The study published in the journal Science and signed by a group of the British Medical Research Council (MRC) has used a synthetic bacterium from Escherichia Colli

Genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli.SCIENCE

Two years ago a British team created a bacteria sinttica and now have modified their genetic code to make it resistant to viral infections and for its cells to make synthetic polymers, an advance that may have applications in biology, medicine and drugs.

The study that publishes Science and signs a group from the British Medical Research Council (MRC) has used a synthetic bacteria from E.colli.

These bacteria can become -explained the team leader, Jason chin– “in renewable and programmable factories that produce a wide range of new molecules with novel properties, which could have benefits for biotechnology and medicine, including the manufacture of new drugss, as antibiotics”.

In addition, they want to investigate the applications of this technology to develop new polymers, for example biodegradable plastics, which “could contribute to a circular bioeconomy” Daniel de la Torre, one of the team members, explained that have modified the machinery that the cell It is used to produce proteins (which are also a type of polymers) and thus use it to assemble polymers that are not composed of natural amino acids, but of other synthetic monomers that can be synthesized in the chemistry laboratory.

One of the “great objectives” of the study -destac- was use bacteria to produce polymers made exclusively of synthetic monomers.

The team has succeeded in assembling different polymers, including macrocycles, a class of molecules that form the basis for certain antibiotics and drugs to treat cancer. In addition, they rewrote the entire genome of the synthetic bacterium to remove some codons and the machinery that reads them, the Transfer RNA (TRNA) of cells (a small molecule that participates in protein synthesis), with the result that the bacteria become resistant to most viruses.

De la Torre explains that the ADN It is inscribed with the genetic information that cells use to make proteins and that they read in groups of three letters, called codons.

Viruses reproduce by injecting their genome into a cell and hijacking the cellular machinery, but the modified cells cannot read certain codons in the virus genome, which prevents them from replicating.

“What viruses use the full genetic code, including those codons that the cell cannot read, bacteria cannot use to self-replicate, it is a language barrier, “he said Of the tower. In addition, having eliminated some codons, specifically TCG, TAG and TCG, the cell no longer uses them to encode natural amino acids, so they can be used to encode other artificial monomers.

In short, indic Of the tower, “the same codons that we remove from the bacterium and that make it resistant to viruses, we can reuse them to encode new synthetic polymers.”


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