In the latest round of intellectual property decisions from the US Patent & Trademark Office, Caribou Biosciences, co-founded by faculty scientist Jennifer Doudna, has been awarded intellectual property rights for CRISPR technology. The patent focuses on detecting areas in the genome that have been rearranged, versus genomic editing that would occur with the use of the associated Cas9 protein. CRISPR/Cas9 is a bacterial editing system that cuts and splices DNA sequences with unprecedented precision and speed and has become a technique used by scientists world-wide to study animal and plant cells. The patent dispute between the UC Regents and the Broad Institute was recently covered by the Los Angeles Times. More information about this recent decision can be found in The Daily Californian.
Go team science! A new animation from the DOE JGI demonstrates how the DOE Joint Genome Institute, NERSC and Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) – all national user facilities at Berkeley Lab and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science – work together, underpinning our critical research infrastructure to advance the frontiers of science, decode the Earth’s DNA, and improve our understanding of the world. Watch the video at bit.ly/UFvideoJGI on the DOE JGI Youtube channel.
New Biosynthesis Pathways for Five-Carbon Alcohol from Mevalonate Are Available For Licensing
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed two novel biosynthesis pathways for five-carbon alcohol (isopentenol or 3-methyl-3-buten-1-ol) from mevalonate that reduce the energy demand and cost of earlier applications of the mevalonate pathway by using genetically engineered host cells, whose culturing stage can happen both in anaerobic or aerobic conditions. This invention can be used in an industrial scale, even under oxygen-limited conditions. These modified pathways would be a good platform for industrial production of isopentenol which is a potential gasoline alternative and a precursor of commodity chemicals such as isoprene. Read more on the JBEI website.
Two recently licensed vaccines against bacterial meningitis contain a bacterial surface protein antigen known as Factor H binding protein (FHbp). The native form of this protein can have low thermal stability, which limits its potential use as an antigen in vaccines. After engineering a more stable Factor H binding protein antigen, scientists from UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland determined the structure of the stabilized vaccine with the help of protein crystallography at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (Beamline 5.0.1). Read more in the ALS Science Brief.
Scientists working as part of a multi-investigator ENIGMA (Ecosystems & Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies Scientific Focus Area) project have determined that protein-protein interactions occur more frequently among proteins with similar functions. The team of researchers, led by Gareth Butland in the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division, used high throughput functional genomics to study the protein-protein interactome of the model sulfate reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough. Their findings critically re-evaluate published bacterial interaction networks and establish benchmarks for high confidence protein interactomes. The manuscript can be found online at Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.