26 August 2014

Yeast instead of poppy

Bioengineers have learned how to produce opioids from yeast

"Newspaper.Ru»Bioengineers from Stanford have developed a way to produce opioid analgesics without the use of poppy.

Instead, they used genetically modified yeast. The scientists wrote an article about their method in the journal Nature Chemical Biology (Thodey et al., A microbial biomanufacturing platform for natural and semisynthetic opioids).

Legal opioid poppy plantations currently exist in only a few countries. Morphine and other opioids are obtained from this raw material for the manufacture of painkillers.

In order for yeast to produce opioids, scientists added five genes to their genome: three from the genome of the poppy, and two more from bacteria that live on poppy plantations.

As a result, they managed to achieve the passage of all stages of obtaining opioids, from the synthesis of the molecule to purification. This is a total of 17 stages that lead from the poppy to the pill. In the cells, the scientists repeated all the way from sugar molecules to purified opioids.

It will take some more time to bring the methodology from the laboratory to production. The ultimate goal is to obtain the necessary medicines without dependence on the opioid poppy. This will make it possible to abandon its cultivation and eradicate the illegal trafficking of narcotic raw materials.

In fact, there was no place in this short note to say that this yeast strain synthesized opiates after all not from sugar, but from thebaine (paramorphine), an alkaloid whose content in opium reaches up to 0.2%. For therapeutic purposes, thebaine is not used due to its high toxicity, but is used as a precursor for the production of many semi-synthetic opiate analgesics – VM.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru26.08.2014

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