Progress in Biotechnology: EuroBiotech 2014

Progress in Biotechnology: EuroBiotech 2014

Journal of Biotechnology 202 (2015) 1–2 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Journal of Biotechnology journal homepage:

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Journal of Biotechnology 202 (2015) 1–2

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Biotechnology journal homepage:


Progress in Biotechnology: EuroBiotech 2014

The European Biotechnology Thematic Network Association held its annual congress, known as EuroBiotech 2014, in Lecce, Italy, during May 2014. This Special Issue of the Journal of Biotechnology comprises research papers and reviews selected from amongst the wide range of topics and advances discussed at EuroBiotech 2014. The congress included various sessions from ‘omics sciences to medical biotechnology, from pharmaceutical biotechnology to novel biomaterials and from nutrition to plant & animal biotechnology. Specific contributions from these sections were selected for this Special Issue. Understanding the molecular basis of cell signalling in diseased states is an important opportunity for biotechnology to contribute to new diagnostic and therapeutic developments. Vergara et al. describe proteomic analysis of the effects of knocking down expression of E-cadherin, a core protein of the epithelial adherens junction, on epithelial–mesenchymal transition factors in epithelial breast cancer cells. Loss of E-cadherin expression may be crucial for cancer invasion and metastatisation through modulation of complex pathway networks involving oxidative stress, immune evasion and cell metabolism. Reactive oxygen species (ROS-) play a key role in oxidative stress and Khalil et al. use a systems biology approach to understand how to maintain a balance between physiological redox homeostasis and robustly activating antioxidant systems to remove exogenous ROS in maintaining steady-state ROS and growth rate whilst undergoing rapid readjustment under challenging conditions in normal and cancerous ovarian cells lines. De Riccardis et al. use mitochondrial profiling to investigate the development of therapeutic metabolic modulation in multiple sclerosis. CD4+ helper T cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis as T cell activation depends on mitochondrial ATP synthesis, and ROS status. Activated CD4+ T cells can cross the blood–brain barrier causing axonal damage and neuronal death. Khalil et al. describe the discovery of Seliciclib as an anticancer agent and outline the biology of the cyclin dependent kinases inhibited by Seliciclib from in vitro experiments to animal models, whilst summarising clinical trial results and trials underway. A case for optimising the therapeutic effects of Seliciclib using a systems biology approach involving mathematical modelling of the molecular pathways regulating cell growth and division is made. Slavica et al. use an unstructured mathematical model for simulating production of D-lactate and acetate by comparing two Lactobacillus coryniformis strains that belong to different and distinct groups according to their fermentation patterns in a standard medium. Alifano et al. illustrate how RNA polymerase ␤-chain 0168-1656/© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

rpoB gene encoded rifampicin-resistance in tuberculosis has been exploited to better understand the regulatory mechanisms controlling bacterial cell physiology and virulence. RNA polymerase gene modification can be used to alter expression of industrially relevant bacterial genes. Although many aspects of the physiological significance of glycosylation are not yet understood, Capone et al. use N-glycoprofiling to determine the N-glycan structures present in recombinant and native pituitary glycosylated human polypeptide hormone prolactin (G-hPRL). Using a monoglycosylation at position Asn31 model, G-hPRL and recombinant hormone from cycloheximide treated cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells have been chosen to develop a methodology for determining oligosaccharide structures, glycosylation site occupancy and bioactivity characteristics. Novel biomaterials and drug delivery systems have huge biotechnological potential. Arachchige et al. describe targeted drug delivery systems using nanomaterials, including pH low insertion peptide coated nanoparticles, for delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents precisely targeting diseased tissues. Optimised nanotheranostics show much promise for future treatments of cancer and other diseases. Costa et al. share knowledge of making novel photodegradable plasmid DNA macro and microgels to design and develop novel cross-linked polyamine plasmid DNA nanogels, as a platform for the formulation of gene delivery vehicles. The suitability of plasmid DNA loaded nanogels for the controlled combinatorial release of chemical and gene therapies is discussed. This, together with potential for biosensing or bio-patterning uses enhance the likelihood of clinical adoption. Yeasts provide an excellent system for investigating cellular regulation as well as producing biotechnologically important proteins. Stasi et al. focus on reviewing the role of the yeast two-hybrid system technique in investigating membrane traffic machineries and the identification of Rab-interacting proteins. High throughput two-hybrid systems are being used to increase knowledge of protein–protein interactomes, how perturbed networks can lead to diseases and effective therapies identified. Progress in the optimisation of bioprocess and recombinant DNA technologies offer a wide variety of alternatives in the production of proteins with new and better properties. Spohner et al. provide an overview of recent developments in heterologous enzyme production in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris and their application within the food sector. Krajcovic et al. present a review of Euglenoid flagellates which are mainly fresh water protists growing in highly diverse


Editorial / Journal of Biotechnology 202 (2015) 1–2

environments making them well-suited for a multiplicity of biotechnological applications. Euglena can be used for production of several compounds, such as ␣-tocopherol, wax esters, polyunsaturated fatty acids, biotin, tyrosine and the polysaccharide paramylon. Diverse applications of Euglena in environmental biotechnology include ecotoxicological risk assessment, bioremediation of wastewater and a nutritional supplement in aquaculture and in animal feed as well. Plants can be excellent bioreactors for production of recombinant proteins or secondary metabolites although transport mechanisms can be difficult to manipulate. Di Sansebastiano et al. characterise the subcellular compartmentalisation of several known fluorescent markers in protoplasts derived from Artemisia suspension cultures and explore the possibility to alter compartmentalisation using a modified vesicular SNARE protein as molecular tools for future biotechnological applications such as production of the anti-malarial artemisinin. Khanahmadi et al. describe the optimisation of cross-linked enzyme aggregate (CLEA)-lipase preparations from cocoa pod husks. The temperature and pH stability of free and CLEA-lipases have been assessed, with

the high stability and recyclability of CLEA-lipases being suitable for industrial applications such as carrier free immobilisation. This Special Issue reflects some of the highlights of EuroBiotech 2014 across the breadth of biotechnology and will appeal to a wide range of the Journal of Biotechnology audience. Organisers of Eurobiotech 2014 Congress, Lecce, Italy Munis Dundar School of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri 38039, Turkey Kevan M.A. Gartland Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, Scotland, United Kingdom E-mail addresses: [email protected] (M. Dundar), [email protected] (K.M.A. Gartland). Available online 14 March 2015