Biotechnology Dictionary

If you are in the business of biotech, the alphabet soup of similar-sounding or re-purposed terms can be quite confusing. Principle Point offers our biotech and medical dictionary of more than 1,000 terms, which will be updated periodically as needed. Please let us know if you think we should add a term or if an existing definition needs clarification.


Troponin is a complex of three proteins, troponins C, I and T, associated with tropomyosin and actin on the thin filament of striated muscle, upon which it confers calcium sensitivity. There is one troponin complex per tropomyosin. Troponin C (18kD) binds calcium ions reversibly, TnC binds Tnl... [ read more ]


Tuberculosis is a highly contagious infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous).

Tumor marker

A tumor marker is a substance in the body that is indicative of cancer. These markers are usually specific to certain types of cancer, and are usually found in the blood or other tissue samples.

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a cytokine protein that helps regulate the immune system with the potential to combat (kill) malignant (cancer) tumors. TNF was discovered to be 10,000 times more toxic in humans than in rodents, where it had been tested for toxicity prior to human clinical tests.... [ read more ]

Tumor-associated antigen (TAA)

Tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) are distinctive protein molecules that are produced in the surface membrane of tumor cells. These protein molecules are used by the body's cytotoxic T cells to recognize (and destroy) tumor cells, so such proteins hold promise for use in vaccines.

Two-hybrid system

A two-hybrid system is an assay for detecting in vivo protein-protein interactions, which depends upon expression of a reporter gene, usually in yeast. Transcription of eukaryotic enzymes are regulated by transcriptional activators having distinct DNA-binding domains. These transcriptional... [ read more ]


Typhoid is an infection spread by contaminated food, milk or water supplies with Salmonella, either directly by sewage, indirectly by flies or by poor personal hygiene. There are less than 600 cases of typhoid per year in the U.S. The organism is harbored in the gall bladder of asymptomatic... [ read more ]

Tyrosine kinase

Tyrosine kinases are enzymes associated with the cytoplasmic domain of several growth factor receptors. Two such molecules, when liganded to an effector molecule by their extracellular domains, phosphorylate tyrosine resides on each other; this increases their kinase activities so that they are... [ read more ]

Ubiquitin pathway

Ubiquitin pathway is a biochemical route to cellular proteolysis that depends upon conjugation of the targeted protein to a small protein called ubiquitin followed by hydrolysis.


An ulcer is a lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucus membrane.

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammation of the large intestine and rectum that is usually associated with diarrhea and abdominal pain. Ulcerative colitis affects one in 10,000 people living in the U.S. and peaks twice, at ages 15-30 and the again at ages 50-70. Approximately 250,000 people in... [ read more ]


Ultrasonography, or ultra-sound, is a procedure involving the bouncing of high-frequency sound waves off internal organs to create a diagnostic image. Healthy tissues and tumors differ in the echoes that they produce.

Untranslated region (UTR)

An untranslated region is a genomic DNA sequence that is not translated into an RNA sequence.

Upper Gl Series

An Upper GI Series is a series of X-ray images of the esophagus, stomach and small intestines taken after ingestion of a barium solution.


Urinary means related to the kidneys, ureters and bladder.


Vaccination involves stimulation of the immune system, the natural disease fighting system of the body. For infectious diseases, a killed microbe is injected into the patient to stimulate the immune system against the microbe, thereby preventing disease. The immune system is able to recognize... [ read more ]

Vagal tone

In describing the heart, vagal tone is synonymous with parasympathetic tone. Stimulation of the vagus causes a decreased heart rate, which decreases blood pressure.


Validation is the process of determining the degree of validity. Validation includes the procedures involved in checking data for correctness, compliance with standards, and conformance with the requirement specifications.


Valvular means related to valves, usually the heart valves.


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