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4 | APRIL 15, 2017 | GENengnews.com | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801- 5215 914 740 -2100 • GENengnews.com PUBLISHER & CEO Mary Ann Liebert PRESIDENT, GEN Publishing Marianne Russell EDITOR IN CHIEF John Sterling editor@GENengnews.com GEN GROUP PUBLISHER Sande Giaccone M A N AG I N G E D I TO R Tamlyn L. Oliver P R O D U C T I O N E D I TO R Robert M. Reis S E N I O R E D I TO R Kevin Mayer T E C H N I C A L E D I TO R Patricia F. Dimond, Ph.D. T E C H N I C A L E D I TO R Jeffrey S. Buguliskis, Ph.D. S E N I O R N E W S E D I TO R Alex Philippidis E D I TO R I A L A S S I S TA N T Steven Hernacki A R T D I R E C TO R James Lambo COMMERCIAL DIREC TOR Bill Levine O N L I N E P R O D U C T M A N AG E R Thomas Mathew W E B P R O D U C E R Melinda Kucsera S A L E S A D M I N I S T R ATO R Fallon Murphy ONLINE COORDINATOR Katherine Vuksanaj GEN Editorial & Scientific Advisory Board Peter Banks, Ph.D., Scientific Director, BioTek Instruments; Roslyn Brandon, D.V.M., Ph.D., President and CEO, Immunexpress; Robert Clarke, Ph.D., President & CEO, Pulmatrix; Pete Gagnon, Project Director, Downstream Processing, Bioprocessing Technology Institute (Singapore); Uwe Gottschalk, Ph.D., CTO, Lonza Pharma & Biotech; Harry E. Gruber, M.D., CEO, Tocagen; Jin Seok Hur, Ph.D., Technology Director, Novasep; James Inglese, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences NIH; Guenter Jagschies, Senior Director, GE Healthcare Life Sciences; Peter Johnson, M.D., Principal, MedSurgPI; Anis H. Khimani, Ph.D., Head of Strategy & Marketing, Research Reagent Solutions, PerkinElmer; Mikael Kubista, Ph.D., Biotechnology Institute, Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic; Peter Levison, Senior Marketing Director, Downstream Processing, Pall Life Sciences; Jan Lichtenberg, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, InSphero; Miodrag Micic, Sc.D., Ph.D., Professor and Department Chairman, Cerritos College; Eric Schadt, Ph.D., Director, Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology; Zhiwei Song, Ph.D., Scientist, National University of Singapore; Sumio Sugano, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Medical Genomics, University of Tokyo; John Talley, Ph.D., CSO, SARmont; Bin Wang, Ph.D., Professor, Principal Investigator, Fudan University Shanghai Medical College; Daniel I. C. 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All advertisements are subject to review by the Publisher. The acceptance of advertisements does not constitute an endorsement of the product or service advertised. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (ISSN-1935-472X) is published semimonthly except July, August, and December (twenty-one issues a year) by GEN Publishing, 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215. Periodicals postage paid at New Rochelle, NY and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, c/o Subscription Department, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor, New Rochelle, New York 10801-5215. Fax: 914 740-2201. Mailed in Canada under CPC CPM #40026674. Printed in the U.S.A. For subscription information go to: www.GENengnews.com/subscription-center Copyright © 2017 by GEN Publishing, New Rochelle, NY. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is recognized as a Certified Woman-Owned Business by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). GENengnews.com Anticancer Compound Works by Impacting lncRNA Oregon State University (OSU) scientists found that sulforaphane, a dietary com- pound from broccoli that helps prevent prostate cancer, may have health benefits because it can influence long, noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Such observations are inspiring researchers to deepen their understanding of the genetics of cancer development and progression. In the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the OSU scientists argue that lncRNAs, which were once thought to be a type of "junk DNA" of no particular value or function, may play a critical role in triggering cells to become malignant and metastatic. A protein made by regulatory T (Treg) cells within the immune system triggers the brain's stem cells to mature into oligoden- drocytes that repair myelin, reports an international team of researchers. "These findings reveal a new regenerative function of Treg in the CNS, distinct from immunomodulation," the researchers wrote in Nature Neuroscience. The discovery is considered a fundamental breakthrough that could reshape the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders, as researchers develop a new class of treatments based on boosting these cells. "This is an important step forward in understanding how the brain and spinal cord are naturally repaired and opens up new therapeutic potential for myelin regeneration in patients," said the study's senior author, Denise Fitzgerald, Ph.D., a researcher at Queen's University Belfast. Countless numbers of food products use vanilla flavoring. But the overwhelming majority incorporate the chemically synthesized vanilla compound, vanillin. Creating vanilla pod-producing plants is extremely costly and labor intensive, as the orchids must be pollinated by hand. Vanillin is exponentially cheaper but generates copious wastewater. Chemists at Mumbai's Institute of Chemical Technology recently developed a greener way to generate vanillin by creating a catalyst that can isolate the flavor molecule within a boiling water bath. The catalyst can be reused multiple times, and the process doesn't produce high-pH wastewater. In the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the chemists insisted that their process is efficient and expressed confidence that it will prove to be scalable. Sticky Ends ... T-Cell Protein Triggers Myelin Regeneration Vanilla Gets Green Queen's University of Belfast Stockbyte / Getty Images Kiss of Death Initiates Degradation German researchers recently discov- ered the biological cause of obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD). According to results published in Molecular Psychiatry, the absence of the protein SPRED2 causes excessive grooming behavior in mice. Found particularly in the basal ganglia and amygdala, SPRED2 inhibits the so-called Ras/ ERK-MAP kinase cascade. Without this protein, that signal pathway allows the hyperactive signal cascade of tyrosine kinase (TrkB). This cascade can mani- fest in repetitive, intrusive thoughts, which the patient attempts to quell with repeated, ritualistic behavior, such as hand-washing and hypervigilance. The researchers were able to treat the OCD-like symptoms in mice either by antidepressants (the standard course in humans) or with a TrkB inhibitor. There are already TrkB inhibitors ap- proved for use in cancer therapy. The new findings not only show a new avenue to treat OCD, but also indicate that OCD may be linked with many types of cancer. Biological Cause of OCD Discovered Rather than inhibit its target, a small molecule drug may arrange for its target's degradation. To do so, however, the drug must set up a full-on "kiss of death." No mere peck on the cheek will engage the cell's ubiqui- tination system. This system, it turns out, might be loosed on selected proteins, provided drug prototypes can be persuaded to kiss and tell. One indiscrete prototype is MZ1, a proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) that has revealed its structural secrets to University of Dundee scientists. In the journal Nature Chemical Biology, these scientists reported that MZ1, true to its bivalent nature, binds to two macromolecules, BRD4 (a protein implicated in cancer) and E3 ubiquitin ligase. Crucially, MZ1 also folds into itself, ensuring that the macromolecules share a tight embrace. With the right tweaks, PROTACs might induce the degradation of selected targets. University of Dundee