Glossary - - BioPharm International



BioPharm International

germ cell The "sex cells" in higher animals and plants that carry only half of the organism's genetic material and can combine to develop into new living things.

glycosylation Adding one or more carbohydrate molecules onto a protein afterit has been built by the ribosome; a posttranslational modification.

Golgi body A cell organelle consisting of stacked membranes where posttranslational modifications of proteins are performed; also called Golgi apparatus.

hybridoma An immortalized cell line (usually derived by fusing B-lymphocyte cells with myeloma tumor cells) that secretes desirable antibodies.

interferon A cytokine that inhibits virus reproduction. Interferons also affect growth and development (differentiation) in certain normal and tumor cells.

ligase An enzyme that causes fragments of DNA or RNA to link together; used with restriction enzymes to create recombinant DNA.

lymphocytes White blood cells that produce antibodies.

lysosomes Cell organelles containing enzymes, responsible for degrading proteins and other materials ingested by the cell.

MAb Monoclonal antibody: A highly specific, purified antibody that recognizes only a single antigen.

macrokinetics Movement of whole cells and their media within a bioreactor.

metabolites Chemical byproducts of metabolism, the chemical process of life.

microcarrier A microscopic particle (often, a 200-μm polymer bead) that supports cell attachment and growth in suspension culture.

microencapsulated Surrounded by a thin, protective layer of biodegradable substance referred to as a microsphere.

microinjection Manually using tiny needles to inject microscopic material (such as DNA) directly into cells or cell nuclei; computer screens provide a magnified view.

microkinetics Movement of chemicals into, out of, and within the cell.

mitochondria Animal-cell organelles that reproduce using their own DNA. They metabolize nutrients to provide the cell with energy and are believed to have once been symbiotic bacteria. Chloroplasts are their plant-cell equivalents.

mutagen An agent (chemicals, radiation) that causes mutations in DNA.

mycoplasma parasitic microorganisms that infect mammals, possessing some characteristics of both bacteria and viruses.

nucleic acids DNA or RNA: long, chainlike molecules composed of nucleotides.

nucleotides Molecules composed of a nitrogen-rich base, phosphoric acid, and a sugar. The bases can be adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), thymine (T), or uracil (U).

nucleus The largest organelle, a sphere that contains all the cell's genetic material and a nucleolus that builds ribosomes.

oncogene A gene that, when expressed as a protein, can lead cells to become cancerous, usually by removing the normal constraints on its growth.

organelle A structurally discrete component that performs a certain function inside a eukaryotic cell.

peptides Proteins consisting of fewer than 40 amino acids.

phenotype The part of an organism's genotype that is expressed, and thus is generally apparent by observation.

plasmid Hereditary material that is not part of a chromosome. Plasmids are circular and self-replicating and found in the cytoplasm of cells (naturally in bacteria and some yeasts). They can be used as vectors for introducing up to 10,000 base-pairs of foreign DNA into recipient cells. Also known as episomes.

polymerase An enzyme that catalyzes production of nucleic acid molecules.

posttranslational modifications Protein processing done by the Golgi bodies after proteins have been constructed by ribosomes.

prions Resembling viruses, these pathogens are composed only of protein, with no detectable nucleic acid.

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