Evolution is one of the most effective and interesting tools that nature uses to improve the adaptation characteristics of organisms so that they can effectively withstand the changing environmental factors of a potentially dangerous type. Today, a team of genetic microbiologists from the University of North Carolina presented a new direct evolution technique, centered on a special genetic modification system and experiments on the activation of certain protein triggers – thus the new system has all the chances to become decisive in the future.
The system bears the abbreviation VEGAS and stands for Viral Evolution of Genetically Actuating Sequences, which in principle means the possibility of using the virus to change the genetic sequence of activation of certain genes in various living cells. As their first test session, microbiologists applied the Sindbis virus to several laboratory cell cultures and observed how the system shows itself.
It turned out that it easily modifies the corresponding protein trigger actuators – in particular, proteins called tetracycline transactivators – in order to then change their work in such a way that they stop or start the process of enzyme production. These enzymes, in turn, are aimed at improving the intrinsic properties of cells by producing useful and effective medicinal compounds, which can later be used as the basis for new drugs or antibiotics against various diseases.
This approach, despite its some angularity and not quite sure character at the moment, is still really promising, because with the help of its new genetic modification system VEGAS, the team from North Carolina managed to offer a way to create cellular enzymes and antibiotics, which speed significantly higher than many similar used in traditional cell medicine today.