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In plantae production of heterologous proteins using viral amplicons

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a viral amplicon-based vector system for heterologous protein expression and production in plants.

New Bright Green Fluorescent Proteins

Fluorescent proteins (FP) have been widely used as research tools in both academia and pharma for many years.  Naturally occurring FP have been mutated to either be brighter, be monomers, and/or for easier folding and expression in cells.  The most common FP to date has been the green fluorescent protein (GFP) of the jelly fish Aequorea victoria which can be expressed in cells and fused with proteins of interest, and has proven to be an excellent tool to study protein localization, expression, signaling, etc. in real time via microscopy and other techniques. 

Temporal Control over DNA-Patterned Signaling Ligands In Vitro Using Sequence-Targeting Nucleases

UC Berkeley researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly “print” two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body, be it the brain tissue surrounding a neural stem cell, the lining of the intestine or liver or the cellular configuration inside a tumor.  In the new technique, each cell or protein is tethered to a substrate with a short string of DNA. While similar methods have been developed that attach tethered cells or proteins one by one.  By repeating the process, up to 10 different kinds of cells or proteins can be tethered to the surface in an arbitrary pattern. This technique could help scientists develop a better understanding of the complex cell-to-cell messaging that dictates a cell’s final fate, from neural stem cell differentiating into a brain cell to a tumor cell with the potential to metastasize to an embryonic stem cell becoming an organ cell.

Novel Non-Immunogenic Positron Emission Tomography Gene Reporter

UCLA researchers in the Department of Pharmacology and Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics have developed a novel positron emission tomography reporter gene to preferentially trap radiolabeled deoxycytidine analogs.

Non-Immunogenic Positron Emission Tomography Gene Reporter Systems

UCLA researchers in the Department of Pharmacology and Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics have developed a novel dual gene positron emission tomography reporter system for the enhanced labeling of cells in vitro and in vivo.

DARTS: Deep Learning Augmented RNA-seq Analysis of Transcript Splicing

Researchers led by Yi Xing have developed a novel deep learning algorithm to detect alternative splicing patterns in RNA-seq data

Illumination Device for Dynamic Spatiotemporal Control of Photostimulation

A programmable LED device that illuminates multiple spatial locations (termed wells) with user-defined light patterns whose intensity can be modulated as a function of space and time. The devices are used for optogenetic stimulation of tissue culture plates (24-well and 96-well) kept in a heated and humidified tissue culture incubator, as well as photopatterning of hydrogels. In brief, light from LEDs passes through optical elements that ensure uniform illumination of each well. Parameters of the optical system, such as LED configuration, optical diffuser elements, materials, and geometry, were modeled and optimized using the optical ray tracing software Zemax OpticStudio. An electronics subsystem allows programmed control of illumination intensity and temporal sequences, with independent control of each well. Spatial precision is conveyed through a photomask attached to the culture plate. The hardware design also includes a cooling system and vibration isolation to reduce heating and damage to the sample. Lastly, a graphical user interface (GUI) was used to wirelessly program the illumination intensity and temporal sequences for each well. The devices can thus illuminate 24 independent channels with visible, NIR, or UV light with intensity ranges of 0 to 20-100 microwatts per millimeter-squared with 16-bit intensity resolution, and a temporal resolution of 1 millisecond and spatial resolution of 100 microns. In summary, the device allows uniform illumination of multiple wells for multiplexed photoactivation or photopolymerization of various substrates (light-responsive bacterial or mammalian cells grown in tissue culture, hydrogels, dyes, etc) with user-defined patterns. The device can be combined with a robotic handler, microscope, spectrometer, etc, to enable high-throughput illumination and simultaneous recording of the sample.

Sustained Intracellular RNA Delivery and Expression

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel method for high protein expression levels, in situ, involving RNA-based therapeutics.

The Bic Inhibitor Of Cry-Cry And Cry-Cib Oligomerization/ Clustering

UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology have discovered two Arabidopsis proteins, BIC1 and BIC2, that are capable of inhibiting light-dependent dimerization of cryptochrome (CRY) molecules. These BICs can be used as an improved drug screening platform through controlled, titratable, label-free and reversible protein – protein interactions.

Method to Direct the Reciprocal Interactions Between the Ureteric Bud and the Metanephric Mesenchyme

Researchers at UCLA have developed an approach to construct an embryonic kidney in vitro for the treatment of end stage renal disease.

Simultaneous Detection Of Protein Isoforms And Nucleic Acids From Low Starting Cell Numbers

Embryo-specific nucleic acid modifications, including retrotransposon activity-derived genomic modifications and alternative splicing of mRNA, is crucial for the development of mammalian embryos. However, determining if all genomic modifications and mRNA isoforms translate to protein variations remain intriguing questions due to difficulty in measuring protein isoforms and nucleic acids from small starting cell numbers.    UC Researchers have developed a system for performing dual nucleic acid and protein isoform measurements on low starting cell numbers equivalent to the number of blastomeres composing early embryonic development stages (morula and blastocysts).  The system integrates fractionation polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (fPAGE) with off-chip analysis of nucleic acids in the nuclei. An additional method can be used to remove nuclei for off-chip analysis. The system can measure expression of protein isoforms from the cytoplasmic fraction of 1-100 cells while achieving analysis of either DNA or mRNA retained in the nuclei. The researchers have demonstrated signal from immunoprobed protein correlates strongly with protein expression prior to lysis in TurboGFP-expressing cells and that mRNA levels correlate with protein abundance in TurboGFP-expressing cells.

Synthetic Algal Promoters as a Tool for Increasing Nuclear Gene Expression in Green Algae

Algae have enormous potential as bio-factories for the efficient production of a wide array of high-value products, and eventually as a source of renewable biofuels. However, tools for engineering the nuclear genomes of algae remain scarce and limited in functionality, in part due to lack of strong promoters.

A Cell-Based Seeding Assay for Huntingtin Aggregation

UCLA researchers from the Department of Psychiatry has created a novel cell-based seeding assay for sensitive, specific and high throughput detection of mutant Huntingtin proteins in biological samples.

dCas9 Epigenome Editing Toolkit

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a dCas9 toolkit for human epigenome editing.

DNA Amplification by Electric Field Cycling (efc-PCR)

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a popular technique for amplifying and quantifying minute quantities of DNA. Technologies based on PCR are used for a wide range of applications, including forensics, disease detection, and laboratory tools. Researchers at UCI have developed a device that can implement a novel method for PCR based on voltage cycling as opposed to temperature cycling (the current method for PCR). This allows the device to be much more portable and compact than those currently available.

New label-free method for direct RNase activity detection in biological samples

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a new and simple, label-free method to detect milligram levels of RNase activity in undiluted biological samples that is selective, accurate and scalable.

Novel Cyanobacteriochromes Responsive to Light in the Far-Red to Near-Infrared Region

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have identified new cyanobacteriochromes (CBCRs) that detect and fluoresce in the far-red and near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Fluorescent Biosensor for Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP)

The cGAS-cGAMP-STING pathway is an important immune surveillance pathway which gets activated in presence of cytoplasmic DNA either due to a microbial infection or a patho-physiological condition, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. Sensing 2’3’ cGAMP level is important in diagnostics perspective as well as in basic understanding of their regulation.  Small molecule activators of this pathway have also been shown to activate an anti-cancer immune response and thus an important use for pharmaceutical applications. However, a high throughput method to screen for such potential drugs is still not available. UC Berkeley researchers have designed a RNA-based fluorescent biosensor for directly detecting 2’3’ cGAMP. The biosensor was able to detect 2’3’ cGAMP and assay cGAS activity in vitro and thus would be useful for high throughput screening of small molecule modulators of cGAS activity.  The biosensor was sensitive enough to quantify 2’3’ cGAMP in dsDNA- stimulated mammalian cell extracts. 

Transposon Vector for Vertebrate & Invertebrate Genetic Manipulation

Background: Therapeutic delivery of genes is a rapidly evolving technique used to treat or prevent a disease at the root of the problem. The global transgenic market is currently $24B, growing at an annual projected rate of 10%. Currently, a variation of this technique is widely used on animals and crops for production of desirable proteins, but this is a heavily infiltrated market. Thus, entering the gene therapy segment is more promising and would enhance the growth of this industry.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have identified a novel transposon from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This mobile DNA sequence can insert itself into various functional genes to either cause or reverse mutations. They have successfully developed a transposon vector system that can be used in both unicellular & multicellular organisms, which can offer notable insight to improve current transgenic technologies as well as methods of gene therapy.

Markers to Identify Primary Cells from Tumor Biopsies

Researchers at UC Irvine have developed a novel immunofluorescent imaging strategy to identify cell subsets of interest, in particular cancer stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells, and other primary adherent cells from tumor biopsies.

Dielectrophoresis-Based Cell Destruction to Eliminate/Remove Unwanted Subpopulations of Cells

This invention allows for label free cell separations and cell enrichment.

NOVEL, HIGH THROUGHPUT METHOD TO MEASURE THE FUNCTIONAL ACTIVITY OF MULTIPLE KINASE ENZYMES SIMULTANEOUSLY

This invention enables the direct measurement of the comprehensive activity of multiple kinase enzymes simultaneously, thereby enabling the mapping of functional kinase networks.   

A Method For Autocatalytic Genome Editing

The CRISPR/CAS9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated genes) system has been found to be adaptable to nearly every organism studied including mammalian cells, fruit flies, and plants.  The broad adaptability of this system has lead in the past year to significant strides in refining the methodology and in the generation of many additional applications.  The innovation we propose is based solidly on existing technologies and should work in flies, mosquitos, human cells, and plants. 

SunTag: A Protein-Tagging System for Signal Amplification in Gene Expression and Fluorescence Imaging

This research tool consists of a two-vector system that can recruit an amplified biological signal to intra-cellular targets of interest.

Markers To Identify Primary Cells From Tumor Biopsies

Researchers at UC Irvine have developed a novel immunofluorescent imaging strategy to identify cell subsets of interest, in particular cancer stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells, and other primary adherent cells from tumor biopsies.

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