Technology Offers Biotechnology



Highly selective modification and detection of epigenetic target nucleobases via tailored TALEs

The invention developed at the University of Konstanz allows for the highly selective detection of epigenetic nucleobases in freely selectable sequences. For the first time, the nucleobases selective, chemical modification of DNA is directly combined with tailored TALE repeats. That leads to a significant competitive advantage regarding sample integrity and required instrumentation.

 

 

Determining a person’s biological age, using a sophisticated set of biomarkers

The biological age can reliably be determined with this innovative biomarker set consisting of 30 newly identified biomarkers with a high correlation to the aging process.

 

 

Gentle release of cells from hydrogels using lectins for reversible immobilization

This innovation describes hydrogels where cells can be separated from or immobilized in a porous 3D matrix in an extremely quick and gentle fashion. This novel and gentle process, which involves the adapter molecule lectin and its sugar-binding properties, requires only a few minutes and does not result in any by-products causing damage to the cells or the active substances. That is what makes the system an interesting solution for research on artificial biological tissues, for basic research on cell systems in their native environment and for flow cell models, for example.

 

 

High-throughput screening system for directed evolution experiments using novel compartments

Scientists at RWTH Aachen University developed a novel screening method substantially improving the finding of favored enzyme variants using the directed evolution technique. The method, an entirely cell-free system, uses innovative compartments, thus enabling the efficient detection of human and toxic proteins.

 

 

Innovative method for producing analytical suspension cell lines

Analytical cell-based assays used in diverse applications such as the risk assessment of chemicals and the investigation of stem cell propagation stages, currently employ adherent cell lines. This cell type comes with serious drawbacks. Most importantly, extensive measures are needed for propagation purposes. Intriguingly, scientists at RWTH Aachen University have invented a method of stably growing any analytical (reporter) cell line in suspension. This enables high cell density growth and bulk applications towards tissue engineering, as well as toxicity testing. Furthermore, the method profoundly enhances high-throughput screening efficiency.

 

 

Innovative method of protein production – increasing production yield by more than 50 %

The production of recombinant proteins is a multi-billion dollar industry. In order to lower production costs, companies are very active in developing methods for increasing protein yield. However, current techniques are cumbersome, time consuming and consequently relatively expensive.
An innovative method, invented by a scientist at RWTH Aachen, is now about to close this gap in biotechnology. Briefly, the retention time of any target RNA can be significantly increased, leading to a substantially enhanced protein production. The astonishingly straightforward method can be applied in a wide variety of industry branches in white, red and green biotechnology.

 

 

A strain and a method for high throughput of sugar for microbial conversion into organic synthesis products

By decoupling cell growth and productivity of biosynthesis the new method and associated Escherichia coli strain allow for an increase in productivity by a factor two to three.
This could not only be interesting for pharma industry, e.g. by increasing the capacity of insulation production, but for biotechnological synthesis of succinic acid as well. The demand for succinic acid as a component of plastics such as polyamides or polyesters is estimated to amount to 250,000 tons per year.

 

 

Innovative method for detecting co-occurring histone modifications in a single step using hybrid proteins

Due to the role of epigenetics in a vast array of diseases, the study of epigenetic mechanisms has become one of the most rapidly growing fields of biology.
Amongst others, epigenetic alterations involve post-transcriptional histone modifications (PTMs). Occurring in complex patterns, they form the so-called ‘histone code’. In order to decipher said code and unravel its involvement in disease, the characterization of co-occurring histone modifications is considered to be an important cornerstone. 
An innovative method now allows the detection of co-occurring histone modifications in one single step. Contrary to conventional methods, the technique offers much improved sensitivity, is easy to perform and features consistent quality.

 

 

Durable coating with extracellular matrix for cell culture through bio orthogonal functionalization of a extracellular matrix

During a joint research project scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Konstanz developed an ECM with functional groups (clickECM) which is covalently and thus firmly bonded to surfaces via bioorthogonal ligation reactions.
The fixed bonding obtained through the click reaction also ensures that the clickECM coating, e.g. when used for cell culture vessels, withstands extensive washing. The coating is highly stable and can be produced economically without any costly purification or isolation processes. The clickECM only differs from a natural ECM in terms of the introduced functional group.

 

 

Marker-free chromosome screening

Researchers at Reutlingen University have succeeded in developing a label-free method for the characterization of metaphase chromosomes. The method and the corresponding analysis algorithm allow for visualization of both the chemical properties (absorption) and the morphological properties (stray light) of a chromosome. Using this method, the bands and sub-bands can be characterized with high resolution. Thus, no staining is required for unambiguous identification. The technology can be integrated into all imaging methods (e.g.microscopy).

 

 

Biological Varroose control through interference with reproductive behaviour of Varroa bee mites

Scientists at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, have developed the first biological and bee-friendly Varroose control method. The method exploits the fact, that female mites exude a pheromone which incites the mating behavior of the males.

After isolating the pheromone and identifying its components, followed another breakthrough with the discovery, that single components of the pheromone affect the mating behavior effectively, too. Currently the scientists run successful field tests using oleic acid, a low-priced component, which is unproblematic with regard to food regulations and suitable for application as a spray.

 

 

Ribosomal incorporation of intercalators into peptides and proteins in living organisms

At the University of Konstanz a novel method with very high selectivity has been developed, which allows the inclusion of amino acids with nucleic acid-intercalating properties into proteins and peptides. Protein- and peptide-based active pharmaceutical components often contain structures that act as intercalators. The technology uses standard protein expression methods and only requires the presence of the ncAA in the medium and the co-expression of the respective aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases as well as the tRNA. The invention has substantial potential for the development of new applications and products, in particular in the pharmaceutical and biotech fields.

 

 

In vivo screening based on fluorescence to identify novel antimicrobial substances

The hierarchical and precisely controlled process creating ribosomes in living cells is known as ribosome assembly and is relatively little researched. In the eyes of many experts the early processes in the creation of ribosomes offer attractive targets for antimicrobial agents. The systematic search for such substances is made more difficult by the fact, that currently no suitable screening processes exist.

The present invention consists of stable bacterial strains with ribosomal subunits incorporating fluorescent markers, which have growth characteristics similar to wild type, and which have an intact translation apparatus. The positioning of the fluorophores allows for disturbances in the ribosome assembly to be detected in vivo by a fluorescence-based readout process. The process has been optimized for use with multi-well plates and thus is suitable for use in high throughput screenings (HTS).

 

 

Fluorescence-based monitoring of the ribosomal activity to optimize yield from recombinant proteins

In vitro transcription/translation systems (ivtt) are used in biotechnology mainly to produce recombinant proteins whose production in vivo would be toxic. The experimental analysis normally involves autoradiography, i.e. it requires the labelling of translation products with radioactive isotopes. Handling these isotopes is expensive, a potential health hazard and limits throughput.

The present invention consists of stable bacterial strains with ribosomal subunits incorporating fluorescent markers, which have growth characteristics similar to wild type and which have an intact translation apparatus. This opens the opportunity for measuring the translation activity in real time using fluorescence. It is possible to carry out experiments in a shorter time and at less cost in multi-well plates, varying several reaction parameters in parallel to optimize yield.