Rribozymes prevent the spread of HIV in the body

considered by some to be the ‘living fossils’ of a time when life was based on RNA -Rribozymes have been used by researchers to prevent the spread of HIV in the body

The Medical Marketing International Group (MMI) scientists have used these ancient RNA catalysts to suppress key receptors that allow HIV to enter cells

HIV enters cells using the cellular receptors CCR5 or CXCR4 and previous work has shown that preventing the expression of these receptors using the Company’s proprietary ribozymes, which target the messenger RNA (‘mRNA’) that encodes these proteins, is highly effective at preventing HIV replication in vitro. The results announced today show that the ribozyme technology can effectively deliver the ribozyme and suppress expression of these receptors in an advanced in vivo model. Moreover, a single administration of the ribozymes was able to maintain suppression of the receptors for a significant period (>35 days so far), indicating that a pool of HIV-resistant cells could be established.

microRNA is older than we think

The scientist reports that MicroRNAs control gene expression in a single-celled alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii the  first single-celled organism in which microRNAs have been discovered. 

The finding suggests that microRNAs evolved earlier than previously thought, according to the authors. The study published in Nature   by researchers David Baulcombe of the Sainsbury Laboratory in UK

its not so much of junk DNA- University of Oxford Scientists discoveres Cancer cure with it

 Junk DNA is not junk after all

Recently, scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered that ‘junk’ genetic material can switch off cancer tumours, preventing them from growing.

By using RNA to switch off a gene involved in controlling cell division, Oxford University scientists may have found a role for RNA in developing new cancer therapies. RNA is the mirror image of DNA, and is used to pass on instructions to the cell to build the proteins that run every body function.

The Human Genome Project found that human DNA carries approximately 34,000 genes that produce proteins. The remaining majority of the genome constituted what was considered to be junk DNA as it had no obvious function. However, this is set to change.

‘‘There has been a quiet revolution taking place in biology in past few years,’’ said Dr Alexandre Akoulitchev, a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford. ‘‘Scientists have begun to see ‘junk’ DNA as having an important function. The variety of RNA types produced from this so called ‘junk’ is staggering and the functional implications are huge.”

Akoulitchev studied the RNA that regulates a gene called DHFR. This gene produces an enzyme that controls the production of molecules called tetrahydrofolate and thymine that cells need to divide rapidly.

“Switching off the DHFR gene could help prevent ordinary cells from developing into cancerous tumour cells, by slowing down their replication. In fact, one of the first anti-cancer drugs, Methotrexate, acts by binding and inhibiting the enzyme produced by this gene. Targeting the gene itself would cut the enzyme out of the picture altogether. Understanding how we can use RNA to switch off or inhibit DHFR and other genes may have important therapeutic implications for developing new anti-cancer treatments.”

This research was funded by The Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Original paper: Repression of the human dihydrofolate reductase gene by a non-coding interfering transcript was published in Nature on 22nd January 2006.

Store Digital data with live bacteria

A research team said this week it had developed a technology for storing digital data in the DNA of bacteria, which unlike most living organisms can survive for millennia in the right conditions.

Japanese researchers have successfully stored messages in the DNA of bacteria. The hardiness of the hay bacillus bacteria ensures the digital data encoded into them can last for millenia.

Generally found in soil or decaying matter, hay bacillus are exceptionally resistant to extreme weather conditions. Two megabits (data equivalent to 1.6 million Roman letters) can be stored in each bacterium of hay bacillus in the form of implants. These tiny implants can be extracted in a lab and read like ordinary text at a later date.

Each hay bacillus bacterium can store two megabits — the equivalent of 1.6 million Roman letters. The scientists can take out the microscopic implants in a laboratory and read them so they appear as ordinary text.

The team at Keio University’s Institute for Advanced Biosciences said the technology needs to be perfected but that it was optimistic about its future uses.

“If I wanted to store my personal diary in these live bacteria and take it with me to my grave, then my story can live for thousands and thousands of years,” head researcher Yoshiaki Ohashi said with a laugh.

In practical terms, the technology could eventually benefit companies such as pharmaceutical makers which want to “stamp” their brand.

“In doing so, the company can detect piracy and protect its patent. They can also store information at one specific area of the gene and retrieve it from there,” Ohashi said.

The researchers insert the data at four different places so even if one is disrupted, there would be backup.

But the team said they still needed to work before the technology could go on the market. In particular, the scientists need to ensure that the DNA will not be altered as live bacteria naturally evolve.

Hay bacillus bacteria are generally found in soil or decaying matter and are especially resistant to extreme weather.

One of the practical applications of this technology lies in the area of pharmaceuticals. Fraudulent drugs are a major problem but if pharmaceutical companies could “stamp” their signature into the drugs, it would prevent piracy and at the same time protect their patents. To prevent corruption of the message encoding, the data would be inserted into 4 different places as multiple backups.
The bacteria’s hardiness and ability to preserve data for future generations would also be extremely useful in storing vast amounts of data which would not be suspectible to the types of damage that wipe out computer hard drives. Information stored on DNA lasts for more than one hundred million years.

The researchers project being able to develop a type of living memory for a new breed of organic computers which would use strands of DNA to perform calculations and would have the ability to heal themselves if damaged.

Though the promise of this technology is very high, the scientists caution more work is needed before it can be marketed. One of the hurdles to overcome is ensuring very slow mutation rates in the DNA as the bacteria evolve, otherwise the messages encoded will be rendered unreadable.

Even the hopeful US president jumps on Web2.0 bandwagon

 Barack Obama looks to be diving into this whole “Web 2.0” thing head first, what with his own Facebook profile, Flickr account, and YouTube account. In addition to all this stuff, he also has my.barackobama.com, a social networking type site for his supporters to create profiles, network, and make blogs all about how great Barack Obama is. Meanwhile Former Senator John Edwards is also facing setback in his blogs when two of his former bloggers bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan are asked to step down for posting blogs that upset the Christian community and Bush supporters

So whats preventing our young scientists from going web2.0 and using blogs, Business networking sites such as Linkedin has given much required value to the business commnity compared to stes like Orkut whch is for the liter side of networking althought even orkut also offers communities too , shouldnt it be time to start one for the scientific community , there are few small steps in this way such as

http://www.cos.com   Community of Science (COS) is the leading global resource for hard-to-find information critical to scientific research and other projects across all disciplines.

http://labcircle.net/  Networking – the new LabCircle.net makes it possible. It is where the global laboratory, analysis, biotech, chemistry and pharma industry meets. Based on the theory of “six degrees of separation”, the club allows members to maintain their personal networks, generate new contacts and actively participate in various forums to exchange information, experiences and opinions.

http://www.scientistsolutions.com/ an international life science forum

http://linkedin.com/  reach a key decision maker and find your colleague or someone working in your field

google video publish your expertise in tackling the problems facing while operating your protolcs or project work , tips and tricks what ever it is all you need is a webcam

James from Research Information Network UK has commented on a previous blog I had published about an article on how researchers fish for information ,

Early in 2006, the Research Information Network commissioned a study as part of its work to promote better arrangements for researchers to find out what information resources relevant to their work are available, where these are, and how they may have access to them. The work has now been concluded, and the report from the study is attached below.

http://www.rin.ac.uk/researchers-discovery-services 

Surprisingly many people still do not know hoe to use the search features of google yet

Microaray and Genomcis consortiums have now started to use more collaborating tools such as wikipedia and wiki pages. few good examples are

https://daphnia.cgb.indiana.edu/83.html and http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Portal:Life_Sciences  and http://www.e-biosci.org/

Consolidation in Oligo industry and Growth for India based companies and outsourcing value proposition in Genomics and microarray/oligo industry

Ocimum Biosolutions acquires European based Oligo manufacturing company – Isogen Life Science

November 17, 2006, IJsselstein/Hyderabad – Ocimum Biosolutions, a leading provider of laboratory information management systems (LIMS), bioinformatics solutions, Microarrays and contract research headquartered in Hyderabad, India, has acquired the BioMolecules synthesis business of Isogen Life Science based in The Netherlands.

Ms. Anuradha Acharya, CEO of Ocimum Biosolutions said “We are very pleased to have taken a significant step towards becoming a global oligo player with the Isogen acquisition. We will continue looking for targets in related areas to scale up our oligo production capability. This acquisition will also help us become a more integrated genomics services provider with three delivery points in Indianapolis, IJsselstein and Hyderabad.”

Mr. Hans Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, MD of Isogen Life Science said, “It is an excellent opportunity for the Biomolecules Division of Isogen Life Science to become a global player in this competitive business. The new business configuration will be much more flexible and will be able to play an important role in the vast growing demand for oligo nucleotides all over the world. Ocimum is the perfect partner for fulfilling a broad platform of needs in this market segment.”

Avendus Advisors was the sole financial advisor to Ocimum for the deal. Commenting on the transaction, Shiraz Bugwadia, A.V.P., Avendus Advisors “Ocimum is one of the few Indian players within the BioIT and microarrays space to have scaled up successfully over the last couple of years. Ocimum has also been successful at using the inorganic route to scale rapidly by acquiring niche good quality companies in Europe such as MWG Biotech’s division and now Isogen Life Science.”

About Isogen Life Science:

Isogen Life Science (www.isogen-lifescience.com) is a leading supplier of products for the life science sector. The company provides a wide range of instruments, reagents and consumables in the areas of cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Isogen Life Science is a merger between B&L Systems (1987), the Benelux distributor for scientific instrument companies, and Isogen Bioscience (1988), a leading producer of DNA, RNA, peptides and related products, which are used around the world by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and leading research institutes.

About Ocimum Biosolutions:

Ocimum Biosolutions is a life sciences R&D enabling company with three main focus areas, BioIT, Microarrays and Contract research services. The US operations of the Company focuses on custom contract research services in the molecular biology area while the Indian operations provide BioIT services and Microarrays. Ocimum has more than 300 prestigious clients worldwide including the Centres for Disease Control, University of Toronto HIV clinic, National Research Council of Canada, Dow AgroSciences, Max Planck Institute etc.

Ocimum has adopted an inorganic strategy to ramp up the business fast and has demonstrated its capability to execute this strategy in the past. As a part of its strategy, Ocimum acquired a division of MWG Biotech, Germany in 2005. The Company has received a host of awards and recognitions. The Company has recently received the IT Innovation award by NASSCOM, presented by H.E. the President of India. Also, Red Herring magazine picked Ocimum as one of the eight compani es to watch in India. Deloitte ranked the Company as 4th Fastest growing Technology company in India and the Fastest growing Life Sciences Company in India.

For more information, please visit: www.ocimumbio.com

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