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Proteins that are the main focus of manipulation are typically enzymes. These are proteins that act as catalysts for biochemical reactions. By manipulating these catalysts, the reaction rates, products, and effects can be controlled. Enzymes and proteins are important to the biological field and research that there are specific divisions of engineering focusing only on proteins and enzymes. Carbohydrates are another important biomolecule. These are polymers, called polysaccharides , which are made up of chains of simple sugars connected via glycosidic bonds.

These monosaccharides consist of a five to six carbon ring that contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen - typically in a ratio, respectively. Common monosaccharides are glucose , fructose , and ribose. When linked together monosaccharides can form disaccharides , oligosaccharides , and polysaccharides: the nomenclature is dependent on the number of monosaccharides linked together.

Common dissacharides, two monosaccharides joined together, are sucrose , maltose , and lactose. Important polysaccharides, links of many monosaccharides, are cellulose , starch , and chitin. Cellulose is a polysaccharide made up of beta linkages between repeat glucose monomers. It is the most abundant source of sugar in nature and is a major part of the paper industry. Starch is also a polysaccharide made up of glucose monomers; however, they are connected via an alpha linkage instead of beta. Starches, particularly amylase , are important in many industries, including the paper, cosmetic, and food.

Chitin is a derivation of cellulose, possessing an acetamide group instead of an —OH on one of its carbons. Acetimide group is deacetylated the polymer chain is then called chitosan. Both of these cellulose derivatives are a major source of research for the biomedical and food industries. They have been shown to assist with blood clotting , have antimicrobial properties, and dietary applications. A lot of engineering and research is focusing on the degree of deacetylation that provides the most effective result for specific applications.

Nucleic acids are macromolecules that consist of DNA and RNA which are biopolymers consisting of chains of biomolecules. These two molecules are the genetic code and template that make life possible. Manipulation of these molecules and structures causes major changes in function and expression of other macromolecules. Nucleosides are glycosylamines containing a nucleobase bound to either ribose or deoxyribose sugar via a beta-glycosidic linkage.

The sequence of the bases determine the genetic code. Nucleotides are nucleosides that are phosphorylated by specific kinases via a phosphodiester bond. The nucleotides are made of a nitrogenous base, a pentose ribose for RNA or deoxyribose for DNA , and three phosphate groups. Lipids are biomolecules that are made up of glycerol derivatives bonded with fatty acid chains. Glycerol is a simple polyol that has a formula of C3H5 OH 3.

Fatty acids are long carbon chains that have a carboxylic acid group at the end. The carbon chains can be either saturated with hydrogen; every carbon bond is occupied by a hydrogen atom or a single bond to another carbon in the carbon chain, or they can be unsaturated; namely, there are double bonds between the carbon atoms in the chain. Common fatty acids include lauric acid , stearic acid , and oleic acid. The study and engineering of lipids typically focuses on the manipulation of lipid membranes and encapsulation. Cellular membranes and other biological membranes typically consist of a phospholipid bilayer membrane, or a derivative thereof.

Along with the study of cellular membranes, lipids are also important molecules for energy storage.

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By utilizing encapsulation properties and thermodynamic characteristics, lipids become significant assets in structure and energy control when engineering molecules. Using recombinant techniques, it is possible to insert, delete, or alter a DNA sequence precisely without depending on the location of restriction sites.

Recombinant DNA is used for a wide range of applications. The traditional method for creating recombinant DNA typically involves the use of plasmids in the host bacteria. The plasmid contains a genetic sequence corresponding to the recognition site of a restriction endonuclease, such as EcoR1. After foreign DNA fragments, which have also been cut with the same restriction endonuclease, have been inserted into host cell, the restriction endonuclease gene is expressed by applying heat, [4] or by introducing a biomolecule, such as arabinose.

Ligases then joins the sticky ends to the corresponding sticky ends of the foreign DNA fragments creating a recombinant DNA plasmid. Advances in genetic engineering have made the modification of genes in microbes quite efficient allowing constructs to be made in about a weeks worth of time. It has also made it possible to modify the organism's genome itself. Specifically, use of the genes from the bacteriophage lambda are used in recombination. Beta is a protein that binds to single stranded DNA and assists homologous recombination by promoting annealing between the homology regions of the inserted DNA and the chromosomal DNA.

Gam functions to protect the DNA insert from being destroyed by native nucleases within the cell. Recombinant DNA can be engineered for a wide variety of purposes. The techniques utilized allow for specific modification of genes making it possible to modify any biomolecule. It can be engineered for laboratory purposes, where it can be used to analyze genes in a given organism. In the pharmaceutical industry, proteins can be modified using recombination techniques.

Some of these proteins include human insulin. Recombinant insulin is synthesized by inserting the human insulin gene into E. This makes it possible to engineer antigens, as well as the enzymes attached, to recognize different substrates or be modified for bioimmobilization. Recombinant DNA is also responsible for many products found in the agricultural industry. Genetically modified food , such as golden rice , [10] has been engineered to have increased production of vitamin A for use in societies and cultures where dietary vitamin A is scarce.

Other properties that have been engineered into crops include herbicide-resistance [11] and insect-resistance. Site-directed mutagenesis is a technique that has been around since the s. The early days of research in this field yielded discoveries about the potential of certain chemicals such as bisulfite and aminopurine to change certain bases in a gene. This research continued, and other processes were developed to create certain nucleotide sequences on a gene, such as the use of restriction enzymes to fragment certain viral strands and use them as primers for bacterial plasmids. The modern method, developed by Michael Smith in , uses an oligonucleotide that is complementary to a bacterial plasmid with a single base pair mismatch or a series of mismatches.

Site directed mutagenesis is a valuable technique that allows for the replacement of a single base in an oligonucleotide or gene. The basics of this technique involve the preparation of a primer that will be a complementary strand to a wild type bacterial plasmid. This primer will have a base pair mismatch at the site where the replacement is desired. The primer must also be long enough such that the primer will anneal to the wild type plasmid.

After the primer anneals, a DNA polymerase will complete the primer. When the bacterial plasmid is replicated, the mutated strand will be replicated as well. The same technique can be used to create a gene insertion or deletion. Often, an antibiotic resistant gene is inserted along with the modification of interest and the bacteria are cultured on an antibiotic medium.

The bacteria that were not successfully mutated will not survive on this medium, and the mutated bacteria can easily be cultured.

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Cellular Signaling in Health and Disease (Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering)

Site-directed mutagenesis can be useful for many different reasons. A single base pair replacement, could change a codon , and thus replace an amino acid in a protein. This is useful for studying the way certain proteins behave. It is also useful because enzymes can be purposefully manipulated by changing certain amino acids.

If an amino acid is changed that is in close proximity to the active site, the kinetic parameters may change drastically, or the enzyme might behave in a different way.


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Another application of site directed mutagenesis is exchanging an amino acid residue far from the active site with a lysine residue or cysteine residue. Independent reading or research by arrangement with a bioengineering faculty member.


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  7. Independent study or research under direction of a member of the faculty. Prerequisites: student must be of first-year standing and a Regents Scholar; approved Special Studies form. General introduction to probability and statistical analysis, applied to bioengineering design. Written and software problems are provided for modeling and visualization. Introduction to molecular structures.

    Macromolecules and assemblies-proteins, nucleic acids, and metabolites. Principles of design of simple and complex components of organelles, cells, and tissues. Prerequisites: BENG or consent of department. BENG B. Bioengineering Mass Transfer 4 Mass transfer in solids, liquids, and gases with application to biological systems. Free and facilitated diffusion.

    Biological Physics at UCI | UCI Physics and Astronomy

    Convective mass transfer. Diffusion-reaction phenomena. Active transport. Biological mass transfer coefficients. Steady and unsteady state. Flux-force relationships. Introduction to mechanics: statics and dynamics, free body diagrams, and bodies in contact. Vectors and tensors; stresses, theory of deformation, and constitutive equations.

    Equations of motion. Biomechanics design examples. Biomechanics of living tissues with emphasis on mechanical properties of major tissues and organs.