Through Technologies

New Inventions

New System for Producing Fungal Secondary Metabolites

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new system for producing fungal secondary metabolites using test plasmids and a genetically modified strain of Aspergillus nidulans (TPMW2.3). The strain begins producing secondary metabolites when a gene promoter in the plasmid is triggered by culture conditions. This allows researchers to induce or repress production.
(Feb 16, 2015) P150029US01

Peptide Mimics Last Longer, Target Protein-Protein Interactions

UW–Madison researchers have developed modified Z-domain peptides that last longer in vivo while retaining strong binding properties. The researchers removed one of the helices and stabilized the remaining two with a disulfide bond. They substituted some residues with alpha and beta amino acid residues; the latter helps resist degradation by proteolytic enzymes.

The α/β-peptide mimics (or foldamers) can be tailored to target a variety of different proteins and protein-protein interactions. Given their small size (39 amino acids) relative to full-length Z-domains (59 amino acids), the new peptide mimics are easier to synthesize and modify.
(Jan 22, 2015) P140148US02

New Amphiphiles for Manipulating Membrane Proteins

UW–Madison researchers have developed improved amphiphiles for solubilizing, isolating and characterizing membrane proteins. They can be prepared from cholic acid, deoxycholic acid and lithocholic acid, which are steroids found in bile.

The new amphiphiles, called CAO, DCAO and LCAO, are effective in challenging biochemical systems, such as extraction of delicate photosynthetic superassemblies from native lipid bilayers.
(Dec 1, 2014) P09028US02

Superabsorbent, Sustainable Aerogels

UW–Madison researchers have developed organic aerogels with excellent absorbent properties. They are made by combining a water soluble polymer and cellulose nanocrystals/nanofibers (CNFs) derived from biomass. The polymer, such as PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), is cross-linked to form a gel and then water is removed by freeze-drying. The surface of the aerogel is coated with an organosilane, making it highly water repellent and superoleophilic (‘oil loving’).
(Oct 24, 2014) P140038US02

Low-Cost Mastitis Test Speeds Detection

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new test that takes less than two hours and can be used in the field or lab to simultaneously detect the eight most important mastitis pathogens. The assay works on DNA extractions from milk or other samples (e.g., blood or environmental) using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) that can be performed using only the kit and a heat block.

The test involves a rapid DNA extraction method (~ 35 minutes) followed by a 47-minute running time. The researchers developed a ‘master mix’ reaction solution for all eight pathogen-specific primers.

The new assay can test for: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus uberis, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, coagulase-negative Staphylococci and Mycoplasma bovis. The result is a simple yes/no.
(Oct 13, 2014) P140052US02

Microbes Produce High Yields of Fatty Alcohols from Glucose

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method to produce fatty alcohols such as 1-dodecanol and 1-tetradecanol from glucose using genetically engineered microorganisms. The organism, e.g., a modified E. coli strain, overexpresses several genes (including FadD and a recombinant thioesterase gene, acyl-CoA synthetase gene and acyl-CoA reductase gene). Other gene products are functionally deleted to maximize performance.

The strain is cultured in a bioreactor in the presence of glucose.
(Oct 8, 2014) P140076US02

Multidimensional Imaging with Improved Contrast

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new coherent multidimensional spectroscopy (CMDS) technique that enhances the image contrast by using multiple frequencies that provide 3-D contrast. The method uses three coherent light pulses (intense light beams) with three different frequencies to interact with multiple functionalities within the molecules (e.g., C-H bonds) to create coherent images that are highly characteristic of specific molecules within sample substructures.
(Sep 29, 2014) P140021US02

Sustainable Process to Remediate Liquid Waste Streams

UW–Madison researchers have developed an environmentally sound and cost-effective system to remediate effluent streams containing organometallic/inorganometallic contaminants. Metals are recovered in the process and the treated water can be recycled for industrial applications.

The system includes units for electro-oxidation, electro-deposition and electro-adsorption. These units work sequentially to (1) break the strong chemical bonds in the waste stream, (2) recover the heavy metal ions and (3) remediate the organic/inorganic material.

A primary advantage of the new system is the redesigned electro-deposition unit, which houses a concentrating cathode and helps in the recovery of metals present even in very low concentrations in a reusable form.
(Aug 8, 2014) P140335US01

Synthesizing Natural Products to Treat High Blood Cholesterol

UW–Madison researchers have developed an efficient method to synthesize indole compounds, specifically polysubstituted dimeric indoles. These compounds have potential health benefits because they are able to reduce the amount of PCSK9 in cells. PCSK9 is an enzyme known to play a major role in controlling the concentration of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Some of the compounds have been tested in vitro for their ability to increase the secretion of a potent blood sugar hormone in the body called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Others have the ability to selectively inhibit the secretion of interleukin-17 (IL-17), which is essential in many autoimmune diseases including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.

The synthesis process involves a cascade reaction with transition metal catalysts. The resulting compounds can be further functionalized to yield more substituted indoles.
(Aug 5, 2014) P150023US01

Hydrogel Arrays for Screening Cell-Substrate Interactions

UW–Madison researchers developed a new method for forming patterned hydrogel arrays featuring any number of test spots possessing different characteristics, such as shape and chemical composition. The arrays can be used to culture a range of cell types and rapidly analyze their behavior (e.g., attachment, spreading, proliferation and differentiation).

The arrays are prepared using a hydrogel precursor solution containing a polymer and crosslinker. The solution is sandwiched between stenciled SAM layers containing hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) and hydrophobic (‘water-hating’) regions, then polymerized and released.

As a result of the process, the array features hydrophilic spots surrounded and isolated by hydrophobic regions, preventing any mixing of contents. The spots can have any desired shape, size and chemical composition.
(Jul 24, 2014) P140097US01