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Biotechnology Advances

Valeria Graceffa, Claire Vinatier, Jerome Guicheux, Christopher H Evans, Martin Stoddart, Mauro Alini, Dimitrios I Zeugolis
Current protocols for chondrocyte expansion and chondrogenic differentiation of stem cells fail to reduce phenotypic loss and to mitigate hypertrophic tendency. To this end, cell genetic manipulation is gaining pace as a means of generating cells with stable chondrocyte phenotype. Herein, we provide an overview of candidate genes that either induce cartilage regeneration or inhibit cartilage degeneration. We further discuss in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo viral transduction and non-viral transfection strategies for targeted cells (chondrocytes, mesenchymal stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and synovial cells), along with the most representative results obtained in pre-clinical models and in clinical trials...
July 13, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Ronaldo Souza Lopes, Maria Alice Freitas Queiroz, Samara Tatielle Monteiro Gomes, Antonio Carlos Rosário Vallinoto, Luiz Ricardo Goulart, Ricardo Ishak
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a worldwide health problem despite huge investments and research breakthroughs, and no single drug is effective in killing the virus yet. Among new strategies to control HIV infection, the phage display (PD) technology has become a promising tool in the discovery of peptides that can be used as new drugs, or also as possible vaccine candidates. This review discusses basic aspects of PD and its use to advance two main objectives related to combating HIV-1 infection: the identification of peptides that inhibit virus replication and the identification of peptides that induce the production of neutralizing antibodies...
July 13, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Nilesh Kolhe, Smita Zinjarde, Celin Acharya
There is a strong interest in knowing how various microbial systems respond to the presence of uranium (U), largely in the context of bioremediation. There is no known biological role for uranium so far. Uranium is naturally present in rocks and minerals. The insoluble nature of the U(IV) minerals keeps uranium firmly bound in the earth's crust minimizing its bioavailability. However, anthropogenic nuclear reaction processes over the last few decades have resulted in introduction of uranium into the environment in soluble and toxic forms...
July 11, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Yuqing Tian, Wei Xu, Wenli Zhang, Tao Zhang, Cuie Guang, Wanmeng Mu
Amylosucrase (EC, ASase), an outstanding sucrose-utilizing transglucosylase in the glycoside hydrolase family 13, can produce glucans with only α-1,4 linkages. Generally, on account of a double-displacement mechanism, ASase can catalyze polymerization, isomerization, and hydrolysis reactions with sucrose as the sole substrate, and has transglycosylation capacity to attach glucose molecules from sucrose to extra glycosyl acceptors. Based on extensive enzymology research, this review presents the characteristics of various ASases, including their microbial metabolism, preparation, and enzymatic properties, and exhibits structure-based strategies in the improvement of activity, specificity, and thermostability...
June 20, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Onur Kırtel, Maxime Versluys, Wim Van den Ende, Ebru Toksoy Öner
Saline and hypersaline environments make up the largest ecosystem on earth and the organisms living in such water-restricted environments have developed unique ways to cope with high salinity. As such these organisms not only carry significant industrial potential in a world where freshwater supplies are rapidly diminishing, but they also shed light upon the origins and extremes of life. One largely overlooked and potentially important feature of many salt-loving organisms is their ability to produce fructans, fructose polymers widely found in various mesophilic Eubacteria and plants, with potential functions as storage carbohydrates, aiding stress tolerance, and acting as virulence factors or signaling molecules...
June 20, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Eric J M Blondeel, Marc G Aucoin
Glycosylation is a critical quality attribute (CQA) of many therapeutic proteins, particularly monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), and is a major consideration in the approval of biosimilar biologics due to its effects to therapeutic efficacy. Glycosylation generates a distribution of glycoforms, resulting in glycoproteins with inherent molecule-to-molecule heterogeneity, capable of activating (or failing to activate) different effector functions of the immune system. Glycoforms can be affected by the supplementation of nucleotide-sugar precursors, and related components, to culture growth medium, affecting the metabolism of glycosylation...
June 15, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Pallab Datta, Ananya Barui, Yang Wu, Veli Ozbolat, Kazim K Moncal, Ibrahim T Ozbolat
An increasing demand for directed assembly of biomaterials has inspired the development of bioprinting, which facilitates the assembling of both cellular and acellular inks into well-arranged three-dimensional (3D) structures for tissue fabrication. Although great advances have been achieved in the recent decade, there still exist issues to be addressed. Herein, a review has been systematically performed to discuss the considerations in the entire procedure of bioprinting. Though bioprinting is advancing at a rapid pace, it is seen that the whole process of obtaining tissue constructs from this technique involves multiple-stages, cutting across various technology domains...
June 25, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Claudia Bernal, Karen Rodríguez, Ronny Martínez
Enzyme immobilization often achieves reusable biocatalysts with improved operational stability and solvent resistance. However, these modifications are generally associated with a decrease in activity or detrimental modifications in catalytic properties. On the other hand, protein engineering aims to generate enzymes with increased performance at specific conditions by means of genetic manipulation, directed evolution and rational design. However, the achieved biocatalysts are generally generated as soluble enzymes, -thus not reusable- and their performance under real operational conditions is uncertain...
June 9, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
A Gonzalez, A T W M Hendriks, J B van Lier, M de Kreuk
Pre-treatments for waste activated sludge (WAS) are, in most cases, an attempt to increase the biodegradation and/or improve hydrolysis rate of WAS after anaerobic digestion. This review presents an extensive analysis of WAS pre-treatments effectiveness focusing on increasing the biodegradability. In the first part of the review, WAS is considered as a cluster of organic components: proteins, carbohydrates, humic substances and cells. Based on this breakdown into components, the effect of different pre-treatments on each component (and in combination) is described...
June 7, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Inês P Rosinha Grundtvig, Søren Heintz, Ulrich Krühne, Krist V Gernaey, Patrick Adlercreutz, John D Hayler, Andy S Wells, John M Woodley
The application of conventional organic solvents has been essential in several steps of bioprocesses in order to achieve sufficient economic efficiency. The use of organic solvents is frequently essential either to partly or fully replace water in the reaction medium or as a process aid for downstream separation. Nowadays, manufacturers are increasingly requested to avoid and substitute solvents with hazardous potential. Therefore, the solvent selection must account for potential environmental hazards, health and safety problems, in addition to fulfilling the ideal characteristics for application in a process...
June 1, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Claudia M Martinez, Luis H Alvarez
Redox mediators (RM) are natural or artificial compounds used by microorganisms as electron acceptors and electron donors during electron transfer. Evidence collected in the last years indicates that the application of RM in bioelectrochemical systems (BES) enhanced the electron transfer from microorganisms to anodes and from cathodes to microorganisms. This review summarizes the results of using soluble or immobilized RM in BES to produce electricity and for the treatment of contaminants from wastewater effluents...
May 29, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Mingfeng Cao, Jun Feng, Sarote Sirisansaneeyakul, Cunjiang Song, Yusuf Chisti
Poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) is a natural biopolymer of glutamic acid. The repeating units of γ-PGA may be derived exclusively from d-glutamic acid, or l-glutamic acid, or both. The monomer units are linked by amide bonds between the α-amino group and the γ-carboxylic acid group. γ-PGA is biodegradable, edible and water-soluble. It has numerous existing and emerging applications in processing of foods, medicines and cosmetics. This review focuses on microbial production of γ-PGA via genetically and metabolically engineered recombinant bacteria...
May 28, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Jasper S Möhler, Wilson Sim, Mark A T Blaskovich, Matthew A Cooper, Zyta M Ziora
Silver was widely used in medicine to treat bacterial infections in the 19th and early 20th century, up until the discovery and development of the first modern antibiotics in the 1940s, which were markedly more effective. Since then, every new antibiotic introduced to the clinic has led to an associated development of drug resistance. Today, the threat of extensive bacterial resistance to antibiotics has reignited interest in alternative strategies to treat infectious diseases, with silver regaining well-deserved renewed attention...
May 27, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Aloran Mazumder, Claudia Cerella, Marc Diederich
The diversity of natural compounds is essential for their mechanism of action. The source, structures and structure activity relationship of natural compounds contributed to the development of new classes of chemotherapy agents for over 40 years. The availability of combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput screening has fueled the challenge to identify novel compounds that mimic nature's chemistry and to predict their macromolecular targets. Combining conventional and targeted therapies helped to successfully overcome drug resistance and prolong disease-free survival...
May 3, 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Muhammad Umer, Ramanathan Vaidyanathan, Nam-Trung Nguyen, Muhammad J A Shiddiky
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and their clusters, also known as circulating tumor microemboli (CTM), have emerged as valuable tool that can provide mechanistic insights into the tumor heterogeneity, clonal evolution, and stochastic events within the metastatic cascade. However, recent investigations have hinted that CTM may not be mere aggregates of tumor cells but cells comprising CTM exhibit distinct phenotypic and molecular characteristics in comparison to single CTCs. Moreover, in many cases CTM demonstrated higher metastatic potential and resistance to apoptosis as compared to their single cell counterparts...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Jean-Marc Bielser, Moritz Wolf, Jonathan Souquet, Hervé Broly, Massimo Morbidelli
The manufacturing of recombinant protein is traditionally divided in two main steps: upstream (cell culture and synthesis of the target protein) and downstream (purification and formulation of the protein into a drug substance or drug product). Today, cost pressure, market uncertainty and market growth, challenge the existing manufacturing technologies. Leaders in the field are active in designing the process of the future and continuous manufacturing is recurrently mentioned as a potential solution to address some of the current limitations...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Ana C Fernandes, Krist V Gernaey, Ulrich Krühne
From its birth, microfluidics has been referenced as a revolutionary technology and the solution to long standing technological and sociological issues, such as detection of dilute compounds and personalized healthcare. Microfluidics has for example been envisioned as: (1) being capable of miniaturizing industrial production plants, thereby increasing their automation and operational safety at low cost; (2) being able to identify rare diseases by running bioanalytics directly on the patient's skin; (3) allowing health diagnostics in point-of-care sites through cheap lab-on-a-chip devices...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Tolutola Oyetunde, Forrest Sheng Bao, Jiung-Wen Chen, Hector Garcia Martin, Yinjie J Tang
Genome scale modeling (GSM) predicts the performance of microbial workhorses and helps identify beneficial gene targets. GSM integrated with intracellular flux dynamics, omics, and thermodynamics have shown remarkable progress in both elucidating complex cellular phenomena and computational strain design (CSD). Nonetheless, these models still show high uncertainty due to a poor understanding of innate pathway regulations, metabolic burdens, and other factors (such as stress tolerance and metabolite channeling)...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Tao Sun, Shubin Li, Xinyu Song, Jinjin Diao, Lei Chen, Weiwen Zhang
Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are important primary producers and model organisms for studying photosynthesis and elements cycling on earth. Due to the ability to absorb sunlight and utilize carbon dioxide, cyanobacteria have also been proposed as renewable chassis for carbon-neutral "microbial cell factories". Recent progresses on cyanobacterial synthetic biology have led to the successful production of more than two dozen of fuels and fine chemicals directly from CO2 , demonstrating their potential for scale-up application in the future...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
Ming Li, Minghua Zhou, Xiaoyu Tian, Chaolin Tan, Cameron T McDaniel, Daniel J Hassett, Tingyue Gu
Within the past 5 years, tremendous advances have been made to maximize the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for both "clean" bioenergy production and bioremediation. Most research efforts have focused on parameters including (i) optimizing reactor configuration, (ii) electrode construction, (iii) addition of redox-active, electron donating mediators, (iv) biofilm acclimation and feed nutrient adjustment, as well as (v) other parameters that contribute to enhanced MFC performance. To date, tremendous advances have been made, but further improvements are needed for MFCs to be economically practical...
July 2018: Biotechnology Advances
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