Embrapa’s transgenic soybean produces enzyme to combat the AIDS virus

40Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology – A survey of Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology seeks the development of a variety of transgenic soybean that expressing an enzyme capable of preventing infection by the AIDS virus. Using biotechnology techniques, the legume is producing N-cianovirina enzyme with proven efficacy against the virus, which inhibit the replication of HIV by binding to their oligosaccharides (sugars).

A team of researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States identified the potential of this enzyme in combating viral diseases. However, scientists have had difficulty finding an economically viable method to produce it on a large scale. When learning that a Brazilian group, led by researcher Elibio from Embrapa, had developed a technique for inserting genes into soybeans, appear the opportunity for partnership.

The Americans supplied the sequence genetic coding gene and the researchers inserting into the genome of a Embrapa’s soybean variety. The result is that the seeds of transgenic plants are producing cianovirina. The current challenge is to improve the protein extraction process, purifying larger enzyme quantities from soybean seeds.

“Our intention is to produce a sufficient amount of protein to test the active principle in monkeys in the United States, and later in humans, “says Rech.

Source: Pesquisa Fapesp, April, 2013
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