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Trends in Biotechnology

Julian Schmitz, Thomas Noll, Alexander Grünberger
Quantified process parameters in pharmaceutical production and in mammalian cell fermentation process development only represent culture average values and do not portray the heterogeneity and the individual behaviour of single cells. The first studies using well-established techniques like flow cytometry or novel lab-on-a-chip systems, such as droplet microfluidics or microfluidic single-cell cultivation, indicate a substantial level of cell-to-cell heterogeneity with important implications for biotechnological processes...
January 11, 2019: Trends in Biotechnology
Vivek Agrahari, Vibhuti Agrahari, Pierre-Alain Burnouf, Chee Ho Chew, Thierry Burnouf
Microvesicles (MVs) are subcellular physiological vehicles present in all body fluids that mediate the transfer of intercellular information within biological systems and contribute to healthy conditions. MVs have lipid bilayer membranes decorated with multiple ligands that can interact with receptors on target cells, rendering them as promising candidates for targeted delivery. The biotechnology and cell therapy industries are developing MV-based preparations that use this subcellular therapeutic machinery (in a naïve or modified state) for regenerative medicine, as substitutes for intact cell therapy, and as intelligent targeted drug delivery carriers...
January 8, 2019: Trends in Biotechnology
Gijs A Kleter, Harry A Kuiper, Esther J Kok
Gene editing and other innovative plant breeding techniques are transforming the field of crop biotechnology. Divergent national regulatory regimes worldwide apply to crops bred with these techniques. A plea is made for international harmonization of the premarket assessment of their safety. Such harmonization has previously been achieved for genetically modified (GM) crops.
January 4, 2019: Trends in Biotechnology
Janine A Lamb, John A Curtin
Biomedical research faces a scarcity of scientists able to work effectively at the interface of diverse scientific disciplines; we reflect on our experience over ten years of interdisciplinary training through our Masters of Research in Translational Medicine, preparing a new generation of researchers for postgenomic interdisciplinary medical research.
December 31, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Johanna S Dutton, Samuel S Hinman, Raehyun Kim, Yuli Wang, Nancy L Allbritton
The development of physiologically relevant intestinal models fueled by breakthroughs in primary cell-culture methods has enabled successful recapitulation of key features of intestinal physiology. These advances, paired with engineering methods, for example incorporating chemical gradients or physical forces across the tissues, have yielded ever more sophisticated systems that enhance our understanding of the impact of the host microbiome on human physiology as well as on the genesis of intestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer...
December 24, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Laura M Kaminsky, Ryan V Trexler, Rondy J Malik, Kevin L Hockett, Terrence H Bell
Potentially beneficial microorganisms have been inoculated into agricultural soils for years. However, concurrent with sequencing advances and successful manipulation of host-associated microbiomes, industry and academia have recently boosted investments into microbial inoculants, convinced they can increase crop yield and reduce fertilizer and pesticide requirements. The efficacy of soil microbial inoculants remains unreliable, and unlike crop breeding, in which target traits (e.g., yield) have long been considered alongside environmental compatibility, microbial inoculant ecology is not sufficiently integrated into microbial selection and production...
December 23, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Raphael Ferreira, Angelo Limeta, Jens Nielsen
The ability to precisely engineer yeast, coupled with its genetic and metabolic similarity to tumor cells, has enabled researchers to use this organism in cancer research. Here we review advances that leveraged yeast as a model organism for studying cancer biology, including the investigation of tumorigenic mechanisms, development of advanced technologies for drug discovery, production of anticancer drugs on an industrial scale, and delivering the next generation of immunotherapies.
December 21, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Eduardo Anitua, Roberto Prado
Stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies are promising breakthroughs in the treatment of multiple conditions. However, the lack of reproducibility due to inaccurate reporting of the protocols used to obtain these biologics can hinder their therapeutic progress. A reporting guideline for biological therapies is required to address this issue.
December 19, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Antonino Cattaneo, Michele Chirichella
The complexity of the proteome exceeds that of the genome. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) and conformational changes of proteins trigger new molecular interactions whose systematic elucidation is hampered by the lack of specific tools. PTMs are particularly relevant for epigenetic regulation of gene expression; a field of translational interest. However, state-of-the-art inhibitors used in epigenetic studies and therapies target modifier enzymes such as acetylases and deacetylases, rather than a single PTM protein per se...
December 18, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Han Xiao, Yue Zhang, Meng Wang
Terpenoids represent 60% of known natural products, including many drugs and drug candidates, and their biosynthesis is attracting great interest. However, the unknown cytochrome P450s (CYPs) in terpenoid biosynthetic pathways make the heterologous production of related terpenoids impossible, while the slow kinetics of some known CYPs greatly limit the efficiency of terpenoid biosynthesis. Thus, there is a compelling need to discover and engineer CYPs for terpenoid biosynthesis to fully realize their great potential for industrial application...
December 7, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Jacqueline Larouche, Carlos A Aguilar
Cellular identity and state are determined by a collection of molecular components that are specified during development and stabilized thereafter to maintain and protect tissue functions. Alteration of the molecular elements (gene expression program and chromatin state) as a result of disease or age can induce somatic cells to assume different identities or modulate functions. Therapeutic use of this technique, called 'cellular reprogramming', is very promising for regenerative medicine, but implementation of reprogramming-based strategies in vivo has been precluded by technological and safety limitations...
December 6, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Corjan van den Berg, Michel H M Eppink, Rene H Wijffels
Cyanobacteria promise to be an important industrial platform for the production of a variety of biobased products such as fuels, plastics, and isoprenoids. Recent advances in synthetic biology have resulted in various cyanobacterial strain improvements. Nevertheless, these new strains are still hampered by product inhibition, resulting in low volumetric productivities, product concentrations, and yields on light. To circumvent these issues, continuous product recovery will need to be applied, resulting in economically viable industrial processes...
December 5, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Baotong Zhu, Yingying Chen, Na Wei
The challenges of increasing environmental contamination and scarcity of natural resources require innovative solutions to ensure a sustainable future. Recent breakthroughs in synthetic biology and protein engineering provide promising platform technologies to develop novel engineered biological materials for beneficial applications towards environmental sustainability. In particular, biocatalysis and biosorption are receiving increasing attention as sustainable approaches for environmental remediation and resource recovery from wastes...
December 4, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Meysam Rezaei, Marnie Winter, Deirdre Zander-Fox, Clare Whitehead, Jan Liebelt, Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani, Tristan Hardy, Benjamin Thierry
New tools for higher-resolution fetal genome analysis including microarray and next-generation sequencing have revolutionized prenatal screening. This article provides commentary on this rapidly advancing field and a future perspective emphasizing circulating fetal cell (CFC) utility. Despite the tremendous technological challenges associated with their reliable and cost-effective isolation from maternal blood, CFCs have a strong potential to bridge the gap between the diagnostic sensitivity of invasive procedures and the desirable noninvasive nature of cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA)...
November 27, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Yuan-Kun Wu, Nai-Chen Cheng, Chao-Min Cheng
Chronic non-healing wounds have become a major worldwide healthcare burden. The impact of biofilms on chronic wound infection is well established. Despite increasing understanding of the underlying mechanism of biofilm formation in chronic wounds, current strategies for biofilm diagnosis in chronic wounds are still far from ideal. In this review, we briefly summarize the mechanism of biofilm formation and focus on current diagnostic approaches of chronic wound biofilms based on morphology, microbiology, and molecular assays...
November 26, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Nicholas S McCarty, Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro
Microbial consortia have been used in biotechnology processes, including fermentation, waste treatment, and agriculture, for millennia. Today, synthetic biologists are increasingly engineering microbial consortia for diverse applications, including the bioproduction of medicines, biofuels, and biomaterials from inexpensive carbon sources. An improved understanding of natural microbial ecosystems, and the development of new tools to construct synthetic consortia and program their behaviors, will vastly expand the functions that can be performed by communities of interacting microorganisms...
November 26, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Antonio Carlos Dos Santos, Eduardo Ximenes, Youngmi Kim, Michael R Ladisch
Lignin is central to overcoming recalcitrance in the enzyme hydrolysis of lignocellulose. While the term implies a physical barrier in the cell wall structure, there are also important biochemical components that direct interactions between lignin and the hydrolytic enzymes that attack cellulose in plant cell walls. Progress toward a deeper understanding of the lignin synthesis pathway - and the consistency between a range of observations over the past 40 years in the very extensive literature on cellulose hydrolysis - is resulting in advances in reducing a major impediment to cellulose conversion: the cost of enzymes...
November 23, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Karoline Faust
Consortia outperform single microorganisms at multiple tasks. However, consortium design is challenging and successful application examples are rare. A major challenge is the selection of consortium members such that performance is optimized. In a recent publication, metabolic modeling has been successfully applied to aid consortium design.
November 23, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Yingchao Su, Irsalan Cockerill, Yadong Wang, Yi-Xian Qin, Lingqian Chang, Yufeng Zheng, Donghui Zhu
Zinc has been described as the 'calcium of the twenty-first century'. Zinc-based degradable biomaterials have recently emerged thanks to their intrinsic physiological relevance, biocompatibility, biodegradability, and pro-regeneration properties. Zinc-based biomaterials mainly include: metallic zinc alloys, zinc ceramic nanomaterials, and zinc metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Metallic zinc implants degrade at a desirable rate, matching the healing pace of local tissues, and stimulating remodeling and formation of new tissues...
November 20, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
Janine K Tom, Tyler J Albin, Saikat Manna, Brittany A Moser, Rachel C Steinhardt, Aaron P Esser-Kahn
Pathogens comprise a diverse set of immunostimulatory molecules that activate the innate immune system during infection. The immune system recognizes distinct combinations of pathogenic molecules leading to multiple immune activation events that cooperate to produce enhanced immune responses, known as 'immune synergies'. Effective immune synergies are essential for the clearance of pathogens, thus inspiring novel adjuvant design to improve vaccines. We highlight current vaccine adjuvants and the importance of immune synergies to adjuvant and vaccine design...
November 20, 2018: Trends in Biotechnology
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