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Buyel J.F.,RWTH Aachen | Buyel J.F.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Fischer R.,RWTH Aachen | And 2 more authors.
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2017

Gene technology has facilitated the biologization of manufacturing, i.e. the use and production of complex biological molecules and systems at an industrial scale. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are currently the major class of biopharmaceutical products, but they are typically used to treat specific diseases which individually have comparably low incidences. The therapeutic potential of mAbs could also be used for more prevalent diseases, but this would require a massive increase in production capacity that could not be met by traditional fermenter systems. Here we outline the potential of plants to be used for the very-large-scale (VLS) production of biopharmaceutical proteins such as mAbs. We discuss the potential market sizes and their corresponding production capacities. We then consider available process technologies and scale-down models and how these can be used to develop VLS processes. Finally, we discuss which adaptations will likely be required for VLS production, lessons learned from existing cell culture-based processes and the food industry, and practical requirements for the implementation of a VLS process. © 2017 The Authors.

Lee K.L.,Case Western Reserve University | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Steinmetz N.F.,Case Western Reserve University
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology | Year: 2016

Nanoscale engineering is revolutionizing the development of vaccines and immunotherapies. Viruses have played a key role in this field because they can function as prefabricated nanoscaffolds with unique properties that are easy to modify. Viruses are immunogenic via multiple pathways, and antigens displayed naturally or by engineering on the surface can be used to create vaccines against the cognate virus, other pathogens, specific molecules or cellular targets such as tumors. This review focuses on the development of virus-based nanoparticle systems as vaccines indicated for the prevention or treatment of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, cancer, and addiction. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2016, 8:554–578. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1383. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Laibach N.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Post J.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Gronover C.S.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Biotechnology | Year: 2014

Plant cytosolic lipid droplets are storage organelles that accumulate hydrophobic molecules. They are found in many tissues and their general structure includes an outer lipid monolayer with integral and associated proteins surrounding a hydrophobic core. Two distinct types can be distinguished, which we define here as oleosin-based lipid droplets (OLDs) and non-oleosin-based lipid droplets (NOLDs). OLDs are the best characterized lipid droplets in plants. They are primarily restricted to seeds and other germinative tissues, their surface is covered with oleosin-family proteins to maintain stability, they store triacylglycerols (TAGs) and they are used as a source of energy (and possibly signaling molecules) during the germination of seeds and pollen. Less is known about NOLDs. They are more abundant than OLDs and are distributed in many tissues, they accumulate not only TAGs but also other hydrophobic molecules such as natural rubber, and the structural proteins that stabilize them are unrelated to oleosins. In many species these proteins are members of the rubber elongation factor superfamily. NOLDs are not typically used for energy storage but instead accumulate hydrophobic compounds required for environmental interactions such as pathogen defense. There are many potential applications of NOLDs including the engineering of lipid production in plants and the generation of artificial oil bodies. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Sanahuja G.,University of Lleida | Farre G.,University of Lleida | Berman J.,University of Lleida | Zorrilla-Lopez U.,University of Lleida | And 5 more authors.
Nutrition Research Reviews | Year: 2013

The biofortification of staple crops with vitamins is an attractive strategy to increase the nutritional quality of human food, particularly in areas where the population subsists on a cereal-based diet. Unlike other approaches, biofortification is sustainable and does not require anything more than a standard food-distribution infrastructure. The health-promoting effects of vitamins depend on overall intake and bioavailability, the latter influenced by food processing, absorption efficiency and the utilisation or retention of the vitamin in the body. The bioavailability of vitamins in nutritionally enriched foods should ideally be adjusted to achieve the dietary reference intake in a reasonable portion. Current vitamin biofortification programmes focus on the fat-soluble vitamins A and E, and the water-soluble vitamins C and B9 (folate), but the control of dosage and bioavailability has been largely overlooked. In the present review, we discuss the vitamin content of nutritionally enhanced foods developed by conventional breeding and genetic engineering, focusing on dosage and bioavailability. Although the biofortification of staple crops could potentially address micronutrient deficiency on a global scale, further research is required to develop effective strategies that match the bioavailability of vitamins to the requirements of the human diet. © The Author 2013.

Vamvaka E.,University of Lleida | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Christou P.,University of Lleida | Christou P.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Capell T.,University of Lleida
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2014

The population of sub-Saharan Africa is at risk from multiple, poverty-related endemic diseases. HIV and malaria are the most prevalent, but they disproportionately affect different groups of people, i.e. HIV predominantly affects sexually-active adults whereas malaria has a greater impact on children and pregnant women. Nevertheless, there is a significant geographical and epidemiological overlap which results in bidirectional and synergistic interactions with important consequences for public health. The immunosuppressive effects of HIV increase the risk of infection when individuals are exposed to malaria parasites and also the severity of malaria symptoms. Similarly, acute malaria can induce a temporary increase in the HIV viral load. HIV is associated with a wide range of opportunistic infections that can be misdiagnosed as malaria, resulting in the wasteful misuse of antimalarial drugs and a failure to address the genuine cause of the disease. There is also a cumulative risk of toxicity when antiretroviral and antimalarial drugs are given to the same patients. Synergistic approaches involving the control of malaria as a strategy to fight HIV/AIDS and vice versa are therefore needed in co-endemic areas. Plant biotechnology has emerged as a promising approach to tackle poverty-related diseases because plant-derived drugs and vaccines can be produced inexpensively in developing countries and may be distributed using agricultural infrastructure without the need for a cold chain. Here we explore some of the potential contributions of plant biotechnology and its integration into broader multidisciplinary public health programs to combat the two diseases in developing countries. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Muller B.,University of Munster | Groscurth S.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Menzel M.,Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials | Ruping B.A.,University of Munster | And 4 more authors.
Annals of Botany | Year: 2014

Background and Aims: Forisomes are specialized structural phloem proteins that mediate sieve element occlusion after wounding exclusively in papilionoid legumes, but most studies of forisome structure and function have focused on the Old World clade rather than the early lineages. A comprehensive phylogenetic, molecular, structural and functional analysis of forisomes from species covering a broad spectrum of the papilionoid legumes was therefore carried out, including the first analysis of Dipteryx panamensis forisomes, representing the earliest branch of the Papilionoideae lineage. The aim was to study the molecular, structural and functional conservation among forisomes from different tribes and to establish the roles of individual forisome subunits. Methods Sequence analysis and bioinformatics were combined with structural and functional analysis of native forisomes and artificial forisome-like protein bodies, the latter produced by expressing forisome genes from different legumes in a heterologous background. The structure of these bodies was analysed using a combination of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the function of individual subunits was examined by combinatorial expression, micromanipulation and light microscopy. Key Results Dipteryx panamensis native forisomes and homomeric protein bodies assembled from the single sieve element occlusion by forisome (SEO-F) subunit identified in this species were structurally and functionally similar to forisomes from the Old World clade. In contrast, homomeric protein bodies assembled from individual SEO-F subunits from Old World species yielded artificial forisomes differing in proportion to their native counterparts, suggesting that multiple SEO-F proteins are required for forisome assembly in these plants. Structural differences between Medicago truncatula native forisomes, homomeric protein bodies and heteromeric bodies containing all possible subunit combinations suggested that combinations of SEO-F proteins may fine-tune the geometric proportions and reactivity of forisomes. Conclusions: It is concluded that forisome structure and function have been strongly conserved during evolution and that species-dependent subsets of SEO-F proteins may have evolved to fine-tune the structure of native forisomes. © 2014 The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

Farre G.,John Innes Center | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Christou P.,University of Lleida | Christou P.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | And 2 more authors.
Current Opinion in Biotechnology | Year: 2015

Plant metabolic pathways are complex and often feature multiple levels of regulation. Until recently, metabolic engineering in plants relied on the laborious testing of ad hoc modifications to achieve desirable changes in the metabolic profile. However, technological advances in data mining, modeling, multigene engineering and genome editing are now taking away much of the guesswork by allowing the impact of modifications to be predicted more accurately. In this review we discuss recent developments in knowledge-based metabolic engineering strategies, that is the gathering and mining of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic data to generate models of metabolic pathways that help to define and refine optimal intervention strategies. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Masip G.,University of Lleida | Sabalza M.,University of Lleida | Perez-Massot E.,University of Lleida | Banakar R.,University of Lleida | And 6 more authors.
Trends in Plant Science | Year: 2013

European Union (EU) agricultural policy has been developed in the pursuit of laudable goals such as a competitive economy and regulatory harmony across the union. However, what has emerged is a fragmented, contradictory, and unworkable legislative framework that threatens economic disaster. In this review, we present case studies highlighting differences in the regulations applied to foods grown in EU countries and identical imported products, which show that the EU is undermining its own competitiveness in the agricultural sector, damaging both the EU and its humanitarian activities in the developing world. We recommend the adoption of rational, science-based principles for the harmonization of agricultural policies to prevent economic decline and lower standards of living across the continent. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Buyel J.F.,RWTH Aachen | Buyel J.F.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Fischer R.,RWTH Aachen | Fischer R.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2015

Plants offer the tantalizing prospect of low-cost automated manufacturing processes for biopharmaceutical proteins, but several challenges must be addressed before such goals are realized and the most significant hurdles are found during downstream processing (DSP). In contrast to the standardized microbial and mammalian cell platforms embraced by the biopharmaceutical industry, there are many different plant-based expression systems vying for attention, and those with the greatest potential to provide inexpensive biopharmaceuticals are also the ones with the most significant drawbacks in terms of DSP. This is because the most scalable plant systems are based on the expression of intracellular proteins in whole plants. The plant tissue must therefore be disrupted to extract the product, challenging the initial DSP steps with an unusually high load of both particulate and soluble contaminants. DSP platform technologies can accelerate and simplify process development, including centrifugation, filtration, flocculation, and integrated methods that combine solid-liquid separation, purification and concentration, such as aqueous two-phase separation systems. Protein tags can also facilitate these DSP steps, but they are difficult to transfer to a commercial environment and more generic, flexible and scalable strategies to separate target and host cell proteins are preferable, such as membrane technologies and heat/pH precipitation. In this context, clarified plant extracts behave similarly to the feed stream from microbes or mammalian cells and the corresponding purification methods can be applied, as long as they are adapted for plant-specific soluble contaminants such as the superabundant protein RuBisCO. Plant-derived pharmaceutical proteins cannot yet compete directly with established platforms but they are beginning to penetrate niche markets that allow the beneficial properties of plants to be exploited, such as the ability to produce 'biobetters' with tailored glycans, the ability to scale up production rapidly for emergency responses and the ability to produce commodity recombinant proteins on an agricultural scale. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Mukherjee K.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Twyman R.M.,TRM Ltd | Vilcinskas A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology | Vilcinskas A.,Justus Liebig University
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology | Year: 2015

Epigenetic inheritance refers to changes in gene expression that are heritable across generations but are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. Many environmental factors are now known to cause epigenetic changes, including the presence of pathogens, parasites, harmful chemicals and other stress factors. There is increasing evidence that transcriptional reprogramming caused by epigenetic modifications can be passed from parents to offspring. Indeed, diseases such as cancer can occur in the offspring due to epigenetically-inherited gene expression profiles induced by stress experienced by the parent. Empirical studies to investigate the role of epigenetics in trans-generational gene regulation and disease require appropriate model organisms. In this review, we argue that selected insects can be used as models for human diseases with an epigenetic component because the underlying molecular mechanisms (DNA methylation, histone acetylation and the expression of microRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved. Insects offer a number of advantages over mammalian models including ethical acceptability, short generation times and the potential to investigate complex interacting parameters such as fecundity, longevity, gender ratio, and resistance to pathogens, parasites and environmental stress. © 2015 The Authors.

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