BERNARDSVILLE, N.J. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Anima Cell Metrology, Inc, a privately held company (“Anima”), announced today that in a series of recently conducted experiments it was able to monitor and image the process of protein production from within living cells, using fluorescent probes.
Proteins are the "vehicles of life", a diverse family of biomolecules that perform most of the cellular processes. Proteins are also immensely important: most drugs act by binding to protein targets (Aspirin, antibiotics) or are proteins themselves (Insulin, Herceptin). However, the chemical diversity of proteins hinders their study, often requiring killing the cells before analysis.
Anima’s new di-peptide (DiP) technology uses elements of the cell’s protein synthesis system, called transfer RNA (tRNA). Normally, these molecules carry the amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins, to the ribosome, the protein synthesis factory of the cell. The ribosome then links the amino acids together in a specific order to form the required protein. In DiP, tRNAs are extracted, purified, fluorescently labeled, and introduced into the cells to be monitored. The labeled tRNAs now participate in the process of protein synthesis – broadcasting their actions, after being interrogated with a suitably equipped microscope.
The concept was originally invented and patented by Anima’s founder, Dr. Zeev Smilansky, and developed in collaboration with the labs of Professors Barry S. Cooperman and Yale E. Goldman, both of the University of Pennsylvania. Proof in living cells was obtained in a series of compelling experiments performed at the laboratories of Professor Orna Elroy-Stein and Dr. Marcelo Ehrlich, both of Tel Aviv University. The results were published in Nucleic Acids Research. The work was partially funded by a $2M advanced technology grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
DiP technology allows researchers to identify where in the cell, and when, are proteins being produced. The ability to detect these parameters, previously unmeasurable, gives researchers the ability to obtain important new data on living cells. Since protein synthesis is such a central process of every cell, DiP can play a significant role in basic life science research as well as in the study of protein-synthesis related diseases and conditions – a wide range of conditions that includes cancer, diabetes, fibrosis, neurodegeneration, viral infections and development of novel antibiotics for resistant bacteria.
Dr. Zeev Smilansky, founder and CSO said: “the accomplishment of this important milestone is a validation of our technological approach. We congratulate our collaborators for the outstanding achievement. The ability to monitor protein synthesis in living cells will provide new, crucially needed data about how cells live, die, and react to normal and pathological stimuli."
Anima Cell Metrology, Inc is a privately owned, US based company developing novel technologies to monitor protein synthesis in living cells. The company is generating and commercializing various products and applications aimed at this target. Application fields include basic life science research, biomanufacturing, drug discovery and development, viral infections and novel antibiotics.