Haplogen, a biotechnology company developing antiviral therapies, and CeMM, the Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, are making available their large collection of human cell lines that are deficient for single genes, which they have been building over the past three years as part of a public-private partnership. The partnership, through Haplogen, will distribute requested cell lines to the research community.
The collection currently includes cell line clones covering 3,000 different human genes, which represents about one third of all the genes active in these cells. The collection will continue to expand until all the genes have been targeted.
Georg Casari, CEO of Haplogen, said, “We have taken great care to document that the gene products are gone and that those clones have new properties as compared to the parental, unmodified cell line. Our goal is to eventually obtain mutant cell lines for every human gene.”
Although cell lines of human origin have been around for many years, they are all different from each other, making them difficult to control when performing genetic experiments, thereby limiting their use particularly for drug discovery efforts and discovering the function of genes. This new collection circumvents this problem by providing individual gene mutations in an otherwise identical genetic background.
“This collection will fuel research in molecular medicine where the vast majority of human genes remain poorly understood and await functional characterization,” said Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga, director of the CeMM and project initiator. “Obtaining human cells where an individual gene is inactivated so far has been difficult and tedious. With this, we expect to drive countless scientific discoveries in the research community.”