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Trending Papers in bioengineering

The Argo: a novel brain-computer interface that contains the highest channel count in vivo neural recording system built to-date
From Paper: The Argo: A 65,536 channel recording system for high density neural recording in vivo
Sahasrabuddhe, Kunal, et al
Published: Jul 2020
  • This system is designed for cortical recordings, compatible with both penetrating and surface microelectrodes
  • The Argo system is the highest channel count in vivo neural recording system built to date, supporting simultaneous recording from 65,536 channels, sampled at over 32 kHz and 12-bit resolution
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
A novel gene therapy approach eliminates at least 90% latent herpes simplex virus 1
From Paper: Gene editing and elimination of latent herpes simplex virus in vivo
Keith R. Jerome
  • The results provide critical insights for the optimization of in vivo gene therapy against HSV, and suggest that meganuclease-mediated gene editing represents a plausible pathway toward HSV cure
  • This study evaluated the gene-editing of Herpes simplex virus (HSV) in a well-established mouse model, using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-delivered meganucleases, as a potentially curative approach to treat latent HSV infection
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Plant Synthetic Biology: Quantifying the “Known Unknowns” and Discovering the “Unknown Unknowns”
Jennifer Nemhauser
  • This paper reviews this state of the art in measuring plant signaling, using principles and tools borrowed from and inspired by engineering, as well as efforts to use this knowledge to enable rapid, rational re-engineering of plant development.
  • Sensitive, genetically encoded reporters (biosensors), in combination with emerging single-cell transcriptomics approaches, are providing increasingly detailed molecular descriptions of cells undergoing developmental transitions
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
Light powered CO2 fixation in artificial chloroplasts
From Paper: Light-powered CO2 fixation in a chloroplast mimic with natural and synthetic parts
Tobias J. Erb
Hybrid approach catches lightPlant chloroplasts enclose two major photosynthetic processes: light reactions, which generate the energy carriers adenosine triphosphate and reduced nicotinamide dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), and dark reactions, which use these molecules to fix carbon dioxide and build biomass. Miller et al. appropriated natural components, thylakoid membranes from spinach, for the light reactions and showed that these could be coupled to a synthetic enzymatic cycle that fixes carbon dioxide within water-in-oil droplets. The composition of the droplets could be tuned and optimized and the metabolic activity monitored in real time by NADPH fluorescence (see the Perspective by Gaut and Adamala). These chloroplast-mimicking droplets bring together natural and synthetic components in a small space and are amenable to further functionalization to perform complex biosynthetic tasks.Science, this issue p. 649; see also p. 587Nature integrates complex biosynthetic and energy-converting tasks within compartments such as chloroplasts and mitochondria. Chloroplasts convert light into chemical energy, driving carbon dioxide fixation. We used microfluidics to develop a chloroplast mimic by encapsulating and operating photosynthetic membranes in cell-sized droplets. These droplets can be energized by light to power enzymes or enzyme cascades and analyzed for their catalytic properties in multiplex and real time. We demonstrate how these microdroplets can be programmed and controlled by adjusting internal compositions and by using light as an external trigger. We showcase the capability of our platform by integrating the crotonyl–coenzyme A (CoA)/ethylmalonyl-CoA/hydroxybutyryl-CoA (CETCH) cycle, a synthetic network for carbon dioxide conversion, to create an artificial photosynthetic system that interfaces the natural and the synthetic biological worlds.Natural photosynthetic components power a synthetic CO2 fixation pathway in picoliter droplets.Natural photosynthetic components power a synthetic CO2 fixation pathway in picoliter droplets.
Submitted by plant biology
A new technique allows for the brain to bypass the spinal cord and directly activate skeletal muscles via EEG magnetic stimulation
  • The results show that ts-MS was able to control afferent and efferent intensity-dependent modulation of the nervous system
  • This novel brain-controlled stimulation was validated with 10 healthy participants who underwent one session including different ts-MS conditions
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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SARS-CoV-2 antigens expressed in plants detect antibody responses in COVID-19 patients
Background: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has swept the world and poses a significant global threat to lives and livelihoods, with over 16 million confirmed cases and at least 650 000 deaths from COVID-19 in the first 7 months of the pandemic. Developing tools to measure seroprevalence and understand protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is a priority. We aimed to develop a serological assay using plant-derived recombinant viral proteins, which represent important tools in less-resourced settings. Methods: We established an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using the S1 and receptor-binding domain (RBD) portions of the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2, expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana. We measured antibody responses in sera from South African patients (n=77) who had tested positive by PCR for SARS-CoV-2. Samples were taken a median of six weeks after the diagnosis, and the majority of participants had mild and moderate COVID-19 disease. In addition, we tested the reactivity of pre-pandemic plasma (n=58) and compared the performance of our in-house ELISA with a commercial assay. We also determined whether our assay could detect SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and IgA in saliva. Results: We demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulins are readily detectable using recombinant plant-derived viral proteins, in patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR. Reactivity to S1 and RBD was detected in 51 (66%) and 48 (62%) of participants, respectively. Notably, we detected 100% of samples identified as having S1-specific antibodies by a validated, high sensitivity commercial ELISA, and OD values were strongly and significantly correlated between the two assays. For the pre-pandemic plasma, 1/58 (1.7%) of samples were positive, indicating a high specificity for SARS-CoV-2 in our ELISA. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG correlated significantly with IgA and IgM responses. Endpoint titers of S1- and RBD-specific immunoglobulins ranged from 1:50 to 1:3200. S1-specific IgG and IgA were found in saliva samples from convalescent volunteers. Conclusions: We demonstrate that recombinant SARS-CoV-2 proteins produced in plants enable robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 humoral responses. This assay can be used for seroepidemiological studies and to measure the strength and durability of antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in infected patients in our setting.
Submitted by Ida Rolf
An inactivated version of the ACE2 receptor can be administered to block SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells
  • Engineered ACE2 receptor traps offer a promising route to fighting infections by SARS-CoV-2 and other ACE2-utilizing coronaviruses,
  • The most optimal ACE2 receptor traps neutralized SARS-CoV-2 pseudotyped lentivirus and authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) in the tens of ng/ml range
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Epidural spinal cord stimulation can evoke the perception of sensation from the missing limb of an amputee
From Paper: Sensory restoration by epidural stimulation of the lateral spinal cord in upper-limb amputees
  • The results show that epidural SCS has the potential to be an effective and stable approach for restoring sensation in people with upper-limb amputations
  • Restoring somatosensory feedback to people with limb amputations is crucial to improve prosthetic control
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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A novel technique allows for blue-light dependent gene expression, which will give scientists unprecedented spatial and temporal control of gene expression in animal studies
From Paper: A monogenic and fast-responding Light-Inducible Cre recombinase as a novel optogenetic switch
  • Compared to other light-inducible Cre recombinases, LiCre displayed faster and stronger activation by light as well as a lower residual activity in the dark
  • This paper reports the development of LiCre, a novel light-inducible Cre recombinase - that allows for toggleable gene expression only in tissues actively exposed to blue light
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Far-UVC light, a harmless version of ultra-violet light, neutralizes bacteria and some viruses without posing harm to human skin
From Paper: Far-UVC light: A new tool to control the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases
Airborne-mediated microbial diseases such as influenza and tuberculosis represent major public health challenges. A direct approach to prevent airborne transmission is inactivation of pathogens with low-energy UV light
Submitted by Karl Erikson
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