Hayward, CA -- April 19, 2001 -- Biolog, Inc.,
a biotechnology company pioneering powerful new
tools for cell-based analysis, announced today
the release of protocols using Phenotype MicroArrays(PMs)
for a range of medically and commercially important
microbial species, including microbes targeted
for antibiotic drug discovery.
Phenotype MicroArrays (PMs) are rapid cellular
assays that provide global cellular analysis as
well as specific information about cell function.
Designed to study a range of cell properties,
or phenotypes, PMs enable scientists to quickly
and efficiently determine how a genetic change
or a drug lead affects living cells. This technology
allows researchers to test hundreds to thousands
of cell properties simultaneously, and has applications
in determining gene function, validating and optimizing
drug targets, analyzing a drug's mode of action,
assessing toxicology, and basic cellular research.
The new PMs are optimized for the study of Salmonella
typhimurium, Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Burkholderia cepacia, Ralstonia solanacearum,
Sinorhizobium meliloti, and Listeria monocytogenes.
The pathogens Salmonella, Vibrio and Listeria
can cause acute infections in humans. Pseudomonas
aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia are common
environmental bacteria responsible for persistent
and serious infections in humans, including lung
infections in cystic fibrosis patients, eye infections,
bone infections, and septicemias. Pseudomonas
aeruginosa is particularly problematic because
it is highly resistant to antibiotic therapy.
The microorganisms Ralstonia solanacearum, other
Pseudomonads, Burkholderia species, and Sinorhizobium
meliloti are important in agriculture because
of their ability to cause or to benefit plants.
PMs are expected to play an important role in
genomics-based anti-microbial drug development.
Researchers at universities and pharmaceutical/biotech
companies can use PMs to understand the biological
differences between harmless or beneficial strains
of microbes and dangerous pathogenic strains of
the same species. PMs allow scientist to rapidly
determine the function of genes thought to be
involved in pathogenicity. The gene of interest
is altered, then PMs are used to compare the control
cell line with the genetically changed cells to
see how the cells' physiology has changed.
PMs also provide a comprehensive assay for the
effect of drug leads (e.g., antibiotics) on cells.
To assess a drug lead's efficacy with an infectious
microorganism, the cells are exposed to the drug
and PMs fingerprint the physiological effects
of the drug on the cell. This use allows rapid
screening of chemical libraries, mode of action
assessment, drug interactions, and side effects.
By using PM technology, researchers gain valuable
basic insights into disease processes, validate
potential new targets for antibiotics, and rapidly
characterize drug leads.
"Since its introduction May 2000, PM technology
has received strong interest from researchers
around the globe," stated Timothy Mullane,
president and CEO of Biolog. "With our ability
to provide important answers in antibacterial
and antifungal research, we are currently directing
our commercial efforts toward the establishment
of collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech
companies in accelerating development of infectious
disease therapies. We are also beginning to develop
PMs for mammalian cells, which should provide
powerful tools for researchers working on drugs
to treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes."
Listeria monocytogenes is the first gram-positive
bacterial species released for PM analysis, and
Biolog will soon be releasing PM protocols for
other important gram-positive genera including
Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus.
Also in development are PMs and protocols for
a wide variety of yeasts and filamentous fungi,
including pathogens such as Candida albicans and
Ustilago maydis. Biolog is the recipient of a
Phase II SBIR Award from NIH-NIGMS. The award
is funding the development of PMs covering about
2000 phenotypes of the bacterium Escherichia coli
and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However,
the same PMs developed for these species can in
fact be used with many other important species.
Biolog is a pioneer in the development of powerful
cellular analysis tools for solving critical problems
in clinical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology
research and drug development. The company's Phenotype
MicroArray technology and OmniLog® PM System for
such applications as determining gene function,
validating and optimizing drug targets, and assessing
cellular toxicology. Further information can be
obtained at the company's website, www.biolog.com.