Glossary – B

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B

BAC
See bacterial artificial chromosome

bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)
DNA construct (vector) based on the structure of bacterial “chromosomes”. Large amounts of foreign DNA can be introduced into BACs. BACs are injected into the nucleus of fertilized egg cells, which are transplanted into the uterus of a recipient mouse. The resulting offspring is transgenic and carries the BAC.

B cells (or B-Lymphocytes)
Specialized cells of the adaptive immune system. The B lymphocyte is a type of leukocyte and is generated in the bone marrow. After specifically recognizing an antigen, B cells differentiate into either antibody producing plasma cells or memory B cells.

bioluminescence
Bioluminescence is the ability of cells to produce light. The light is emitted by enzymes called luciferases. In cancer research, luciferase expressing “shining” tumor cells are a tool for monitoring processes like tumor growth, metastasis formation or tumor shrinking during and following treatment.

bioluminescence imaging (BLI)
An image producing technology used for the non-invasive study of ongoing biological processes in small laboratory animals, e.g. mice or rats. To this aim, cells that emit light because they express luciferase are injected into the animals and detected in regular intervalls.

biomarkers
Biomarkers (or biological markers) are indicator molecules expressed in specific cells, e.g. cancer cells. In cancer immunotherapy these markers are used for diagnosis or as targets for antibody therapies.

biomolecule
Biomolecules are molecules produced by a living organism (e.g. proteins, sugars, vitamins, toxins and nucleic acids). Biotin and Botox are two widely known biomolecules used by the cosmetic industry.

blastocysts
The cell cluster formed in the early mammalian embryogenesis, in humans 5 days after fertilization.

BLI
See bioluminescence imaging

blot
Method in molecular biology, which allows the specific detection of DNA, RNA or proteins. These biomolecules are fixed onto a carrier and visualized by staining.
Blot methods:
– Southern Blot to detect DNA
– Northern Blot to detect RNA
– Western Blot to detect proteins