Current Synthetic Biology News and Events

Current Synthetic Biology News and Events, Synthetic Biology News Articles.
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Synthesis of a rare metal complex of nitrous oxide opens new vistas for
Like its chemical relative carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas and the dominant ozone-depleting substance. Strategies for limiting its emissions and its catalytic decomposition with metals are being developed. A study indicates that nitrous oxide can bind to metals similarly to carbon dioxide, which helps to design new complexes with even stronger bonding. This could allow the use of nitrous oxide in synthetic chemistry. (2021-02-22)

Antibiotic tolerance study paves way for new treatments
The study in mice, 'A Multifaceted Cellular Damage Repair and Prevention Pathway Promotes High Level Tolerance to Beta-lactam Antibiotics,' published Feb. 3 in the journal EMBO Reports, reveals how tolerance occurs, thanks to a system that mitigates iron toxicity in bacteria that have been exposed to penicillin. (2021-02-22)

Bioengineered hybrid muscle fiber for regenerative medicine
Scientists regenerate damaged muscle tissue using cell reprogramming technology and natural-synthetic hybrid scaffold. (2021-02-21)

Sewage study shows which countries like to party hard
The Netherlands, United States, Australia and New Zealand are consuming the highest amounts of designer 'party' drugs, according to wastewater samples taken from eight countries over the New Year period. (2021-02-21)

New technology enables predictive design of engineered human cells
Northwestern University synthetic biologists have developed a design-driven process to build complex genetic circuits for cellular engineering. The new technology utilizes computational modeling to more efficiently identify useful genetic designs before building them in the lab. Faced with myriad possibilities, modeling points researchers to designs that offer real opportunity. The researchers constructed a variety of genetic programs to carry out desired and useful functions in human cells and found the programs worked as predicted. And the designs worked the first time. (2021-02-19)

Breakthrough in organic chemistry: Asymmetric syntheses of useful, unique chiral compounds
''N?C axially chiral compounds'' are important chiral molecules with various applications in medicinal chemistry and chiral technology. However, there is a scarcity of research on ways to synthesize them in an enantioselective (asymmetric) manner, to obtain useful forms of the compounds. Researchers at Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan, have rectified this, by developing a catalytic enantioselective method to synthesize various N?C axially chiral compounds. A recent article in Accounts of Chemical Research summarizes their achievements. (2021-02-16)

Collagen structures get the royal reveal
An algorithm by Rice University scientists predicts the structures and melting temperatures of collagen, the triple helix that accounts for about a third of the body's proteins and forms the fibrous glue in skin, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. (2021-02-15)

Inhibition of the BAF complex causes rapid loss of DNA accessibility
When human cells have to adapt, the BAF complex plays a central role because it controls the accessibility of the DNA and thus the information stored in it. In every fifth human cancer, a mutation is found in one of the BAF complex genes. Scientists at CeMM have investigated this complex in more detail and were able to show how quickly changes in the BAF complex genes influence the accessibility of DNA. (2021-02-09)

Winner-takes-all synthetic gene circuit process opens new pathways to disease treatment
Multicellular synthetic circuits will be a much more effective way to treat cancer. (2021-02-08)

Synthetic protein quality control system in bacteria
Synthetic protein quality control system in bacteria. (2021-02-08)

What rules govern the structure of membraneless organelles?
A study published on Feb. 8 in Nature Communications explores how membraneless organelles (MLOs) or biomolecular condensates, form and organize themselves. The research lays out physical rules controlling the arrangement of various types of synthetic MLOs created using just three kinds of building materials: RNA and two different proteins, a prion-like polypeptide (PLP) and an arginine-rich polypeptide (RRP). (2021-02-08)

How humans can build better teamwork with robots
Nancy Cooke is a cognitive psychologist and professor of human systems engineering at the Polytechnic School at Arizona State University (ASU). She explores how an artificial intelligence agent can contribute to team communications failure, and how to improve those interactions, in her discussion at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (2021-02-08)

Machine learning generates realistic genomes for imaginary humans
Machines, thanks to novel algorithms and advances in computer technology, can now learn complex models and even generate high-quality synthetic data such as photo-realistic images or even resumes of imaginary humans. A study recently published in the international journal PLOS Genetics uses machine learning to mine existing biobanks and generate chunks of human genomes which do not belong to real humans but have the characteristics of real genomes. (2021-02-05)

Synthesized very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids improved retinal function in mice
A University of Utah ophthalmologist is investigating how lipids known as VLC-PUFAs could be used to prevent eye disease thanks to a new way to synthesize them for research. (2021-02-04)

Experimental vaccine blunts the deadliest of synthetic opioids
As the opioid epidemic raged on with an even greater force during COVID-19, the Scripps Research laboratory of chemist Kim Janda, PhD, has been working on new therapeutic interventions that may be able to prevent the bulk of deaths from opioid overdose. Janda and his team have developed experimental vaccines that have shown in rodents to blunt the deadly effects of fentanyl as well as its even more fatal cousin, carfentanil. (2021-02-04)

UTA engineers develop programming technology to transform 2D materials into 3D shapes
University of Texas at Arlington researchers have developed a technique that programs 2D materials to transform into complex 3D shapes. (2021-02-04)

Scientists find promising avenue to restore cognitive function impaired by Alzheimer's disease
A team of neuroscientists has identified a potential means to address the loss of cognitive function due to Alzheimer's disease by targeting protein synthesis in mice. Their findings reveal that synthetic pharmaceuticals could rescue the activity of brain cells needed for memory formation. (2021-02-02)

Synthetic biology reinvents development
The research team have used synthetic biology to develop a new type of genetic design that can reproduce some of the key processes that enable creating structures in natural systems, from termite nests to the development of embryos. (2021-02-01)

Double delight: New synthetic transmembrane ion channel can be activated in two ways
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and University of Tokyo, Japan, have, for the first time, synthesized a novel artificial transmembrane ion channel--modelled on a naturally found transmembrane channel involved in neuron signaling--that responds to both chemical and electrical stimuli. Given its overall properties, this artificial channel opens doors to novel fundamental research into cellular transport and signaling, new possibilities in drug development, and the potential for new types of biosensors. (2021-02-01)

Counties with more cannabis dispensaries show reduced opioid deaths
This is the first study to examine the association between active cannabis dispensary operations -- both medical and recreational -- and opioid-related mortality rates at the county level, suggesting that providing alternative pain management could improve public health outcomes, researchers said. (2021-01-28)

Carbon-chomping soil bacteria may pose hidden climate risk
Much of the earth's carbon is trapped in soil, and scientists have assumed that potential climate-warming compounds would safely stay there for centuries. But new research from Princeton University shows that carbon molecules can potentially escape the soil much faster than previously thought. The findings suggest a key role for some types of soil bacteria, which can produce enzymes that break down large carbon-based molecules and allow carbon dioxide to escape into the air. (2021-01-27)

Legal cannabis stores linked to fewer opioid deaths in the United States
Access to legal cannabis stores is associated with a reduction in opioid related deaths in the United States, particularly those linked to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, finds a study published by The BMJ today. (2021-01-27)

Development of rapid method for extraction of natural blue chromophore from cyanobacteria
A research group at Toyohashi University of Technology succeeded in developing an efficient and rapid extraction method for Phycocyanobilin (PCB) by treating cyanobacterial cells with alcohol under high-temperature and high-pressure conditions. They also demonstrated that this method can be applied to the isotopic labeling of PCB and its reconstitution with photoswitch protein. This technique is expected to lead to the development of new functional foods and medicines and the structural elucidation of various PCB-binding photoswitches. (2021-01-26)

Cholesterol starvation kills lymphoma cells
Scientists have developed a novel therapy to trick cancer cells into gobbling up what they think is their favorite food - cholesterol -- which actually triggers their destruction. What appears to them as a cholesterol-loaded particle is actually a synthetic nanoparticle that binds to the cancer cells and starves them to death. The study was in lymphoma cells but could be effective in ovarian and kidney cancer. (2021-01-25)

Research establishes antibiotic potential for cannabis molecule
The main nonpsychoactive component of cannabis has been shown to kill the bacteria responsible for gonorrhoea, meningitis and legionnaires disease, which could lead to the first new class of antibiotics for resistant bacteria in 60 years. (2021-01-19)

How to train a robot (using AI and supercomputers)
Computer scientists from UT Arlington developed a deep learning method to create realistic objects for virtual environments that can be used to train robots. The researchers used TACC's Maverick2 supercomputer to train the generative adversarial network. The network is the first that can produce colored point clouds with fine details at multiple resolutions. The team presented their results at the International Conference on 3D Vision (3DV) in Nov. 2020. (2021-01-19)

Toadlet peptide transforms into a deadly weapon against bacteria
Researchers at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hamburg have discovered remarkable molecular properties of an antimicrobial peptide from the skin of the Australian toadlet. The discovery could inspire the development of novel synthetic drugs to combat bacterial infections (2021-01-14)

The meat of the matter: Environmental dissemination of beef cattle agrochemicals
A recent Point of Reference article, ''The meat of the matter: Environmental dissemination of beef cattle agrochemicals,'' published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, points at synthetic chemical cocktails being emitted from cattle feed yards into the environment and how they can impact our ecosystem and our health. (2021-01-13)

Expanding the boundaries of CO2 fixation
Design and realization of synthetic enzymes open up an alternative to natural photorespiration (2021-01-09)

Scientists develop a cheaper method that might help create fuels from plants
Scientists have figured out a cheaper, more efficient way to conduct a chemical reaction at the heart of many biological processes, which may lead to better ways to create biofuels from plants. (2021-01-08)

Selfish elements turn embryos into a battlefield
New toxin-antidote pairs discovered in nematode species - researchers from the Burga lab at IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences discover selfish elements that could facilitate populations becoming distinct species. The results are published in the journal Current Biology. (2021-01-07)

Chemists invent shape-shifting nanomaterial with biomedical potential
Made of synthetic collagen, the new nanomaterial may have a range of biomedical applications, from controlled-release drug delivery to tissue engineering. (2021-01-07)

Designer protein patches boost cell signaling
A new class of protein material that interacts with living cells without being absorbed by them can influence cell signaling, a new study shows. The material does this by binding and sequestering cell surface receptors. The discovery could have far-reaching implications for stem cell research and enable the development of new materials designed to modulate the behavior of living systems. (2021-01-06)

Fluoride to the rescue?
Scientists have long been aware of the dangerous overuse of antibiotics and the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant microbes that have resulted. While over-prescription of antibiotics for medicinal use has unsettling implications for human health, so too does the increasing presence of antibiotics in the natural environment. The latter may stem from the improper disposal of medicines, but also from the biotechnology field, which has depended on antibiotics as a selection device in the lab. (2021-01-04)

It's electrifying! This is how Earth could be entirely powered by sustainable energy
Can you imagine a world powered by 100% renewable electricity and fuels? It may seem fantasy, but a collaborative team of scientists has just shown this dream is theoretically possible - if we can garner global buy-in. The study explores what changes are needed in our energy mix and consumption patterns if we are to achieve 100% renewability in a way that supports everyone and the myriad of life on our planet. (2020-12-22)

New catalytic approach to accessing key intermediate carbocation
This study revealed the development of a novel iridium based catalyst. The catalyst is capable of accessing the carbocation intermediates of the reaction to achieve an unprecedented level of regioselectivity (>95%) and enantioselectivity (98%). This technology will have far-reaching implications in synthetic, organic, and pharmaceutical chemistry. (2020-12-21)

New phase for synthetic aperture microscopy
Although SAM is undoubtedly a promising approach, current implementations lack in both spatial resolution and frame rate to be useful for emerging applications. To address these issues, a team of researchers led by Renjie Zhou from The Chinese University of Hong Kong recently developed a novel SAM method. (2020-12-21)

Blocking DNA repair enzyme could help treat certain cancers
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found a new way to prevent some tumours from repairing their own DNA, a function that is essential for cancer cell survival. This discovery could lead to much needed new treatments for certain types of the disease. (2020-12-16)

Experimental vaccine can counter dangerous effects of synthetic cannabinoids
Made in clandestine laboratories and sold widely across the United States, the diverse class of drugs known as synthetic cannabinoids presents a growing public health threat. In a new study, Scripps Research scientists have devised a way to deactivate these designer drugs after they've been administered--offering a potential path for treating addiction and overdose. (2020-12-16)

Bio-inspired lanthanide-transition metal cluster for efficient overall water splitting
A bio-inspired lanthanide-transition metal cluster as oxygen-evolving center anchored on P-doped graphitic carbon nitrides for efficient photocatalytic overall water splitting was demonstrated. Mechanistic investigation shows synergistic effects of lanthanide ion and variable-valence Co ions in the oxygen-evolving reaction. This work not only prepares a synthetic model of bio-inspired oxygen-evolving center but also develops an avenue to design efficient catalysts for overall water splitting by coupling bio-inspired clusters and photoactive supports. (2020-12-10)

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