquid-flow injection. The interaction kinetics of G-protein-coupled serotonin 1A receptor and 5-hydroxytyptophan-functionalized surfaces were studied in a real-time, label-free environment. Key binding parameters, such as equilibrium dissociation constants, binding rate constants, and dissociative half-life, were extracted. These parameters are critical for understanding and comparing biomolecular interactions in modern biomedical research. By integrating self-assembly, surface functionalization, and nanofabrication, small-molecule microarrays were created for high-throughput screening. A hybrid soft-lithography, called microcontact insertion printing, was used to pattern small molecules at the dilute scales necessary for highly

  18. Molecular biology of Homo sapiens: Abstracts of papers presented at the 51st Cold Spring Harbor symposium on quantitative biology

    SciTech Connect

    Watson, J.D.; Siniscalco, M.

    1986-01-01

    This volume contains abstracts of papers presented at the 51st Cold Springs Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology. The topic for this meeting was the ''Molecular Biology of Homo sapiens.'' Sessions were entitled Human Gene Map, Human Cancer Genes, Genetic Diagnosis, Human Evolution, Drugs Made Off Human Genes, Receptors, and Gene Therapy. (DT)

  19. Cell and molecular biology of intervertebral disc degeneration: current understanding and implications for potential therapeutic strategies.

    PubMed

    Wang, S Z; Rui, Y F; Lu, J; Wang, C

    2014-10-01

    Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is a chronic, complex process associated with low back pain; mechanisms of its occurrence have not yet been fully elucidated. Its process is not only accompanied by morphological changes, but also by systematic changes in its histological and biochemical properties. Many cellular and molecular mechanisms have been reported to be related with IDD and to reverse degenerative trends, abnormal conditions of the living cells and altered cell phenotypes would need to be restored. Promising biological therapeutic strategies still rely on injection of active substances, gene therapy and cell transplantation. With advanced study of tissue engineering protocols based on cell therapy, combined use of seeding cells, bio-active substances and bio-compatible materials, are promising for IDD regeneration. Recently reported progenitor cells within discs themselves also hold prospects for future IDD studies. This article describes the background of IDD, current understanding and implications of potential therapeutic strategies.

  20. International Conference on the Cell and Molecular Biology of Chlamydomonas

    SciTech Connect

    Dr. Stephen Miller

    2010-06-10

    The 2010 Conference on the Cell and Molecular Biology of Chlamydomonas was held June 6-10 near Boston, MA, and attracted a record 273 participants, 146 from US labs, 10 from Canada, and the remainder from 18 other countries. The single-celled algal protist Chlamydomonas is a key research organism for many investigators, including those who study photosynthesis, cell motility, adaptation to environmental stresses, the evolution of multicellularity, and the production of biofuels. Chlamydomonas researchers gather every two years at a research conference to exchange methods, develop collaborative efforts, disseminate recent findings, and plan large-scale studies to improve the usefulness of this unique research organism. This conference provides the only opportunity for Chlamydomonas scientists who work on different research problems to meet face to face, and greatly speeds progress in their respective fields. An important function of these Chlamydomonas conferences is to promote and showcase the work of younger scientists, and to attract new investigators into the Chlamydomonas community. DOE award SC0004085 was used to offset the travel and registration costs for 18 young investigators, 9 of whom were women, including one African American. Most of these scientists would not have been able to attend the conference without DOE support. A total of 208 research presentations were made at the meeting, 80 talks (63 presented by students, postdocs, and pre-tenured faculty) and 128 posters. Cell motility and biofuels/metabolism were the best-represented research areas, with a total of 77 presentations. This fact underscores the growing importance of Chlamydomonas as a research and production tool in the rapidly expanding world of biofuels research. A total of 28 talks and posters were presented on the topics of photosynthesis and stress responses, which were among the next best-represented research areas. As at several recent Chlamydomonas meetings, important advances were

  1. STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY AND MOLECULAR MEDICINE RESEARCH PROGRAM (LSBMM)

    SciTech Connect

    Eisenberg, David S.

    2008-07-15

    The UCLA-DOE Institute of Genomics and Proteomics is an organized research unit of the University of California, sponsored by the Department of Energy through the mechanism of a Cooperative Agreement. Today the Institute consists of 10 Principal Investigators and 7 Associate Members, developing and applying technologies to promote the biological and environmental missions of the Department of Energy, and 5 Core Technology Centers to sustain this work. The focus is on understanding genomes, pathways and molecular machines in organisms of interest to DOE, with special emphasis on developing enabling technologies. Since it was founded in 1947, the UCLA-DOE Institute has adapted its mission to the research needs of DOE and its progenitor agencies as these research needs have changed. The Institute started as the AEC Laboratory of Nuclear Medicine, directed by Stafford Warren, who later became the founding Dean of the UCLA School of Medicine. In this sense, the entire UCLA medical center grew out of the precursor of our Institute. In 1963, the mission of the Institute was expanded into environmental studies by Director Ray Lunt. I became the third director in 1993, and in close consultation with David Galas and John Wooley of DOE, shifted the mission of the Institute towards genomics and proteomics. Since 1993, the Principal Investigators and Core Technology Centers are entirely new, and the Institute has separated from its former division concerned with PET imaging. The UCLA-DOE Institute shares the space of Boyer Hall with the Molecular Biology Institute, and assumes responsibility for the operation of the main core facilities. Fig. 1 gives the organizational chart of the Institute. Some of the benefits to the public of research carried out at the UCLA-DOE Institute include the following: The development of publicly accessible, web-based databases, including the Database of Protein Interactions, and the ProLinks database of genomicly inferred protein function linkages

  2. Tea polyphenols, their biological effects and potential molecular targets.

    PubMed

    Chen, D; Milacic, V; Chen, M S; Wan, S B; Lam, W H; Huo, C; Landis-Piwowar, K R; Cui, Q C; Wali, A; Chan, T H; Dou, Q P

    2008-04-01

    Tea is the most popular beverage in the world, second only to water. Tea contains an infusion of the leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant rich in polyphenolic compounds known as catechins, the most abundant of which is (-)-EGCG. Although tea has been consumed for centuries, it has only recently been studied extensively as a health-promoting beverage that may act to prevent a number of chronic diseases and cancers. The results of several investigations indicate that green tea consumption may be of modest benefit in reducing the plasma concentration of cholesterol and preventing atherosclerosis. Additionally, the cancer-preventive effects of green tea are widely supported by results from epidemiological, cell culture, animal and clinical studies. In vitro cell culture studies show that tea polyphenols potently induce apoptotic cell death and cell cycle arrest in tumor cells but not in their normal cell counterparts. Green tea polyphenols were shown to affect several biological pathways, including growth factor-mediated pathway, the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-dependent pathway, and ubiquitin/proteasome degradation pathways. Various animal studies have revealed that treatment with green tea inhibits tumor incidence and multiplicity in different organ sites such as skin, lung, liver, stomach, mammary gland and colon. Recently, phase I and II clinical trials have been conducted to explore the anticancer effects of green tea in humans. A major challenge of cancer prevention is to integrate new molecular findings into clinical practice. Therefore, identification of more molecular targets and biomarkers for tea polyphenols is essential for improving the design of green tea trials and will greatly assist in a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying its anti-cancer activity.

  3. Accessing Nature’s diversity through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology

    PubMed Central

    King, Jason R.; Edgar, Steven; Qiao, Kangjian; Stephanopoulos, Gregory

    2016-01-01

    In this perspective, we highlight recent examples and trends in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology that demonstrate the synthetic potential of enzyme and pathway engineering for natural product discovery. In doing so, we introduce natural paradigms of secondary metabolism whereby simple carbon substrates are combined into complex molecules through “scaffold diversification”, and subsequent “derivatization” of these scaffolds is used to synthesize distinct complex natural products. We provide examples in which modern pathway engineering efforts including combinatorial biosynthesis and biological retrosynthesis can be coupled to directed enzyme evolution and rational enzyme engineering to allow access to the “privileged” chemical space of natural products in industry-proven microbes. Finally, we forecast the potential to produce natural product-like discovery platforms in biological systems that are amenable to single-step discovery, validation, and synthesis for streamlined discovery and production of biologically active agents. PMID:27081481

  4. Digital learning material for student-directed model building in molecular biologyS.

    PubMed

    Aegerter-Wilmsen, Tinri; Coppens, Marjolijn; Janssen, Fred; Hartog, Rob; Bisseling, Ton

    2005-09-01

    The building of models to explain data and make predictions constitutes an important goal in molecular biology research. To give students the opportunity to practice such model building, two digital cases had previously been developed in which students are guided to build a model step by step. In this article, the development and initial evaluation of a third digital case is described. It concerns the selection of bristles during Drosophila development. To mimic a real research situation in a more realistic way, students are given much more freedom while building their models and can thus follow their own model-building approach. At the same time, however, students are provided with a sufficient amount of support to ensure that they can build their models without the requirement of intensive supervision.

  5. Microgravity research in plant biological systems: Realizing the potential of molecular biology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, Norman G.; Ryan, Clarence A.

    1993-01-01

    The sole all-pervasive feature of the environment that has helped shape, through evolution, all life on Earth is gravity. The near weightlessness of the Space Station Freedom space environment allows gravitational effects to be essentially uncoupled, thus providing an unprecedented opportunity to manipulate, systematically dissect, study, and exploit the role of gravity in the growth and development of all life forms. New and exciting opportunities are now available to utilize molecular biological and biochemical approaches to study the effects of microgravity on living organisms. By careful experimentation, we can determine how gravity perception occurs, how the resulting signals are produced and transduced, and how or if tissue-specific differences in gene expression occur. Microgravity research can provide unique new approaches to further our basic understanding of development and metabolic processes of cells and organisms, and to further the application of this new knowledge for the betterment of humankind.

  6. Reformulating General Engineering and Biological Systems Engineering Programs at Virginia Tech

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lohani, Vinod K.; Wolfe, Mary Leigh; Wildman, Terry; Mallikarjunan, Kumar; Connor, Jeffrey

    2011-01-01

    In 2004, a group of engineering and education faculty at Virginia Tech received a major curriculum reform and engineering education research grant under the department-level reform (DLR) program of the NSF. This DLR project laid the foundation of sponsored research in engineering education in the Department of Engineering Education. The DLR…

  7. Biological issues in materials science and engineering: Interdisciplinarity and the bio-materials paradigm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murr, L. E.

    2006-07-01

    Biological systems and processes have had, and continue to have, important implications and applications in materials extraction, processing, and performance. This paper illustrates some interdisciplinary, biological issues in materials science and engineering. These include metal extraction involving bacterial catalysis, galvanic couples, bacterial-assisted corrosion and degradation of materials, biosorption and bioremediation of toxic and other heavy metals, metal and material implants and prostheses and related dental and medical biomaterials developments and applications, nanomaterials health benefits and toxicity issue, and biomimetics and biologically inspired materials developments. These and other examples provide compelling evidence and arguments for emphasizing biological sicences in materials science and engineering curricula and the implementation of a bio-materials paradigm to facilitate the emergence of innovative interdisciplinarity involving the biological sciences and materials sciences and engineering.

  8. Delta hepatitis: molecular biology and clinical and epidemiological features.

    PubMed Central

    Polish, L B; Gallagher, M; Fields, H A; Hadler, S C

    1993-01-01

    Hepatitis delta virus, discovered in 1977, requires the help of hepatitis B virus to replicate in hepatocytes and is an important cause of acute, fulminant, and chronic liver disease in many regions of the world. Because of the helper function of hepatitis delta virus, infection with it occurs either as a coinfection with hepatitis B or as a superinfection of a carrier of hepatitis B surface antigen. Although the mechanisms of transmission are similar to those of hepatitis B virus, the patterns of transmission of delta virus vary widely around the world. In regions of the world in which hepatitis delta virus infection is not endemic, the disease is confined to groups at high risk of acquiring hepatitis B infection and high-risk hepatitis B carriers. Because of the propensity of this viral infection to cause fulminant as well as chronic liver disease, continued incursion of hepatitis delta virus into areas of the world where persistent hepatitis B infection is endemic will have serious implications. Prevention depends on the widespread use of hepatitis B vaccine. This review focuses on the molecular biology and the clinical and epidemiologic features of this important viral infection. PMID:8358704

  9. Synthesis, characterization, biological evaluation and molecular docking of steroidal spirothiazolidinones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shamsuzzaman; Abdul Baqi, Khan A. A.; Ali, Abad; Asif, Mohd; Mashrai, Ashraf; Khanam, Hena; Sherwani, Asif; Yaseen, Zahid; Owais, Mohammad

    2015-04-01

    The present work describes a convenient synthesis of steroidal spirothiazolidinone derivatives (3, 10-12) in a two-step process. All the newly synthesized compounds have been characterized by means of elemental analyses, IR, 1H NMR, 13C NMR and MS. Lipinski's 'Rule of Five' analysis and biological score predicted higher intrinsic quality of the synthesized compounds and revealed that these compounds have good passive oral absorption. The DNA binding studies of the synthesized compounds with CT-DNA were carried out by UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. The molecular docking study suggested electrostatic interaction between synthesized compounds and nucleotide base pairs. The antitumor activity was tested in vitro against human leukemia cancer cell (Jurkat) and blood peripheral mononuclear normal cell (PBMCs) lines by MTT method. In addition, apoptosis and nonenzymatic degradation of DNA have been investigated. The acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor activities of the derivatives were also evaluated using Ellman's method. The present study has shown that steroidal spirothiazolidinone derivatives (3, 10-12) can be used as template to design more potent and selective cytotoxic and AChE inhibition agents through modification and derivatization.

  10. Molecular biology of the baculovirus occlusion-derived virus envelope.

    PubMed

    Braunagel, Sharon C; Summers, Max D

    2007-10-01

    Study of the biology of the occlusion-derived virus (ODV) of the baculovirus Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus provides opportunities to reveal new discoveries into the mechanism of several cellular pathways. The synchronous pulse of multiple ODV envelope proteins that integrate into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and traffic to the nuclear membranes on their way to the ODV envelope provide a unique tool to study the mechanisms of integral membrane protein trafficking from the ER to the outer and inner nuclear membrane. Studies of the formation of virus-induced, intranuclear membrane microvesicles provide insight on mechanisms that alter fluidity and regulate budding of the inner nuclear membrane. Since ODV is specially adapted for primary infection of the insect gut, studies of the structure and function of ODV envelope proteins reveals insights on the mechanism of viral invasion of the gut and this knowledge is fundamental for the development of new strategies for insect control. This review focuses on recent advances in understanding the source of the ODV envelope and the molecular events that sort and traffic integral membrane proteins from the ER to the ODV envelope. The composition of ODV is reviewed, however it is worth noting that the function of many ODV proteins are currently unknown.

  11. Molecular biology of breast cancer stem cells: potential clinical applications.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Nam P; Almeida, Fabio S; Chi, Alex; Nguyen, Ly M; Cohen, Deirdre; Karlsson, Ulf; Vinh-Hung, Vincent

    2010-10-01

    Breast cancer stem cells (CSC) have been postulated recently as responsible for failure of breast cancer treatment. The purpose of this study is to review breast CSCs molecular biology with respect to their mechanism of resistance to conventional therapy, and to develop treatment strategies that may improve survival of breast cancer patients. A literature search has identified in vitro and in vivo studies of breast CSCs. Breast CSCs overexpress breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) which allows cancer cells to transport actively chemotherapy agents out of the cells. Radioresistance is modulated through activation of Wnt signaling pathway and overexpression of genes coding for glutathione. Lapatinib can selectively target HER-2 positive breast CSCs and improves disease-free survival in these patients. Metformin may target basal type breast CSCs. Parthenolide and oncolytic viruses are promising targeting agents for breast CSCs. Future clinical trials for breast cancer should include anti-cancer stem cells targeting agents in addition to conventional chemotherapy. Hypofractionation radiotherapy may be indicated for residual disease post chemotherapy.

  12. Structural and molecular interrogation of intact biological systems

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Kwanghun; Wallace, Jenelle; Kim, Sung-Yon; Kalyanasundaram, Sandhiya; Andalman, Aaron S.; Davidson, Thomas J.; Mirzabekov, Julie J.; Zalocusky, Kelly A.; Mattis, Joanna; Denisin, Aleksandra K.; Pak, Sally; Bernstein, Hannah; Ramakrishnan, Charu; Grosenick, Logan; Gradinaru, Viviana; Deisseroth, Karl

    2014-01-01

    Obtaining high-resolution information from a complex system, while maintaining the global perspective needed to understand system function, represents a key challenge in biology. Here we address this challenge with a method (termed CLARITY) for the transformation of intact tissue into a nanoporous hydrogel-hybridized form (crosslinked to a three-dimensional network of hydrophilic polymers) that is fully assembled but optically transparent and macromolecule-permeable. Using mouse brains, we show intact-tissue imaging of long-range projections, local circuit wiring, cellular relationships, subcellular structures, protein complexes, nucleic acids and neurotransmitters. CLARITY also enables intact-tissue in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry with multiple rounds of staining and de-staining in non-sectioned tissue, and antibody labelling throughout the intact adult mouse brain. Finally, we show that CLARITY enables fine structural analysis of clinical samples, including non-sectioned human tissue from a neuropsychiatric-disease setting, establishing a path for the transmutation of human tissue into a stable, intact and accessible form suitable for probing structural and molecular underpinnings of physiological function and disease. PMID:23575631

  13. [Progress in molecular biology study of DNA computer].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhi-Zhou; Zhao, Jian; He, Lin

    2003-09-01

    DNA (deoxyribonucleotide acids) computer is an emerging new study area that basically combines molecular biology study of DNA molecules and computational study on how to employ these specific molecules to calculate. In 1994 Adleman described his pioneering research on DNA computing in Science. This is the first experimental report on DNA computer study. In 2001 Benenson et al published a paper in Nature regarding a programmable and autonomous DNA computing device. Because of its Turing-like functions, the device is regarded as another milestone progress for DNA computer study. The main features of DNA computer are massively parallel computing ability and potential enormous data storage capacity. Comparing with conventional electronic computers, DNA molecules provide conceptually a revolution in computing, and more and more implications have been found in various disciplines. DNA computer studies have brought great progress not only in its own computing mechanisms, but also in DNA manipulation technologies especially nano-technology. This article presents the basic principles of DNA computer, its applications, its important relationship with genomic research and our comments on all above issues.

  14. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, D.A.; Shea, K.J.

    1994-06-14

    A process is described for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular sieves, desiccants, and catalyst supports are produced. 3 figs.

  15. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, Douglas A.; Shea, Kenneth J.

    1994-01-01

    A process for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular seives, dessicants, and catalyst supports are produced.

  16. RNA polymerase active center: the molecular engine of transcription.

    PubMed

    Nudler, Evgeny

    2009-01-01

    RNA polymerase (RNAP) is a complex molecular machine that governs gene expression and its regulation in all cellular organisms. To accomplish its function of accurately producing a full-length RNA copy of a gene, RNAP performs a plethora of chemical reactions and undergoes multiple conformational changes in response to cellular conditions. At the heart of this machine is the active center, the engine, which is composed of distinct fixed and moving parts that serve as the ultimate acceptor of regulatory signals and as the target of inhibitory drugs. Recent advances in the structural and biochemical characterization of RNAP explain the active center at the atomic level and enable new approaches to understanding the entire transcription mechanism, its exceptional fidelity and control.

  17. DNA Aptamer Based Nanodrugs: Molecular Engineering for Efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Cansiz, Sena; Zhang, Liqin; Wu, Cuichen; Wu, Yuan; Teng, I-Ting; Hou, Weijia; Wang, Yanyue; Wan, Shuo; Cai, Ren; Jin, Chen; Liu, Qiaoling; Tan, Weihong

    2015-01-01

    In the past two decades, the study of cancer therapy has gradually advanced to the “Nano” era. Numerous novel nanomaterials armed with unique physical properties have been introduced into biomedical research. At the same time, functional nucleic acid molecules, especially aptamers, have aroused broad attention from the biomedical community. Benefiting from the advancement of molecular engineering strategies, it is now feasible to combine the cancer specific recognition capability of aptamers with various other special functions of nanomaterials to develop cancer specific drugs at the nanoscale. Nanodrugs are now offering an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the goal of efficient targeted delivery as well as controlled release. This review highlights some achievements of multiple aptamer-based nanodrug systems which have emerged in recent years, including studies in the infant stage of “proof-of-concept”. PMID:26177853

  18. Molecular basis of glyphosate resistance: Different approaches through protein engineering

    PubMed Central

    Pollegioni, Loredano; Schonbrunn, Ernst; Siehl, Daniel

    2011-01-01

    Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl-glycine) is the most-used herbicide in the world: glyphosate-based formulations exhibit broad-spectrum herbicidal activity with minimal human and environmental toxicity. The extraordinary success of this simple small molecule is mainly due to the high specificity of glyphosate towards the plant enzyme enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase in the shikimate pathway leading to biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids. Starting in 1996, transgenic glyphosate-resistant plants were introduced thus allowing the application of the herbicide to the crop (post-emergence) to remove emerged weeds without crop damage. This review focuses on the evolution of mechanisms of resistance to glyphosate as obtained through natural diversity, the gene shuffling approach to molecular evolution, and a rational, structure-based approach to protein engineering. In addition, we offer rationale for the means by which the modifications made have had their intended effect. PMID:21668647

  19. How molecular should your molecular model be? On the level of molecular detail required to simulate biological networks in systems and synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Gonze, Didier; Abou-Jaoudé, Wassim; Ouattara, Djomangan Adama; Halloy, José

    2011-01-01

    The recent advance of genetic studies and the rapid accumulation of molecular data, together with the increasing performance of computers, led researchers to design more and more detailed mathematical models of biological systems. Many modeling approaches rely on ordinary differential equations (ODE) which are based on standard enzyme kinetics. Michaelis-Menten and Hill functions are indeed commonly used in dynamical models in systems and synthetic biology because they provide the necessary nonlinearity to make the dynamics nontrivial (i.e., limit-cycle oscillations or multistability). For most of the systems modeled, the actual molecular mechanism is unknown, and the enzyme equations should be regarded as phenomenological. In this chapter, we discuss the validity and accuracy of these approximations. In particular, we focus on the validity of the Michaelis-Menten function for open systems and on the use of Hill kinetics to describe transcription rates of regulated genes. Our discussion is illustrated by numerical simulations of prototype systems, including the Repressilator (a genetic oscillator) and the Toggle Switch model (a bistable system). We systematically compare the results obtained with the compact version (based on Michaelis-Menten and Hill functions) with its corresponding developed versions (based on "elementary" reaction steps and mass action laws). We also discuss the use of compact approaches to perform stochastic simulations (Gillespie algorithm). On the basis of these results, we argue that using compact models is suitable to model qualitatively biological systems.

  20. Disciplinary baptisms: a comparison of the naming stories of genetics, molecular biology, genomics, and systems biology.

    PubMed

    Powell, Alexander; O'Malley, Maureen A; Müller-Wille, Staffan; Calvert, Jane; Dupré, John

    2007-01-01

    Understanding how scientific activities use naming stories to achieve disciplinary status is important not only for insight into the past, but for evaluating current claims that new disciplines are emerging. In order to gain a historical understanding of how new disciplines develop in relation to these baptismal narratives, we compare two recently formed disciplines, systems biology and genomics, with two earlier related life sciences, genetics and molecular biology. These four disciplines span the twentieth century, a period in which the processes of disciplinary demarcation fundamentally changed from those characteristic of the nineteenth century. We outline how the establishment of each discipline relies upon an interplay of factors that include paradigmatic achievements, technological innovation, and social formations. Our focus, however, is the baptism stories that give the new discipline a founding narrative and articulate core problems, general approaches and constitutive methods. The highly plastic process of achieving disciplinary identity is further marked by the openness of disciplinary definition, tension between technological possibilities and the ways in which scientific issues are conceived and approached, synthesis of reductive and integrative strategies, and complex social interactions. The importance--albeit highly variable--of naming stories in these four cases indicates the scope for future studies that focus on failed disciplines or competing names. Further attention to disciplinary histories could, we suggest, give us richer insight into scientific development.

  1. pGLO mutagenesis: a laboratory procedure in molecular biology for biology students.

    PubMed

    Bassiri, Eby A

    2011-01-01

    A five-session laboratory project was designed to familiarize or increase the laboratory proficiency of biology students and others with techniques and instruments commonly used in molecular biology research laboratories and industries. In this project, the EZ-Tn5 transposon is used to generate and screen a large number of cells transformed with mutagenized pGLO plasmid. EZ-Tn5 carries the kanamycin resistance (Kan(R)) gene, and the pGLO plasmid carries the β-lactamase gene for ampicillin resistance (Amp(R)), the gene encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the arabinose operon repressor (araC). Insertion of the Tn5 transposon into pGLO occurs randomly, and any gene into which it inserts is knocked out. By screening cells transformed with mutagenized pGLO with kanamycin, ampicillin, arabinose and/or for GFP expression in different combinations, pGLO plasmids with mutations in different genes are identified. The locations of these insertions are then mapped approximately by restriction fragment analysis and precisely by sequence analysis of the pGLO plasmid.

  2. Bioinspired Concepts: Unified Theory for Complex Biological and Engineering Systems

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-01-01

    been successfully applied to TCP congestion control. The 10 key innovation in this line of work is to view the network as an optimization solver and con...equilibrium of random access game [17, 10 ]. The random access game is a rather general con- struction, as it can be reverse-engineered from existing MAC...protocols, forward-engineered from desired operating points, or designed based on heuristics [ 10 ]. Medium access methods derived from concrete random

  3. A Curriculum Skills Matrix for Development and Assessment of Undergraduate Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory Programs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Caldwell, Benjamin; Rohlman, Christopher; Benore-Parsons, Marilee

    2004-01-01

    We have designed a skills matrix to be used for developing and assessing undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology laboratory curricula. We prepared the skills matrix for the Project Kaleidoscope Summer Institute workshop in Snowbird, Utah (July 2001) to help current and developing undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology program…

  4. Just Working with the Cellular Machine: A High School Game for Teaching Molecular Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cardoso, Fernanda Serpa; Dumpel, Renata; Gomes da Silva, Luisa B.; Rodrigues, Carlos R.; Santos, Dilvani O.; Cabral, Lucio Mendes; Castro, Helena C.

    2008-01-01

    Molecular biology is a difficult comprehension subject due to its high complexity, thus requiring new teaching approaches. Herein, we developed an interdisciplinary board game involving the human immune system response against a bacterial infection for teaching molecular biology at high school. Initially, we created a database with several…

  5. Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center

    SciTech Connect

    Ozolins, Vidvuds

    2016-09-28

    Molecularly Engineered Energy Materials (MEEM) was established as an interdisciplinary cutting-edge UCLA-based research center uniquely equipped to attack the challenge of rationally designing, synthesizing and testing revolutionary new energy materials. Our mission was to achieve transformational improvements in the performance of materials via controlling the nano-and mesoscale structure using selectively designed, earth-abundant, inexpensive molecular building blocks. MEEM has focused on materials that are inherently abundant, can be easily assembled from intelligently designed building blocks (molecules, nanoparticles), and have the potential to deliver transformative economic benefits in comparison with the current crystalline-and polycrystalline-based energy technologies. MEEM addressed basic science issues related to the fundamental mechanisms of carrier generation, energy conversion, as well as transport and storage of charge and mass in tunable, architectonically complex materials. Fundamental understanding of these processes will enable rational design, efficient synthesis and effective deployment of novel three-dimensional material architectures for energy applications. Three interrelated research directions were initially identified where these novel architectures hold great promise for high-reward research: solar energy generation, electrochemical energy storage, and materials for CO2 capture. Of these, the first two remained throughout the project performance period, while carbon capture was been phased out in consultation and with approval from BES program manager.

  6. Medical and biological engineering in the next 20 years: the promise and the challenges.

    PubMed

    2013-07-01

    In 2011, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) (www.aimbe.org) celebrated its 20th anniversary by undertaking to identify major societal challenges to which medical and biological engineers can contribute solutions in the next 20 years. This report is a summary of the six major challenges that were identified. The report also discusses some specific areas within these high-level challenges that can form the basis for policy action, provides a brief rationale for pursuing those areas, and discusses roadblocks to progress. The six overarching challenges are: 1) engineering safe and sustainable water and food supply, 2) engineering personalized health care, 3) engineering solutions to injury and chronic diseases, 4) engineering global health through infectious disease prevention and therapy, 5) engineering sustainable bioenergy production, and 6) engineering the 21st century US economy. While arrived at independently by AIMBE, many of the elements overlap with similar challenges identified by other bodies. The similarities highlight the central mission of medical and biological engineers, working with other experts, which is to solve important problems central to human health and welfare.

  7. Engineered Biological Pacemakers | NCI Technology Transfer Center | TTC

    Cancer.gov

    The National Institute on Aging's Cellular Biophysics Section is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize biological pacemakers.

  8. Review of the cellular and biological principles of distraction osteogenesis: An in vivo bioreactor tissue engineering model.

    PubMed

    Dhaliwal, K; Kunchur, R; Farhadieh, R

    2016-02-01

    Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a widely used technique in plastic and orthopaedic surgery. During the process, mechanical force is applied to fractured bone to enhance the regenerative processes and induce new bone formation. Although there is an abundance of literature on the clinical process of DO, there is a distinct lack of focus on the underlying biological principles governing this process. DO follows the basic premises of tissue engineering. The mechanical stress stimulates mesenchymal stem cell differentiation down an osteoblastic lineage on a matrix background. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the current knowledge of the molecular mechanism governing this process.

  9. The molecular biology of the olive fly comes of age

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    were shown to be differentially expressed in the female and male reproductive systems analyzed. Finally, the expression profile of the embryonic serendipity-α locus and the pre-apoptotic head involution defective gene were analyzed during embryonic developmental stages. Conclusions Several years of molecular studies on the olive fly can now be combined with new information from whole transcriptome analyses and lead to a deep understanding of the biology of this notorious insect pest. This is a prerequisite for the development of novel embryonic lethality female sexing strains for successful SIT efforts which, combined with improved mass-reared conditions, give new hope for efficient SIT applications for the olive fly. PMID:25472866

  10. Molecular biology for the critical care physician part I: terminology and technology.

    PubMed

    Santis, G; Evans, T W

    1999-04-01

    The past few years have seen a profound revolution in biological sciences. The enormous advances in molecular biology are providing novel insights into the etiology and treatment of human disease. These insights will undoubtedly have implications for intensive care research and practice. In this first of two articles, the basic principles and techniques of molecular biology are discussed to provide the intensive care physician with background information on the subject.

  11. Intervertebral disc regeneration: from the degenerative cascade to molecular therapy and tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Vadalà, Gianluca; Russo, Fabrizio; Di Martino, Alberto; Denaro, Vincenzo

    2015-06-01

    Low back pain is one of the major health problems in industrialized countries, as a leading source of disability in the working population. Intervertebral disc degeneration has been identified as its main cause, being a progressive process mainly characterized by alteration of extracellular matrix composition and water content. Many factors are involved in the degenerative cascade, such as anabolism/catabolism imbalance, reduction of nutrition supply and progressive cell loss. Currently available treatments are symptomatic, and surgical procedures consisting of disc removal are often necessary. Recent advances in our understanding of intervertebral disc biology led to an increased interest in the development of novel biological treatments aimed at disc regeneration. Growth factors, gene therapy, stem cell transplantation and biomaterials-based tissue engineering might support intervertebral disc regeneration by overcoming the limitation of the self-renewal mechanism. The aim of this paper is to overview the literature discussing the current status of our knowledge from the degenerative cascade of the intervertebral disc to the latest molecular, cell-based therapies and tissue-engineering strategies for disc regeneration.

  12. Recent progress in development of synthetic biology platforms and metabolic engineering of Corynebacterium glutamicum.

    PubMed

    Woo, Han Min; Park, Jin-Byung

    2014-06-20

    The paradigm of synthetic biology has been evolving, along with relevant engineering, to achieve designed bio-systems. Synthetic biology has reached the point where it is possible to develop microbial strains to produce desired chemicals. Recent advances in this field have promoted metabolic engineering of Corynebacterium glutamicum as an amino-acid producer for use in intelligent microbial-cell factories. Here, we review recent advances that address C. glutamicum as a potential model organism for synthetic biology, and evaluate their industrial applications. Finally, we highlight the perspective of developing C. glutamicum as a step toward advanced microbial-cell factories that could produce valuable chemicals from renewable resources.

  13. Reverse engineering and identification in systems biology: strategies, perspectives and challenges.

    PubMed

    Villaverde, Alejandro F; Banga, Julio R

    2014-02-06

    The interplay of mathematical modelling with experiments is one of the central elements in systems biology. The aim of reverse engineering is to infer, analyse and understand, through this interplay, the functional and regulatory mechanisms of biological systems. Reverse engineering is not exclusive of systems biology and has been studied in different areas, such as inverse problem theory, machine learning, nonlinear physics, (bio)chemical kinetics, control theory and optimization, among others. However, it seems that many of these areas have been relatively closed to outsiders. In this contribution, we aim to compare and highlight the different perspectives and contributions from these fields, with emphasis on two key questions: (i) why are reverse engineering problems so hard to solve, and (ii) what methods are available for the particular problems arising from systems biology?

  14. Reverse engineering and identification in systems biology: strategies, perspectives and challenges

    PubMed Central

    Villaverde, Alejandro F.; Banga, Julio R.

    2014-01-01

    The interplay of mathematical modelling with experiments is one of the central elements in systems biology. The aim of reverse engineering is to infer, analyse and understand, through this interplay, the functional and regulatory mechanisms of biological systems. Reverse engineering is not exclusive of systems biology and has been studied in different areas, such as inverse problem theory, machine learning, nonlinear physics, (bio)chemical kinetics, control theory and optimization, among others. However, it seems that many of these areas have been relatively closed to outsiders. In this contribution, we aim to compare and highlight the different perspectives and contributions from these fields, with emphasis on two key questions: (i) why are reverse engineering problems so hard to solve, and (ii) what methods are available for the particular problems arising from systems biology? PMID:24307566

  15. Biological and structural characterization of a naturally inspired material engineered from elastin as a candidate for tissue engineering applications.

    PubMed

    Vassalli, Massimo; Sbrana, Francesca; Laurita, Alessandro; Papi, Massimiliano; Bloise, Nora; Visai, Livia; Bochicchio, Brigida

    2013-12-23

    The adoption of a biomimetic approach in the design and fabrication of innovative materials for biomedical applications is encountering a growing interest. In particular, new molecules are being engineered on the basis of proteins present in the extracellular matrix, such as fibronectin, collagen, or elastin. Following this approach scientists expect to be able not only to obtain materials with tailored mechanical properties but also to elicit specific biological responses inherited by the mimicked tissue. In the present work, a novel peptide, engineered starting from the sequence encoded by exon 28 of human tropoelastin, was characterized from a chemical, physical, and biological point of view. The obtained molecule was observed to aggregate at high temperatures, forming a material able to induce a biological effect similar to what elastin does in the physiological context. This material seems to be a good candidate to play a relevant role in future biomedical applications with special reference to vascular surgery.

  16. NETWORKS, BIOLOGY AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING: A CASE STUDY IN INFLAMMATION

    PubMed Central

    Foteinou, P.T.; Yang, E.; Androulakis, I. P.

    2009-01-01

    Biological systems can be modeled as networks of interacting components across multiple scales. A central problem in computational systems biology is to identify those critical components and the rules that define their interactions and give rise to the emergent behavior of a host response. In this paper we will discuss two fundamental problems related to the construction of transcription factor networks and the identification of networks of functional modules describing disease progression. We focus on inflammation as a key physiological response of clinical and translational importance. PMID:20161495

  17. CRISPR-Cas9, the new kid on the block of fungal molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Krappmann, Sven

    2017-01-01

    Research on fungal pathogens with the aim to identify virulence determinants strictly relies on the generation of defined, recombinant strains, a task that is executed by means of a sophisticated molecular biology toolbox. Recent developments in fungal genome engineering have opened a new frontier by implementing the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, based on expression of the Cas9 endonuclease that is loaded by a single guiding RNA (sgRNA) molecule to target a defined site in the recipient genome. This novel approach has been adapted successfully to engineer fungal genomes, among them the one of the human-pathogenic mould Aspergillus fumigatus Implementation of the required components was achieved by various means that differ with respect to expression of the Cas9 enzyme and sgRNA delivery. Validation of CRISPR-Cas9-mediated mutagenesis could be executed by targeting selected candidate genes of A. fumigatus to provide a promising perspective for screening and multiplexing approaches to scrutinize the virulome of this opportunistic fungal pathogen in a comprehensive manner, such as by analyzing genetic polymorphisms or the function of gene families.

  18. Engineering Molecular Recognition with Bio-mimetic Polymers on Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes.

    PubMed

    Del Bonis-O'Donnell, Jackson T; Beyene, Abraham; Chio, Linda; Demirer, Gözde; Yang, Darwin; Landry, Markita P

    2017-01-10

    Semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are a class of optically active nanomaterial that fluoresce in the near infrared, coinciding with the optical window where biological samples are most transparent. Here, we outline techniques to adsorb amphiphilic polymers and polynucleic acids onto the surface of SWNTs to engineer their corona phases and create novel molecular sensors for small molecules and proteins. These functionalized SWNT sensors are both biocompatible and stable. Polymers are adsorbed onto the nanotube surface either by direct sonication of SWNTs and polymer or by suspending SWNTs using a surfactant followed by dialysis with polymer. The fluorescence emission, stability, and response of these sensors to target analytes are confirmed using absorbance and near-infrared fluorescence spectroscopy. Furthermore, we demonstrate surface immobilization of the sensors onto glass slides to enable single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to characterize polymer adsorption and analyte binding kinetics.

  19. Molecular engineering of two-photon fluorescent probes for bioimaging applications.

    PubMed

    Liu, Hong-Wen; Liu, Yongchao; Wang, Peng; Zhang, Xiao-Bing

    2017-03-22

    During the past two decades, two-photon microscopy (TPM), which utilizes two near-infrared photons as the excitation source, has emerged as a novel, attractive imaging tool for biological research. Compared with one-photon microscopy, TPM offers several advantages, such as lowering background fluorescence in living cells and tissues, reducing photodamage to biosamples, and a photobleaching phenomenon, offering better 3D spatial localization, and increasing penetration depth. Small-molecule-based two-photon fluorescent probes have been well developed for the detection and imaging of various analytes in biological systems. In this review, we will give a general introduction of molecular engineering of two-photon fluorescent probes based on different fluorescence response mechanisms for bioimaging applications during the past decade. Inspired by the desired advantages of small-molecule two-photon fluorescent probes in biological imaging applications, we expect that more attention will be devoted to the development of new two-photon fluorophores and applications of TPM in areas of bioanalysis and disease diagnosis.

  20. Molecular engineering of two-photon fluorescent probes for bioimaging applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Hong-Wen; Liu, Yongchao; Wang, Peng; Zhang, Xiao-Bing

    2017-03-01

    During the past two decades, two-photon microscopy (TPM), which utilizes two near-infrared photons as the excitation source, has emerged as a novel, attractive imaging tool for biological research. Compared with one-photon microscopy, TPM offers several advantages, such as lowering background fluorescence in living cells and tissues, reducing photodamage to biosamples, and a photobleaching phenomenon, offering better 3D spatial localization, and increasing penetration depth. Small-molecule-based two-photon fluorescent probes have been well developed for the detection and imaging of various analytes in biological systems. In this review, we will give a general introduction of molecular engineering of two-photon fluorescent probes based on different fluorescence response mechanisms for bioimaging applications during the past decade. Inspired by the desired advantages of small-molecule two-photon fluorescent probes in biological imaging applications, we expect that more attention will be devoted to the development of new two-photon fluorophores and applications of TPM in areas of bioanalysis and disease diagnosis.

  1. 2012 PLANT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY GORDON RESEARCH CONFERENCE, JULY 15-20, 2012

    SciTech Connect

    Sussman, Michael

    2013-07-20

    The 2012 Gordon Conference on Plant Molecular Biology will present cutting-edge research on molecular aspects of plant growth and development, with particular emphasis on recent discoveries in molecular mechanisms involved with plant signaling systems. The Conference will feature a wide range of topics in plant molecular biology including hormone receptors and early events in hormone signaling, plant perception of and response to plant pathogen and symbionts, as well as technological and biological aspects of epigenomics particularly as it relates to signaling systems that regulate plant growth and development. Genomic approaches to plant signaling will be emphasized, including genomic profiling technologies for quantifying various biological subsystems, such as the epigenome, transcriptome, phosphorylome, and metabolome. The meeting will include an important session devoted to answering the question, "What are the biological and technological limits of plant breeding/genetics, and how can they be solved"?

  2. Improvements in fermentative biological hydrogen production through metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Hallenbeck, Patrick C; Ghosh, Dipankar

    2012-03-01

    Replacement of fossil fuels with alternative energies is increasingly imperative in light of impending climate change and fossil fuel shortages. Biohydrogen has several potential advantages over other biofuels. Dark fermentation as a means of producing biohydrogen is attractive since a variety of readily available waste streams can be used. However, at present its practical application is prevented by the low yields obtained. Here the basic metabolisms leading to hydrogen production are outlined and current research to increase yields, either through modification of existing pathways, or by metabolic engineering to create new, higher yielding, pathways, is discussed. Inactivation of competing reactions and manipulation of culture conditions has lead to higher hydrogen yields, near those predicted by metabolic schemes. However, to be useful, hydrogen production must be increased beyond present limits. Several possibilities for surpassing those limits using metabolic engineering are presented.

  3. Importance of systems biology in engineering microbes for biofuel production

    SciTech Connect

    Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila; Redding, Alyssa M.; Rutherford, Becky J.; Keasling, Jay D.

    2009-12-02

    Microorganisms have been rich sources for natural products, some of which have found use as fuels, commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals, polymers, and drugs, to name a few. The recent interest in production of transportation fuels from renewable resources has catalyzed numerous research endeavors that focus on developing microbial systems for production of such natural products. Eliminating bottlenecks in microbial metabolic pathways and alleviating the stresses due to production of these chemicals are crucial in the generation of robust and efficient production hosts. The use of systems-level studies makes it possible to comprehensively understand the impact of pathway engineering within the context of the entire host metabolism, to diagnose stresses due to product synthesis, and provides the rationale to cost-effectively engineer optimal industrial microorganisms.

  4. Research and engineering assessment of biological solubilization of phosphate

    SciTech Connect

    Rogers, R.D.; McIlwain, M.E.; Losinski, S.J.; Taylor, D.D.

    1993-03-01

    This research and engineering assessment examined a microbial phosphate solubilization process as a method of recovering phosphate from phosphorus containing ore compared to the existing wet acid and electric arc methods. A total of 860 microbial isolates, collected from a range of natural environments were tested for their ability to solubilize phosphate from rock phosphate. A bacterium (Pseudomonas cepacia) was selected for extensive characterization and evaluation of the mechanism of phosphate solubilization and of process engineering parameters necessary to recover phosphate from rock phosphate. These studies found that concentration of hydrogen ion and production of organic acids arising from oxidation of the carbon source facilitated microbial solubilization of both pure chemical insoluble phosphate compounds and phosphate rock. Genetic studies found that phosphate solubilization was linked to an enzyme system (glucose dehydrogenase). Process-related studies found that a critical solids density of 1% by weight (ore to liquid) was necessary for optimal solubilization. An engineering analysis evaluated the cost and energy requirements for a 2 million ton per year sized plant, whose size was selected to be comparable to existing wet acid plants.

  5. Molecular Engineering for Mechanically Resilient and Stretchable Electronic Polymers and Composites

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-06-08

    AFRL-AFOSR-VA-TR-2016-0231 Molecular Engineering for Mechanically Resilient and Stretchable Electronic Polymers and Composites Darren Lipomi...04-2013 to 31-03-2016 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Molecular Engineering for Mechanically Resilient and Stretchable Electronic Polymers and Composites 5a...conjugated polymers and composites by analysis of the structural determinants of the mechanical properties. We developed coarse-grained molecular

  6. Signal amplification in biological and electrical engineering systems: universal role of cascades.

    PubMed

    Grubelnik, Vladimir; Dugonik, Bogdan; Osebik, Davorin; Marhl, Marko

    2009-08-01

    In this paper we compare the cascade mechanisms of signal amplification in biological and electrical engineering systems, and show that they share the capacity to considerably amplify signals, and respond to signal changes both quickly and completely, which effectively preserves the form of the input signal. For biological systems, these characteristics are crucial for efficient and reliable cellular signaling. We show that this highly-efficient biological mechanism of signal amplification that has naturally evolved is mathematically fully equivalent with some man-developed amplifiers, which indicates parallels between biological evolution and successful technology development.

  7. Mechanical engineering problems in preserving biological objects by temperature lowering.

    PubMed

    Dvorák, Z

    1990-01-01

    Analysis of dangers caused by mechanical refrigerating and liquid nitrogen systems used for low temperature preserving of biological material and safety measures to be adopted. Hazards are caused by moving or protruding parts of the machinery, its hot parts, noise and vibration, work in cold rooms, possible destruction of pressure vessels, refrigerant inflammation or explosion, breathing the refrigerant or its decomposition products, direct contact of the refrigerant with the skin or mucous tissues, depletion of stratospheric ozone or contamination of food-stuffs.

  8. Fisheries Handbook of Engineering Requirements and Biological Criteria,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1986-01-01

    diluents and other carriers used with - pesticides also have toxic properties . An important factor to be considered is the biological magnification . In...sudden noise or movement . Non -recognition of contaminants .Avoidance of electric shock .Low oxygen levels and supersaturated nitrogen . Reaction to...from a turbine Overflow section or spillway Penstock - intake to a turbine Non -overflow section Turbine - a water wheel to obtain power Crest - top

  9. Monolithic integration of microelectronics and photonics using molecularly engineered materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kubacki, Ronald M.

    2005-03-01

    The monolithic integration of CMOS microelectronics with photonics is inevitable and benefits both technologies. Photonic integration to microelectronics provides such solutions as overcoming microprocessor communication roadblocks through the use of optical interconnection. Microelectronic integration can provide benefits to photonic structures by optimizing electronic signals generated by photonic biosensors for example. Photonic integration must complement, build on, and enhance the existing state of CMOS microelectronic technology. Photonic approaches that ignore the realities of CMOS architectures (such as power and thermal limitations), provide little benefit to the CMOS device performance, are incompatible with CMOS silicon manufacturing processes, or are incapable of achieving levels of long term reliability already well demonstrated by microelectronic devices, give little reason for photonic/microelectronic integration. Practical implementation of photonics on chip, monolithically with CMOS type microelectronic devices, remains in the laboratory. This work presents architectures to integrate photonics and microelectronics that address CMOS fabrication realities, increase performance of both the electronic and optical functions, and retain current levels of reliability. Fabricating these structures with the limited CMOS material set and/or typical photonic materials requires materials to be molecularly engineered to provide required properties. Materials have been investigated that enable economic fabrication of photonic structures for monolithic integration. Low loss self assembled silicon nanocomposite VIPIR waveguide structures are combined with long term stable non-linear poled polymers for fabrication of electro-optic active devices. Materials are fabricated using low temperature plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD).

  10. A perfect time to harness advanced molecular technologies to explore the fundamental biology of Toxocara species.

    PubMed

    Gasser, Robin B

    2013-04-15

    Toxocarosis is of major canine health and socioeconomic importance worldwide. Although many studies have given insights into toxocarosis, to date, there has been limited exploration of the molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, epidemiology and ecology of Toxocara species as well as parasite-host interactions using '-omic' technologies. The present article gives a background on Toxocara species and toxocarosis, describes molecular tools for specific identification and genetic analysis, and provides a prospective view of the benefits that advanced molecular technologies will have towards better understanding the parasites and disease. Tackling key biological questions employing a 'systems biology' approach should lead to new and improved strategies for the treatment, diagnosis and control of toxocarosis.

  11. Analyzing Biological Performance of 3D-Printed, Cell-Impregnated Hybrid Constructs for Cartilage Tissue Engineering.

    PubMed

    Izadifar, Zohreh; Chang, Tuanjie; Kulyk, William; Chen, Xiongbiao; Eames, B Frank

    2016-03-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting of hybrid constructs is a promising biofabrication method for cartilage tissue engineering because a synthetic polymer framework and cell-impregnated hydrogel provide structural and biological features of cartilage, respectively. During bioprinting, impregnated cells may be subjected to high temperatures (caused by the adjacent melted polymer) and process-induced mechanical forces, potentially compromising cell function. This study addresses these biofabrication issues, evaluating the heat distribution of printed polycaprolactone (PCL) strands and the rheological property and structural stability of alginate hydrogels at various temperatures and concentrations. The biocompatibility of parameters from these studies was tested by culturing 3D hybrid constructs bioprinted with primary cells from embryonic chick cartilage. During initial two-dimensional culture expansion of these primary cells, two morphologically and molecularly distinct cell populations ("rounded" and "fibroblastic") were isolated. The biological performance of each population was evaluated in 3D hybrid constructs separately. The cell viability, proliferation, and cartilage differentiation were observed at high levels in hybrid constructs of both cell populations, confirming the validity of these 3D bioprinting parameters for effective cartilage tissue engineering. Statistically significant performance variations were observed, however, between the rounded and fibroblastic cell populations. Molecular and morphological data support the notion that such performance differences may be attributed to the relative differentiation state of rounded versus fibroblastic cells (i.e., differentiated chondrocytes vs. chondroprogenitors, respectively), which is a relevant issue for cell-based tissue engineering strategies. Taken together, our study demonstrates that bioprinting 3D hybrid constructs of PCL and cell-impregnated alginate hydrogel is a promising approach for

  12. Decellularized and Engineered Tendons as Biological Substitutes: A Critical Review

    PubMed Central

    Lovati, Arianna B.; Bottagisio, Marta; Moretti, Matteo

    2016-01-01

    Tendon ruptures are a great burden in clinics. Finding a proper graft material as a substitute for tendon repair is one of the main challenges in orthopaedics, for which the requirement of a biological scaffold would be different for each clinical application. Among biological scaffolds, the use of decellularized tendon-derived matrix increasingly represents an interesting approach to treat tendon ruptures. We analyzed in vitro and in vivo studies focused on the development of efficient protocols for the decellularization and for the cell reseeding of the tendon matrix to obtain medical devices for tendon substitution. Our review considered also the proper tendon source and preclinical animal models with the aim of entering into clinical trials. The results highlight a wide panorama in terms of allogenic or xenogeneic tendon sources, specimen dimensions, physical or chemical decellularization techniques, and the cell type variety for reseeding from terminally differentiated to undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells and their static or dynamic culture employed to generate implantable constructs tested in different animal models. We try to identify the most efficient approach to achieve an optimal biological scaffold for biomechanics and intrinsic properties, resembling the native tendon and being applicable in clinics in the near future, with particular attention to the Achilles tendon substitution. PMID:26880985

  13. The natural history of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society from a modern perspective.

    PubMed

    Requena-Carrion, Jesus; Leder, Ron S

    2009-01-01

    The history of the IEEE EMBS runs hand in hand with the history of Biomedical Engineering both as a scientific discipline and as a profession. The conferences and publications led by IEEE EMBS, amongst other activities were a mirror of the evolution of Biomedical Engineering over the years and they equally contributed to shape Biomedical Engineering as we view it today. The IEEE EMBS provides a testimony of how a broad and diverse scientific community that comes from many diverse areas such as medicine, engineering, physics and chemistry and shares common purposes and interests can successfully work under the same designation of biomedical engineers. This account is a review of the history of Biomedical Engineering and the development of the IEEE EMBS since the inception of its predecessors, the AIEE Committee on Electrical Techniques in Medicine and Biology and the IRE Professional Group in Medical Electronics.

  14. Morphology of Filamentous Fungi: Linking Cellular Biology to Process Engineering Using Aspergillus niger

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krull, Rainer; Cordes, Christiana; Horn, Harald; Kampen, Ingo; Kwade, Arno; Neu, Thomas R.; Nörtemann, Bernd

    In various biotechnological processes, filamentous fungi, e.g. Aspergillus niger, are widely applied for the production of high value-added products due to their secretion efficiency. There is, however, a tangled relationship between the morphology of these microorganisms, the transport phenomena and the related productivity. The morphological characteristics vary between freely dispersed mycelia and distinct pellets of aggregated biomass. Hence, advantages and disadvantages for mycel or pellet cultivation have to be balanced out carefully. Due to this inadequate understanding of morphogenesis of filamentous microorganisms, fungal morphology, along with reproducibility of inocula of the same quality, is often a bottleneck of productivity in industrial production. To obtain an optimisation of the production process it is of great importance to gain a better understanding of the molecular and cell biology of these microorganisms as well as the approaches in biochemical engineering and particle technique, in particular to characterise the interactions between the growth conditions, cell morphology, spore-hyphae-interactions and product formation. Advances in particle and image analysis techniques as well as micromechanical devices and their applications to fungal cultivations have made available quantitative morphological data on filamentous cells. This chapter provides the ambitious aspects of this line of action, focussing on the control and characterisation of the morphology, the transport gradients and the approaches to understand the metabolism of filamentous fungi. Based on these data, bottlenecks in the morphogenesis of A. niger within the complex production pathways from gene to product should be identified and this may improve the production yield.

  15. Morphology of filamentous fungi: linking cellular biology to process engineering using Aspergillus niger.

    PubMed

    Krull, Rainer; Cordes, Christiana; Horn, Harald; Kampen, Ingo; Kwade, Arno; Neu, Thomas R; Nörtemann, Bernd

    2010-01-01

    In various biotechnological processes, filamentous fungi, e.g. Aspergillus niger, are widely applied for the production of high value-added products due to their secretion efficiency. There is, however, a tangled relationship between the morphology of these microorganisms, the transport phenomena and the related productivity. The morphological characteristics vary between freely dispersed mycelia and distinct pellets of aggregated biomass. Hence, advantages and disadvantages for mycel or pellet cultivation have to be balanced out carefully. Due to this inadequate understanding of morphogenesis of filamentous microorganisms, fungal morphology, along with reproducibility of inocula of the same quality, is often a bottleneck of productivity in industrial production. To obtain an optimisation of the production process it is of great importance to gain a better understanding of the molecular and cell biology of these microorganisms as well as the approaches in biochemical engineering and particle technique, in particular to characterise the interactions between the growth conditions, cell morphology, spore-hyphae-interactions and product formation. Advances in particle and image analysis techniques as well as micromechanical devices and their applications to fungal cultivations have made available quantitative morphological data on filamentous cells. This chapter provides the ambitious aspects of this line of action, focussing on the control and characterisation of the morphology, the transport gradients and the approaches to understand the metabolism of filamentous fungi. Based on these data, bottlenecks in the morphogenesis of A. niger within the complex production pathways from gene to product should be identified and this may improve the production yield.

  16. Surface engineering on mesoporous silica chips for enriching low molecular weight phosphorylated proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Ye; Peng, Yang; Lin, Kevin; Shen, Haifa; Brousseau, Louis C., III; Sakamoto, Jason; Sun, Tong; Ferrari, Mauro

    2011-02-01

    Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous silica thin films with precisely engineered pore sizes that sterically select for molecular size combined with chemically selective surface modifications (i.e. Ga3+, Ti4+ and Zr4+) that target phosphoroproteins. These materials provide high reproducibility (CV = 18%) and increase the stability of the captured proteins by excluding degrading enzymes, such as trypsin. The chemical and physical properties of the composite mesoporous thin films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and ellipsometry. Using mass spectroscopy and biostatistics analysis, the enrichment efficiency of different metal ions immobilized on mesoporous silica chips was investigated. The novel technology reported provides a platform capable of efficiently profiling the serum proteome for biomarker discovery, forensic sampling, and routine diagnostic applications.Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous

  17. Molecular Biology of Learning: Modulation of Transmitter Release.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kandel, Eric R.; Schwartz, James H.

    1982-01-01

    Describes how a behavioral system in Aplysia (marine snail) can be used to examine mechanisms of several forms of learning at different levels of analysis: behavioral, cell-physiological, ultrastructural, and molecular. Focusing on short-term sensitization, suggests how molecular mechanisms can be extended to explain long-term memory and classical…

  18. Physical and Biological Properties of Engineered Protein Hydrogels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tirrell, David

    2012-02-01

    Injectable hydrogels show substantial promise for use in minimally invasive tissue engineering and drug delivery procedures. A new injectable hydrogel material, developed from recombinant telechelic proteins expressed in E. coli, demonstrates shear thinning by three orders of magnitude at large strains. Large amplitude oscillatory shear illustrates that shear thinning is due to yielding within the bulk of the gel, and the rheological response and flow profiles are consistent with a shear-banding mechanism for yielding. The sharp yielding transition and large magnitude of the apparent shear thinning allow gels to be injected through narrow gauge needles with only gentle hand pressure. After injection the gels reset to full elastic strength in seconds due to rapid reformation of the physical network junctions, allowing self-supporting structures to be formed. The shear thinning behavior is largely independent of the midblock length, enabling genetic engineering to be used to control the equilibrium modulus of the gel without loss of the characteristic yielding behavior. The shear-banding mechanism localizes shear stresses during flow into narrow regions of the gel, allowing more than 95% of seeded cells to survive the injection process.

  19. Engineering derivatives from biological systems for advanced aerospace applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winfield, Daniel L.; Hering, Dean H.; Cole, David

    1991-01-01

    The present study consisted of a literature survey, a survey of researchers, and a workshop on bionics. These tasks produced an extensive annotated bibliography of bionics research (282 citations), a directory of bionics researchers, and a workshop report on specific bionics research topics applicable to space technology. These deliverables are included as Appendix A, Appendix B, and Section 5.0, respectively. To provide organization to this highly interdisciplinary field and to serve as a guide for interested researchers, we have also prepared a taxonomy or classification of the various subelements of natural engineering systems. Finally, we have synthesized the results of the various components of this study into a discussion of the most promising opportunities for accelerated research, seeking solutions which apply engineering principles from natural systems to advanced aerospace problems. A discussion of opportunities within the areas of materials, structures, sensors, information processing, robotics, autonomous systems, life support systems, and aeronautics is given. Following the conclusions are six discipline summaries that highlight the potential benefits of research in these areas for NASA's space technology programs.

  20. Systems biology for molecular life sciences and its impact in biomedicine.

    PubMed

    Medina, Miguel Ángel

    2013-03-01

    Modern systems biology is already contributing to a radical transformation of molecular life sciences and biomedicine, and it is expected to have a real impact in the clinical setting in the next years. In this review, the emergence of systems biology is contextualized with a historic overview, and its present state is depicted. The present and expected future contribution of systems biology to the development of molecular medicine is underscored. Concerning the present situation, this review includes a reflection on the "inflation" of biological data and the urgent need for tools and procedures to make hidden information emerge. Descriptions of the impact of networks and models and the available resources and tools for applying them in systems biology approaches to molecular medicine are provided as well. The actual current impact of systems biology in molecular medicine is illustrated, reviewing two cases, namely, those of systems pharmacology and cancer systems biology. Finally, some of the expected contributions of systems biology to the immediate future of molecular medicine are commented.

  1. Metabolic engineering for production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals: contributions of synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Jarboe, Laura R; Zhang, Xueli; Wang, Xuan; Moore, Jonathan C; Shanmugam, K T; Ingram, Lonnie O

    2010-01-01

    Production of fuels and chemicals through microbial fermentation of plant material is a desirable alternative to petrochemical-based production. Fermentative production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals requires the engineering of biocatalysts that can quickly and efficiently convert sugars to target products at a cost that is competitive with existing petrochemical-based processes. It is also important that biocatalysts be robust to extreme fermentation conditions, biomass-derived inhibitors, and their target products. Traditional metabolic engineering has made great advances in this area, but synthetic biology has contributed and will continue to contribute to this field, particularly with next-generation biofuels. This work reviews the use of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology in biocatalyst engineering for biorenewable fuels and chemicals production, such as ethanol, butanol, acetate, lactate, succinate, alanine, and xylitol. We also examine the existing challenges in this area and discuss strategies for improving biocatalyst tolerance to chemical inhibitors.

  2. Metabolic Engineering for Production of Biorenewable Fuels and Chemicals: Contributions of Synthetic Biology

    PubMed Central

    Jarboe, Laura R.; Zhang, Xueli; Wang, Xuan; Moore, Jonathan C.; Shanmugam, K. T.; Ingram, Lonnie O.

    2010-01-01

    Production of fuels and chemicals through microbial fermentation of plant material is a desirable alternative to petrochemical-based production. Fermentative production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals requires the engineering of biocatalysts that can quickly and efficiently convert sugars to target products at a cost that is competitive with existing petrochemical-based processes. It is also important that biocatalysts be robust to extreme fermentation conditions, biomass-derived inhibitors, and their target products. Traditional metabolic engineering has made great advances in this area, but synthetic biology has contributed and will continue to contribute to this field, particularly with next-generation biofuels. This work reviews the use of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology in biocatalyst engineering for biorenewable fuels and chemicals production, such as ethanol, butanol, acetate, lactate, succinate, alanine, and xylitol. We also examine the existing challenges in this area and discuss strategies for improving biocatalyst tolerance to chemical inhibitors. PMID:20414363

  3. Fault diagnosis engineering in molecular signaling networks: an overview and applications in target discovery.

    PubMed

    Abdi, Ali; Emamian, Effat S

    2010-05-01

    Fault diagnosis engineering is a key component of modern industrial facilities and complex systems, and has gone through considerable developments in the past few decades. In this paper, the principles and concepts of molecular fault diagnosis engineering are reviewed. In this area, molecular intracellular networks are considered as complex systems that may fail to function, due to the presence of some faulty molecules. Dysfunction of the system due to the presence of a single or multiple molecules can ultimately lead to the transition from the normal state to the disease state. It is the goal of molecular fault diagnosis engineering to identify the critical components of molecular networks, i.e., those whose dysfunction can interrupt the function of the entire network. The results of the fault analysis of several signaling networks are discussed, and possible connections of the findings with some complex human diseases are examined. Implications of molecular fault diagnosis engineering for target discovery and drug development are outlined as well.

  4. Declaration of patent applications as financial interests: a survey of practice among authors of papers on molecular biology in Nature

    PubMed Central

    Mayer, S

    2006-01-01

    Objectives To determine whether authors of scientific publications in molecular biology declare patents and other potential financial interests. Design Survey of a 6‐month sample of papers related to molecular biology in Nature. Methods The esp@cenet worldwide patent search engine was used to search for patents applied for by the authors of scientific papers in Nature that were related to molecular biology and genetics, between January and June 2005. Results Of the 79 papers considered, four had declared that certain authors had competing financial interests. Seven papers in which no financial interests were declared had authors with patent applications that were based on the research in the paper or were closely related to it. Another paper had two authors with connections to biotechnology companies that were not disclosed. Conclusion Two thirds of the papers in which authors had patent applications or company affiliations that might be considered to be competing financial interests did not disclose them. Failure to disclose such information may have negative implications on the perception of science in society and on its quality if the possible bias is hidden. Journals should make greater efforts to ensure full disclosure, and scientific institutions should consider failure to disclose financial interests as an example of scientific malpractice. Establishing a register of interests for scientists is one way to increase transparency and openness. PMID:17074824

  5. Intravascular near-infrared fluorescence molecular imaging of atherosclerosis: toward coronary arterial visualization of biologically high-risk plaques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calfon, Marcella A.; Vinegoni, Claudio; Ntziachristos, Vasilis; Jaffer, Farouc A.

    2010-01-01

    New imaging methods are urgently needed to identify high-risk atherosclerotic lesions prior to the onset of myocardial infarction, stroke, and ischemic limbs. Molecular imaging offers a new approach to visualize key biological features that characterize high-risk plaques associated with cardiovascular events. While substantial progress has been realized in clinical molecular imaging of plaques in larger arterial vessels (carotid, aorta, iliac), there remains a compelling, unmet need to develop molecular imaging strategies targeted to high-risk plaques in human coronary arteries. We present recent developments in intravascular near-IR fluorescence catheter-based strategies for in vivo detection of plaque inflammation in coronary-sized arteries. In particular, the biological, light transmission, imaging agent, and engineering principles that underlie a new intravascular near-IR fluorescence sensing method are discussed. Intravascular near-IR fluorescence catheters appear highly translatable to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, and thus may offer a new in vivo method to detect high-risk coronary plaques and to assess novel atherosclerosis biologics.

  6. Synthetic Biology for Engineering Acetyl Coenzyme A Metabolism in Yeast

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a widely used cell factory for the production of fuels, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The use of this cell factory for cost-efficient production of novel fuels and chemicals requires high yields and low by-product production. Many industrially interesting chemicals are biosynthesized from acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), which serves as a central precursor metabolite in yeast. To ensure high yields in production of these chemicals, it is necessary to engineer the central carbon metabolism so that ethanol production is minimized (or eliminated) and acetyl-CoA can be formed from glucose in high yield. Here the perspective of generating yeast platform strains that have such properties is discussed in the context of a major breakthrough with expression of a functional pyruvate dehydrogenase complex in the cytosol. PMID:25370498

  7. Synthesis of Charge Transfer Dyes for Use as Molecular Sensors in Biological Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Christie, Joseph J.

    2003-01-01

    This is a continuation of last year's project to synthesize tetraaryl substituted benzodifurans for use as molecular probes in biological systems. The project will involve the synthesis and chemical characterization of dyes and precursor molecules.

  8. Laboratory techniques in plant molecular biology taught with UniformMu insertion alleles of maize

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An undergraduate course - Laboratory Techniques in Plant Molecular Biology - was organized around our research application of UniformMu insertion alleles to investigate mitochondrial functions in plant reproduction. The course objectives were to develop students’ laboratory, record keeping, bioinfor...

  9. Decoding Genetics and Molecular Biology: Sharing the Movies in Our Heads

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zolan, Miriam; Strome, Susan; Innes, Roger

    2004-01-01

    For three biology professors, visualizing molecular processes is central to thinking in their discipline. This chapter reports their attempts at getting students to make this same cognitive move and the results of their assessments. (Contains 2 figures.)

  10. Foundational concepts and underlying theories for majors in "biochemistry and molecular biology".

    PubMed

    Tansey, John T; Baird, Teaster; Cox, Michael M; Fox, Kristin M; Knight, Jennifer; Sears, Duane; Bell, Ellis

    2013-01-01

    Over the past two years, through an NSF RCN UBE grant, the ASBMB has held regional workshops for faculty members and science educators from around the country that focused on identifying: 1) core principles of biochemistry and molecular biology, 2) essential concepts and underlying theories from physics, chemistry, and mathematics, and 3) foundational skills that undergraduate majors in biochemistry and molecular biology must understand to complete their major coursework. Using information gained from these workshops, as well as from the ASBMB accreditation working group and the NSF Vision and Change report, the Core Concepts working group has developed a consensus list of learning outcomes and objectives based on five foundational concepts (evolution, matter and energy transformation, homeostasis, information flow, and macromolecular structure and function) that represent the expected conceptual knowledge base for undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology. This consensus will aid biochemistry and molecular biology educators in the development of assessment tools for the new ASBMB recommended curriculum.

  11. Biologically improved nanofibrous scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Bhaarathy, V; Venugopal, J; Gandhimathi, C; Ponpandian, N; Mangalaraj, D; Ramakrishna, S

    2014-11-01

    Nanofibrous structure developed by electrospinning technology provides attractive extracellular matrix conditions for the anchorage, migration and differentiation of stem cells, including those responsible for regenerative medicine. Recently, biocomposite nanofibers consisting of two or more polymeric blends are electrospun more tidily in order to obtain scaffolds with desired functional and mechanical properties depending on their applications. The study focuses on one such an attempt of using copolymer Poly(l-lactic acid)-co-poly (ε-caprolactone) (PLACL), silk fibroin (SF) and Aloe Vera (AV) for fabricating biocomposite nanofibrous scaffolds for cardiac tissue engineering. SEM micrographs of fabricated electrospun PLACL, PLACL/SF and PLACL/SF/AV nanofibrous scaffolds are porous, beadless, uniform nanofibers with interconnected pores and obtained fibre diameter in the range of 459 ± 22 nm, 202 ± 12 nm and 188 ± 16 nm respectively. PLACL, PLACL/SF and PLACL/SF/AV electrospun mats obtained at room temperature with an elastic modulus of 14.1 ± 0.7, 9.96 ± 2.5 and 7.0 ± 0.9 MPa respectively. PLACL/SF/AV nanofibers have more desirable properties to act as flexible cell supporting scaffolds compared to PLACL for the repair of myocardial infarction (MI). The PLACL/SF and PLACL/SF/AV nanofibers had a contact angle of 51 ± 12° compared to that of 133 ± 15° of PLACL alone. Cardiac cell proliferation was increased by 21% in PLACL/SF/AV nanofibers compared to PLACL by day 6 and further increased to 42% by day 9. Confocal analysis for cardiac expression proteins myosin and connexin 43 was observed better by day 9 compared to all other nanofibrous scaffolds. The results proved that the fabricated PLACL/SF/AV nanofibrous scaffolds have good potentiality for the regeneration of infarcted myocardium in cardiac tissue engineering.

  12. Can an engineer fix an immune system?--Rethinking theoretical biology.

    PubMed

    Mattiussi, Claudio

    2013-06-01

    In an instant classic paper (Lazebnik, in Cancer Cell 2(3); 2002: 179-182) biologist Yuri Lazebnik deplores the poor effectiveness of the approach adopted by biologists to understand and "fix" biological systems. Lazebnik suggests that to remedy this state of things biologist should take inspiration from the approach used by engineers to design, understand, and troubleshoot technological systems. In the present paper I substantiate Lazebnik's analysis by concretely showing how to apply the engineering approach to biological problems. I use an actual example of electronic circuit troubleshooting to ground the thesis that, in engineering, the crucial phases of any non-trivial troubleshooting process are aimed at generating a mechanistic explanation of the functioning of the system, which makes extensive recourse to problem-driven qualitative reasoning possibly based on cognitive artifacts applied to systems that are known to have been designed for function. To show how to translate these findings into biological practice I consider a concrete example of biological model building and "troubleshooting", aimed at the identification of a "fix" for the human immune system in presence of progressing cancer, autoimmune disease, and transplant rejection. The result is a novel immune system model--the danger model with regulatory cells--and new, original hypotheses concerning the development, prophylaxis, and therapy of these unwanted biological processes. Based on the manifest efficacy of the proposed approach, I suggest a refocusing of the activity of theoretical biologists along the engineering-inspired lines illustrated in the paper.

  13. 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Cellular and Molecular Fungal Biology, Final Progress Report

    SciTech Connect

    Berman, Judith

    2012-06-22

    The Gordon Research Conference on Cellular and Molecular Fungal Biology was held at Holderness School, Holderness New Hampshire, June 17 - 22, 2012. The 2012 Gordon Conference on Cellular and Molecular Fungal Biology (CMFB) will present the latest, cutting-edge research on the exciting and growing field of molecular and cellular aspects of fungal biology. Topics will range from yeast to filamentous fungi, from model systems to economically important organisms, and from saprophytes and commensals to pathogens of plants and animals. The CMFB conference will feature a wide range of topics including systems biology, cell biology and morphogenesis, organismal interactions, genome organisation and regulation, pathogenesis, energy metabolism, biomass production and population genomics. The Conference was well-attended with 136 participants. Gordon Research Conferences does not permit publication of meeting proceedings.

  14. Workshop in computational molecular biology, April 15, 1991--April 14, 1994

    SciTech Connect

    Tavare, S.

    1995-04-12

    Funds from this award were used to the Workshop in Computational Molecular Biology, `91 Symposium entitled Interface: Computing Science and Statistics, Seattle, Washington, April 21, 1991; the Workshop in Statistical Issues in Molecular Biology held at Stanford, California, August 8, 1993; and the Session on Population Genetics a part of the 56th Annual Meeting, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, San Francisco, California, August 9, 1993.

  15. Progress in nucleic acid research and molecular biology

    SciTech Connect

    Cohn, W.E. ); Moldave, K. )

    1989-01-01

    This book is organized under the following headings: Transposable elements in Drosophilia; Regulation of gene expression; Structure and function of repetitive and unusual sequences; Retroviruses; Molecular analysis of chromosomal translocation and gene insertion.

  16. Engineered plant biomass particles coated with biological agents

    DOEpatents

    Dooley, James H.; Lanning, David N.

    2014-06-24

    Plant biomass particles coated with a biological agent such as a bacterium or seed, characterized by a length dimension (L) aligned substantially parallel to a grain direction and defining a substantially uniform distance along the grain, a width dimension (W) normal to L and aligned cross grain, and a height dimension (H) normal to W and L. In particular, the L.times.H dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel side surfaces characterized by substantially intact longitudinally arrayed fibers, the W.times.H dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel end surfaces characterized by crosscut fibers and end checking between fibers, and the L.times.W dimensions define a pair of substantially parallel top and bottom surfaces.

  17. An engineer's view on genetic information and biological evolution.

    PubMed

    Battail, Gérard

    2004-01-01

    We develop ideas on genome replication introduced in Battail [Europhys. Lett. 40 (1997) 343]. Starting with the hypothesis that the genome replication process uses error-correcting means, and the auxiliary one that nested codes are used to this end, we first review the concepts of redundancy and error-correcting codes. Then we show that these hypotheses imply that: distinct species exist with a hierarchical taxonomy, there is a trend of evolution towards complexity, and evolution proceeds by discrete jumps. At least the first two features above may be considered as biological facts so, in the absence of direct evidence, they provide an indirect proof in favour of the hypothesized error-correction system. The very high redundancy of genomes makes it possible. In order to explain how it is implemented, we suggest that soft codes and replication decoding, to be briefly described, are plausible candidates. Experimentally proven properties of long-range correlation of the DNA message substantiate this claim.

  18. Inhalable DNase I microparticles engineered with biologically active excipients.

    PubMed

    Osman, Rihab; Al Jamal, Khuloud T; Kan, Pei-Lee; Awad, Gehanne; Mortada, Nahed; El-Shamy, Abd-Elhameed; Alpar, Oya

    2013-12-01

    Highly viscous mucus poses a big challenge for the delivery of particulates carrying therapeutics to patients with cystic fibrosis. In this study, surface modifying DNase I loaded particles using different excipients to achieve better lung deposition, higher enzyme stability or better biological activity had been exploited. For the purpose, controlled release microparticles (MP) were prepared by co-spray drying DNase I with the polymer poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and the biocompatible lipid surfactant 1,2-dipalmitoyl-Sn-phosphatidyl choline (DPPC) using various hydrophilic excipients. The effect of the included modifiers on the particle morphology, size, zeta potential as well as enzyme encapsulation efficiency, biological activity and release had been evaluated. Powder aerosolisation performance and particle phagocytosis by murine macrophages were also investigated. The results showed that more than 80% of enzyme activity was recovered after MP preparation and that selected surface modifiers greatly increased the enzyme encapsulation efficiency. The particle morphology was greatly modified altering in turn the powders inhalation indices where dextran, ovalbumin and chitosan hydrochloride increased considerably the respirable fraction compared to the normal hydrophilic carriers lactose and PVP. Despite of the improved aerosolisation caused by chitosan hydrochloride, yet retardation of chitosan coated particles in artificial mucus samples discouraged its application. On the other hand, dextran and polyanions enhanced DNase I effect in reducing cystic fibrosis mucus viscosity. DPPC proved good ability to reduce particles phagocytic uptake even in the presence of the selected adjuvants. The prepared MP systems were biocompatible with lung epithelial cells. To conclude, controlled release DNase I loaded PLGA-MP with high inhalation indices and enhanced mucolytic activity on CF sputum could be obtained by surface modifying the particles with PGA or dextran.

  19. Biomaterials — where biology, physics, chemistry, engineering and medicine meet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hing, K. A.

    2008-03-01

    The success or failure of an implant material in the body depends on a complex interaction between a synthetic 'foreign body' and the 'host tissue'. These interactions occur at many levels from the sub-microscopic level, where subtle changes in the surface physio-chemistry can substantially alter the nature of the biomaterial-host tissue interface, through the microscopical level (e.g. sensitivity to surface topography) to the macrostructural level (e.g. dependence on scaffold porosity). Thus the factors that control these responses are not only biologically determined but also mechanically, physically and chemically mediated, although identifying where one starts and the other finishes can be difficult. Design of a successful medical device has therefore to call on expertise within a wide range of disciplines. In terms of both investigating the basic science behind the factors which orchestrate a biological response and developing research tools that enable study of these responses. However, a medical device must also meet the economic and practical demands of health care professionals who will ultimately be using it in the clinic. Bone graft substitute materials are used in orthopaedics as an alternative or adjunct to autografting, a practice where the patient 'donates' bone from a healthy site to aid bone repair at a damaged or diseased site. These materials are used in a wide range of procedures from total hip revision to spinal fusion and their evolution over the last 10 years illustrates how an interdisciplinary approach has benefited their development and may lead to further innovation in the future.

  20. The Prediction of Biological Activity Using Molecular Connectivity Indices.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1986-04-23

    toxicities of 15 organotin compounds against Daphnia magna . -18- This study confirmed that molecular topology can be employed to model the behavior...parameter correlation of the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Daphnia Pulex with 0XV: -log LC50 = 0.5346 OXV - 7.004 (r = 0.9972, n...CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, * 1983, chap. 4, pp. 105-140. 8. L.B. Kier and L.H. Hall, Molecular Connectivity in Chemistry and Drug * Research

  1. Vibration-induced coherence enhancement of the performance of a biological quantum heat engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Hong-Bin; Chiu, Pin-Yi; Chen, Yueh-Nan

    2016-11-01

    Photosynthesis has been a long-standing research interest due to its fundamental importance. Recently, studies on photosynthesis processes also have inspired attention from a thermodynamical aspect when considering photosynthetic apparatuses as biological quantum heat engines. Quantum coherence is shown to play a crucial role in enhancing the performance of these quantum heat engines. Based on the experimentally reported structure, we propose a quantum heat engine model with a non-Markovian vibrational mode. We show that one can obtain a performance enhancement easily for a wide range of parameters in the presence of the vibrational mode. Our results provide insights into the photosynthetic processes and a design principle mimicking natural organisms.

  2. Promoting convergence: The integrated graduate program in physical and engineering biology at Yale University, a new model for graduate education.

    PubMed

    Noble, Dorottya B; Mochrie, Simon G J; O'Hern, Corey S; Pollard, Thomas D; Regan, Lynne

    2016-11-12

    In 2008, we established the Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (IGPPEB) at Yale University. Our goal was to create a comprehensive graduate program to train a new generation of scientists who possess a sophisticated understanding of biology and who are capable of applying physical and quantitative methodologies to solve biological problems. Here we describe the framework of the training program, report on its effectiveness, and also share the insights we gained during its development and implementation. The program features co-teaching by faculty with complementary specializations, student peer learning, and novel hands-on courses that facilitate the seamless blending of interdisciplinary research and teaching. It also incorporates enrichment activities to improve communication skills, engage students in science outreach, and foster a cohesive program cohort, all of which promote the development of transferable skills applicable in a variety of careers. The curriculum of the graduate program is integrated with the curricular requirements of several Ph.D.-granting home programs in the physical, engineering, and biological sciences. Moreover, the wide-ranging recruiting activities of the IGPPEB serve to enhance the quality and diversity of students entering graduate school at Yale. We also discuss some of the challenges we encountered in establishing and optimizing the program, and describe the institution-level changes that were catalyzed by the introduction of the new graduate program. The goal of this article is to serve as both an inspiration and as a practical "how to" manual for those who seek to establish similar programs at their own institutions. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 44(6):537-549, 2016.

  3. Promoting convergence: The integrated graduate program in physical and engineering biology at Yale University, a new model for graduate education

    PubMed Central

    Noble, Dorottya B.; Mochrie, Simon G. J.; O'Hern, Corey S.; Pollard, Thomas D.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract In 2008, we established the Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (IGPPEB) at Yale University. Our goal was to create a comprehensive graduate program to train a new generation of scientists who possess a sophisticated understanding of biology and who are capable of applying physical and quantitative methodologies to solve biological problems. Here we describe the framework of the training program, report on its effectiveness, and also share the insights we gained during its development and implementation. The program features co‐teaching by faculty with complementary specializations, student peer learning, and novel hands‐on courses that facilitate the seamless blending of interdisciplinary research and teaching. It also incorporates enrichment activities to improve communication skills, engage students in science outreach, and foster a cohesive program cohort, all of which promote the development of transferable skills applicable in a variety of careers. The curriculum of the graduate program is integrated with the curricular requirements of several Ph.D.‐granting home programs in the physical, engineering, and biological sciences. Moreover, the wide‐ranging recruiting activities of the IGPPEB serve to enhance the quality and diversity of students entering graduate school at Yale. We also discuss some of the challenges we encountered in establishing and optimizing the program, and describe the institution‐level changes that were catalyzed by the introduction of the new graduate program. The goal of this article is to serve as both an inspiration and as a practical “how to” manual for those who seek to establish similar programs at their own institutions. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 44(6):537–549, 2016. PMID:27292366

  4. A Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Experiment and Evaluation System for Biotechnology Specialty Students: An Effective Evaluation System to Improve the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Experiment Teaching

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Li, Suxia; Wu, Haizhen; Zhao, Jian; Ou, Ling; Zhang, Yuanxing

    2010-01-01

    In an effort to achieve high success in knowledge and technique acquisition as a whole, a biochemistry and molecular biology experiment was established for high-grade biotechnology specialty students after they had studied essential theory and received proper technique training. The experiment was based on cloning and expression of alkaline…

  5. A Model of How Different Biology Experts Explain Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trujillo, Caleb M.; Anderson, Trevor R.; Pelaez, Nancy J.

    2015-01-01

    Constructing explanations is an essential skill for all science learners. The goal of this project was to model the key components of expert explanation of molecular and cellular mechanisms. As such, we asked: What is an appropriate model of the components of explanation used by biology experts to explain molecular and cellular mechanisms? Do…

  6. Applying molecular-based approaches to classical biological control of weeds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Modern advances in molecular techniques are only recently being incorporated into programs for the classical biological control of weeds. Molecular analyses are able to elucidate information about target weeds that is critical to improving control success, such as taxonomic clarification, evidence o...

  7. Features of Knowledge Building in Biology: Understanding Undergraduate Students' Ideas about Molecular Mechanisms

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Southard, Katelyn; Wince, Tyler; Meddleton, Shanice; Bolger, Molly S.

    2016-01-01

    Research has suggested that teaching and learning in molecular and cellular biology (MCB) is difficult. We used a new lens to understand undergraduate reasoning about molecular mechanisms: the knowledge-integration approach to conceptual change. Knowledge integration is the dynamic process by which learners acquire new ideas, develop connections…

  8. Tangible Models and Haptic Representations Aid Learning of Molecular Biology Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johannes, Kristen; Powers, Jacklyn; Couper, Lisa; Silberglitt, Matt; Davenport, Jodi

    2016-01-01

    Can novel 3D models help students develop a deeper understanding of core concepts in molecular biology? We adapted 3D molecular models, developed by scientists, for use in high school science classrooms. The models accurately represent the structural and functional properties of complex DNA and Virus molecules, and provide visual and haptic…

  9. Cloning Yeast Actin cDNA Leads to an Investigative Approach for the Molecular Biology Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Black, Michael W.; Tuan, Alice; Jonasson, Erin

    2008-01-01

    The emergence of molecular tools in multiple disciplines has elevated the importance of undergraduate laboratory courses that train students in molecular biology techniques. Although it would also be desirable to provide students with opportunities to apply these techniques in an investigative manner, this is generally not possible in the…

  10. The role of predictive modelling in rationally re-engineering biological systems

    PubMed Central

    Koide, Tie; Pang, Wyming Lee; Baliga, Nitin S.

    2009-01-01

    Technologies to synthesize and transplant a complete genome into a cell have opened limitless potential to redesign organisms for complex, specialized tasks. However, large-scale re-engineering of a biological circuit will require systems-level optimization that will come from a deep understanding of operational relationships among all the constituent parts of a cell. The integrated framework necessary for conducting such complex bioengineering requires the convergence of systems and synthetic biology. Here, we review the status of these rapidly developing interdisciplinary fields of biology and provide a perspective on plausible venues for their merger. PMID:19252506

  11. [Progress of environmental monitoring and biological containment system on genetically engineered microorganisms].

    PubMed

    Li, Qin; Wu, Yijun

    2008-03-01

    With the development of biological technology, many genetically engineered microorganisms (GEMs) for special purposes have been constructed and developed, but their practical applications in the field are still limited because GEMs may cause new environmental contaminations. To minimize the potential risks, the organisms released to environment need to be monitored and restricted for their distribution. In the laboratory conditions, the GEMs can be wiped off when required using some new biological technologies. The recent progress of research on the monitoring methods and active biological containment system for GEMs were reviewed in this paper.

  12. Enzymes used in molecular biology: a useful guide

    PubMed Central

    Rittié, Laure

    2008-01-01

    Since molecular cloning has become routine laboratory technique, manufacturers offer countless sources of enzymes to generate and manipulate nucleic acids. Thus, selecting the appropriate enzyme for a specific task may seem difficult to the novice. This review aims at providing the readers with some cues for understanding the function and specificities of the different sources of polymerases, ligases, nucleases, phosphatases, methylases, and topoisomerases used for molecular cloning. We provide a description of the most commonly used enzymes of each group, and explain their properties and mechanism of action. By pointing out key requirements for each enzymatic activity and clarifying their limitations, we aim at guiding the reader in selecting appropriate enzymatic source and optimal experimental conditions for molecular cloning experiments. PMID:18766469

  13. In vitro biological evaluation of high molecular weight hyperbranched polyglycerols.

    PubMed

    Kainthan, Rajesh Kumar; Hester, Samuel R; Levin, Elena; Devine, Dana V; Brooks, Donald Elliott

    2007-11-01

    Low molecular weight hyperbranched polyglycerols are highly water soluble and biocompatible polyether polyols, which can be synthesized in a controlled manner with narrow polydispersity. Recently we reported the synthesis and characterization of very high molecular weight (Mn up to 700,000) and narrowly polydispersed polyglycerols which could be potentially used as alternatives to high generation dendrimers which are difficult to make. A detailed biocompatibility testing of these polymers conducted in vitro is reported here. The in vitro studies include hemocompatibility testing for effects on coagulation (prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), plasma recalcification time (PRT), thrombelastograph parameters (TEG)), complement activation, platelet activation, red blood cell aggregation and cytotoxicity. Results from these studies show that these high molecular weight polyglycerols are highly biocompatible and are potential candidates for various applications in nanobiotechnology and in nanomedicine. Moreover these polymers are thermally and oxidatively stable.

  14. Towards molecular medicine: a case for a biological periodic table.

    PubMed

    Gawad, Charles

    2005-01-01

    The recently amplified pace of development in the technologies to study both normal and aberrant cellular physiology has allowed for a transition from the traditional reductionist approaches to global interrogations of human biology. This transformation has created the anticipation that we will soon more effectively treat or contain most types of diseases through a 'systems-based' approach to understanding and correcting the underlying etiology of these processes. However, to accomplish these goals, we must first have a more comprehensive understanding of all the elements involved in human cellular physiology, as well as why and how they interact. With the vast number of biological components that have and are being discovered, creating methods with modern computational techniques to better organize biological elements is the next requisite step in this process. This article aims to articulate the importance of the organization of chemical elements into a periodic table had on the conversion of chemistry into a quantitative, translatable science, as well as how we can apply the lessons learned in that transition to the current transformation taking place in biology.

  15. Molecular Biology and Prevention of Endometrial Cancer. Addendum

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-07-01

    gain insight into the biologic mechanism underlying the chemopreventive effect of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP). Project 1: Objectives completed...oral contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy on reproductive organs. This objective has been completed and the results were submitted...protective effect of oral contraceptive (OC) therapy. Methods: 1) Oligonucleotide microarray analysis was performed on a panel of endometrial cancers

  16. How was teleology eliminated in early molecular biology?

    PubMed

    Sloan, Phillip R

    2012-03-01

    This paper approaches the issue of the status of teleological reasoning in contemporary biology through a historical examination of events of the 1930s that surrounded Niels Bohr's efforts to introduce 'complementarity' into biological discussions. The paper examines responses of three theoretical physicists who engaged boundary questions between the biological and physical sciences in this period in response to Bohr-Ernst Pascual Jordan (1902-80), Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961), and Max Delbrück (1906-81). It is claimed that none of these physicists sufficiently understood Bohr's 'critical' teleological arguments, which are traced to the lineage of Kant and Harald Høffding and their respective resolutions of the Antinomy of Teleological Judgment. The positions of these four historical actors are discussed in terms of Ernst Mayr's distinction of 'teleological,' 'teleomatic,' and 'teleonomic' explanations. A return to some of the views articulated by Bohr, and behind him, to Høffding and Kant, is claimed to provide a framework for reintroducing a 'critical' teleology into biological discussions.

  17. Spectroscopic study of molecular structure, antioxidant activity and biological effects of metal hydroxyflavonol complexes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Samsonowicz, Mariola; Regulska, Ewa

    2017-02-01

    Flavonols with varied hydroxyl substitution can act as strong antioxidants. Thanks to their ability to chelate metals as well as to donate hydrogen atoms they have capacity to scavenge free radicals. Their metal complexes are often more active in comparison with free ligands. They exhibit interesting biological properties, e.g. anticancer, antiphlogistic and antibacterial. The relationship between molecular structure and their biological properties was intensively studied using spectroscopic methods (UV-Vis, IR, Raman, NMR, ESI-MS). The aim of this paper is review on spectroscopic analyses of molecular structure and biological activity of hydroxyflavonol metal complexes.

  18. [Progress in molecular biology of a semi-mangrove, Millettia pinnata].

    PubMed

    Huang, Jianzi; Zhang, Wanke; Huang, Rongfeng; Zheng, Yizhi

    2015-04-01

    Millettia pinnata L. is a leguminous tree with great potential in biodiesel applications and also a typical semi-mangrove. In this review, we presented several aspects about the recent research progress in molecular biology of M. pinnata. We descrived several types of molecular markers used to assess the genetic diversity and phylogeny of this species, genome and transcriptome analyses based on high-throughput sequencing platform accomplished for this species, and several gene and genomic sequences of this species isolated for further research. Finally, based on the current research progress, we proposed some orientations for future molecular biology research on M. pinnata.

  19. The molecular biology of memory: cAMP, PKA, CRE, CREB-1, CREB-2, and CPEB.

    PubMed

    Kandel, Eric R

    2012-05-14

    The analysis of the contributions to synaptic plasticity and memory of cAMP, PKA, CRE, CREB-1, CREB-2, and CPEB has recruited the efforts of many laboratories all over the world. These are six key steps in the molecular biological delineation of short-term memory and its conversion to long-term memory for both implicit (procedural) and explicit (declarative) memory. I here first trace the background for the clinical and behavioral studies of implicit memory that made a molecular biology of memory storage possible, and then detail the discovery and early history of these six molecular steps and their roles in explicit memory.

  20. Improving human forensics through advances in genetics, genomics and molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Kayser, Manfred; de Knijff, Peter

    2011-03-01

    Forensic DNA profiling currently allows the identification of persons already known to investigating authorities. Recent advances have produced new types of genetic markers with the potential to overcome some important limitations of current DNA profiling methods. Moreover, other developments are enabling completely new kinds of forensically relevant information to be extracted from biological samples. These include new molecular approaches for finding individuals previously unknown to investigators, and new molecular methods to support links between forensic sample donors and criminal acts. Such advances in genetics, genomics and molecular biology are likely to improve human forensic case work in the near future.

  1. WWW Entrez: A Hypertext Retrieval Tool for Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Epstein, Jonathan A.; Kans, Jonathan A.; Schuler, Gregory D.

    This article describes the World Wide Web (WWW) Entrez server which is based upon the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI) Entrez retrieval database and software. Entrez is a molecular sequence retrieval system that contains an integrated view of portions of Medline and all publicly available nucleotide and protein databases,…

  2. Joint Program on Molecular Biology of Marine Organisms

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-08-20

    necessary and idemiy by block number) FIELD GROUP SUB-GROUP - biofilm , biofouling, adhesion, bacterial attachment, molecular mechanisms of adhesion... biofilm analysis, on- line analysis, archaebacteria, microbial lipids 19 ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse it hecessary and identify by block nu,,ber... biofilm formation. Bacterial attachment is not, therefore, completely dependent on a series of random, stochastic events. Certain organisms more readily

  3. Recent advances in yeast molecular biology: recombinant DNA. [Lead abstract

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-09-01

    Separate abstracts were prepared for the 25 papers presented at a workshop focusing on chromosomal structure, gene regulation, recombination, DNA repair, and cell type control, that have been obtained by experimental approaches incorporating the new technologies of yeast DNA transformation, molecular cloning, and DNA sequence analysis. (KRM)

  4. Biotechnology and synthetic biology approaches for metabolic engineering of bioenergy crops.

    PubMed

    Shih, Patrick M; Liang, Yan; Loqué, Dominique

    2016-07-01

    The Green Revolution has fuelled an exponential growth in human population since the mid-20th century. Due to population growth, food and energy demands will soon surpass supply capabilities. To overcome these impending problems, significant improvements in genetic engineering will be needed to complement breeding efforts in order to accelerate the improvement of agronomical traits. The new field of plant synthetic biology has emerged in recent years and is expected to support rapid, precise, and robust engineering of plants. In this review, we present recent advances made in the field of plant synthetic biology, specifically in genome editing, transgene expression regulation, and bioenergy crop engineering, with a focus on traits related to lignocellulose, oil, and soluble sugars. Ultimately, progress and innovation in these fields may facilitate the development of beneficial traits in crop plants to meet society's bioenergy needs.

  5. Case study: Using microbe molecular biology for Gulf oil spill clean up.

    PubMed

    Jones, Daniel R

    2011-01-01

    This case has the student actively investigate the regulation of expression of a novel bacterial gene in the context of attempts to solve a real world problem, clean up of the April 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the case is fictitious, it is based on factual gene regulatory characteristics of oil-degrading microbes. The case is written for a sophomore Cell Biology lecture course at Indiana Wesleyan University that is taught to Biology/Pre-Med majors. This study is also appropriate for use in undergraduate microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and molecular genetics courses. The case is intended to enhance coverage of transcription, translation, control of gene expression, and selected molecular biology techniques. Opportunities to practice critical thinking skills and to a lesser extent an introduction to the paradigm of life science research at the industry level are provided.

  6. Parameter estimation method for improper fractional models and its application to molecular biological systems.

    PubMed

    Tian, Li-Ping; Liu, Lizhi; Wu, Fang-Xiang

    2010-01-01

    Derived from biochemical principles, molecular biological systems can be described by a group of differential equations. Generally these differential equations contain fractional functions plus polynomials (which we call improper fractional model) as reaction rates. As a result, molecular biological systems are nonlinear in both parameters and states. It is well known that it is challenging to estimate parameters nonlinear in a model. However, in fractional functions both the denominator and numerator are linear in the parameters while polynomials are also linear in parameters. Based on this observation, we develop an iterative linear least squares method for estimating parameters in biological systems modeled by improper fractional functions. The basic idea is to transfer optimizing a nonlinear least squares objective function into iteratively solving a sequence of linear least squares problems. The developed method is applied to the estimation of parameters in a metabolism system. The simulation results show the superior performance of the proposed method for estimating parameters in such molecular biological systems.

  7. Molecular biology of mycoplasmas: from the minimum cell concept to the artificial cell.

    PubMed

    Cordova, Caio M M; Hoeltgebaum, Daniela L; Machado, Laís D P N; Santos, Larissa Dos

    2016-01-01

    Mycoplasmas are a large group of bacteria, sorted into different genera in the Mollicutes class, whose main characteristic in common, besides the small genome, is the absence of cell wall. They are considered cellular and molecular biology study models. We present an updated review of the molecular biology of these model microorganisms and the development of replicative vectors for the transformation of mycoplasmas. Synthetic biology studies inspired by these pioneering works became possible and won the attention of the mainstream media. For the first time, an artificial genome was synthesized (a minimal genome produced from consensus sequences obtained from mycoplasmas). For the first time, a functional artificial cell has been constructed by introducing a genome completely synthesized within a cell envelope of a mycoplasma obtained by transformation techniques. Therefore, this article offers an updated insight to the state of the art of these peculiar organisms' molecular biology.

  8. Flow cytometry for bacteria: enabling metabolic engineering, synthetic biology and the elucidation of complex phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Tracy, Bryan P; Gaida, Stefan M; Papoutsakis, Eleftherios T

    2010-02-01

    Flow cytometry (FC) and FC-based cell sorting have been established as critical tools in modern cell and developmental biology. Yet, their applications in bacteria, especially in the multiparametric mode, remain limited. We argue that FC technologies have the potential to greatly accelerate the analysis and development of microbial complex phenotypes through applications of metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, and evolutionary engineering. We demonstrate the importance of FC for elucidating population heterogeneity because of developmental processes or epigenetic regulation. FC can be engaged for both synthetic and analytical applications of complex phenotypes within a single species, multispecies, and microbial-library populations. Examples include methods to identify developmental microbial stages associated with productive metabolic phenotypes, select desirable promoters from a single species or metagenomic libraries, and to screen designer riboswitches for synthetic-biology applications.

  9. Can Man Control His Biological Evolution? A Symposium on Genetic Engineering. Genetic Engineering

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ramsey, Paul

    1972-01-01

    Presented are issues related to genetic engineering. Increased knowledge of techniques to manipulate genes are apt to create confusion about moral values in relation to unborn babies and other living organisms on earth. Human beings may use this knowledge to disturb the balance maintained by nature. (PS)

  10. Next-Gen Gene Synthesis Enables Large-Scale Engineering in Biological Systems: Recent advances in synthetic biology are making this field more promising than ever.

    PubMed

    Leake, Devin

    2015-01-01

    As scientists make strides toward the goal of developing a form of biological engineering that's as predictive and reliable as chemical engineering is for chemistry, one technology component has become absolutely critical: gene synthesis. Gene synthesis is the process of building stretches of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to order--some stretches based on DNA that exists already in nature, some based on novel designs intended to accomplish new functions. This process is the foundation of synthetic biology, which is rapidly becoming the engineering counterpart to biology.

  11. Systems theoretic analysis of the central dogma of molecular biology: some recent results.

    PubMed

    Gao, Rui; Yu, Juanyi; Zhang, Mingjun; Tarn, Tzyh-Jong; Li, Jr-Shin

    2010-03-01

    This paper extends our early study on a mathematical formulation of the central dogma of molecular biology, and focuses discussions on recent insights obtained by employing advanced systems theoretic analysis. The goal of this paper is to mathematically represent and interpret the genetic information flow at the molecular level, and explore the fundamental principle of molecular biology at the system level. Specifically, group theory was employed to interpret concepts and properties of gene mutation, and predict backbone torsion angle along the peptide chain. Finite state machine theory was extensively applied to interpret key concepts and analyze the processes related to DNA hybridization. Using the proposed model, we have transferred the character-based model in molecular biology to a sophisticated mathematical model for calculation and interpretation.

  12. Advances in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering: Implications for the Development of New Biological Warfare Agents

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1996-06-01

    genetic engineering, which until that point had rested solely on the ability of companies to protect trade secrets. 1980 Kary Mullis and others at...Bromoxynil. 1990 The FDA licensed Chiron’s hepatitis C antibody test to help ensure the purity of blood bank products. 1990 Michael Fromm, molecular

  13. Introduction to the special issue on molecular imaging in radiation biology.

    PubMed

    Humm, John L; Dewhirst, Mark W; Bhujwalla, Zaver M

    2012-04-01

    Molecular imaging is an evolving science that is concerned with the development of novel imaging probes and biomarkers that can be used to non-invasively image molecular and cellular processes. This special issue approaches molecular imaging in the context of radiation research, focusing on biomarkers and imaging methods that provide measurable signals that can assist in the quantification of radiation-induced effects of living systems at the physical, chemical and biological levels. The potential to image molecular changes in response to a radiation insult opens new and exciting opportunities for a more profound understanding of radiation biology, with the possibility of translation of these techniques to radiotherapy practice. This special issue brings together 14 reviews dedicated to the use of molecular imaging in the field of radiation research. The initial three reviews are introductory overviews of the key molecular imaging modalities: magnetic resonance, nuclear and optical. This is followed by 11 reviews each focusing on a specialist area within the field of radiation research. These include: hypoxia and perfusion, tissue metabolism, normal tissue injury, cell death and viability, receptor targeting and nanotechnology, reporter genes, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and biological dosimetry. Over the preceding decade, molecular imaging brought significant new advances to our understanding of every area of radiation biology. This special issue shows us these advances and points to the vibrant future of our field armed with these new capabilities.

  14. Dynamical Systems and Control Theory Inspired by Molecular Biology

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2011-02-20

    is odd) steady states, there never are more than 2n − 1 steady states, that for parameters near the standard Michaelis - Menten quasi-steady state...conditions, there are at most n + 1 steady states and that for parameters far from the standard Michaelis - Menten quasi-steady state conditions, there is at...moments for certain stochastic kinetics : We have recently started research into stochastic aspects in systems biology. Deterministic mod- els

  15. Streptococcal M protein: molecular design and biological behavior.

    PubMed Central

    Fischetti, V A

    1989-01-01

    M protein is a major virulence determinant for the group A streptococcus by virtue of its ability to allow the organism to resist phagocytosis. Common in eucaryotes, the fibrillar coiled-coil design for the M molecule may prove to be a common motif for surface proteins in gram-positive organisms. This type of structure offers the organism several distinct advantages, ranging from antigenic variation to multiple functional domains. The close resemblance of this molecular design to that of certain mammalian proteins could help explain on a molecular level the formation of epitopes responsible for serological cross-reactions between microbial and mammalian proteins. Many of the approaches described in the elucidation of the M-protein structure may be applied for characterizing similar molecules in other microbial systems. Images PMID:2670192

  16. Molecular Patterns and Biology of HPV-Associated HNSCC.

    PubMed

    Brakenhoff, Ruud H; Wagner, Steffen; Klussmann, Jens P

    Head and neck cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide. The large majority are squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) that develop in the mucosal linings of the upper aerodigestive tract. These tumors develop either by exogenous carcinogen exposure (smoking, alcohol drinking) or by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, particularly those in the oropharynx (OPSCC). HPV-positive (HPV+ve) and HPV-negative (HPV-ve) OPSCC are considered different disease entities. HPV+ve tumors are different at the molecular level and likely as a consequence have a much more favorable prognosis than HPV-ve tumors, despite their generally advanced stage at presentation. In general, HNSCCs develop in precancerous mucosal changes, and the apparent lack of precancerous HPV+ve mucosal changes is therefore remarkable. In this Chapter, head and neck carcinogenesis is discussed and the molecular differences between HPV+ve and HPV-ve tumors are outlined.

  17. Role of molecular cell biology in understanding disease.

    PubMed Central

    Savill, J.

    1997-01-01

    Molecular techniques have revolutionised our knowledge of cell and tissue function in both health and disease. We already have new and powerful treatments based on an understanding of communication between cells by messenger molecules called cytokines. Furthermore, there is great therapeutic promise in defining molecules which regulate cell adhesion, motility, proliferation, survival, and death. Rational manipulation of cell and tissue function for therapeutic ends may be much closer than you think. PMID:9022440

  18. DNA nanomechanical devices for molecular biology and DNA nanotechnology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gu, Hongzhou

    The aim of nanotechnology is to put specific atomic and molecular species where we want them, when we want them there. Achieving such a dynamic and functional control could lead to molecular programming. Structural DNA nanotechnology offers a powerful route to this goal by combining stable branched DNA motifs with cohesive ends to produce objects, programmed nanomechanical devices and fixed or modified patterned lattices. In Chapter II, a two-armed nanorobotic device is built based on a DNA origami substrate. The arms face each other, ready to capture different DNA nanostructures into distinguishable nanopatterns. Combining with a simple error-correction protocol, we are able to achieve this goal in a nearly flawless fashion. In Chapter III, a DNA-based programmable assembly line is developed by combining three PX/JX2 cassettes and a novel DNA walker on a DNA origami substrate. This programmable assembly line can generate eight products by switching the cassettes to PX (ON) or JX2 (OFF) state when the DNA walker passes by. DNA nanomechanical devices hold the promise of controlling structure and performing exquisitely fine measurements on the molecular scale. Several DNA nanomechanical devices based on different biochemistry phenomena have been reported before. In Chapter IV, a scissors-based DNA device is built to measure the work that can be done by a DNA-bending protein (MutS) when it binds to DNA.

  19. Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology at Yale University

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caballero, Diego; Noble, Dorottya; Pollard, Thomas; Mochrie, Simon; O'Hern, Corey; Regan, Lynne

    2014-03-01

    Quantitative, integrated approaches are necessary to solve biology's grand challenges. Yale's Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (IGPPEB) prepares students to excel at applying physics and engineering approaches, whilst also ensuring that they are sufficiently biologically sophisticated that they can readily identify and tackle cutting-edge problems. Students enter the program through a ``home'' department but also take a set of IGPPEB core courses with students from other departments. The IGPPEB curriculum is co-taught by faculty from a wide array of departments and motivates students to work together and learn from each other. The curriculum complements those of the home departments and includes primer courses to rapidly bring all students to a level where they ``speak each others language.'' The program is a member of the NSF's Physics of Living Systems: Student Research Network, which connects graduate students from different institutions that are engaged in research at the interface of physics and biology. Convergent research thrusts at Yale include Cellular Shape and Motion; Mechanical Force Generation and Sensing; Biomaterials and Bioinspired Design; Systems and Synthetic Biology; Modeling Biological Processes and Methods Development.

  20. Metabolic engineering of microorganisms for biofuels production: from bugs to synthetic biology to fuels.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sung Kuk; Chou, Howard; Ham, Timothy S; Lee, Taek Soon; Keasling, Jay D

    2008-12-01

    The ability to generate microorganisms that can produce biofuels similar to petroleum-based transportation fuels would allow the use of existing engines and infrastructure and would save an enormous amount of capital required for replacing the current infrastructure to accommodate biofuels that have properties significantly different from petroleum-based fuels. Several groups have demonstrated the feasibility of manipulating microbes to produce molecules similar to petroleum-derived products, albeit at relatively low productivity (e.g. maximum butanol production is around 20 g/L). For cost-effective production of biofuels, the fuel-producing hosts and pathways must be engineered and optimized. Advances in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology will provide new tools for metabolic engineers to better understand how to rewire the cell in order to create the desired phenotypes for the production of economically viable biofuels.