Antibodies Targeting Influenza Viruses – A Hope for Universal Vaccine

Succession of physiological stages hallmarks the transcriptomic response of fungus Aspergillus niger to lignocellulose

Gaining insights about the mechanism of lignocellulose degradation by fungi is one of the pathbreaking discoveries for renewable-based biotechnology, specifically for the production of hydrolytic enzymes. Many detailed studies are available which evaluates fungal degradation when the expression levels of CAZyme reach its peak. However, the basic understanding of how fungi survive on lignocelluloses is still under the pipeline. This paper uses Aspergillus niger to explore its responses against six different substrates playing role in biofuel production. The responses to Miscanthus were compared with wheat straw, in isolation and in combination with ionic & hydrothermal feedstock pretreatment.  A metabolic model is mapped using a thorough evaluation of genome-wide transcriptome in combination with defined targeted transcripts and protein analyses. The exposure to different substrates showed enhancement in fatty acid oxidation and lipid metabolism transcripts. Strains with deletion of farA (ortholog of the fatty acid beta-oxidation transcriptional regulator) showed the reduced expression level of genes encoding lignocelluloses degradative CAZyme, indicating the role of beta-oxidation in mediating the adaptation to lignocelluloses. Activation of novel secondary metabolite gene clusters was noticed at the later life stages which are of great consideration due to their importance in synthesis of bioactive compounds. The entire study highlights that substrate composition and structure influence plays a critical role in mediating responses of fungi to lignocellulose. The study also shows the presence of different physiological stages in fungal responses which are mostly conserved across different substrates.


Cell therapy for central nervous system disorders: Current obstacles to progress

Cell therapy for central nervous system disorders: Current obstacles to progress

No wonder there is an urgent need for new therapeutic developments having clinical application in treating the disorders associated with the central nervous system. In light of this, various studies are under pipeline which focuses on diseases like Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and many more. Developments have been carried out where cell therapy using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) have been used as a breakthrough. The use of induced pluripotent stem cells for neurorestoration through transplantation has paved a new path in the clinical applications treating neurological disorders. Besides this, iPS cells for long have served as a robust biological system for the development of various therapeutic drugs. Thus, providing deeper insights into the pathological conditions and potential mechanism for its treatment. Even after many recent advances in cell therapies using iPS, the mesenchymal stem cells derived from adult tissues remain one of the popular options as the donor for cell transplantation. In this review article, the breakthrough research made using cell therapy for neurological disorders is discussed along with a detailed understanding of the obstacles in clinical application of therapy and subsequent solutions.


Spray-Dried Hierarchical Aggregates of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles and Their Functionalization for Downstream Processing in Biotechnology.

Spray-Dried Hierarchical Aggregates of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles and Their Functionalization for Downstream Processing in Biotechnology.

Iron oxide nanoparticles are known to be used for their exorbitant properties in a multitude of fields. It has huge applications in mining industries, biomedicine, wastewater treatment, protein purification, food processing and much more. In the present study, researchers tried to unfold the understanding of iron oxide nanoparticles structuring using spray drying method. The study showed the formation of micrometer size aggregates having magnetic property comparable to that of individual nanoparticles. Besides this, researchers found that the superparamagnetic property of the multicore structure formed was not lost. The changes in the aggregates through the addition of silica-based nanoparticles in the suspension showed significant control of the resulting magnetization by altering the iron oxide content. Interestingly, it was observed that the changes in silica content to only 20% brought significant alteration in the morphology of iron oxide nanoparticles. Wherein the inflated like shape of the pure iron oxide nanoparticles was observed to be converted into a spherical structure. These aggregates with different magnetization can be separated in a column under the influence of the magnetic field provided by an attached permanent magnet. These iron oxide aggregates are coupled with a ligand containing nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) groups that can be used to purify 6-histidine tagged proteins. The present studies show the purification of protein A using this mechanism.  The major benefit of this new purification system under the influence magnetic field is the high degree of recyclability. The system can be used effectively without losing much protein.


CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing for the development of herbicide-resistant plants.

Application of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing for the development of herbicide-resistant plants.

Authors: Yun-Jeong Han, Jeong-Il Kim

The development of herbicide-resistant plants is the need of time to help the agriculture economy move ahead. Lack of this trait in plants can impact their growth during herbicide applications leading to loss of crops. Imparting herbicide-resistant traits using genetic engineering will not only help plants/ crops survive better but also control the unwanted weeds. For these reasons, researchers are developing new methods and technologies to pass on herbicide resistance traits in plants. The CRISPR/Cas9 based gene-editing technology is considered to be highly precise and effective to carry out modification at genetic levels offering great efficiency in enhancing the crops. In the present study, the researchers used CRISPR based gene-editing technology to confer herbicide-resistant traits in plants by targeting genes such as 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), acetolactate synthase (ALS), splicing factor 3B subunit 1 (SF3B1), and cellulose synthase A catalytic subunit 3 (CESA3). Besides this, researchers also added additional candidate genes to enhance the herbicide resistance properties of plants through inducing mutations using the CRISPR Cas9 gene-editing tool.


Tips for beginners to learn scientific writing skills

Tips for beginners to learn scientific writing skills

Writing and science cannot exist in isolation. Instead, you can say that it is an indispensable part of scientific research as it forms the foundation of communicating the research work. No wonder this speaks a lot about the value of learning scientific writing skills. But questions often arise like where to begin from? Should one undergo a course? Or start practicing on their own? Well, in this blog we are trying to address these questions. We are sharing some important tips and considerations that can benefit beginners as well as experienced people to improve their scientific writing skills.

Begin with daily write-ups:

One of the best ways of learning writing is ‘To Write’. You must practice every day to become good at scientific writing. Initially, it may seem complicated but once you start practicing, you will find that your skills are improving day by day. If you find difficulty in writing science-related topics, you can choose to start with topics of your choice. Doesn’t matter whether it is related to the field or not as at the initial stage you need to focus on building the habit of writing. If you are not able to give special time to your writing skills then start using opportunities in daily life. For example, use social media postings. Twitter is considered to be the best option because you have limited space to write about a thought. This forces you to present an idea in the most concise and crisp manner without losing the true essence.

Raise the right questions:

Powerful and interesting writing is characterized by properly structured content. For this, you must raise questions such as – What? Where? When? Why? Who? How?

Fetching answers to these questions at the beginning of writing will help in charting down the scientific content in a precise manner. This way, you will be able to focus on the scientific idea and demands of readers more efficiently. However, one should only raise relevant questions that help in expanding the understanding of the scientific concept.

For example: To draft a write-up on the CRISPR-Cas system, one can raise the following questions to structure the content –

  • What is the CRISPR- Cas system?
  • Why it is in the news?
  • From where the system has originated
  • How it is helping the researchers develop new techniques?
  • What are its applications?
  • What are the expected future developments?

You will notice that the answer to these questions helps to make the content well organized. To explain further, the answer to the first question can be used to introduce about the CRISPR technology, answer to subsequent questions can form the body of the article while the answer to last question (future development) can form a part of way forward, conclusion or future prospects, which end your content on a good note.

Read about what you want to write

Another important consideration to improve writing skills is extensive reading. You can read articles, blog posts, research papers and other similar content in your niche area. This will help you learn different styles and patterns followed by the writer. Try reading the same topic from multiple sources. For example, read articles on CRISPR Cas from different websites. You will understand the pattern of writing, what points to focus, and you can even get to learn some new findings.

Reading extensively about a topic of interest will help you gain a good knowledge of it, reducing the chances of misinformation. However, always read from reliable and credible sources, even if you are reading from some random source make sure to find the reference that supports the statements.

Stick to simple words

People often have a perception that a good article consists of jargons but this is not true. Instead, an article must be easy to understand, it should easily communicate the idea of a writer to the readers. For this, one should prefer using simple and less complicated words. Writing in a way that can be easily understood by readers not only fetches their attention but also comforts them with your writing style. This allows a reader to finish off the entire article, which is otherwise left unread.

Writing is an art and it takes time to gain due expertise in it but it’s not impossible. Just start writing every day, and you can see the improvement in your skills. Implement the above-mentioned points while drafting the content and writing it down. Remember every great writer once started like this, so are you. Keep aside the fear and begin the journey of building scientific writing skills, which in the future can even help you fetch good writing jobs.