Moscow researchers have solved the most challenging problem: they made E. coli synthesize one of the most toxic elements of cobra’s poison. It was no simpler a task than keeping a terrarium. The scientists’ efforts were supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and INTAS.
Natural poisons have always been an attraction for researchers, but it is very hard to study them as poisons are multi-componential and each of them affects cells in its own specific way. Such are alpha-neurotoxins – the most toxic component of cobra’s poison. The development of medicine to cure diseases of the nervous system requires data on the structure and properties of the alpha-neurotoxins and expertise in their behavior at the molecular level. Researchers from the Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences got interested in neurotoxin II which interacts in a specific way with a certain type of the muscular cells receptors . To investigate the effect of the toxin, it is necessary to constantly obtain the required protein – pure and sufficient in quantity. Such tasks are traditionally solved with the help of E. coli: the required gene is forced into it and made working (it is very costly, inconvenient and troublesome to get poison from a snake before each experiment). However, it is practically impossible to obtain alpha-neurotoxin II using such a method, as this protein is unable to fold into its proper shape in the bacterium cell and is very quickly destroyed. But Moscow bioorganic chemists managed to avoid these problems and to obtain a sufficient quantity of stable protein. It was actually no simpler a task than keeping a terrarium.
In order to make E. coli synthesize neurotoxin, it was necessary to obtain the gene of this toxin first. The gene was constructed out of ten DNA pieces having been synthesized in the laboratory. A gene of the E. coli natural protein – thioredoxin – was also included into the construction to stabilize neutrotoxin. After completing its task, thioredoxin should be split off from the produced protein to avoid hanging around the toxin as a redundancy. For this purpose, a special DNA part was inserted between two genes as a kind of a molecular button allowing the subsequent disposal of the redundant piece.
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences