Marblar in association with the University of Edinburgh presents the Super-Biotin Challenge. The Edinburgh University’s team that has developed a way of using a biotinidase resistant bond to link other compounds to biotin and they are looking for its potential applications.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin-B7 is a compound widely used in biotechnology to conjugate proteins. The compound’s small size and strong affinity to glycoproteins like avidin and streptavidin makes it useful for tagging proteins without affecting its functions. These tagged/biotinylated proteins can then be separated from the mixture by incubating with avidin or streptavidin beads.
Streptavidin and avidin forms a stable bond with biotin, in turn capturing any biotin tagged protein molecules, which works fine in in-vitro conditions. But it is not the case in-vivo, or when exposed to blood or other biological fluids for a long time. Blood and other biological fluids contain enzyme biotinidase which breaks the bond between biotin and the molecule attached to it. The new linker molecule in Super-Biotin that is involved in biotinylation turns it biotinidase resistant, thus making it possible to use Super-Biotin as a tagging agent for in-vivo studies.
The Super-Biotin has a lot of potential applications, and some of these applications already pointed out include its use in mapping biological pathways, identifying, tracking and monitoring cancerous tissue, drug discovery and diagnostics. Super-Biotin can also be used for in-vivo imaging and other applications one can think of. If you have the marbles and got a new idea forming in your head, submit it while the challenge is still open and you may win $1000 or some more marbles.