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Science, Gentra Systems, MiraiBio, Biological Microchip Center, Inpharmatica, Serono, Gene Logic


Science Paper Describes Novel Protein Microarray Technique

A Purdue professor has found a technique to use mass spectrometry to quickly isolate and separate pure protein ions, which can then be placed on a surface to create protein microarrays.

The method described by R. Graham Cooks, a professor of analytical chemistry at Purdue University, in “Preparing Protein Microarrays by Soft Landing of Mass- Selected Ions,” published in the online edition of Science on Aug. 13, uses mass spectrometry to produce protein microarrays using the “soft-landing” technique. Mass spec is used to identify and isolate the proteins, which are then deposited onto another surface to create a protein chip.

The research that produced the paper was sponsored by Inproteo, a partnership between Indiana University, Purdue University, and Eli Lilly.

“This technique, when fully developed, will allow us to take hundreds of proteins from a cell without damaging them,” Cooks, a professor of analytical chemistry in Purdue’s School of Science, said in a statement. “We can then deposit these proteins in specific locations on a chip, where their functions can be analyzed quickly. We hope this chip-making instrument will streamline proteomics research.”

Still to be determined is the viability of the proteins that are yielded by the process.

Gentra and MiraiBio Enter Distribution Pact

Gentra Systems of Minneapolis and MiraiBio of Alameda, Calif., has signed a multi-year agreement to distribute Autopure LS the high-throughput DNA purification platform manufactured by Gentra Systems. The companies said the agreement includes the US and other territories in the Americas. Other financial details were not provided. MiraiBio is a subsidiary of Hitachi Software Engineering. In a joint statement, the companies said they intend to explore additional opportunities by collaborating on new instruments and sample preparation reagents.

Russian Scientists Zoom in on TB Microarrays

A research project conducted by scientists of the Biological Microchip Center of the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow, and managed by International Science & Technology Center in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Infectious Diseases of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking to produce an inexpensive technology for the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

The project, “Biochip application in TB diagnostics for fast discrimination and strain typing of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Russia,” has already allowed researchers to identify strains of TB within 24 to 48 hours and has also showed promise in the identification of other orthopox viruses.

Preliminary studies by EIMB showed that the TB biochips allow accurate identification of at least 30 TB mutations.

The TB chip contains up to 50 oligonucleotide probes, each copolymerized in a separate gel pad. Instrumentation includes fluorescence microscope optics, a CCD camera, and software.

Inpharmatica and Serono Extend Deal

Inpharmatica of London announced an extension of a two-year collaboration with Serono to identify novel proteins, following the first milestone payment from Serono after delivery of over 150 putative proteins.

Financial details were not provided.

The two companies entered into a collaboration in 2001 and expanded it in January 2002.

Gene Logic Lends a Hand — and a Database — to FDA Microarray Standard Effort

As part of an ongoing effort to encourage the submission of microarray-based toxicogenomic and pharmacogenomics data in the drug approval process, the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has enlisted the aid of Gene Logic in a project to create a “reference standard” of genes that are reproducible across platforms and tissue types.

Gene Logic is the latest FDA collaborator in an initiative that so far involves Affymetrix, Rosetta Inpharmatics, Iconix, and FDA’s National Center for Toxicologic Research.

FDA researchers are mining Rosetta’s and Iconix’s databases to select sets of rat tissues from the Affymetrix, Amersham, and Agilent microarray platforms that have the greatest number of unique genes between them to create mixed tissue samples.

Gene Logic will then analyze these tissue samples against its database of expression data from control and vehicle-treated samples and rank the genes according to their variance of expression by tissue type — liver, heart, kidney, and testes.

The FDA plans to make publicly available the final reference set of genes by June.


The Scan

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.

DNA Biobank Developed for French Kidney Donors, Recipients

The KiT-GENIE biobank described in the European Journal of Human Genetics contains DNA samples, genotyping profiles, immune patterns, and clinical features for thousands of kidney donors or transplant recipients in Nantes, France.

Cardiometabolic Disease May Have Distinct Associations With Microbial Metabolites in Blood, Gut

By analyzing gut microbes in combination with related metabolites in feces and blood, researchers in Nature Communications found distinct cardiometabolic disease relationships at each site.

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.