Phage-Assisted Continuous Evolution
Researchers have demonstrated that phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE) can accelerate the development of therapeutic proteins for use in fighting cancer.
The evolution takes place in lagoons
(small red-capped bottles) that have been
seeded with bacteria-infecting viruses.
Bacteria flow in with the help of pumps
(on shelf) and then immediately flow out
into a waste container (clear rectangular tub).)
Most traditional pharmaceutical agents are small molecules, but a number of promising new therapies are based on macromolecules, such as proteins. So-called "directed evolution" gives scientists a way to adapt a naturally occurring macromolecule to perform a specific therapeutically useful function, such as bind to a cancer-linked protein.
"For some applications, the speed of conventional protein evolution is a bottleneck," says David Liu, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University and senior author of a paper describing the new technique in Nature. "Efforts to create proteins with tailor-made properties will be maximally useful if methods to create them can operate on a truly practical timescale..."
The new method also eliminates the cumbersome need for scientists to screen the entire library for successful variants during each round of evolution. PACE links the desired function to the production of a substance that the virus can't thrive without. If a single virus comes up with a version of the target protein that performs the desired function, that virus can complete its life cycle—which means its offspring will go on to infect other E. coli and continue the cycle. Subsequent rounds of evolution progress continually, automatically, and—because M13 has a life cycle of just 10 minutes—extremely quickly.
This idea is reminded me of a technique described by award-winning sf author Theodore Sturgeon in his classic 1941 story Microcosmic God. Sturgeon made use of tiny, short-lived creatures called Neoterics to solve problems for his protagonist, who put them under life-and-death pressure to force them to work for him.
Via Technology Review.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/19/2011)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
tDCS Jumpstarts Your Future
'We invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses…'- Edmond Hamilton, 1948.
RealView Interactive Live Medical Holography
Surgeons can see an organ in its entirety in a live image.
Child Trafficked To Britain By Organleggers
'The doctor took him apart with exquisite care, like disassembling a flexible, fragile, tremendously complex jigsaw puzzle.'- Larry Niven, 1967.
Google Vs. Death
Who wants to live forever?
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Haute Cuisine On International Space Station
'The gas gave sufficient heat for the culinary apparatus...'
Tongue Mouse Created By Valve Engineer
'He pressed hard with his tongue against his right upper first molar.'
K5 Autonomous Data Machine The Future Of Mall Security
''Halt!' A robot guard appeared...'
RF Safe-Stop Shuts Cars Off
'...a police control-override.'
Army's New Bird-Like Surveillance UAV
'The prototype blue-bellied, gray-backed tracer-bird with the wide-angle eye...'
Honda's Tumblebug - The UNI-CUB beta
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'
NASA's LADEE Enters Lunar Orbit
'... dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'
3D Printing An Entire Car
"... Almost as good as the original it was printed from."
Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost
'See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...'
Google's Skin Tattoo Lie Detector
'Three and a half centimetres in diameter, permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'
inFORM Dynamic Shape Output Device
Like that pushpin device you remember, but supercharged.
Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire...'
Robert Heinlein, Your Personal Electric Helicopter Will Be Ready In 2016
"They were half way home when a single flyer, hopping free in a copter harness, approached the little parade."
WildCat Runs Faster Than You, Untethered
'...moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-grey smoke blown at him in silence.' Almost.
HiBot's ACM-R5H Robot Video Shows Graceful Terminator-Style Swimming
'No! No! Aaaaaaarrrrrrgh!'
tDCS Jumpstarts Your Future
'We invented a scanner that can change the labyrinthine neural connections of the brain by tiny electronic impulses...'.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories