Recent trends in Biochemistry and Biotechnology
ADF Recent scientific era has witnessed a tremendous progression in the field of medical sciences due to development in allied fields of biotechnology and biochemistry. New techniques are constantly being introduced leading to the production of remarkable and medicinally valuable molecules, to alter hereditary traits of plants and animals, for diagnosis of various diseases and finally finding novel ways to cure them. The advancement made in the field of biotechnology has resulted in the development of a new class of potential drugs. It also helps in cloning and expression of various prophylactically important proteins and polypeptides that may be exploited in the development of newly designed subunit vaccines. In fact, both biotechnology and biochemistry have great impacts in the fields of health, food, agriculture, and the environment. RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural process that cells use to 'turn off' or silence unwanted or harmful genes. The RNA interference involves the chopping of dsRNA by an enzyme complex called Dicer into double-stranded small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules. The produced siRNA binds to an RNA-Induced Silencing Complex (RISC) which guides strand to a specific mRNA site, cleaving it so that the unwanted target protein is not produced. Besides finding its scope as a tool in molecular biology setup, mRNA interference can be exploited as a promising way to treat cancer. A key area of research in the use of RNAi for clinical applications is the development of a safe delivery method, which can rely on virosome, liposome or exosome-based delivery systems for gene therapy. Exosomes hold significant potential for developing exciting approaches in drug delivery and cancer immunotherapy. Potent tumoricidal drugs (siRNAs and chemotherapeutic compounds) are being successfully delivered preferentially to cancer cells employing bioengineered exosomes. Besides drug targeting, exosome-based therapeutic cancer vaccines have been widely tried in early-phase clinical trials. Genome editing and regulation have been made significantly easier implying various technological breakthroughs during the past decade. One recent technology has adapted the CRISPR/Cas 9 bacterial system, which has evolved as a simple, RNA-guided phenomenon for an efficient and specific genome editing and regulation in both bacteria as well as higher eukaryotes. The technology has emerged as a revolutionary tool in biomedical research and open new vistas in the treatment of genetic disorders. Taking guidance from RNA, the endonuclease Cas 9 breaks open target sequence of host genome. Imprecise repair mechanism of the generated double strand break generally ensues in insertion or deletion mutations. CRISPR mediated engineering may facilitate introduction of specific point mutations or insertions in the target DNA. Multiple genomic loci can be easily edited at the same time by using Cas9 through introduction of several sgRNAs simultaneously. The strategy can be used to generate large-scale chromosomal rearrangements. The technology has found wide scope in generation of transgenic organisms. The technology also makes it much easier to generate disease models for genetic disorders as well as diseases such as cancer, which facilitates our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of these pathological processes.
Journal of Biochemistry & Biotechnology