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Potent And Highly Soluble Pegylated Compstatin Peptide

UCR researchers have developed novel compstatin peptides with polar amino acid extensions at the N-terminus and PEGylated extensions at the C-terminus. The new peptides have the following advantages compared to previously known compstatin peptides: (i) highly improved aqueous solubility while maintaining high inhibitory potency, and (ii) higher inhibitory efficacy against complement system activation in a human retinal pigmented epithelial cell-based assay that mimics the pathobiology of age-related macular degeneration. The combined solubility and inhibitory potency and efficacy properties render the new peptides excellent candidates to become therapeutics for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.   A potent and highly soluble compstatin peptide shown in surface representation with an 8 PEG block C-terminal extension displayed in stick form. The surface of the compstatin analog is colored according to amino acid properties: gray for hydrophobic, green for polar neutral, blue for polar positively charged, red for polar negatively charged, yellow for cysteines of the disulfide bridge, and brown for glycine. The molecular image is generated using three-dimensional coordinates from a molecular dynamics simulation trajectory.    

Peptides for Enhanced Intranasal Vaccination

Brief description not available

Splice Modulating Oligonucleotides as a Breast Cancer Therapy

UCR researchers have designed novel splice modulating oligonucleotides (SMOs) that decrease expression of the long form of the prolactin receptor, thereby significantly inhibiting the metastatic spread of breast cancer to the lungs and liver. The SMO treatment also increased central death in the primary breast tumor. These SMOs may also target metastases produced by non-prolactin receptor-expressing primary tumors since all cancer stem cells examined so far are positive for the prolactin receptor. The researchers administered SMOs to two highly aggressive metastatic models of breast cancer, BT474 human xenografts, used for testing Herceptin, and a 4T1 syngeneic mouse model, which allows testing with an intact immune system.   Fig. A shows a reduction in the number of metastatic colonies upon treatment with the UCR SMOs.       Fig. B titled "Control" is a stain of the metastatic colonies without SMO treatment. Fig. B titled "PRLR SMO" is a stain of the colonies after 40 days treatment with the UCR SMOs.

C3d-binding Biomarkers for Detection of Complement-mediated Inflammation

Background: The complement immune system is implicated in many acute and chronic inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases, including neurological (Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis), renal (lupus nephritis and glomerulonephritis), ocular (age-related macular degeneration), and systemic (lupus and rheumatoid arthritis). The complement protein C3d resides covalently attached in inflamed tissues, and it is an excellent biomarker target for complement-mediated inflammation, even at early disease stages prior to clinical manifestations.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have discovered several small chemical compounds with intrinsic fluorescence properties that bind to complement C3d. These compounds can serve as molecular biomarkers for the detection of complement activation using fluorescence imaging. The compounds can be developed to become noninvasive in vivo diagnostics of complement-mediated inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, for spatiotemporal monitoring of disease progression, and for delivering therapeutics to sites of inflammation.

Hydrogel for Improved Burn Wound Healing

Background: The US spends $25B alone on wound treatment of burns. The wound treatment market is projected to grow to $18.3B in just 4 years. Current treatments have been unsuccessful in fostering proper wound healing safe from infections. Not only do they have low efficacy, but they are very expensive to produce. The most commonly used wound dressing is a hydrogel. Hydrogels reduce pain and healing time, promotes cell proliferation and collagen deposition, and is the most appropriate for burn wounds.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a novel formulation that can be embedded into a hydrogel to significantly improve wound healing. Through successful conjugation of a peptide and polymer, stability and longevity have been enhanced. Their formulation induced a 3-fold increase in density of newly formed microvessels, greatly improving tissue quality.

A Method to Reduce the Toxicity of 3D-Printed Parts

Despite the rapid growth of 3DP industry and widespread acceptance of 3D-printed products among consumers, little has so far been done on assessing the toxicity of those products. In this technology, UCR scientists first revealed the dangerous effects of STL- (and to a lesser extent FDM-) printed parts on zebrafish embryos and then developed an easy-to-implement, industry-friendly protocol for the detoxification of 3D-printed products using UV light.

Tango Mandarin

Background: California is one of the largest citrus producers in the world, and the demand for fresh citrus fruit that is seedless or low-seeded is on the rise. W. Murcott mandarin is the currently popular mandarin cultivar that has been known worldwide for its high quality and about 2-3 million trees have been widely planted throughout California over the past decade. Unfortunately, isolation of citrus orchards have been difficult and consequently, W. murcott mandarins have become very seedy due to cross pollination by other citrus varieties. Therefore, consumer demands for mandarins that can maintain a low seed count and high-quality is increasing.  Brief Description: ‘Tango’ is a mandarin selection developed by mutation breeding and is seedless or low-seeded in all situations of cross-pollination. It is a mid- to late-season irradiated selection of W. Murcott mandarin that has a rich, sweet and juicy flavor. With a deep orange color and easy-to-peel rind, ‘Tango’ is n attractive citrus that is popular and sought-out by the citrus industry. ‘Tango’ also exhibits excellent vertical tree growth habits, which allows it to produce a large and dense crown. For multiple generations, this mandarin selection has remained true-to-type for low seed content and its other traits.

Shasta, Tahoe, Yosemite Mandarins: TDE Hybrids

Background: California is one of the largest citrus producers in the world, and the demand for fresh citrus fruit that is seedless or low-seeded is on the rise. W. Murcott mandarin is the currently popular mandarin cultivar that has been known worldwide for its high quality and about 2-3 million trees have been widely planted throughout California over the past decade. Unfortunately, isolation of citrus orchards have been difficult and consequently, W. murcott mandarins have become very seedy due to cross pollination by other citrus varieties. Therefore, consumer demands for mandarins that can maintain a low seed count and high-quality is increasing.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers developed Shasta Gold (TDE2), Tahoe Gold (TDE3) and Yosemite Gold (TDE4) mandarin hybrids. All three produce low-seeded or seedless fruit with deep orange, easy to peel rinds, and rich sweet flavor. They exhibit excellent vertical tree growth habits, which allows it to produce a large and dense crown. Tahoe matures the earliest between November - January, while Shasta and Yosemite mature later between December - March and December - January, respectively.

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