When a tablet of medicine is taken, the active molecules get absorbed into the bloodstream through the gut and make their way around the body, including to the cells in which they are intended to act; however, it's important they don't stay in the body forever. Enzymes (biological catalysts) help break them down to facilitate excretion.
The cytochromes P450 are a very important class of these 'tidying up' enzymes which have evolved to deal with all 'foreign' compounds that do not get broken down as part of normal metabolism (that is, any compounds which are not proteins, carbohydrates or lipids).
Mainly situated in the liver, the P450 enzymes help remove drug molecules by adding oxygen to them. This process usually works smoothly, but for some molecules, it can lead to oxygenated variants that are toxic. Other molecules are also able to interfere with the normal function of the P450 enzymes.
For these reasons, it is important to be able to understand how a given new molecule, considered for use as a medicine, will react with these enzymes. The Bristol researchers aimed to provide this understanding by modeling the reaction mechanism for interaction between one specific drug (dextromethorphan, a component of some cough syrups) and one P450 variant.
Professor Jeremy Harvey said: "Our calculations showed that the outcome of the oxygen transfer process (that is, which part of dextromethorphan oxygen gets added to) is affected by three factors.
"The first is the way in which the molecule fits into the enzyme ('docking'). The second is the intrinsic ability of each part of the molecule to accept oxygen. The third is how much each competing oxygen-delivery process is compatible with the shape of the enzyme pocket where the reaction occurs.
"While these first two factors were already known, the third was not. This discovery can help pharmaceutical chemists design new drug molecules with a better understanding of how they will be broken down in the body."
Hannah Johnson | EurekAlert!
MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute
Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering