Gene synthesis is replacing traditional molecular cloning of genes in genetic engineering

The first step of genetic engineering is typically the identification of a candidate gene in a species that is useful for a reaction not found in the organism of interest such as Escherichia coli. This is followed by the cloning of the candidate gene from the species and its insertion into a plasmid for expression … More Gene synthesis is replacing traditional molecular cloning of genes in genetic engineering

Advantages of cryo-electron microscopy over X-ray crystallography

Advances in the development of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) over the past three decades have culminated in an instrumented technique capable of generating structures of biological molecules and macromolecular complexes down to the Angstrom level. Similar in resolution to the gold standard X-ray crystallography technique, cryo-EM offered significant advantages that could make it the de facto … More Advantages of cryo-electron microscopy over X-ray crystallography

Chimeric antibody with different domains binds to different subtypes of flu virus

Antibodies typically bind to specific types of molecules. In the case of preventing flu virus from binding to receptors on cells, antibodies in the host could only recognise specific types of flu virus and are ineffective against other subtypes of flu virus. Thus, efforts have been devoted to the generation of chimeric antibodies through the … More Chimeric antibody with different domains binds to different subtypes of flu virus

Expansion microscopy illuminates tissue architecture and cell-cell interactions

Attempts to obtain deep understanding of the cell-cell interactions and organizational architecture of tissues have been hamstrung by the lack of tools for improving the resolution at which cell-cell interactions could be probed. This came about due to the short distance between different cell types in a tissue; thereby, hampering the use of optical microscopy … More Expansion microscopy illuminates tissue architecture and cell-cell interactions

Mechanism underlying the emergence of antimicrobial resistance

Resistance to antimicrobial compounds is commonly thought to arise due to emergence of mutations after exposure of the microbes to the compound. This is not entirely true. What actually happens is that mechanisms underlying resistance to an antimicrobial compound exist in a few subpopulations of the species prior to exposure of the population to antimicrobial … More Mechanism underlying the emergence of antimicrobial resistance

Bioretrosynthesis for the manufacturing of complex molecules from simple substrates

Development of chemical synthetic schemes for a particular molecule is typically carried out in the retrosynthetic fashion by organic chemists. Specifically, organic chemists analysed the chemical structure of the molecule of interest, identify possible reaction schemes capable of generating the various functional groups present in the molecule, and finally sequence the chemical reactions in a … More Bioretrosynthesis for the manufacturing of complex molecules from simple substrates

Cell-free biocatalysis

Enzymes catalysed biochemical reactions and thus biotransformation for producing useful products are commonly carried out using whole cell biocatalysis, where the cell serves as carrier for the enzymes important to converting the substrate to product. However, due to multiple competing reactions in the cell, it is desired to achieve higher productivity and purity of products … More Cell-free biocatalysis

Bottom-up biology illuminating the secrets of life

Biological research is typically pursued using the top-down approach where scientists seek to understand the fundamental underpinnings of life by dissecting the various components of cells using increasingly refined techniques and instruments. However, there is a recent trend of studying the principles that govern cellular processes using bottom-up approaches.   Specifically, in what is known … More Bottom-up biology illuminating the secrets of life

Enzymatic DNA synthesis could help reduce cost of DNA synthesis

Chemical-based DNA synthesis is the critical enabling tool of synthetic biology. Specifically, genes or fragments of DNA could be chemically synthesised using phosphoramidite chemistry for use in applications such as gene cloning; thus, significantly reducing the time and expense needed for molecular cloning. Typically, short fragments of DNA are synthesised which are subsequently stitched into … More Enzymatic DNA synthesis could help reduce cost of DNA synthesis

Metabolic sensor in cells may react to nutritional environment available and decide on growth decision

In microbial ecology, experimental observations of fast-growing microbes able to grow on rich medium at the expense of slow-growing ones suggested that depletion of nutrients by fast-growers and subsequent domination of available agar surface may hamper the growth of slow-growing ones. However, why didn’t the slow-growing microbes also react to the high nutritional content of … More Metabolic sensor in cells may react to nutritional environment available and decide on growth decision