Bioengineered bugs, as is the scope of this journal, have great potential in various practical applications. A corollary to bringing useful products to the market is that such products need protection from copying by other people or businesses. Such government-sponsored protections are legally enforced through a patent, copyright or trademark/trade secret system commonly known as intellectual property rights. A condition for obtaining a patent is that the invention must not be disclosed to public either through seminars, informal public disclosures or publications in journals, although in the United States, there is a one year grace period that is allowed to obtain a patent after public disclosure. This article describes my personal experience in obtaining a patent in 1980 on a genetically manipulated bacterium designed for oil spill cleanup. This patent application went through a series of court cases that finally ended up in the Supreme Court of the United States. I also mention a similar contentious legal issue that is on the horizon and that the readers of Bioengineered Bugs should be aware of. Finally, I have taken the opportunity to describe my current efforts to bring to the market some unique potential multi-disease-targeting candidate drugs from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and gonococci/meningococci that, if found non-toxic and efficacious in humans, will revolutionize the drug industry. To ensure their marketability, we are trying to develop a patent portfolio that will ensure that they will be legally protected and such protections will be broad-based and enforceable.
anticancer drugs; business methods; drug promiscuity; HIV/AIDS; life form; malaria; patenting; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Donor organ transplantation is currently an essential therapeutic approach to the replacement of a dysfunctional organ as a result of disease, injury or aging in vivo. Recent progress in the area of regenerative therapy has the potential to lead to bioengineered mature organ replacement in the future. In this proof of concept study, we here report a further development in this regard in which a bioengineered tooth unit comprising mature tooth, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone, was successfully transplanted into a properly-sized bony hole in the alveolar bone through bone integration by recipient bone remodeling in a murine transplantation model system. The bioengineered tooth unit restored enough the alveolar bone in a vertical direction into an extensive bone defect of murine lower jaw. Engrafted bioengineered tooth displayed physiological tooth functions such as mastication, periodontal ligament function for bone remodeling and responsiveness to noxious stimulations. This study thus represents a substantial advance and demonstrates the real potential for bioengineered mature organ replacement as a next generation regenerative therapy.
Our long-term objective is to develop methods to form, in the jaw, bioengineered replacement teeth that exhibit physical properties and functions similar to those of natural teeth. Our results show that cultured rat tooth bud cells, seeded onto biodegradable scaffolds, implanted into the jaws of adult rat hosts and grown for 12 weeks, formed small, organized, bioengineered tooth crowns, containing dentin, enamel, pulp, and periodontal ligament tissues, similar to identical cell-seeded scaffolds implanted and grown in the omentum. Radiographic, histological, and immunohistochemical analyses showed that bioengineered teeth consisted of organized dentin, enamel, and pulp tissues. This study advances practical applications for dental tissue engineering by demonstrating that bioengineered tooth tissues can be regenerated at the site of previously lost teeth, and supports the use of tissue engineering strategies in humans, to regenerate previously lost and/or missing teeth. The results presented in this report support the feasibility of bioengineered replacement tooth formation in the jaw.
tooth tissue engineering; dental stem cells; mandibular model
Bioengineering of vascular grafts holds great potential to address the shortcomings associated with autologous and conventional synthetic vascular grafts used for small diameter grafting procedures. Lumen endothelialization of bioengineered vascular grafts is essential to provide an antithrombogenic graft surface to ensure long-term patency after implantation. Conventional methods used to assess endothelialization in vitro typically involve periodic harvesting of the graft for histological sectioning and staining of the lumen. Endpoint testing methods such as these are effective but do not provide real-time information of endothelial cells in their intact microenvironment, rather only a single time point measurement of endothelium development. Therefore, nondestructive methods are needed to provide dynamic information of graft endothelialization and endothelium maturation in vitro. To address this need, we have developed a nondestructive fiber optic based (FOB) imaging method that is capable of dynamic assessment of graft endothelialization without disturbing the graft housed in a bioreactor. In this study we demonstrate the capability of the FOB imaging method to quantify electrospun vascular graft endothelialization, EC detachment, and apoptosis in a nondestructive manner. The electrospun scaffold fiber diameter of the graft lumen was systematically varied and the FOB imaging system was used to noninvasively quantify the affect of topography on graft endothelialization over a 7-day period. Additionally, results demonstrated that the FOB imaging method had a greater imaging penetration depth than that of two-photon microscopy. This imaging method is a powerful tool to optimize vascular grafts and bioreactor conditions in vitro, and can be further adapted to monitor endothelium maturation and response to fluid flow bioreactor preconditioning.
The staggering cost of bringing a drug to market coupled with the extremely high failure rate of prospective compounds in early phase clinical trials due to unexpected human toxicity makes it imperative that more relevant human models be developed to better predict drug toxicity. Drug–induced nephrotoxicity remains especially difficult to predict in both pre-clinical and clinical settings and is often undetected until patient hospitalization. Current pre-clinical methods of determining renal toxicity include 2D cell cultures and animal models, both of which are incapable of fully recapitulating the in vivo human response to drugs, contributing to the high failure rate upon clinical trials. We have bioengineered a 3D kidney tissue model using immortalized human renal cortical epithelial cells with kidney functions similar to that found in vivo. These 3D tissues were compared to 2D cells in terms of both acute (3 days) and chronic (2 weeks) toxicity induced by Cisplatin, Gentamicin, and Doxorubicin using both traditional LDH secretion and the pre-clinical biomarkers Kim-1 and NGAL as assessments of toxicity. The 3D tissues were more sensitive to drug-induced toxicity and, unlike the 2D cells, were capable of being used to monitor chronic toxicity due to repeat dosing. The inclusion of this tissue model in drug testing prior to the initiation of phase I clinical trials would allow for better prediction of the nephrotoxic effects of new drugs.
Nisin is a bacteriocin widely utilized in more than 50 countries as a safe and natural antibacterial food preservative. It is the most extensively studied bacteriocin, having undergone decades of bioengineering with a view to improving function and physicochemical properties. The discovery of novel nisin variants with enhanced activity against clinical and foodborne pathogens has recently been described. We screened a randomized bank of nisin A producers and identified a variant with a serine to glycine change at position 29 (S29G), with enhanced efficacy against S. aureus SA113. Using a site-saturation mutagenesis approach we generated three more derivatives (S29A, S29D and S29E) with enhanced activity against a range of Gram positive drug resistant clinical, veterinary and food pathogens. In addition, a number of the nisin S29 derivatives displayed superior antimicrobial activity to nisin A when assessed against a range of Gram negative food-associated pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Cronobacter sakazakii. This is the first report of derivatives of nisin, or indeed any lantibiotic, with enhanced antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
Biophysical and biochemical properties of the microenvironment regulate cellular responses such as growth, differentiation, morphogenesis and migration in normal and cancer cells. Since two-dimensional (2D) cultures lack the essential characteristics of the native cellular microenvironment, three-dimensional (3D) cultures have been developed to better mimic the natural extracellular matrix. To date, 3D culture systems have relied mostly on collagen and Matrigel™ hydrogels, allowing only limited control over matrix stiffness, proteolytic degradability, and ligand density. In contrast, bioengineered hydrogels allow us to independently tune and systematically investigate the influence of these parameters on cell growth and differentiation. In this study, polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels, functionalized with the Arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motifs, common cell-binding motifs in extracellular matrix proteins, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavage sites, were characterized regarding their stiffness, diffusive properties, and ability to support growth of androgen-dependent LNCaP prostate cancer cells. We found that the mechanical properties modulated the growth kinetics of LNCaP cells in the PEG hydrogel. At culture periods of 28 days, LNCaP cells underwent morphogenic changes, forming tumor-like structures in 3D culture, with hypoxic and apoptotic cores. We further compared protein and gene expression levels between 3D and 2D cultures upon stimulation with the synthetic androgen R1881. Interestingly, the kinetics of R1881 stimulated androgen receptor (AR) nuclear translocation differed between 2D and 3D cultures when observed by immunofluorescent staining. Furthermore, microarray studies revealed that changes in expression levels of androgen responsive genes upon R1881 treatment differed greatly between 2D and 3D cultures. Taken together, culturing LNCaP cells in the tunable PEG hydrogels reveals differences in the cellular responses to androgen stimulation between the 2D and 3D environments. Therefore, we suggest that the presented 3D culture system represents a powerful tool for high throughput prostate cancer drug testing that recapitulates tumor microenvironment.
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) participate in a wide range of vital regulations of our physiological actions. They are also of pharmaceutical importance and have become many therapeutic targets for a number of disorders and diseases. Purified GPCR-based approaches including structural study and novel biophysical and biochemical function analyses are increasingly being used in GPCR-directed drug discovery. Before these approaches become routine, however, several hurdles need to be overcome; they include overexpression, solubilization, and purification of large quantities of functional and stable receptors on a regular basis. Here we report milligram production of a human formyl peptide receptor 3 (FPR3). FPR3 comprises a functionally distinct GPCR subfamily that is involved in leukocyte chemotaxis and activation. The bioengineered FPR3 was overexpressed in stable tetracycline-inducible mammalian cell lines (HEK293S). After a systematic detergent screening, fos-choline-14 (FC-14) was selected for subsequent solubilization and purification processes. A two-step purification method, immunoaffinity using anti-rho-tag monoclonal antibody 1D4 and gel filtration, was used to purify the receptors to near homogeneity. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that expressed FPR3 was predominantly displayed on cellular membrane. Secondary structural analysis using circular dichroism showed that the purified FPR3 receptor was correctly folded with >50% α-helix, which is similar to other known GPCR secondary structures. Our method can readily produce milligram quantities of human FPR3, which would facilitate in developing human FPR as therapeutic drug targets.
How fishes are able to detect trace molecules in large bodies of water is not understood. It is plausible that they use olfactory receptors to detect water-soluble compounds. How the zebra fish Danio Rerio, an organism with only 98 functional olfactory receptors, is able to selectively detect and recognize numerous compounds in water remains a puzzling phenomenon. We are interested in studying the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of olfaction in fish. Here, we report on the study of a bioengineered zebra fish olfactory receptor OR131-2, affinity-purified from a HEK293S tetracycline-inducible system. This receptor was expressed and translocated to the cell plasma membrane as revealed by confocal microscopy. Circular dichroism spectroscopy showed that the purified zebra fish receptor folded into an α-helical structure, as observed for other G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Our study shows that it is possible to produce viable quantities of the zebra fish olfactory receptor. This will not only enable detailed structural and functional analyses, but also aid in the design of biosensor devices in order to detect water-soluble metabolites or its intermediates, which are associated with human health.
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research (JFAR) is a new, open access, peer-reviewed online journal that encompasses all aspects of policy, organisation, delivery and clinical practice related to the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and management of foot and ankle disorders. JFAR will cover a wide range of clinical subject areas, including diabetology, paediatrics, sports medicine, gerontology and geriatrics, foot surgery, physical therapy, dermatology, wound management, radiology, biomechanics and bioengineering, orthotics and prosthetics, as well the broad areas of epidemiology, policy, organisation and delivery of services related to foot and ankle care. The journal encourages submission from all health professionals who manage lower limb conditions, including podiatrists, nurses, physical therapists and physiotherapists, orthopaedists, manual therapists, medical specialists and general medical practitioners, as well as health service researchers concerned with foot and ankle care. All manuscripts will undergo open peer review, and all accepted manuscripts will be freely available on-line using the open access platform of BioMed Central.
Poor angiogenesis is a major road block for tissue repair. The regeneration of virtually all tissues is limited by angiogenesis, given the diffusion of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products is limited to a few hundred micrometers. We postulated that co-transplantation of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells improves angiogenesis of tissue repair and hence the outcome of regeneration. In this study, we tested this hypothesis by using bone as a model whose regeneration is impaired unless it is vascularized. Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSCs) were isolated from each of three healthy human bone marrow samples and reconstituted in a porous scaffold. MSCs were seeded in micropores of 3D calcium phosphate (CP) scaffolds, followed by infusion of gel-suspended CD34+ hematopoietic cells. Co-transplantation of CD34+ HSCs and CD34− MSCs in microporous CP scaffolds subcutaneously in the dorsum of immunocompromized mice yielded vascularized tissue. The average vascular number of co-transplanted CD34+ and MSC scaffolds was substantially greater than MSC transplantation alone. Human osteocalcin was expressed in the micropores of CP scaffolds and was significantly increased upon co-transplantation of MSCs and CD34+ cells. Human nuclear staining revealed the engraftment of transplanted human cells in vascular endothelium upon co-transplantation of MSCs and CD34+ cells. Based on additional in vitro results of endothelial differentiation of CD34+ cells by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), we adsorbed VEGF with co-transplanted CD34+ and MSCs in the microporous CP scaffolds in vivo, and discovered that vascular number and diameter further increased, likely owing to the promotion of endothelial differentiation of CD34+ cells by VEGF. Together, co-transplantation of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells may improve the regeneration of vascular dependent tissues such as bone, adipose, muscle and dermal grafts, and may have implications in the regeneration of internal organs.
Heterologous expression of Factor VIII (FVIII) is about 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than similarly sized proteins. Bioengineering strategies aimed at different structural and biochemical attributes of FVIII have been successful in enhancing its expression levels.
Disulfide bonds are vital to the proper folding, secretion and stability of most secretory proteins. In an effort to explore additional targeted bioengineering approaches, the role of disulfide bonds in FVIII secretion and function was probed in this study.
Methods and Results
Single and paired cysteine mutants were generated by substituting with serine or glycine residues and analyzed by transient transfection into COS-1 and CHO cells. Seven of the eight disulfide bonds in FVIII were found to be indispensable for proper secretion and function. However, elimination of the disulfide bond formed by C1899 and C1903 within the conserved A3 domain improved the secretion of FVIII. The addition of the C1899G/C1903G mutations to a previously described FVIII variant, 226/N6, with high secretion efficiency increased its secretion by 2.2-fold. Finally, the addition of the A1-domain mutation, F309S in conjunction with the disulfide mutation had an additive effect resulting in a net improvement in secretion of between 35–45 fold higher than wild type FVIII in CHO cells.
Such combined targeted bioengineering strategies may facilitate more efficient production of recombinant FVIII toward low cost factor replacement therapy for hemophilia A.
bioengineering; disulfide bonds; factor VIII; hemophilia A; secretion
The ability to use autologous dental progenitor cells (DPCs) to form organized periodontal tissues on titanium implants would be a significant improvement over current implant therapies. Based on prior experimental results, we hypothesized that rat periodontal ligament (PDL)-derived DPCs can be used to bioengineer PDL tissues on titanium implants in a novel, in vivo rat maxillary molar implant model. Analyses of recovered implants revealed organized PDL tissues surrounding titanium implant surfaces in PDL-cell-seeded, and not in unseeded control, implants. Rat PDL DPCs also exhibited differentiative potential characteristic of stem cells. These proof-of-principle findings suggest that PDL DPCs can organize periodontal tissues in the jaw, at the site of previously lost teeth, indicating that this method holds potential as an alternative approach to osseointegrated dental implants. Further refinement of this approach will facilitate the development of clinically relevant methods for autologous PDL regeneration on titanium implants in humans.
periodontal ligament; bioengineered tissues; titanium; dental implants
We present an in vitro model of human skin that, together with nonlinear optical microscopy, provides a useful system for characterizing morphological and structural changes in a living skin tissue microenvironment due to changes in oxygen status and proteolytic balance. We describe for the first time the effects of chronic oxygen deprivation on a bioengineered model of human interfollicular epidermis. Histological analysis and multiphoton imaging revealed a progressively degenerating ballooning phenotype of the keratinocytes that manifested after 48 h of hypoxic exposure. Multiphoton images of the dermal compartment revealed a decrease in collagen structural order. Immunofluorescence analysis showed changes in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 protein spatial localization in the epidermis with a shift to the basal layer, and loss of Ki67 expression in proliferative basal cells after 192 h of hypoxic exposure. Upon reoxygenation MMP-2 mRNA levels showed a biphasic response, with restoration of MMP-2 levels and localization. These results indicate that chronic oxygen deprivation causes an overall degeneration in tissue architecture, combined with an imbalance in proteolytic expression and a decrease in proliferative capacity. We propose that these tissue changes are representative of the ischemic condition and that our experimental model system is appropriate for addressing mechanisms of susceptibility to chronic wounds.
hypoxia; ischemia; ulceration; bioengineered skin; multiphoton; MMP-2
The present review aims to illustrate the strategies that are being implemented to regenerate or bioengineer livers for clinical purposes. There are two general pathways to liver bioengineering and regeneration. The first consists of creating a supporting scaffold, either synthetically or by decellularization of human or animal organs, and seeding cells on the scaffold, where they will mature either in bioreactors or in vivo. This strategy seems to offer the quickest route to clinical translation, as demonstrated by the development of liver organoids from rodent livers which were repopulated with organ specific cells of animal and/or human origin. Liver bioengineering has potential for transplantation and for toxicity testing during preclinical drug development. The second possibility is to induce liver regeneration of dead or resected tissue by manipulating cell pathways. In fact, it is well known that the liver has peculiar regenerative potential which allows hepatocyte hyperplasia after amputation of liver volume. Infusion of autologous bone marrow cells, which aids in liver regeneration, into patients was shown to be safe and to improve their clinical condition, but the specific cells responsible for liver regeneration have not yet been determined and the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. A complete understanding of the cell pathways and dynamics and of the functioning of liver stem cell niche is necessary for the clinical translation of regenerative medicine strategies. As well, it will be crucial to elucidate the mechanisms through which cells interact with the extracellular matrix, and how this latter supports and drives cell fate.
Liver; Regenerative medicine; Tissue engineering; Extracellular matrix; Scaffold; Stem cells
Clinical trials, to regenerate the human heart injured by myocardial
infarction, involve the delivery of stem cells to the site of the injury.
However, only a small fraction of the introduced stem cells are detected at the
site of the injury, merely two weeks after this therapeutic intervention. This
significantly hampers the effectiveness of the stem cell therapy.
To resolve the aforementioned problem, we genetically and molecularly
bioengineered heterospecific, tetravalent antibodies (htAbs), which have both
exquisite specificity and high affinity towards human, pluripotent, stem cells
through the htAbs’ domains binding SSEA-4, SSEA-3, TRA-1-60, and
TRA-1-81, as well as towards the injured cardiac muscle through the
htAbs’ domains binding human cardiac myosin, α-actinin, actin,
and titin. The cardiac tissue was acquired from the patients, who were receiving
heart transplants. The autologous, human, induced, pluripotent stem cells
(hiPSCs) were generated from the patients’ fibroblasts by non-viral
delivery and transient expression of the DNA constructs for: Oct4, Nanog, Sox2,
Lin28, Klf4, c-Myc. In the trials involving the htAbs, the human, induced,
pluripotent stem cells anchored to the myocardial sarcomeres with the
efficiency, statistically, significantly higher, than in the trials with
non-specific or without antibodies (p < 0.0003). Moreover, application of the
htAbs resulted in cross-linking of the sarcomeric proteins to create the stable
scaffolds for anchoring of the stem cells. Thereafter, these human, induced
pluripotent stem cells differentiated into cardiomyocytes at their anchorage
By bioengineering of these novel heterospecific, tetravalent antibodies
and using them to guide and to anchor the stem cells specifically to the
stabilized sarcomeric scaffolds, we demonstrated the proof of concept in
vitro for improving effectiveness of regenerative therapy of
myocardial infarction and created the foundations for the trials in
Myocardial infarction; heart attack; ischemic heart disease; stem cell therapy; cardiac regeneration; myofibril; SSEA-4; SSEA-3; TRA-1-60; TRA-1-81; myosin; α-actinin; actin; titin; desmin; troponin; bi-specific antibody; heterospecific tetravalent antibody; tetrabody
The future of tissue engineering and cell-based therapies for tissue regeneration will likely rely on our ability to generate functional vascular networks in vivo. In this regard, the search for experimental models to build blood vessel networks in vivo is of utmost importance 1. The feasibility of bioengineering microvascular networks in vivo was first shown using human tissue-derived mature endothelial cells (ECs) 2-4; however, such autologous endothelial cells present problems for wide clinical use, because they are difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities and require harvesting from existing vasculature. These limitations have instigated the search for other sources of ECs. The identification of endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) in blood presented an opportunity to non-invasively obtain ECs 5-7. We and other authors have shown that adult and cord blood-derived ECFCs have the capacity to form functional vascular networks in vivo7-11. Importantly, these studies have also shown that to obtain stable and durable vascular networks, ECFCs require co-implantation with perivascular cells. The assay we describe here illustrates this concept: we show how human cord blood-derived ECFCs can be combined with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a single cell suspension in a collagen/fibronectin/fibrinogen gel to form a functional human vascular network within 7 days after implantation into an immunodeficient mouse. The presence of human ECFC-lined lumens containing host erythrocytes can be seen throughout the implants indicating not only the formation (de novo) of a vascular network, but also the development of functional anastomoses with the host circulatory system. This murine model of bioengineered human vascular network is ideally suited for studies on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of human vascular network formation and for the development of strategies to vascularize engineered tissues.
Fecal incontinence is a common disorder that can have devastating social and psychologic consequences. However, there are no long-term ideal solutions for such patients. Although loss of continence is multifactorial, the integrity of the internal anal sphincter (IAS) has particular significance. We previously described the development of 3-dimensional bioengineered constructs using isolated smooth muscle tissue from donor C57BL/6 IAS. We hypothesized that the bioengineered ring constructs would retain cellular viability and promote neovascularization upon implantation into a recipient mouse.
Internal anal sphincter ring constructs were surgically implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of syngeneic C57BL/6 mice and treated with either fibroblastic growth factor 2 (0.26 µg daily) or saline controls using a microosmotic pump. Internal anal sphincter constructs were harvested after 25 days (range, 23–26 days) and assessed morphologically and for tissue viability.
Gross morphology showed that there was no rejection. Rings showed muscle attachment to the back of the mouse with no sign of inflammation. Fibroblastic growth factor 2 infusion resulted in a significantly improved histologic score and muscle viability compared with the control group.
Three-dimensional bioengineered IAS rings can be successfully implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of recipient mice. The addition of fibroblastic growth factor 2 led to improved muscle viability, vascularity, and survival. This approach may become a feasible option for patients with fecal incontinence.
Internal anal sphincter; Fibroblastic growth factor 2; Incontinence; Tissue engineering
To date, there are no studies reported in the literature on the possible use of bovine collagen, oxidized regenerated cellulose, or synthetic hyaluronic acid medications in the oral cavity. The aim of this paper is to report the use of bovine collagen, oxidized regenerated cellulose, and synthetic hyaluronic acid medications to improve wound healing in the oral cavity by stimulating granulomatous tissue.
From 2007 to 2011, 80 patients (median age 67 years) suffering from oral mucosal lesions participated in this double-blind study. The patients were divided into two groups, each consisting of 40 patients. One group received conventional medications, while the other group of patients were treated with the advanced medications.
Advanced medications allowed re-epithelialization of the wound margin in 2–20 days, whereas patients receiving conventional medication showed a median healing duration of 45 days.
The results of this study demonstrate that treating oral mucosal wounds with advanced medication has an advantage with regard to wound healing time, allowing patients to have a rapid, functional, and esthetic recovery.
bioengineering; oral cavity; mucosal recovery
The chemical step in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of bioengineered heparin has been examined and optimized statistically using a response surface methodology. A four factor, two level full factorial design experiment and a three factor Box-Behnken design were carried out. The goal was to establish a method to prepare N-sulfo, N-acetyl heparosan of the desired N-acetyl content, number average molecular weight, and in maximum yield by controlling the reactant concentrations, reaction time and reaction temperature. The response surface models obtained were used to predict the reaction conditions required to optimally prepare N-sulfo, N-acetyl heparosan from E. coli generated heparosan starting material of different molecular weights.
Consumption of tomato products has been associated with decreased risks of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and therefore the biological functions of tomato carotenoids like lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene are being investigated. In order to study the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of these carotenoids, a bioengineered Escherichia coli model was evaluated for laboratory-scale production of stable isotope-labeled carotenoids. Carotenoid biosynthetic genes from Enterobacter agglomerans were introduced into the BL21Star(DE3) strain to yield lycopene. Over 96% of accumulated lycopene was in the all-trans form, and the molecules were highly enriched with 13C by 13C-glucose dosing. In addition, error-prone PCR of phytoene desaturase (crtI) was used to create a phytoene-accumulating strain, which maintained the transcription of phytoene synthase (crtB), whereas crtI does not encode a functional phytoene desaturase because of introduced mutations. Phytoene molecules were also highly enriched with 13C when the 13C-glucose was the only carbon source. The development of this production model will provide carotenoid researchers a source of labeled tracer materials to further investigate the metabolism and biological functions of these carotenoids.
Tomato; Lycopene; Phytoene; 13C; E. coli
With continued development and improvement of tissue engineering therapies for small articular lesions, increased attention is being focused on the challenge of engineering partial or whole synovial joints. Joint-scale constructs could have applications in the treatment of large areas of articular damage or in biological arthroplasty of severely degenerate joints. This review considers the roles of shape, loading and motion in synovial joint mechanobiology and their incorporation into the design, fabrication, and testing of engineered partial or whole joints. Incidence of degeneration, degree of impairment, and efficacy of current treatments are critical factors in choosing a target for joint bioengineering. The form and function of native joints may guide the design of engineered joint-scale constructs with respect to size, shape, and maturity. Fabrication challenges for joint-scale engineering include controlling chemo-mechano-biological microenvironments to promote the development and growth of multiple tissues with integrated interfaces or lubricated surfaces into anatomical shapes, and joint-scale bioreactors which nurture and stimulate the tissue with loading and motion. Finally, evaluation of load-bearing and tribological properties can range from tissue to joint scale and can focus on biological structure at present or after adaptation.
synovial joint; articular cartilage; tissue engineering; shape; motion
Breast cancer is the most prevalent disease amongst women worldwide and metastasis is the main cause of death due to breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer cells and embryonic stem (ES) cells display similar characteristics. However, unlike metastatic breast cancer cells, ES cells are nonmalignant. Furthermore, embryonic microenvironments have the potential to convert metastatic breast cancer cells into a less invasive phenotype. The creation of in vitro embryonic microenvironments will enable better understanding of ES cell-breast cancer cell interactions, help elucidate tumorigenesis, and lead to the restriction of breast cancer metastasis. In this article, we will present the characteristics of breast cancer cells and ES cells as well as their microenvironments, importance of embryonic microenvironments in inhibiting tumorigenesis, convergence of tumorigenic and embryonic signaling pathways, and state of the art in bioengineering embryonic microenvironments for breast cancer research. Additionally, the potential application of bioengineered embryonic microenvironments for the prevention and treatment of invasive breast cancer will be discussed.
stem cell; microenvironment; hydrogel; three-dimensional culture; breast cancer; metastasis; co-culture
The molecular biology of human cloning and aging research depend on the closely related laboratory techniques supported by a thorough understanding of cell-signaling processes. Unfortunately, the link between these two research fields has received only marginal attention in the lay press. Cloning is possible when somatic cell differentiation is successfully reprogrammed, and clinical control of cellular senescence depends on a proper reconfiguration of the predetermined number of divisions permitted during the cell life-cycle (the so-called “Hayflick Limit”). In this paper, we discuss these two concepts and compare the impact likely to be associated with bioengineering studies that facilitate both human cloning and longevity therapy.
cloning; ethics; research; relativism