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  Section: General Biotechnology / Genes & Genetic Engineering
 
 
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Genetic Engineering for Human Welfare

 
     
 

Human Interferon Genes (HIG)
For the first time, Isaacs and Lindenmann isolated the interferon in 1957. Definition and nomenclature of interferon have been recommended by a committee of experts (Anonymous, 1980). Interferon is defined as "a protein which exerts virus non-specific antiviral activity, at least in homologous cells through cellular metabolic procedure involving the synthesis of both RNA and protein." Thus, interferon is secreted by human cells just to resist the immediate invasion by virus and multiplication of abnormal cells.

Interferon is used to cure many viral diseases such as common cold and hepatitis. It is species specific. In man there are 3 classes of interferon:

(i)

Alpha interferon (IFN-a) or leukocyte interferon (leukocytes of blood)

(ii)

Beta interferon (IFN-b) or fibroblast interferon (fibroblast of connective tissue).

(iii)

Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) or immune interferon (by lymphocytes of blood) and lymphoblastoid interferon by transformed leukocytes.

According to origin of cells they are classified into two major groups : leukocyte interferon and fibroblast interferon. Leukocyte interferon is produced on large scale but major difficulty is that mass production of IFN-a cannot be done.

In 1980, IFN-a and IFN-b were successfully produced from genetically engineered E. coli cells (by isolation of mRNA from leukocytes and fibroblasts, production of cDNA, its integration into pBR322 and incorporation and cloning into E. coli cells). Production was estimated to be about 1,000 to 100,000 molecules of IFN-b per cell. The Swedish firm, Biogene, produced IFN-a and IFN-b through recombinant DNA techniques which are now under clinical trials. It was found that genes responsible for the production of IFN- a and IFN-b had 865 and 836 nucleotides, respectively.

Later on hybrid plasmid containing cDNA of IFN-b genes was built up which needed a promoter site on plasmid to express in E. coli cells (Derynck et al, 1980). Similarly, hybrid plasmids were also prepared that contained IFN- genes with trap promoter between the leader and ribosome binding sites, so that expression of interferon could be done. Expression of both the interferon could be optimized by varying the spacing sequence between trap Shine- Dalgarno sequence and the initiator condon (Glover, 1984).

IFN-b produced by genetically engineered microorganism showed lower specific activity and decreased stability than natural one. Enhanced specific activity and stability was obtained when the cysteine at position 17 was replaced by a series of site specific mutagenesis resulting in ‘IFN-b-Ser’ molecule. It was stable for two years and well tolerant in cancer patients. Moreover, genetically engineered E. coli is reported to yield 5-10 million units/ml of IFN-b-Ser in a 200 liter batch reactor within 2-3 days of fermentation.

 

Content

Cloned genes and production of chemicals

 

Human peptide hormone genes

 

 

Insulines

 

 

Somatotropin

 

 

Somatostatin

 

 

b-endorphin

 

Human interferon genes

 

Genes for vaccines

 

 

Vaccine for hepatitis-B virus

 

 

Vaccines for Rabies virus

 

 

Vaccines for poliovirus

 

 

Vaccine for foot and mouth disease virus

 

 

Vaccines for small pox virus

 

 

Malaria vaccines

 

 

DNA vaccines

 

Genes associated with genetic diseases

 

 

Phenylketonuria

 

 

Urokinase

 

 

Thalassaemia

 

 

Hemophilia

 

Enzyme engineering

 

Commercial chemicals

Prevention, diagnosis and cure of diseases

 

Prevention of diseases

 

Diagnosis of diseases

 

 

Parasitic diseases

 

 

Monoclonal antibodies

 

 

Antenatal diagnosis

 

Gene therapy

 

 

Types of gene therapy

 

 

Methods of gene therapy

 

 

Success of gene therapy

 

 

Potential of gene delivering system

 

 

Future needs of gene therapy in India

DNA profiling (fingerprinting)

 

Methods of DNA profiling

 

Application of DNA profiling

 

 

Genetic databank

 

 

Reuniting the lost children

 

 

Solving disputed problems of parentage, identity of criminals, rapists, etc

 

 

Immigrant dispute

 

Hurdles of DNA profiling

Animal and plant improvement

 

Transgenic Farm Animals

 

Crop Improvements

 

 

Transgenic plants

 

 

Nif gene transfer

 

 

Phaseolin gene transfer

 

 

Conversion of C3 plants to C4 plants

 

 

Herbicide resistant plants

 

 

Insect pest resistant plants

 

 

Plant improvement through genetic transformation

 

Crop Protection

 

 

Use of antagonists

 

 

Use of insecticides

Abatement of pollution

 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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