Whether new-type proteins synthesized by artificial genes can bring new breakthrough?
Synthorx, an emerging biotechnology company located in La Jolla of California, is designing a micro-organism which has six gene codes. The approach is to add artificial X and Y base to the original gene system composed of A, T, G, and C. These micro-organisms don’t have same kinds in nature, and Synthorx uses them to design new proteins. According to research using recombinant rat proteins, these proteins are expected to become the cornerstone of future painkillers, antibiotics and targeted cancer drugs.
Romesberg is one of the company founders. Two years ago, nobody made anything useful with new synthetic X and Y bases, but Romesberg made a goal of making use of conventional chemical methods to develop new drugs. This is obviously an extremely complex process.
The birth of X and Y is of course a milestone in the scientific community, but the real challenge of Synthorx is to use these codes to produce new proteins. Theoretically, by simply adding X and Y, number of amino acids for building proteins can be improved up to 172 kinds, but it is only 20 in the natural state. By adding the XY codes to DNA, the cells can use as many as 172 kinds of proteins to build amino acids, which is far more than the original 20 kinds.
By using artificial amino acids, that scientists can make the combination of existing proteins and their target substance stronger so that the effect of drugs can be more potent. Another idea is to enhance the specific combination of proteins and their target substance through artificial amino acids in order to avoid the side effects of protein binding to non-binding target materials.
Currently, a project of Synthorx is dedicated to turn the venom of a kind of spider into a non-opioid and non-addictive painkiller. The CEO of Synthorx Court Turner said, “Although E. coli also can produce insulin, the only way so far for us to obtain extra insulin is to take injections every day.”
Adding artificial amino acids to the insulin molecule can make it more durable. Thus, diabetes patients only need insulin injections every few days. There is no doubt that if this technology can be achieved, it will be a revolution. But it is still too early to dream for the wide use of artificial genes. Although artificial genes can produce amino acids, currently we don’t have the ability to make proteins with synthetic amino acids. Flarebio offers recombinant proteins of good quality such as recombinant PIGR.