Seed genes could provide basis for affordable therapeutic drugs

Jul 26, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Queensland scientists are unlocking the benefits of a protein found in seeds of a spiky red fruit that could lead to the development of more affordable medicines made from plants.

The odd-looking of the gac fruit contain a small protein called MCoTI-2 whose circular shape and resulting stability make it ideal as a basis for drugs.

However, producing such protein-based drugs with traditional synthetic methods is prohibitively expensive on a large scale.

Researchers from The University of Queensland's Institute for (IMB) and Harvard University (USA), led by IMB's Dr Joshua Mylne and Professor David Craik, discovered the genes that produce MCoTI-2.

“Knowing how these genes, which we named TIPTOP, manufacture MCoTI-2 naturally in gac could allow us to co-opt this process and use it to grow -based drugs in plants,” Dr Mylne said.

“We've already moved the system to seeds of the model plant Arabidopsis, where it worked remarkably well.”

Plant production is cheap and seeds do not require specialised distribution channels, factors that make plant-grown drugs an attractive proposition, particularly for developing nations.

The world's first drug manufactured inside plant cells was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May this year, giving hope to researchers who are working towards manufacturing therapeutics in whole .

“The discovery is also interesting from a scientist's point of view because it has given insight into some of the evolutionary ‘backflips' can do to create bioactive peptides like MCoTI-2” Dr Mylne said.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and has just been published by Plant Cell.

Explore further: Investigators insert large DNA sequence into mammalian cells

More information: Subscribers to the journal can access the full paper at: www.plantcell.org/content/early/recent

Related Stories

Cancer drug found hiding in sunflower seed protein

Mar 21, 2011

University of Queensland scientists have found sunflower proteins and their processing machinery are hijacked to make rogue protein rings in a discovery that could open the door to cheaper, plant-based drug manufacturing.

Plant branching hormone discovered

Jul 08, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In an important breakthrough, plant biologists at The University of Queensland have identified a hormone that plays a key role in determining the size and shape of plants.

Shaping the plants of the future

Jul 28, 2011

A hormone that determines the size and shape of crops could improve harvests, and help in the control of a vampire plant according to Queensland researchers presenting their work today at the International Botanical Congress ...

Recommended for you

Investigators insert large DNA sequence into mammalian cells

9 hours ago

For the first time, researchers have used a simplified technique derived from a defense mechanism evolved by bacteria and other single-celled organisms to successfully insert a large DNA sequence into a predetermined genomic ...

Can gene editing provide a solution to global hunger?

19 hours ago

According to the World Food Program, some 795 million people – one in nine people on earth – don't have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That will only get worse with the next global food cris ...

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.