Twyman Research Management
Specialist consultants in
scientific project development,
management and presentation
to Twyman Research Management
Twyman Research Management Ltd is a UK company that specializes in scientific project development, management and presentation, including the preparation of research proposals, project management and reporting, project dissemination and complementary activities, and expert assistance with the preparation, editing and revision of scientific manuscripts.
We have been working for more than 20 years to develop and manage research projects and improve the quality of scientific publications.
Article of the Month
The common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is one of the few insect species that can digest keratin, the major protein component of wool and some other natural fabrics (as well as natural structures such as hair, nails and feathers). Although the adults do not feed, the larvae are notorious pests that destroy clothing and other textiles. In July's article of the month, Schwabe et al. provide insight into the mechanism of keratin digestion by comparing transcriptome datasets from larvae reared exclusively on keratin-rich diet of feathers and those raised on a keratin-free diet. The feather diet induced the expression of more than 30 enzymes, including collagenases and other proteases as well as enzymes that help to reduce disulfide bonds. The identification of specific enzymes that allow larvae to feed on keratin could facilitate the development of targeted control strategies based on enzyme inhibition.
Article details: Schwabe M et al. (2021) Next-generation sequencing analysis of the Tineola bisselliella larval gut transcriptome reveals candidate enzymes for keratin digestion. Genes 12 (8) 1113.
Image shows a clothes moth larva.
Image credit: Lamiot (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Biopharmaceutical proteins such as antibodies are typically produced in mammalian cells, including the human cell line HEK-293T. The yield of such proteins can be improved by cell line engineering, which aims to balance cell growth, viability and productivity. In June's article of the month, Kronenberg et al. show that a plant regulatory protein known as NtFT4, which controls flowering in response to day length in tobacco, can improve the proliferation of several human cell lines without compromising viability or productivity. The transfection of HEK-293T cells usually reduces the density of viable cells, but the expression of NtFT4 overcomes this hurdle and allows the dense cultivation of transfected cells and thereby increases the yield of a recombinant antibody by more than 30%. This engineering strategy could be combined with other forms of process optimization to boost the yield of recombinant proteins even further.
Article details: Kronenberg J et al. (2021) The tobacco phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein NtFT4 simultaneously improves vitality, growth and protein yield in human cells. Biotechnol Bioeng 118 (10) 3770–3786.
Image shows fluorescence microscopy of HEK-293 cells loaded with the dye Flou-4.
Image credit: Borys Olifirov (CC BY 4.0)
The modification of staple cereals to increase nutrient levels in the seeds is a common approach to develop new varieties that prevent diseases of malnutrition. However, it is often unclear how such interventions affect the metabolism of the vegetative tissues of the same plants, particularly the leaves and roots. In May’s article of the month, Girón-Calva et al. carried out a comprehensive metabolic comparison of normal maize plants and a variety engineered to accumulate carotenoids in the seeds, focusing on the metabolic profiles of the leaves and roots. Not only did they find differences in vegetative metabolism between the two plant lines, but also different responses to high or low levels of nitrogen in the fertilizer. These different vegetative responses arose even before seed development and thus cannot be a direct response to metabolic engineering in the seed, suggesting that the differences are somehow already primed at the embryonic stage. This model of transgenerational metabolic priming could help to predict the outcome of metabolic engineering.
Article details: Girón-Calva PS et al. (2021) Nitrogen inputs influence vegetative metabolism in maize engineered with a seed-specific carotenoid pathway. Plant Cell Rep 40 (5) 899–911.