The study shows how important basic research is to our understanding of possible side effects from drug candidates interacting with various target proteins.
The study was done by researchers at Umeå University in Sweden and is published in the latest issue of the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society. The findings surprise all the researchers involved.
Fredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry, working with colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, has developed a molecule, FN075, that slows down the infection capability of bacteria. This molecule blocks the growth and function of the hair-like shoots that bacteria use to cause infections. Even though the molecule is not used in any drugs today, this disarming principle could be of great importance in future struggles against resistance to antibiotics.
Interestingly, bacteria’s hair-like shoots are structured according to the same principle as amyloid proteins, improperly folded proteins that accumulate in nerve disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
“So we tested whether FN 075 could also hamper the formation of amyloids in a protein that is implicated in Parkinson’s disease. But instead it turned out that the molecule boosted the formation of amyloid structures,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, professor of biological chemistry.
In other words, the same tiny molecule can have exactly the opposite effect depending on what protein it encounters and in what surroundings. The study thus shows that it is important to test for possible side effects that new substances might have on amyloid proteins.
“There seems to be a fine balance between what activities these types of substances hamper and what activities they prompt,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.
She says it is too early to say whether the effects on the amyloid proteins are positive or negative from a medical perspective. On the other hand, it is clear that molecules like FN075 are key research tools to achieve an understanding of these types of complex processes.
The new findings have inspired the researchers regarding how to continue to design and use small molecules that can affect amyloid formation.
“Perhaps some of the body’s own small metabolites help to trigger amyloid formation in nerve disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” wonders Fredrik Almqvist, who declares that they will now be following up these findings.
The research is being conducted at the Chemical Biology Centre, KBC, and the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research, UCMR at Umeå University and is based on the combined expertise of the chemists Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Magnus Wolf-Watz, and Fredrik Almqvist. Most of the study was carried out by post-doctoral fellows Istvan Horvath, Christoph F. Weise, and Emma Andersson. With the assistance of the KBC platform for nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR, the scientists have been able to study proteins at the atomic level.For more information, please contact:
E-mail: email@example.comFredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Chemical Biological Centre, KBC, and Umeå Centre for Microbial Research, UCMR, Umeå University
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences