Researchers at IISER-Bhopal sequence genome of Giloy, a medicinal herb

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on September 07, 2021

Used during Covid-19, other health conditions

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have sequenced the Genome of Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), a plant with medicinal properties, stated to be for the first time in the world.

The genome and transcriptome sequencing of Giloy is important due to its tremendous use in pharmaceuticals and ayurvedic formulations to treat various health conditions, including Covid-19 and can provide deep insights into the genomic basis of its medicinal properties.

The usage of Giloy is also recommended under Ayurveda practice by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in prophylactic care as well as therapeutic applications for all symptomatic or asymptomatic patients infected with Covid-19. It is also used in fever and diabetes.

The research led by Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, has been published in the international preprint server for biology bioRxiv.

Sharma said, “Giloy also has anti-microbial activity and is used in skin diseases, urinary tract infection, and dental plaque, among others. It is also found to reduce the clinical symptoms in HIV-positive patients, and its antioxidant activity has anti-cancer and chemo-protective properties. Giloy extracts are found to be potential candidates in treating various cancers like brain tumour, breast cancer, and oral cancer, as well.”

The availability of the Giloy genome will help in bridging the missing link between its genomic and medicinal properties. This study will provide leads for exploring the genomic basis of its medicinal properties.

This research was undertaken by MetaBioSys Group, which focuses on the Indian microbiome including gut, scalp, skin microbiomes in healthy and diseased individuals. They also undertake pioneering work in sequencing and functional analysis of novel eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes by developing and employing new Machine Learning-based software for Biology Big Data analysis.

Researcher Shruti Mahajan said, “Giloy is considered as an important multipurpose medicinal plant in Ayurvedic science. This plant came into the limelight due to its immunomodulatory and antiviral activity after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been used in various health conditions due to its immune-modulatory, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-cancer properties, among others.”

Previous studies have shown that a compound from Giloy was reported to target the two the proteases of SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely Mpro and Spike proteases, and another compound was predicted to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and also disrupts viral spike protein and host ACE-2 interaction. Treatment with giloy extract modulates the various pathways of the immune system for improved immunity.

The genome sequence of Giloy could be a breakthrough as the potential therapeutic agent for diseases like Covid in the future.

Published on September 07, 2021

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