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Myriad Genetics, Emory University, Agilent Technologies


Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City, UT, has received US Patent No. 6,911,311, "Method of detecting protein-protein interactions." The patent covers an in vitro assay system for detecting protein-protein interactions and for selecting compounds capable of modulating protein-protein interactions. Particularly, the invention utilizes inteins, which are peptide sequences capable of directing protein trans-splicing in vitro. Thus, in accordance with the present invention, two hybrid fusion constructs are provided, bringing N-inteins and C-inteins to close proximity, causing protein trans-splicing takes place. As a result, the patent states, the fusion constructs are spliced, causing detectable changes in the reporter. By detecting the changes in the reporter, interactions between two test agents can be determined. The assay runs on a microarray platform where a plurality of fusion constructs are immobilized on a solid substrate to form an array of fusion constructs, the patent states.

Emory University of Atlanta, GA, has received US Patent No. 6,911,306, "TMS1 compositions and methods of use." The patent relates to the diagnosis and treatment of disorders characterized by abnormal expression profiles of the TMS1 gene. Abnormal expression profiles of TMS1 include decreased or absent expression of wild-type TMS1 mRNA and/or polypeptides, as well as expression of mutant TMS1 mRNA or polypeptides, according to the patent. The net result of such abnormal TMS1 expression profiles is a reduction in TMS1 activity, which can be accomplished by, among other things, reduced transcription from the TMS1 genomic locus, reduced translation of TMS1 mRNA, reduced production of functional TMS1 polypeptides, and increased production of mutant, including dominant negative, forms of TMS1 polypeptides. In some aspects, the invention is directed at diagnosing and treating disorders characterized by abnormally low levels of TMS1 expression products, such as TMS1 mRNA and polypeptides.

Agilent Technologies of Palo Alto, Calif. has received US Patent No. 6,909,970, "Fast microarray expression data analysis method for network exploration." The patent provides a method for determining a predictor set of features associated with a target. The method comprises the steps of selecting a predictor set of features, adding a complement to the predictor set based on a quality of prediction, checking to see if all of the features of the predictor set are repeated and then removing one feature from the predictor set. The algorithm and method repeats the steps of adding, checking and removing features until the features of the predictor set are repeated. If the features of the predictor set are repeated, the algorithm and method terminate.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.