Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bacteria used as cancer drug factories


Researchers have developed a method of producing P450 enzymes -- used by plants to defend against predators and microbes -- in bacterial cell factories. The process could facilitate the production of large quantities of the enzymes, which are also involved in the biosynthesis of active ingredients of cancer drugs.

P450 is the name of a type of cytochrome, a specialised enzyme. These are used by plants to synthesise chemical compounds with many different functions, but their main use is in defending against herbivores, insects and microbes.


"These powerful compounds can be used as active ingredients in drugs for treating diseases such as cancer and psoriasis," said Spanish researcher Darío Vázquez-Albacete, the lead author of a paper describing a new method of producing the enzymes in bacterial cell factories.

According to Vázquez-Albacete, "the new technique is a significant step forward, as plants produce P450 enzymes in very small amounts, extraction is very complex and sometimes we have to use polluting chemical synthesis processes which involve the use of oil derivatives. Additionally, some plant species such as the yew (Taxus baccata), from which the cancer drug Taxol is obtained, are endangered species."

See:

Dario Vazquez-Albacete, Ana Mafalda Cavaleiro, Ulla Christensen, Susanna Seppälä, Birger Lindberg Møller, Morten H. H. Nørholm. An expression tag toolbox for microbial production of membrane bound plant cytochromes P450. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2017; 114 (4): 751 DOI: 10.1002/bit.26203


 Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle