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Prolume, Caliper Life Sciences, UT-Battelle, Atto Bioscience Awarded US Patents

Prolume, of Pine Top, Ariz, has been awarded US Patent 7,238,497, “Synthetic DNA encoding an orange seapen-derived green fluorescent protein with codon preference of mammalian expression systems and biosensors.”
Authors listed on the patent are Yih-Tai Chen and Longguang Cao.
According to the abstract, the patent discusses, “Synthetic versions of a full length and termini truncated humanized green fluorescent protein based on Ptilosarcus gurneyi, which have been modified to the favored or most favored codons for mammalian expression systems.” The disclosed encoded protein has 239 amino acid residues compared with the wild type P. gurneyi,which has 238 amino acids, the abstract stated.
The abstract also said that in the present invention, “A valine residue has been added at the second position from the amino terminus and codon preference bias has been changed in a majority of the wild type codons of P. gurneyi fluorescent protein. The humanized P. gurneyi green fluorescent protein is useful as a fluorescent tag for monitoring the activities of its fusion partners using imaging based approaches.”

Caliper Life Sciences has been awarded US Patent 7,238,323, “Microfluidic sequencing systems.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Michael Knapp, John Parce, Luc Bousse, and Anne Kopf-Sill.
According to the abstract, the patent provides integrated systems, apparatus, software, and methods for performing biochemical analysis, including DNA sequencing, genomic screening, purification of nucleic acids and other biological components, and drug screening. “Microfluidic devices and systems, and methods for using these devices and systems for performing a wide variety of fluid operations, are also provided,” the abstract states. The devices and systems are used in performing fluid operations which require a large number of iterative, successive, or parallel fluid manipulations, in a microscale or sealed and readily automated format.

UT-Battelle, of Oak Ridge, Tenn, has been awarded US Patent 7,238,268, “Microfluidic devices for the controlled manipulation of small volumes.”
Inventors listed on the patent are J. Michael Ramsey and Stephen Jacobson.
“A method for conducting a broad range of biochemical analyses or manipulations on a series of nano- to sub-nanoliter reaction volumes, and an apparatus for carrying out the same are disclosed in the patent,” the abstract states.
According to the abstract, the invention is implemented on a fluidic microchip to provide high serial throughput. In particular, the disclosed device is a microfabricated channel device that can manipulate nanoliter or subnanoliter reaction volumes in a controlled manner to produce results at rates of one to ten Hz per channel.
The abstract also mentioned that, “The reaction volumes are manipulated in serial fashion analogous to a digital shift register. The invention has application to such problems as screening molecular or cellular targets using single beads from split-synthesis combinatorial libraries, screening single cells for RNA or protein expression, genetic diagnostic screening at the single cell level, or performing single cell signal transduction studies.”

Atto Bioscience of Rockville, Md, has been awarded US Patent 7,238,213, “Cell-based assays employing voltage and calcium dyes.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Yong Yao, Liang Cao, Jianming Lu, and Isabel Llorente.
The patent claims “novel compositions and methods employing cyclic nucleotide-gated channels and fluorescence dyes and other indicators in detecting changes of intracellular cAMP levels, for instance in response to the stimulation of G-protein-coupled receptors,” the abstract said. According to the abstract, CNG mutants comprising one or more pore mutations that enhance sensitivity to cAMP and decrease divalent cation-mediated blockage are used in a variety of assays, including detection of the G-protein-coupled receptor activity. Also disclosed are novel dye quencher formulations that are particularly suited for cell-based assays of protein interactions.

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.