Integrated Human Practices: Gold
Human practices involve getting feedback not only from specialists but also society in order to shape the project, providing the best application possible. This is the next step in our human practice project, the integration of our investigation into the proper design of our project. Here, we describe two improvements to our project inspired by our human practices.
Psicose Relevance in Diabetes
Interview with Mr. Bastien ROUX, Business relationship manager in the French Federation of Diabetics (FFD)
Our interview with Mr. ROUX had several purposes. The first one was to talk about the relevance of Psicose as a prevention sugar for diabetics. During our discussion, we discussed several sugars we chose based on their properties such as Tagatose, Lactitol and Psicose. Thanks to Mr. ROUX’s data, we were able to justify our choice for Psicose by comparing its properties described in literature to diabetic real life. Even if a sugar like Tagatose and Lactitol are close to Psicose, they can cause digestion problems and stomach aches. To illustrated this, Mr. ROUX asked us about information gathered by the Federation. This organisation compiles a lot of data through surveys but also meetings and events organised around Diabetes. We learned that previous diet, physical activity and lifestyle were almost as important. Beyond the effect of sugar on blood glucose, sugars and especially sweeteners activate the reward system of the brain by acting like a drug. The more you eat sweet things, the more you want. Sweeteners that get a high sugar power cause a more addictive effect. That’s why artificial sweeteners can lead to Diabetes. A good substitute to sugar for diabetics is a sugar whose sweetness is close to food sugar, a sugar which is not metabolised by the organism and does not alter insulin level nor glycemia. According to our research, Psicose fits these criteria and could be used in a diabetic diet. Moreover, the additional properties of Psicose on metabolism of fats could also be used to avoid weight gain associated with Type II Diabetes and to prevent Obesity. This feedback from a specialist on our project was determinant for our decision to choose Psicose.
In a second meeting, Mr. ROUX showed interest in our project and proposed a collaboration in the form of a Diabetes Lab. This Lab is an initiative of the FFD that is innovative because it integrates diabetic people in the process and development of tools and software aiming to ease their everyday life (See details on our Collaborations Page). By collaborating with the Diabetes lab our project would receive feedback and assistance to improve.
Industrial Application: Improvement of Bioproduction
Interview with Dr. Alain FOURNIER, Head of the yeast genetics department at Sanofi-Aventis
As you can see on the Scientific Part of this Wiki, our bioscreening system is a biosensor-based system that allows fast enzyme production screening through the use of fluorescence. Thus, the amount of Psicose detected by a biosensor activates the synthesis of a fluorescent protein called mCherry. This protein can be quantified by equipment such as plate-reader or Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) allowing high throughput. Finally, the highest fluorescence level will determine the best Psicose producing enzyme.
During our conversation with Dr. FOURNIER, we discussed different methods to improve bioproduction such as phage display, direct and indirect screening methods. The humblest techniques are direct screening methods but these are the ones which are expensive and using huge equipments such as High Performance Liquid Chromotography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry to characterise the bioproducts. Our technique currently uses an indirect screening method because we wanted to simplify and accelerate the screening method by using fluorescence, which interested Dr. FOURNIER who is working on a similar project at Sanofi-Aventis. He advised us to go a bit further and standardize our bioscreening system. Basically, we are using transcription factors as a biosensor to detect molecules of interest and induce gene reporter transcription to measure a signal. This way, specific flanking sequences for each biobrick could help us to handle multiple cloning of multiple parts generating in a few steps only our bioscreening system as it is described in the Scientific Part. With this in mind, we changed our classic cloning method to perform Golden Gate assembly in order to standardize our process and to improve its efficiency realizing our last integrated human practice. (See details on our Scientific Part)
Even further, this standardization process could offer modularity to our bioscreening system allowing us to generate a lot of them with different combination. In the end, we could thus generate a universal bioscreening system allowing screening for each molecule in bioproduction as long as we get a specific biosensor for its detection. This universal bioscreening system would be a revolution in bioproduction industry increasing several times the throughput of the screening and decreasing the cost and time of screening.