Call: 1.800.248.7609


Bookmark and Share
0 Item(s) in Cart | View Cart

Shared Results

Proven and Published

Posted by Karen on February 17th, 2015  ⟩  0 comments

As children, we’re often taught complex subjects in very simplified ways. Life was easier in black and white, but as we move into adulthood, we find that the world is far more colorful than that.

Even as young adults, we learn that a basic experimental setup should have a control and a single independent variable to test. But the world is not the vacuum our textbooks taught us, and in our experiments, we must consider other variables that interfere with our research, which often go severely undetected.

One element of interference is contamination. Thankfully, in lab classrooms, we’re taught sterile methods right away, and we develop a “when in doubt, throw it out” philosophy with our pipette tips, gloves, tubes and, as much as it kills us, our samples.

In the field of plant research, specifically in agronomical crops like rice and corn, Norman Best and a research team from Purdue University and Chicago State University investigated another avenue for interference: unfavorable biochemical reactions in plant media.

In experiments requiring the study of larger plants, the neutral Murashige and Skoog medium is not as efficient or affordable. Instead, researchers use soilless growth substrates such as sphagnum peat moss and calcined clay. Other additives such as perlite or vermiculite are also included. Each of these products are chosen for different reasons and have unique characteristics that optimize growth in certain ways. Peat moss retains large amounts of water within the cells of live and dead plants, and it can retain water up to 60% of its volume. Though water retention is a benefit from this medium, it is not very nutrient rich and the soil tends to become more compacted. It also has a pH of 3.0-4.0, while optimal levels are usually around 5.5-7.0.Perlite is often used in potting soil, and has also become a widely used medium in hydroponics. This is because it is known for having greater permeability. Since the material is derived from volcanic rock, it holds its structure over time, allowing the long lasting aeration. It is also has a pH of 7.5. The downside to perlite is that it has lower water retention, and it requires nutrient rich water to nourish plants. Vermiculite is used similarly to perlite, in that it’s meant to condition the soil for proper aeration. While it does retain slightly more water than perlite, it does not hold its structure for very long. Therefore, it is not good for outdoor growth or hydroponics. The most popular growth medium for larger plants, however, is calcined clay because nutrients are more slowly release. Clays like Turface®, which are used in baseball fields, can absorb its weight in water, keeping water levels at an optimal amount.

While people tend to choose a specific medium for its ability to facilitate growth, Best examined interactions between soilless growth media and various plant hormones such as brassinosteroid and its inhibitor propiconazole.

Brassinosteroids, also called BRs, are plant hormones involved in a number of activities. Most notably, they promote stem elongation, cell division, pollen elongation and stress protection. Mutants lacking proper levels of BRs demonstrate lower seed germination, flowering delays and dwarfism. Therefore, inhibitors such as propiconazole allow scientists to better understand molecular pathways involving this hormone.

Along with the brassinosteroid inhibitors, Best also gained more insight into reactivity with the plant growth media using GoldBio’s GA3, and its inhibitor uniconazole. Gibberellic acid stimulates cell elongation and excites the cells of germinating seeds. Its inhibitor, uniconazole or Ucz, is an ingredient in plant growth retardants, and is often very active in small concentrations.

Through his experiments, he observed significant interactions between the plant growth regulators and the growth substrates, which greatly reduced the inhibitors’ efficacy. This was particularly observed in calcined clay, which was attributed to hydrophobic interactions between the plant growth regulators and growth media.

While calcined clay is often preferred, its heavy interaction between plant growth regulators may decrease experimental optimization. However, vermiculite showed much lower chemical reactions with the plant growth regulators. And, the results showed that there was very little interaction between GA3 and soilless growth substrates, which might be reassuring to researchers who use the hormone.

The analysis of this study provides researchers a new criterion to be considered when choosing the appropriate growth media. For basic gardening, using growth media based on its ability to hold water or nutrients is appropriate. However, when studying molecular pathways, it becomes even more important to understand new elements of interference which may have an undesired influence on the result.

Though we may at times be oblivious to the shades of green of hidden variables within our experiment, the results from Best and his team have highlighted one more variable, allowing subsequent research to become slightly better controlled as a result.

Best, N., Hartwig, T., Budka, J., Bishop, B., Brown, E., Potluri, D., Cooper, B., Premachandra, G., Johnston, C., Shulz, B. (2014). Soilless plant growth media influence the efficacy of phytohormones and phytohormone inhibitors. Plos One. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107689

              Karen Martin
GoldBio Marketing Coordinator

"To understand the universe is to understand math." My 8th grade
math teacher's quote meant nothing to me at the time. Then came
college, and the revelation that the adults in my past were right all
along. But since math feels less tangible, I fell for biology and have
found pure happiness behind my desk at GoldBio, learning, writing
and loving everything science. 

Category Code: 79101

Posted by Chris on March 6th, 2014  ⟩  0 comments

There is, I think, one thing that unifies nearly every species on Earth, a single constant that goes beyond similarities in DNA, genomes, cells or evolution. A “universal” tie-in which, even if you could genetically engineer and build from scratch an entirely new creation unbeholdened to any previous creature, rules every single body, great and small. Simply, we are all children of and are ruled by a planet with a 24 hour axis rotation.

This continuous cycle of light and dark creates the circadian rhythm that drives at the very core of our existence, mandating our waking and sleeping, whether human, insect, tree or bacteria. We live and die on the phases of our great home-world, and it takes thousands of years of isolation and/or specific adaption to overcome that basic, simple, biological drive. As humans, we often think that we have subjugated the world around us, but it’s abundantly clear to anyone who’s ever traveled long distances by plane (or even worked in a split-shift job) and suffered a “jetlag” effect, that we are still, quite obviously, slaves to our primal, internal clocks.

Despite our seeming dependence on it, we are still very much “in the dark” about how our circadian clock works. We know, for instance, that the clock is a function of the Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a small, rice-sized node in the hypothalamus that uses highly specialized retinal ganglion cells to detect light patterns, signaling genes such as Clock (Clk) and Period (Per) in the SCN to begin the oscillation of our internal clocks and maintain the speed of the oscillations over the next 24 hours. We know that there is an auto-regulatory feedback loop that prevents obtuse or episodic entrainment from occurring. But the way in which that regulation works hasn’t been as well understood...until just recently when a group out of Oxford led by Russell Foster and Stuart Peirson took an in depth look at the genes involved in the SCN feedback mechanism.

There is a real impetus to understand the way these genes process the external cues and self-regulate to govern our lives, and not just for jet-setting, world tourists, but also for the many people who suffer from circadian rhythm deficiencies. Foster and Peirson’s worked at the Per1 and Sik1 genes and how they affect CREB-mediated clock gene expression and that CRTC1 acts as a coactivator of the CREB transcription of those genes. They were able to show that knockdown of the Sik1 gene, both in vitro (with the smart use of Gold Bio Luciferin) and in vivo, enhanced the behavioral phase shifts and retrainment to new light-dark cycles by allowing the CRTC-continued transcription of Per1!

SCN Cirdadian Pathway

The role of the SIK1 negative-feedback mechanism is important to prevent our bodies from constantly readjusting to every minor change of stimuli that we’re faced with every day. Imagine if that streetlamp outside your window was suddenly able to change your body’s circadian clock to an opposite light-dark cycle or if, in the process of getting up in the middle of the night for a drink, the refrigerator light suddenly informed your body that it was morning and that you should stay awake? There is a definite need for the primary clock that we live by to keep itself in check, despite thousands of stimuli every day. That’s what the SIK1-CRTC pathway does…the proverbial time-keeping engineer on the train of life, keeping the system on time.

However there are always times when the clock goes haywire and needs a reboot. Currently, we don’t have one. But research into these mechanics and results like that of Foster and Peirson’s will someday make that a reality. And I can just about imagine the end to jetlag as we know it…but until then, I’ll just have to take a nap.

Jagannath, A., Butler, R., Godinho, S. I., Couch, Y., Brown, L. A., Vasudevan, S. R., Flanagan,K., Anthony, D., Churchill, G., Wood, M., Steiner, G, Ebeling, M., Hossbach, M., Wettstein, J., Duffield, G., Gatti, S., Hankins, M., Foster, R. & Peirson, S. (2013). The CRTC1-SIK1 Pathway Regulates Entrainment of the Circadian Clock. Cell, 154(5), 1100-1111.

Category Code: 79105 79102

Posted by Chris on July 18th, 2013  ⟩  0 comments

In the world of cancer, in which the word ‘frightening’ takes on entirely new perspectives, perhaps none is more frightening than brain cancer. Although brain cancer is not one of the leading types of cancer per capita, the brain’s absence of pain receptors can hide the cancer’s growth and effects and it is often left undiagnosed until it has grown dangerously large. Maybe our fear has to do with the turbid violation of our innermost self, our control center; or maybe it is those subtle (or not so subtle changes) that make us question whether we’re losing our mind or if there is actually something physically wrong. Regardless, in our world of microscopic monsters, brain cancer is one of the most spine-chilling, nerve-wracking thoughts we have to deal with.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a type of brain cancer which is technically rare, occurring in only 2-3 cases per 100,000, but represents just over half of all brain tissue tumors. The survival odds are bleak, with a median of only 1-2 years with typical care (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy) and 3 months without. GBM tend to form in the cerebral white matter and grow very quickly and may often cross bilaterally to the opposite hemisphere, but rarely extends beyond the central nervous system. The symptoms may include seizures, headaches, nausea and vomiting, but may also include memory loss or personality changes. GBM is traditionally difficult to treat for various reasons: including the brain’s susceptibility to damage from traditional care, the GBM tumor cells are resistant to some forms of traditional care, the brain has limited self-repairing abilities, and many drugs lose efficacy crossing (or just cannot cross) the blood-brain barrier.

Perhaps one of the biggest recent discoveries in cancer research has been Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). CSCs are cancer cells which also possess characteristics associated with standard stem cells, specifically the ability to give rise to all cell types found in the tumor. They are believed to be tumor-forming, or tumorigenic, and may be one of the principle reasons why GBMs are so resistant to most chemo drugs. Their existence also explains many of the tendencies of some cancers, including metastasis and reoccurrence after seemingly successful treatments. Several developmental pathways have been implicated in CSC, including NOTCH and Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) and therapeutic recombinant proteins are being designed in attempt to target the undifferentiated cell populations in tumors. Among the more popular of these is from the super family of TGF-β. Within that family, a company called Genelux out of California is looking into a potential GBM CSC regulator with a growth factor called BMP4 (Bone Morphogenetic Protein-4).

In their recent publication, Rohit Duggal and associates expressed BMP4 in GBM models, showed significant tumor regression and a simply amazing increase in long-term survival of mice who had been inoculated with GBM and then treated with a VACV virus encoding BMP4. In the process, they utilized the firefly luciferase gene and some Luciferin to document the progression of GBM tumors in vivo mice brains, as compared to serum-grown glioma tumor line. With the bioluminescent marker encoded in the cancer cells, it becomes clear exactly how these cancers grow and spread in our system. I think this picture below sums up exactly why GBM cancer is so incredibly frightening.

GBM Cancer - Luciferase

This research is an early, proof of concept, experiment. There are many regulatory hurdles and trials before something of this nature could ever see medical treatment. Yet it provides hope; Hope that as we continue to discover more about how cancer originates and how it proliferates, we will learn how to treat this awful disease; Hope that we can beat this through scientific research; Hope that there is life after cancer and we will all know that someday. And if there is one thing that every cancer patient needs, it is Hope.


Duggal, R., Geissinger, U., Zhang, Q., Aguilar, J., Chen, N. G., Binda, E., Vescovi, A. & Szalay, A. A. (2013). Vaccinia virus expressing bone morphogenetic protein-4 in novel glioblastoma orthotopic models facilitates enhanced tumor regression and long-term survival. Journal of translational medicine, 11(1), 155.

Category Code: 88221 79101

Posted by unknown on June 10th, 2013  ⟩  0 comments

Tuberculosis has been in the news quite a bit recently, both due to a rise in incidence and a shortage of drugs. As the threat of this dangerous disease grows worldwide, researchers continue look for new treatments and methods of fighting back. In a paper published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, researchers have been working to develop a bioluminescence-based mouse model of tuberculosis to assess antibiotic efficacy against M. tuberculosis in vivo. According to the paper, “in vivo testing is an absolute requirement for pre-clinical evaluation of new drug and vaccine candidates before these can advance along the development pipeline. “ The problem with in vivo experimentation is that is both costly and time-consuming. One solution to this issue explored in the paper is the use of Bioluminescence. Researchers “demonstrate the in vivo visualization of the improved FFlucRT reporter strain in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice, and provide evidence that this system could be applied to high-throughput in vivo testing of drug efficacy.” Read the full paper here.

Posted by Dan on March 12th, 2013  ⟩  0 comments

An article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences from researchers at the University of Chicago examines the use of Compound K (20-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol, CK) as an active compound in the prevention or treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC). In the study, Compound K, the main metabolite of protopanaxadiol-type ginseng saponins synthesized by intestinal bacteria after oral administration of ginseng, significantly inhibited tumor growth in a xenograft model of CRC and arrested the cell cycle at the G1 phase in HCT-116 cancer cells. The study suggest that multiple pathways restraining cell growth were upregulated by Compound K, including transcriptional activation of the ATM/p53-p21 FoxO3a-p27/p15 and TGF-ß pathways, which likely contributed to the antitumor effects of CK. Read the full study here.