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(SD2020-497) Light-activated tetrazines enable live-cell spatiotemporal control of bioorthogonal reactions

Bioorthogonal ligations encompass coupling chemistries that have considerable utility in living systems. Among the numerous bioorthogonal chemistries described to date, cycloaddition reactions between tetrazines and strained dienophiles are widely used in proteome, lipid, and glycan labeling due to their extremely rapid kinetics. In addition, a variety of functional groups can be released after the cycloaddition reaction, and drug delivery triggered by in vivo tetrazine ligation is in human phase I clinical trials. While applications of tetrazine ligations are growing in academia and industry, it has so far not been possible to control this chemistry to achieve the high degrees of spatial and temporal precision necessary for modifying mammalian cells with single-cell resolution.

Multiplex Epigenetic Editing using a Split-dCas9 System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a new epigenetic editing system that overcomes packaging limitations of viral delivery systems and can be used for multiplexed epigenetic editing of a genome.

Control Of Chimeric Antigen Receptor Activation By Their Hinge And Transmembrane Domains

UCSF inventors have created a hybrid sequence that, when engineered into Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells, promotes activation of the cells solely with CD28 antibodies or CD28 ligands. The sequence is a combination of the CD28 or IgG4 hinge region and the CD28 transmembrane, and represent a new opportunity to control T cell function. The technology has been tested in vitro with in vivo studies ongoing. The added functionality through this sequence has potential to promote survival and homeostasis of CAR T cells in the absence of CAR target and improve the specificity and toxicity profiles of current CAR T therapies. 

Novel Estrogen Receptor ß (ERß) Drugs for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Prof. Seema K. Tiwari-Woodruff from the University of California, Riverside, Prof. John Katzellenbogen and colleagues from the University of Illinois have developed novel estrogen receptor β (ERβ) drugs for the treatment of MS. These novel MS drugs are specific for ERβ and have tremendous potential for the treatment of MS as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. In general, estrogens have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities and clinically reduce the severity of MS and other neurodegenerative diseases. The compounds are more superior to other estrogenic drugs due to their specificity for ERβ and lack of undesirable effects such as feminization and increased risk of cancer. Fig 1: Therapeutic treatment with the UCR ERβ ligands began at peak disease (day 17) and was continued daily till day 36. ERβ ligands (blue, and orange) significantly attenuated clinical disease severity compared to vehicle treatment (red).  

Blood Based T Cell Biomarker For Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment

In cancer care, specific characteristics of T cells can be used to measure a patient’s response to immunotherapy. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing coupled with TCR sequencing, scientists at UCSF and Harvard detected CD8+ T cell clones shared between blood and tumor in mice and melanoma patients, characterized these matching clones in blood and tumor, and identified potential biomarkers for their isolation in the blood. Their method reveals specific protein signatures (biomarkers) on the surface of T cells that can be therapeutically targeted to treat melanoma and other forms of cancer. It presents a very attractive alternative to obtaining invasive biopsy samples from the tumor, and can be done much more quickly.  

One-Pot Multienzyme Synthesis of Sialidase Reagents, Probes and Inhibitors

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have developed an environmentally friendly one-pot multienzyme (OPME) method for synthesizing sialidase reagents, probes, and inhibitors.

Small Molecules for Treating Clostridium perfringens-related Bacterial Infections

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method of treating infections caused by Clostridium perfringens bacteria - via inhibiting the bacteria’s normal quorum sensing processes.

Digital Droplet Infusion System for High-Precision, Low-Volume, Delivery of Drugs or Nutritional Supplements

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed the first, digital, droplet infusion system capable of high-precision delivery of very low-volume therapeutics or nutraceuticals.

COVID-19 Risk Factor Biomarker and Prophylactic

Prof. Declan McCole and colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have identified a loss of function PTPN2 variant biomarker that may identify patients who are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. These patients have increased expression of ACE2, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Increased ACE2 has been tied with increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. By identifying patients who are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, healthcare workers may reduce these patients’ risk of infection by prophylactically administering JAK inhibitors. Currently there is a debate in the medical community on whether or not patients should discontinue their JAK inhibitor therapies.  Clinicians believe that JAK inhibitors could decrease a patient’s immune response to fight COVID.  However these new findings suggest that ACE2 expression is decreased in individuals on a JAK inhibitor therapy. The findings detailed in this section suggests that patients can maintain their JAK inhibitor treatment since it can reduce expression of the receptor required by SARS-CoV-2 to cause infection. Fig 1: Lung epithelial cell line with PTPN2 knockdown (KD) facilitates entry of virus like particles (VLP) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike S protein. "(S)" is the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with no additional protein. "(G)" is the positive control with the rhabdovirus vesicular stomatitis virus. ‘Ctr’ is the control lung epithelial cell.

A Gene Therapy for treating Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a predominantly genetic-based heart disease characterized by right but also recently left ventricular dysfunction, fibrofatty replacement of the myocardium leading to fatal/severe ventricular arrhythmias leading to sudden cardiac death in young people and athletes. ARVC is responsible for 10% of sudden cardiac deaths in people ≥65 years of age and 24% in people ≤30 years of age. ARVC is thought to be a rare disease as it occurs in 1 in 1000-5000 people, although the prevalence may be higher as some patients are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to poor diagnostic markers. Growing evidence also reveals earlier onset since pediatric populations ranging from infants to children in their teens are also particularly vulnerable to ARVC, highlighting the critical need to identify and treat patients at an earlier stage of the disease. At present there are no effective treatments for ARVC nor has there been any randomized clinical trials conducted to examine treatment modalities, screening regimens, or medications specific for ARVC. As a result, treatment strategies for ARVC patients are directed at symptomatic relief of electrophysiological defects, based on clinical expertise, results of retrospective registry-based studies, and the results of studies on model systems. The current standard of care is the use of anti-arrhythmic drugs (sotalol, amniodarone and beta-blockers) that transition into more invasive actions, which include implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac catheter ablation, if the patient becomes unresponsive or intolerant to anti-arrhythmic therapies. However, current therapeutic modalities have limited effectiveness in managing the disease, 40% of ARVC patients (a young heart disease) die within 10-11 years after initial diagnosis, highlighting the need for development of more effective therapies for patients with ARVC.

Treatment Of Inherited Retinal Disease

Researchers at UCI have developed a method of treating inherited retinal diseases, such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and retinitis pigmentosa, by gene therapy of the RPE65 nonsense mutation. This method uses base editor-mediated genome-editing by viral delivery and lead to improved patient treatment through enhanced editing of single base pairs and reduced off-target genomic editing.

Inhibitors of Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal (BET) Family Proteins as Potential Treatments for Drug-Resistant Tumors

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed small molecule inhibitors for use in treating drug-resistant tumors – including cancerous tumors.

Intranasal Delivery of Oligonucleotides for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Delivery of oligonucleotide therapy to the central nervous system remains challenging. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and Spinal Muscular Atrophy, can require intrusive and regular treatments, therefore a non-invasive delivery system would be very beneficial to patients. UC Irvine researchers have proposed a new method of therapeutic delivery utilizing a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. Delivered intranasally, this system has the ability to bypass the blood brain barrier, making it an exciting approach to decrease risk for patients and ease the treatment process.

Cyclic Peptide Inhibitors of The SARS-Cov-2 Main Protease

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has rapidly spread across the globe with severe medical, social, and economic costs. The Researchers at the University of California Irvine have designed novel cyclic peptide inhibitors based on a crystal structure of an inactive variant of SARS-CoV, known as Mpro318. Based on a small library of cyclic peptide inhibitors, some candidates showed promising in vitro activity at low micromolar concentrations.

Directed Pseudouridylation Of Cellular Rna Via Delivery Of Crispr/Cas And Esgrna Guide Combinations

resent strategies aimed to target and manipulate RNA in living cells mainly rely on the use of antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) or engineered RNA binding proteins (RBP). Although ASO therapies have been shown great promise in eliminating pathogenic transcripts or modulating RBP binding, they are synthetic in construction and thus cannot be encoded within DNA. This complicates potential gene therapy strategies, which would rely on regular administration of ASOs throughout the lifetime of the patient. Furthermore, they are incapable of modulating the genetic sequence of RNA. Although engineered RBPs such as PUF proteins can be designed to recognize target transcripts and fused to RNA modifying effectors to allow for specific recognition and manipulation, these constructs require extensive protein engineering for each target and may prove to be laborious and costly. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

Bioengineered Wnt5a Therapeutics For Advanced Cancers

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed RNA-based therapeutics to treat Wnt5A-expressing cancers, including treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

T cell Receptor cDNAs to Treat Gliomas

Brief description not available

T Cell Receptor cDNAs to Treat Gliomas

Brief description not available

Engineered/Variant Hyperactive CRISPR CasPhi Enzymes And Methods Of Use Thereof

The CRISPR-Cas system is now understood to confer bacteria and archaea with acquired immunity against phage and viruses. CRISPR-Cas systems consist of Cas proteins, which are involved in acquisition, targeting and cleavage of foreign DNA or RNA, and a CRISPR array, which includes direct repeats flanking short spacer sequences that guide Cas proteins to their targets.  Class 2 CRISPR-Cas are streamlined versions in which a single Cas protein bound to RNA is responsible for binding to and cleavage of a targeted sequence. The programmable nature of these minimal systems has facilitated their use as a versatile technology that is revolutionizing the field of genome manipulation.  There is a need in the art for additional Class 2 CRISPR/Cas systems (e.g., Cas protein plus guide RNA combinations).     UC Berkeley researchers discovered a new type of CasPhi/12j protein.  Site-specific binding and/or cleavage of a target nucleic acid (e.g., genomic DNA, ds DNA, RNA, etc.) can occur at locations (e.g., target sequence of a target locus) determined by base-pairing complementarity between the Cas12 guide RNA (the guide sequence of the Cas12 guide RNA) and the target nucleic acid.  Similar to CRISPR Cas9, the compact Cas12 enzymes are expected to have a wide variety of applications in genome editing and nucleic acid manipulation.  

Improved guide RNA and Protein Design for CasX-based Gene Editing Platform

The inventors have developed two new CasX gene-editing platforms (DpbCasXv2 and PlmCasXv2) through rationale structural engineering of the CasX protein and gRNA, which yield improved in vitro and in vivo behaviors. These platforms dramatically increase DNA cleavage activity and can be used as the basis for further improving CasX tools.The RNA-guided CRISPR-associated (Cas) protein CasX has been reported as a fundamentally distinct, RNA-guided platform compared to Cas9 and Cpf1. Structural studies revealed structural differences within the nucleotide-binding loops of CasX, with a compact protein size less than 1,000 amino acids, and guide RNA (gRNA) scaffold stem. These structural differences affect the active ternary complex assembly, leading to different in vivo and in vitro behaviors of these two enzymes.

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