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MIT, Columbia U, Japanese Firms Among Recent Recipients of Cell-Based Assay-Related Patents

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been awarded US Patent No. 7,125,605, “Highly luminescent color-selective nanocrystalline materials.”
 
Inventors on the patent are Moungi Bawendi, Klavs Jensen, Bashir Dabbousi, Javier Rodriguez-Viejo, and Frederic Mikulec.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a semiconductor nanocrystal capable of light emission, and having quantum yields of greater than 30 percent.
 

 
Columbia University has been awarded US Patent No. 7,125,658, “Small protein that interacts with a ribonucleotide reductase subunit and uses thereof.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Rodney Rothstein and Xiaolan Zhao.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects an isolated Sml1 protein or a homologue thereof. The patent also describes a screening assay for identifying compounds that are capable of reducing the division rate of a cell by altering an interaction between a ribonucleotide reductase and a Sml1 protein in the cell. Specifically, the assay method comprises contacting the cell with a compound, and comparing the division rate of said cell with the division rate of the cell in the absence of the compound. This assay serves to determine whether the compound alters the interaction between the ribonucleotide reductase and the Sml1 protein of the cell, thereby reducing the cell’s division rate.
 

 
Columbia University has also been awarded US Patent No. 7,125,976, “Method of screening for agents inhibiting chloride intracellular channels.”
 
Oliver Hobert is the sole inventor listed on the patent.
 
According to its abstract, the patent describes the isolation and characterization of the exc-4 gene of Caenorhabditis elegans, and identifies exc-4 as an orthologue of the human CLIC family of chloride intracellular channels. Accordingly, the patent discloses a nucleic acid of a specific sequence, as well as recombinant vectors and host cells comprising said nucleic acid sequence. Further, the patent describes a number of screening methods to identify putative agents that inhibit vertebrate, and preferably human, CLICs using C. elegans and exc-4 inhibition as a loss-of-function model for CLIC activity. The patent further discloses a method of determining whether a specific member of the CLIC gene family is involved in tubulogenesis, where the rescue of a C. elegans exc-4 excretory cell phenotype via expression of a transgenic CLIC gene of interest indicates that the gene is involved in tubulogenesis. Finally, the patent describes a method of identifying putative vertebrate, and preferably human, CLIC inhibitors using transgenic C. elegans exc-4 mutant embryos, where expression of the transgene yields a CLIC product that rescues the exc-4 mutant phenotype.
 

 
Chisso of Osaka, Japan, has been awarded US Patent No. 7,125,697, “Luciferase and photoprotein.”
 
Satoshi Inouye is the sole inventor listed on the patent.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a polynucleotide or polynucleotides encoding Oplophorus luciferase, which is composed of 19-kDa and 35-kDa proteins, or the 19-kDa photoprotein. The patent also protects the recombinant secretional Oplophorus luciferase or the 19 kDa photoprotein encoded by the polynucleotide(s), an expression vector containing the polynucleotide(s), and a host transformed with the vector. Further, the patent describes a method for producing the recombinant Oplophorus luciferase or the photoprotein. These proteins could be recombinantly produced by culturing the host cell or by an in vitro translation system using the recombinant expression vector, the abstract states.
 

 
Nitto Denko of Osaka, Japan, has been awarded US Patent No. 7,125,709, “Culture device and method for eukaryotic cell transfection.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Yasunobu Tanaka, Lei Yu, and Shouping Ji.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a cell culture device for transfecting a eukaryotic cell. The cell culture/transfection device may be a multiwell plate or slide which has been coated with a metal salt such as CaCl2. The patent also describes methods of using the cell culture device to transfect mammalian cells and/or to monitor cell transfection. The patent also describes kits that include the cell transfection device, eukaryotic cells to be transformed, and nucleic acid for transformation.

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