RNAi Helps Illuminate The Inner Workings Of The Cell Cycle: Synthetic RNAissance™ Genes Created By DNA2.0 Enable Key Research

Menlo Park, CA
Thursday, November 13, 2008

DNA2.0 has designed RNAi-resistant genes that enabled a breakthrough in understanding the inner workings of the cell cycle. DNA2.0's RNAissance™ genes are simultaneously optimized for expression in the desired host and to escape inhibition by siRNA that is targeted to the natural gene.

DNA2.0,  the leading synthetic biology company, announced today that the company's RNAissance™ genes had been used to shed new light on the mechanisms that ensure that each daughter cell receives a full complement of genetic material when cells divide. The study, published this week in Nature Cell Biology, was a collaboration between DNA2.0 and researchers in Dr. Jonathon Pines' group at the Wellcome/CR UK Gurdon Institute and Department of Zoology at Cambridge.

DNA2.0's RNAissance™ genes are widely used to ensure that phenotypes obtained when cells are treated with RNAi are not the unintended result of off-target effects. For the work reported in Nature Cell Biology, Dr. Pines went a step further. He made RNAi-resistant versions of both a wildtype and a mutated protein (Cdc20). In the mutated version, all 23 lysines found in the wildtype protein were changed to arginine, a change that prevented the mutant Cdc20 from becoming ubiquitinated. By eliminating the natural Cdc20 from cells using RNAi, the Cambridge group was able to show that ubiquitination of Cdc20 is required to prevent a cell from dividing before all of its chromosomes are lined up on the mitotic spindle. This cell cycle checkpoint is essential to prevent serious genetic damage in animals from yeast to humans.

"We were delighted to help Dr. Pines by designing and making our RNAissance™ genes," said Dr. Jeremy Minshull, the DNA2.0 coauthor of the study. "Making RNAi-resistant genes that encode mutant versions of cellular proteins has the potential to help us understand the molecular details of many biological processes, as Dr Pines' group has so elegantly shown."

Eliminating the natural copy of a protein and replacing it with a mutated version has previously been possible only through genetic manipulations that are largely restricted to microbial systems. Researchers now have a powerful tool to aid them in studying the molecular basis of cellular phenotypes that even allows the modification of genes and proteins that are essential for a cell's survival.

DNA2.0 is by far the most published vendor of synthetic genes, providing expert support to and collaboration with scientists in academia, government and industry. The company's RNAissance™ genes are enabling breakthroughs in research because they are simultaneously optimized for expression in the desired host and to escape inhibition by siRNA that is targeted to the natural gene. DNA2.0 guarantees researchers high quality synthetic genes, delivered on time, every time.

 

About DNA2.0, Inc.

Founded in early 2003, DNA2.0 is the leading synthetic biology company. It is the largest US provider of synthetic genes, with a global customer base comprised of academia, government and the pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural and biotechnology industries. DNA2.0 has provided genes to thousands of customers, for whom it has synthesized many millions of base pairs. DNA2.0 explores novel applications for synthetic genes and is exploiting the synergy between highly efficient gene synthesis process and new protein optimization technologies. The tools and applications brought to market by DNA2.0 are transforming biology into an engineering discipline. The company is privately held and is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, please visit www.DNA20.com.