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Expressing Multiple Genes From A Single Transcript In Algae And Plants

Green algae have been promoted as vehicles for the production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, food additives, vaccines, and for toxic substance remediation, and many plants are the focus of efforts to produce drought tolerant, pest resistant, or more nutritious crops. Many of these engineering efforts rely on expression of multiple transgenes (e.g. in a multistep metabolic pathway to avoid accumulation of a toxic intermediate). It can also be useful to produce two or more proteins in a particular stoichiometry, as in a heterodimer that requires equimolar production of two polypeptides. Whether the goal is to express one transgene, or several, most efforts to transform plants and algae require cotransformation of the gene of interest with a selectable marker, such as a gene that confers resistance to a drug or herbicide, or complements an auxotrophy. Unfortunately, commonly used methods for co-transformation of algae and other plants are very inefficient. UC Berkeley investigators have developed a method for polycistronic gene expression,  and show how to achieve this using the organism's own sequences, without recourse to viral elements or other foreign elements, which is important for any technology where bioproducts are generated, since these may be used on humans (cosmetics) or in humans (food additives), especially crop technology.

System For Determining Trademark Similarity

Many areas of intellectual property law involve subjective judgments regarding confusion or similarity. For example, in trademark or trade dress lawsuits a key factor considered by the court is the degree of visual similarity between the trademark or product designs under consideration. Such similarity judgments are nontrivial, and may be complicated by cognitive factors such as categorization, memory, and reasoning that vary substantially across individuals. Currently, three forms of evidence are widely accepted: visual comparison by litigants, expert witness testimonies, and consumer surveys. All three rely on subjective reports of human responders, whether litigants, expert witnesses, or consumer panels. Consequently, all three forms of evidence potentially share the criticism that they are subject to overt (e.g. conflict of interest) or covert (e.g. inaccuracy of self-report) biases.To address this situation, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a technology that directly measures the mental state of consumers when they attend to visual images of consumer products, without the need for self-report measures such as questionnaires or interviews. In so doing, this approach reduces the potential for biased reporting.  

Contextual Augmentation Using Scene Graphs

Spatial computing experiences are constrained by the real-world surroundings of the user.  In such experiences, augmenting virtual objects to existing scenes require a contextual approach, where geometrical conflicts are avoided, and functional and plausible relationships to other objects are maintained in the target environment.  Yet, due to the complexity and diversity of user environments, automatically calculating ideal positions of virtual content that is adaptive to the context of the scene is considered a challenging task.    UC researchers have developed a framework which augments scenes with virtual objects using an explicit generative model to learn topological relationship from priors extracted from a real-world and/or synthetic 3D datasets.  Primarily designed for spatial computing applications, SceneGen extracts features from rooms into a novel spatial representation which encapsulates positional and orientational relationships of a scene which captures pairwise topology between objects, object groups, and the room.  The AR application iteratively augments objects by sampling positions and orientations across a room to create a probabilistic heat map of where the object can be placed.  By placing objects in poses where the spatial relationships are likely, we are able to augment scenes that are realistic. 

Search And Recommendation Process For Identifying Useful Boundaries In Virtual Communication Settings

Advances in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) headsets and displays have introduced alternative systems of immersive and context aware communications platforms.  However, one key factor that can cause a major bottleneck in future AR/VR communication is the limited space surrounding the user in the real world.  In Augmented Reality, unlimited spatial data can be imported to the user’s current surrounding.  Many of these virtual objects do not hold spatial limitations to themselves and are only restricted to the user’s real world surrounding constraints.  They can be visualized, augmented and placed anywhere necessary in the space, as long as they are within the users’ environmental boundaries.   However, this one-way spatial limitation between virtual and real objects does not always apply in communication applications where two or more users, all having spatial discrete constraints, are interacting with each other in a spatial setting.  All parties of the tele-conference (or other communication methods) hold unique spatial limitations (room size, furniture settings, etc.) and consequently their virtual doubles or Avatars may not be able practice the same spatial relationship and arrangement between the real-world spaces and their corresponding boundaries for all parties.  This would result in misalignment of head and body gestures, spatial sound errors and other micro expression errors due to the incorrect positioning of each member of the virtual call.   UC researchers have developed a search and recommendation process which can identify mutual accessible boundaries of all the parties of a communication setting (AR conference calls, virtual calls, tele-immersion, etc.) and provide each user the exact location to position itself and where to move surrounding objects so that all parties of the call can hold a similar spatial relationship to each other with minimum effort.  Such process would allow all members of the virtual call to augment other members in their own spaces, by considering the spatial limitations of all participants in the virtual/augmented reality call.    The process facilitates promoting remote communication in all consumer levels, in both commercial and personal settings.  It would also benefit remote workplace procedures, allowing workers and employees to communicate efficiently together, without accessing large commercial spaces.  Preserving micro-gestures and expressions in another feature of this process, maintaining different attributions of social interactions and effective communications.

Neuronal S1PR3: A Biomarker And Therapeutic Target For Acute And Chronic Itch

S1PR3 activation via its endogenous ligand (S1P) or a specific agonist evokes dose-dependent acute itch. S1PR3 activation via S1P at high doses evokes thermal but not mechanical pain. S1PR3 is expressed by a subset of nociceptors and pruriceptors which express the TRPA1 and TRPV1 ion channels, known to transduce itch and pain. S1PR3 activation evokes neuronal excitability via its stimulating actions on TRPA1 and TRPV1. S1PR3 activation evokes itch via TRPA1 and pain via TRPV1. S1PR3 gene expression is elevated in skin and sensory neurons in a mouse model of atopic dermatitis (eczema).  

Homoallylamines As Formaldehyde-Responsive Triggers With Imaging Applications

The invention concerns the use of homoallylamines which undergo a 2-aza-Cope reaction upon condensation with formaldehyde (FA) which can be coupled to a ftuorogenic, colorimetric, or biolurninescent response. Traditional methods for biological FA detection rely on sample destruction and/or extensive processing, resulting in a loss of spatiotemporal information. The invention, as showcased by the tw'! chemical probes FAP-1 and FP-1, enables detection of biological FA with high selectivity in aqueous buffer and in living samples in a non-invasive manner. The hornoallylamine trigger can be generalized to cage a large variety of different fluorophores, chromophores, and bioluminescent molecules (e.g. tuciferin). 

Neutrophilic CXCR2 and BLT1: Therapeutic Targets for Acute Itch and Eczema

The inventors have demonstrated that CXCL1, a neutrophil chemoattractant and natural ligand for CXCR2, robustly induces itch when injected subcutaneously in mice. CXCL1 is the mouse homologue for human Interleukin-8, which is increased in several inflammatory skin disorders, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. The inventors have demonstrated that IL8 is increased in primary human keratinocytes upon activation by multiple itch agonists. Importantly, CXCL1-induced itch is entirely dependent on neutrophils. Further, mice lacking TRPA1 show reduced itch responses to CXCL1, and TRPA1 has previously been implicated in several forms of histamine-independent acute and chronic itch. In addition, loss of TRPA1 results in reduced CXCL1 expression in skin. Blocking/ablation of the high-affinity LTB4 receptor, BLT1, also results in reduction of CXCL1-induced itch. Both LTB4 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced by neutrophils and have been proposed to directly activate neurons and induce itch. The inventors show that neutrophils also play a key role in chronic itch. In a mouse model of atopic dermatitis, depletion of neutrophils during induction of itch drastically reduces itch  and inflammatory responses. The inventors also show that CXCL1 is increased in multiple mouse models of chronic itch, and LTB4 is increased in skin of mice with atopic dermatitis. They propose that neutrophils activate sensory neurons through the ion channel TRPA1 in a CXCL1/BLT1/LTB4-dependent fashion.

Small Molecule Endosomal Disruptor for Biotherapeutic Delivery

The inventors have developed a new endosomolytic molecule, termed ED, for the intracellular delivery of macromolecule therapeutics. This is the first example of a small molecule that can perform endosomal disruption. The compound was designed with polyethylene glycol (PEG) moieties, which mask the hydrophobic membrane-disruptive portion of the molecule. Upon entering the endosomal compartment (pH~5) the acetal group hydrolyzes and triggers endosomal disruption, allowing cytosolic release of any co-delivered therapeutics. The membrane disruptive ability of ED was shown to be acid-dependent. Kinetic studies confirmed the pH-dependent hydrolysis with half-lives of >4h and 2.5 min at pH 7.4 and 5.0, respectively. This allows selective disruption of endosomal membrane compartments. Protein delivery was demonstrated using Saporin, a ribosome inactivation protein that has no mechanism of endosomal disruption3, and its toxic effect is therefore dependent on induced cytosolic delivery. Addition of 5 mg/mL endosomal disruptor to 10μg/mL Saporin in HEK293T cells caused complete cell death, compared to no cell death in cells treated with only Saporin or only ED.