Last January, I inaugurated this column with a look at three technology developments from 2005 that could soon be in kits. None are commercialized yet, but here are three more that should join them soon.

Let's start with a drug-inducible system for protein stabilization.1 Noting the lack of regulatory systems that act at the protein (as opposed to the nucleic acid) level, Stanford University researcher Tom Wandless, who says he likes to "invent new tools for biology," created his own.

Key to Wandless' system is a mutant FKBP12 protein that is degraded as soon as it's made, unless it is bound to a small-molecule ligand called Shield-1. "This new technique essentially allows investigators to use small molecules to regulate the expression levels of any protein of interest," Wandless writes in an E-mail. "We target proteins directly (not precursor DNA or RNA), so the method is considerably faster than transcriptional...


1. L.A. Banaszynski et al., "A rapid, reversible, and tunable method to regulate protein function in living cells using synthetic small molecules," Cell, 126:995-1004, Sept. 8, 2006. 2. J. Szulc et al., "A versatile tool for conditional gene expression and knockdown," Nat Methods, 3:109-16, February 2006. 3. T. Juven-Gershon et al., "Rational design of a super core promoter that enhances gene expression," Nat Methods, 3:917-22, November 2006.

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