Thermostability reinforcement through a combination of thermostability-related mutations of N-carbamyl-D-amino acid amidohydrolase.
For the improvement of N-carbamyl-D-amino acid amidohydrolase (DCase), which can be used for the industrial production of D-amino acids, the stability of DCase from Agrobacterium sp. KNK712 was improved through various combinations of thermostability-related mutations. The thermostable temperature (defined as the temperature on heat treatment for 10 min that caused a decrease in the DCase activity of 50%) of the enzyme which had three amino acids, H57Y, P203E, and V236A, replaced was increased by about 19 degrees C. The mutant DCase, designated as 455M, was purified and its enzymatic properties were studied. The enzyme had highly increased stability against not only temperature but also pH, the optimal temperature of the enzyme being about 75 degrees C. The substrate specificity of the enzyme for various N-carbamyl-D-amino acids was changed little in comparison with that of the native enzyme. Enzymochemical parameters were also measured. (+info)
Turning over a new leaf. Tobacco.
Anticipating a diminishing market for cigarettes and other tobacco products in the future, researchers around the country are studying alternative uses for tobacco plants. The most promising field of research for tobacco involves the genetic engineering of tobacco plants to produce various substances such as industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer product ingredients. Tobacco has been called the "fruit fly of the plant kingdom" because of the ease with which it can be genetically engineered. There are countless possibilities for the use of tobacco, but current efforts are concentrating on engineering tobacco to produce vaccines, human enzymes, and plastics. Tobacco researchers have been successful in expressing bovine lysozyme, an enzyme with antibacterial properties, and insulin. (+info)
Recombinant follicle stimulating hormone: development of the first biotechnology product for the treatment of infertility. Recombinant Human FSH Product Development Group.
Genes encoding the common gonadotrophin alpha subunit and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)-specific beta subunit were isolated from a DNA library derived from human fetal liver cells, and inserted into separate expression vectors containing a selectable/amplifiable gene. These vectors were inserted into the genome of the Chinese hamster ovary cell line, resulting in expression of large amounts of biologically active human (h)FSH. This cell line was cultured on microcarrier beads in a large-scale bioreactor. hFSH in the cell culture supernatant was purified to homogeneity by a multistep process. The mature beta subunit had seven fewer amino acid residues than reported in the literature and three other differences were found in the sequence. Similar oligosaccharide structures were present on recombinant (r)-hFSH and a purified urinary (u)-hFSH preparation. In-vitro and in-vivo, the biological activities of u- and r-hFSH were indistinguishable. r-hFSH was formulated in ampoules containing 75 IU FSH activity (approximately 7.5 microg FSH), which accounts for >99% of the protein content of the preparation. Studies in non-human primates and human volunteers showed the pharmacokinetics of u- and r-hFSH to be similar. In healthy volunteers, r-hFSH stimulated follicular development and induced significant increases in serum oestradiol and inhibin. Clinical experience with r-hFSH has shown it is more effective at stimulating ovarian follicle growth than urinary gonadotrophins. It is also effective at initiating spermatogenesis when given together with human chorionic gonadotrophin. (+info)
The challenge of integrating monoclonal antibodies into the current healthcare system.
Although there are few monoclonal antibody (MoAb) products on the market, the biotechnology industry has made considerable progress over the last decade. The industry has developed new technology to address the primary hurdles facing the development of MoAbs--including the immune response to murine-derived antibodies as well as lack of tumor specificity. As the techniques for development become more refined, more products will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Integrating these products into the existing healthcare system will be a challenge, given their high acquisition costs. Recent pharmacoeconomic examples outlined in this paper confirm that MoAb products will need to be supported with proven clinical and economic profiles. As long as a global clinical and economic perspective is taken and patient care benefits can be demonstrated, the place of MoAbs in the future of healthcare will be assured. (+info)
Essential drugs in the new international economic environment.
Recent global developments in the regulation of trade and intellectual property rights threaten to hinder the access of populations in developing countries to essential drugs. The authors argue for state intervention in the health and pharmaceutical markets in order to guarantee equitable access to these products. (+info)
A sandwiched-culture technique for evaluation of heterologous protein production in a filamentous fungus.
Aspergillus niger is known for its efficient excretion machinery. However, problems have often arisen in obtaining high amounts of heterologous proteins in the culture medium. Here we present a quick method using sandwiched colonies to evaluate transgenic strains for secretion of heterologous proteins. Expressing the ABH1 hydrophobin of Agaricus bisporus in A. niger, we showed that low production levels of the heterologous protein are probably due to extracellular proteolytic degradation of the protein. (+info)
Global and local implications of biotechnology and climate change for future food supplies.
The development of improved technology for agricultural production and its diffusion to farmers is a process requiring investment and time. A large number of studies of this process have been undertaken. The findings of these studies have been incorporated into a quantitative policy model projecting supplies of commodities (in terms of area and crop yields), equilibrium prices, and international trade volumes to the year 2020. These projections show that a "global food crisis," as would be manifested in high commodity prices, is unlikely to occur. The same projections show, however, that in many countries, "local food crisis," as manifested in low agricultural incomes and associated low food consumption in the presence of low food prices, will occur. Simulations show that delays in the diffusion of modern biotechnology research capabilities to developing countries will exacerbate local food crises. Similarly, global climate change will also exacerbate these crises, accentuating the importance of bringing strengthened research capabilities to developing countries. (+info)
Plant genetic resources: what can they contribute toward increased crop productivity?
To feed a world population growing by up to 160 people per minute, with >90% of them in developing countries, will require an astonishing increase in food production. Forecasts call for wheat to become the most important cereal in the world, with maize close behind; together, these crops will account for approximately 80% of developing countries' cereal import requirements. Access to a range of genetic diversity is critical to the success of breeding programs. The global effort to assemble, document, and utilize these resources is enormous, and the genetic diversity in the collections is critical to the world's fight against hunger. The introgression of genes that reduced plant height and increased disease and viral resistance in wheat provided the foundation for the "Green Revolution" and demonstrated the tremendous impact that genetic resources can have on production. Wheat hybrids and synthetics may provide the yield increases needed in the future. A wild relative of maize, Tripsacum, represents an untapped genetic resource for abiotic and biotic stress resistance and for apomixis, a trait that could provide developing world farmers access to hybrid technology. Ownership of genetic resources and genes must be resolved to ensure global access to these critical resources. The application of molecular and genetic engineering technologies enhances the use of genetic resources. The effective and complementary use of all of our technological tools and resources will be required for meeting the challenge posed by the world's expanding demand for food. (+info)