Molds are usually something you fight, but not when it comes to producing medicine. Molds form bacteria-fighting substances that are very important in manufacturing drugs.
The problem is that molds get lazy in the lab and produce the important substances only in a limited part of the fungus. But the ambitious project now being headed by Jens Laurids Sørensen will change that.
- Basically, a mold’s DNA consists of a long strand that in some places is twisted and in other places more open. In the open part of the DNA strand sit the active genes, while the genes in the twists are not active. But the twists are where most genes involved in the production of the interesting substances are found, so the many inactive genes need to be moved to the open part of the DNA strand. The genes will then become more active and produce more of the bioactive substances that fight bacteria and that are thus so useful in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, says Jens Laurids Sørensen, who is working with PhD student Mikkel Rank Nielsen and Australian researchers on the project.