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Cell Penetrating Peptides For Nucleic Acid And Protein Delivery In Plants

Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed methods to deliver biomolecules to plant cells using new plant-derived cell penetrating peptides (CPPs). Despite the revolution in DNA editing that the last decade has brought, plant genetic engineering has not been able to benefit to the same extent. This is due to certain challenges in plant physiology that limit the delivery of exogenous protein cargos, as required in the CRISPR-Cas9 system, primarily due to the plant cell wall. In mammalian cells, for instance, cargo delivery can be accomplished using cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) which are short peptides that facilitate the transport of cargo molecules through the plasma membrane to the cytosol. While this technology has been optimized in mammalian cells, few have studied the delivery of CPPs in plants to verify whether the cell wall is permissible to these materials. Another barrier to the use of nanotechnologies for plant biomolecule delivery is the lack of quantitative validation of successful intracellular protein delivery. The near universal dependence on confocal microscopy to validate delivery of fluorescent proxy cargoes can be inappropriate for use in plants due to various physiological plant properties, for example intrinsic autofluorescence of plant tissues. Therefore, there exists an unmet need for new materials and methods to deliver biomolecules to plant cells and to confirm the delivery of proteins of varying sizes into walled plant tissues. Stage of Research The inventors have developed methods to deliver proteins into plant cells using cell penetrating peptides which are appropriate for use with CRISPR-Cas9 technology, siRNAs, zinc-finger nucleases, TALENs, and other DNA editing methods. They have also developed a biomolecule fluorophore-based assay to accurately quantitate protein delivery to plants cells.Stage of DevelopmentResearch - in vitro 

Camellia Sinesis Rapid Growth Platform

Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed a rapid growth platform that aims to decrease crop production time, allow for tunable sensory attributes, and decrease carbon emissions.

Expression Of Heme Biosynthesis And Heme Proteins In Edible Filamentous Fungi

The inventors have overexpressed heme biosynthesis genes in edible filamentous fungi to elevate heme levels beyond the endogenous levels already produced in these organisms. Overexpression of key biosynthetic enzymes, including a Heme Regulatory Motif (HRM) mutant in ALAS, as well as ALAD, UROD, HEMC, UROD, and FC, in different combinations in the edible filamentous fungus Aspergillus oryzae NSAR1, significantly increased heme levels up to 15-fold above the non-engineered background strain, as assessed by LC-MS. The fungal biomass is red in appearance and is used in meat replacement, including burgers, filets and other whole-cut formulations, bacon, and sausages. The invention gives fungal biomass a meat-like flavor.

(SD2022-045) RUBY Plasmids: A reporter for noninvasively monitoring gene expression and plant transformation

Researchers at UC San Diego in collaboration with others have constructed a new reporter RUBY that converts tyrosine to vividly red betalain, which is clearly visible to naked eyes without the need of using special equipment or chemical treatments. They demonstrated that RUBY can be used to noninvasively monitor gene expression in plants. Furthermore, they show that RUBY is an effective selection marker for transformation events.Reporters have been widely used to visualize gene expression, protein localization, and other cellular activities, but the commonly used reporters require special equipment, expensive chemicals, or invasive treatments.

Using Escherichia coli to Produce Human Milk Oligosaccharide Lactodifucotetraose

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method for producing human milk oligosaccharide lactodifuctotetraose (LDFT) using E. coli.

Increased Microorganism Alcohol Tolerance Via Transformation of its pntAB Locus

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed microorganisms with increased alcohol tolerance by modifying the organisms’ pntAB locus through expression of one or both of its pntA/pntB genes.

(SD2019-269) Use of M3K-delta Protein for Improvement of Plant Drought and Salinity Stress Resistance

The response of plants to reduced water availability is controlled by a complex osmotic stress and abscisic acid (ABA)-dependent signal transduction network. The core ABA signaling components are snf1-related protein kinase2s (SnRK2s) which are activated by ABA-dependent inhibition of type 2C protein phosphatases and by an unknown ABA-independent osmotic stress signaling pathway. Limited water availability is one of the key factors that negatively impacts crop yields. The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) and the signal transduction network it activates, enhance plant drought tolerance through stomatal closure, and inhibition of seed germination and growth. As plants are constantly exposed to changing water conditions, reversibility and robustness of the ABA signal transduction cascade is important for plants to balance growth and drought stress resistance. Core ABA signaling components have been established the ABA receptors PYRABACTIN RESISTANCE (PYR/PYL) or REGULATORY COMPONENT OF ABA RECEPTOR (RCAR) inhibit type 2C protein phosphatases (PP2Cs) resulting in the activation of the SnRK2 protein kinases SnRK2.2, 2.3 and OST1/SnRK2.6 . However, it has remained unclear whether direct autophosphorylation or trans-phosphorylation by unknown protein kinases re-activates these SnRK2 protein kinases in response to stress. The osmotic stress sensing mechanism and upstream signal transduction mechanisms leading to SnRK2 activation remain largely unknown in plants.

Spray Dry Method for Calcium Cross-linked Alginate Encapsulation of Biological and Chemical Moieties via the Use of Chelating Agents

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a one-step spray dry calcium cross-linked alginate encapsulation process where the calcium is released from a chelating agent.

Improved Plant Regeneration Method Using GRFs, GIFs or Chimeric GRF-GIF Proteins

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Rosario in Argentina have collaborated to develop methods for improving plant regeneration efficiency using transformations via a GRF, a GIF, or a GRF-GIF chimera. 

Milk Fat Globules As A Universal Delivery System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed methods that utilize molecules encapsulated in milk fat globules and plant oleosomes to deliver bioactive compounds for a variety of applications.

Improved Cas12a Proteins for Accurate and Efficient Genome Editing

Mutated versions of Cas12a that remove its non-specific ssDNA cleavage activity without affecting site-specific double-stranded DNA cutting activity. These mutant proteins, in which a short amino acid sequence is deleted or changed, provide improved genome editing tools that will avoid potential off-target editing due to random ssDNA nicking.

Tracking Diet And Nutrition with a Wearable Bio-Iot

Faculty at UC Irvine have invented a wearable biosensor that quantifies macronutrients such as sugar, salt, fat, protein, and water consumed by the wearer.  It may be used much like a fitness tracker for self-monitoring and promotion of healthy dietary choices.

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.

Portable waterborne pathogen detector

The inventors at the University of California, Irvine, have developed an automated, easy-to-use digital PCR system that can be used at the time of sample collection, making it highly effective in microbial pathogen analysis in resource-limited settings and extreme conditions.

A Method For Screening Drugs, Nutritional Supplements And Probiotics For Their Ability To Enhance Or Disrupt The Gut Barrier

The gut is a complex environment; the gut mucosa maintains immune homeostasis under physiological circumstances by serving as a barrier that restricts access of trillions of microbes, diverse microbial products, food antigens and toxins to the largest immune system in the body. The gut barrier is comprised of a single layer of epithelial cells, bound by cell-cell junctions, and a layer of mucin that covers the epithelium. Loosening of the junctions induced either by exogenous or endogenous stressors, compromises the gut barrier and allows microbes and antigens to leak through and encounter the host immune system, thereby generating inflammation and systemic endotoxemia. An impaired gut barrier (e.g. a leaky gut) is a major contributor to the initiation and/or progression of various chronic diseases including, but not limited to, metabolic endotoxemia, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity, atherosclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Despite the growing acceptance of the importance of the gut barrier in diseases, knowledge of the underlying mechanism(s) that reinforce the barrier when faced with stressors is incomplete, and viable and practical strategies for pharmacologic modulation of the gut barrier remain unrealized.

Rapid, Portable And Cost-Effective Yeast Cell Viability And Concentration Analysis Using Lensfree On-Chip Microscopy And Machine Learning

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a new portable device to rapidly measure yeast cell viability and concentration using a lab-on-chip design.

Update To Degradable Trehalose Glycopolymers

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have designed an improved version of trehalose-based glycopolymer as a degradable alternative to PEG for the purpose of stabilizing a protein during storage and transport.

Xylosyl-Xylitol Oligomers And Their Microbial And Enzymatic Productions

Lignocellulosic biomass derived from plant cell walls is the most abundant raw material for biofuels and renewable chemicals production.  Hemicellulose comprises about 30% of the total weight of lignocellulosic biomass. In contrast to cellulose, hemicellulose components are readily depolymerized into short oligomers and released into the liquid phase during pretreatment.  It is of great interest to convert the released hemicellulose components into fuels or other value-add chemicals for building an economical biomass conversion process. There are ten times more microorganisms than human cells in a healthy adult.  The symbiosis between the microbiome and human organs is increasingly recognized as a major player in health and well-being.  Xylooligosaccharides and xylitol, both derived from hemicellulose, can benefit gut flora and oral flora, respectively. Xylooligosaccharides (XOS, also called xylodextrins) are naturally occurring oligosaccharides, found in bamboo shoots, fruits, vegetables, milk and honey.  Industrial scale production of XOS can be carried out with much less expensive lignocellulosic materials by hydrothermal treatment or enzymatic hydrolysis.  A broad range of applications of XOS have been demonstrated, including as functional food, prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal infections, animal feed for fish and poultry, agricultural yield enhancer and ripening agent, and as active agents against osteoporosis, pruritus cutaneous, otitis, and skin and hair disorders.  In the current market, the most important applications of XOS correspond to ingredients for functional foods as a prebiotic, or formulated as synbiotics. XOS has been shown to promote beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis growth in vitro and in vivo.  It has been estimated that the prebiotics market will reach $4.8 billion by 2018. Xylitol is another hemicellulose-derived compound beneficial to human health.  For many bacteria and yeasts, the uptake of non-utilizable xylitol interferes with hexose utilization, which helps the human body to rebuild a healthy microbiome.  Xylitol has been used to prevent middle ear infections and tooth decay.  In addition, xylitol possesses 33% fewer calories but similar sweetness compared to sucrose and has been widely used as a substitute sweetener.  While chemical hydrogenation of xylose remains the major industrial method of xylitol production, microbial fermentation has become more popular in the newly built plants due to lower conversion cost. There exists a need for improved methods of producing xylooligosaccharides and related compounds, such as xylooligosaccharides with xylitol components.    UC researchers discovered a new set of fungal metabolic intermediates, named xylosyl-xylitol oligomers and developed the enzymatic and microbial fermentation method to produce such compounds. The detection and purification methods have also been developed.

A Micro/Nanobubble Oxygenated Solutions for Wound Healing and Tissue Preservation

Soft-tissue injuries and organ transplantation are common in modern combat scenarios. Organs and tissues harvested for transplantation need to be preserved during transport, which can be very difficult. Micro and nanobubbles (MNBs) offer a new technology that could supply oxygenation to such tissues prior to transplantation, thus affording better recovery and survival of patients. Described here is a novel device capable of producing MNB solutions that can be used to preserve viability and function of such organs/tissue. Additionally, these solutions may be used with negative pressure wound therapy to heal soft-tissue wounds.

Novel Synthesis of 2,5- Dimethylfuran from 5- (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5- dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5- (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF).

Development Of Biodegradable Bait Station For Liquid Ant Bait

Background: Current bait station designs and other pest control tools are not very ideal nor advanced – they leak, become excessively hydrated or dehydrated, and need frequent maintenance. The global pest control services market is expected to grow annually at 5.3% and the industry is always looking for unique ways to conquer them.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a novel, protected bait station that has controlled liquid bait release. The compact design contains a sugary, insecticide liquid bait that diffuses through an absorbent polymer or gel matrix. Only ants have access to the station and once an ant consumes the bait, the station biodegrades thus eliminating bait station cleanup.

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