Valdis Janis BERZINS
||Professor Valdis Janis BERZINS
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Faculty of Biology
University of Latvia
Kronvalda bulv. 4
Riga, LV 1586
Born: March 23, 1943, Riga, Latvia
Departed: April 19, 1998
- Molecular Biology of RNA
- Recombinant DNA Biotechnology
- Early Diagnostics of Infections and Inherited Metabolic
Main scientific interests are in molecular biology,
genetic engineering and modern biotechnology. Author of more than 100 scientific
publications and patents V.Berzins together with J.van Duin's group first had reported
sequence of group I bacteriophage fr genome and present data of comparative analysis of
structure of regulatory regions and viral proteins genes. Specific fragments of phage MS2
and fr RNA comprising the translation initiation region of the replicase gene were
purified, sequenced and used as template to investigate structural determinants of
formation of ribosomal initiation complex. V. Berzins has elaborated structural model of
the translation initiation on s mRNA and formulated some principles of recombinant DNA
expression in bacterial cells. Now the investigation of in vitro evolution of
bacteriophage RNA for application in studies of structural principles of replication and
translational control is in progress.
V.Berzins and the group led by him have cloned and
investigated a number of human a-interferon genes. A new subtype of a-interferon, called
IFN-aN, was cloned and expressed in E.coli. The mosaic structure of the genes of
this class, arising as a result of intergenic recombinations, was discovered.
At present, on the basis of a synthetic gene of human
a-atrial natriuretic factor, the bacterial producer of cardiac peptide hormone is
constructed. a-hANF is involved in the regulation of extracellular fluid volume and
homeostasis of blood pressure, and the physiological and immunological properties of
recombinant a-hANF as an antihypertensive agent are studied.
Simultaneously the research of PCR-based diagnostic
methods of Lyme borreliosis and congenital lysinuria and citrullinaemia is in progress.
Languages: English, Latvian, Russian
- University of Latvia (Faculty of Chemistry), 1965
- Dr.biol.(Biological Chemistry) (Candidate of Science in
former USSR, Ph.D. in Western countries), Institute of Organic Synthesis, Latvian Academy
of Sciences, 1972.
Thesis: "Effect of Bacteriophage MS2 Infection on
Biosynthesis of Cellular Nucleic Acids in Escherichia coli." Supervisor Prof. E. Grens.
- Dr. habil. biol.(Molecular Biology), Institute of Molecular
Biology, University of Latvia, 1993.
Thesis: "Structure and Function of Translation
Initiation Regions on Prokaryotic mRNA."
- Senior Researcher, Department of Nucleic Acids Research,
Institute of Organic Synthesis, Latvian Academy of Sciences, 1972 - 1988
- Head, Laboratory of Recombinant DNA Biotechnology,
Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Latvia, 1988 - 1990
- Professor, Biomedical
Research and Study Centre (BMC), University of Latvia, 1990-1998
- Head, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, 1990-1996;
Honours and Awards:
- Corresponding Member, Latvian Academy of Sciences, 1995
- Full Member, Latvian Academy of
- Member, New York Academy of Sciences, 1993
- The Latvian Academy of Sciences Presidium Award, 1973,
Professional Activities and Memberships:
- Member, Education and Training Committee of the European
Federation of Biotechnology, 1991-
- Member of Scientific Council, University of Latvia, 1992-
- Member, Council of Latvian Academic Library, 1991-
- Member of Scientific Council, University of Tartu,1987-1992
- Member, Latvian Council of
Science Expert Committee (Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biotechnology),
- Member of Programme Committee and Lecturer:
- International Symposium "Regulation of
Translation", Riga, April 11-13, 1988
- UNESCO - ICRO International Course on Genetic and Cell
Engineering, Riga, 1990, April 5 -15, 1990; September 12 -19, 1993
- FEBS Advanced Course, "Principles, Techniques and
Application of Genetic Engineering in Modern Biotechnology", Riga, October 11 -
24, 1992; November 27 - December 10, 1994; September 10-23, 1995
- KIRT - BMC International Molecular Biology Course, Riga,
November 10-17, 1996
University of Latvia:
- Physico-Chemical Methods of Research in Biology,
- Molecular Cloning, 1991 - 1994
- Genetic Engineering, 1995
- V.Berzins, G.Rozenthal, E.Grens. Cellular macromolecule
synthesis in E.coli infected with bacteriophage MS2. - Eur.J.Biochemistry, 1974,
vol.45, pp. 233 - 242.
- V.Berzins, G.Borisova, I.Cielens, V.Gribanov, I.Jansone,
G.Rosenthal, E.Grens. The regulatory region of MS2 phage replicase cistron. Functional
activities of individual MS2 RNA fragments. - Journal of Molecular Biology, 1978,
vol.119, pp. 101-131.
- I.Jansone, V.Berzins, V.Gribanov, E.Grens. The regulatory
region of MS2 phage RNA replicase cistron. III. Characterisation of fragments resulting
from S1 nuclease digestion. - Nucleic Acids Research, 1979, vol. 6, pp. 1747 - 1760.
- G.P.Borisova, T.M.Volkova, G.Rosenthal, V.M.Berzins, E.J.
Grens. The regulatory region of MS2 phage RNA replicase cistron. IV. Functional activity
of specific MS2 RNA fragments in formation of the 70 S initiation complex of protein
biosynthesis. - Nucleic Acids Research, 1979, vol. 6, pp.1761 - 1765.
- V.G.Metelev, N.P.Rodionova, N.V.Chichova, I.S.Atabekov,
A.A.Bogdanov, Z.A.Shabarova, V.M.Berzins,I.Jansone, E.J.Grens. Adressed fragmentation of
RNA molecules. Determination of a specific cleavage site on MS2 bacteriophage RNA. -
FEBS Letters, 1980, vol.12, pp. 17-20.
- V.Berzins, I.Cielens, I.Jansone, E J.Grens. The regulatory
region of phage fr replicase cistron. III. Initiation activity of specific fr RNA
fragments. - Nucleic Acids Research, 1982, vol. 10, pp .7763-7775.
- E.Gren, V.Berzins, I.Jansone, A.Tsimanis, Y.Vishnevsky,
U.Apsalons. Novel human leukocyte interferon subtype and structural comparison of alpha
interferon genes. - J.Interferon Res, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 609-617.
- G.T.Babkina, A.G.Veniaminova, V.M.Berzins, S.N. Vladimirov,
G.G.Karpova, V.I.Yamkovoy, E.J.Gren, I.E.Cielens. Affinity labelling of Escherichia
coli ribosomes with a benzylidene derivative of AUGU within initiation and
pretranslocational complexes. - FEBS Letters, 1986, vol. 202, pp. 340-344.
- V.Berzins, A.Avots, I.Jansone, L.Gintnere, A.Tsimanis.
Sequence of the genes coding for the A-protein and coat protein of bacteriophage fr. -
Nucleic Acids Res.,1987, vol.15, p. 6471.
- V.M.Berzins, I.V.Jansone, R.F.Renhof, I.E.Cielens,
E.J.Grens. Efficiency of E.coli cell - free system in the translation initiation complex
formation on a specific template polynucleotides. - Proc. Acad. Sci. USSR (in Russian),
1988, vol. 301, pp. 470-473.
- M.R.Adhin, A.Avots, V.Berzins, G.P.Overbeek, J.van Duin.
Complete nucleotide sequence of the group I RNA bacteriophage fr. - Biochim. Biophys.
Acta, 1990, vol. 1050, pp. 104-109.
- V.Berzins, I.Jansone, P.Kalnins, S.Liepa and V.Baumanis.
High level expression of human a-hANF as fusion polypeptide with phage fr coat protein in
E.coli. - J. Biotechnology, 1993, vol. 30, pp. 231-243.
- V.Berzins, I.Mandrika, I.Jansone, A.Skangals, V. Baumanis.
Isolation of human a-atrial natriuretic factor (a-hANF) from recombinant fusion protein. -
Separations for Biotehnology 3, Reading, UK, 1994, pp. 73-78.
- E.Stankevich, V.Kumpins, N.Licis, J.Klovins, V.Berzins.
Template activity of
- oligoribonucleotides synthesized by the phosphoamidite
method. - Nucleotides &
- Nucleosides, 1995, vol. 14, pp. 1047-1048.
- J.Klovins, N.Tzareva, M.de Smit, V.Berzins and J.van Duin.
Evolution of translational control mechanisms in RNA genomes. - Journal of Molecular
Biology, 1997, vol. 265, pp. 372-384.
- V.Berzins et al.: Human leukocyte interferon N and method
of producing same in bacterial cells.
France Patent 2 541 570 From: 18.12.87
UK Patent GB 2150573 B From: 11.11.87
USA Patent 4,751,287 From: 14.06.88
Swerige Patent 453512 From: 08.02.88
- V.Berzins et al.: Manufacturing method by bioengineering
technology for producing human alpha natriuretic peptide. South Korea Patent
Application 94 3582 From: 15.09.95
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, BMC, University of Latvia). The
Structure and Functions of Translation Initiation Regions in Prokaryotic mRNA. Latvian
Council of Science (1991-1993).
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, BMC). Bacterial Synthesis of
Recombinant a-Human Atrial Natriuretic Factor. Latvian Council of Science (1991-1992).
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, BMC). In vitro Evolution
of RNA: Application in Studies of Structural Principles of Replication and Translational
Control. Latvian Council of Science (1994-1996).
- V.Berzins (Head of Latvian Part of Project, BMC).
Regulation of Gene Expression by Kinetics of RNA Folding. NATO Advisory Panel on the
Priority Area on High Technology (1994-1995).
- V.Berzins (Head of Latvian Part of Project, BMC).
Amplification of RNA with a Function by RNA Replicase. Volkswagen Foundation, Germany
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, BMC). Studies of the Structure
of Functional Domains on RNA Templates. Latvian Council of Science (1997-2000).
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, BMC). Early Diagnostics of Lyme
Disease Caused by Borrelia Spirochetes. Latvian Council of Science (1997-2001).
- V.Berzins (Head of Project, University of Latvia).
Diagnosis of Human Inherited Metabolic Diseases of Latvian Population. Latvian Council
of Science (1997-2000).
Last update 02.06.1999