Inhibiting a protein called Sclerostin could probably help treating the bone-loss disease osteoporosis. New findings at the University of Würzburg could stimulate this research.
Osteoporosis particularly affects elderly women: the bone’s structure weakens and the risk of suffering fractures rises. As prophylaxis patients are advised to have a healthy diet and perform physical exercises; when the risk of bone fractures is high, medicine preventing further bone loss is prescribed in addition.
In the search for better treatments for this disease the protein Sclerostin, which plays an important role in bone metabolism, is of major interest. When its function is impeded, bone resorption diminishes and bone re-growth is stimulated.
First clinical trials with a Sclerostin-inhibiting antibody developed by the companies Amgen and UCB showed promising results in that the bone mass of participants suffering from osteoporosis increased. Currently, studies are continued at several locations, amongst others Würzburg, Munich and Dresden.
Verena Boschert, Postdoc in the team of structural biologist Prof. Thomas Müller at the Julius-von-Sachs Institute (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, JMU, in Bavaria, Germany) is also working on the protein Sclerostin. In a collaborative project with several project partners and funded by the European Union and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft novel Sclerostin-inhibiting antibodies were generated and analysed for their suitability as osteoporosis treatment option.
Now, for the first time the JMU scientists crystallized an antibody effective against Sclerostin and analysed its mode of action in detail. Recently, these results were published in the journal Open Biology. “Our findings could have a positive impact on the design of new inhibitory antibodies targeting Sclerostin”, says Boschert.
Cooperation with two companies
In this project the scientists from Würzburg are working together with partners from industry. In cooperation with AbD-Serotec, having its German subsidiary in Puchheim, ten promising antibodies were developed in the initial round. After testing in cell culture one (AbD09097) showed the favoured activity to neutralize Sclerostin.
Together with the company Pepscan (Lelystad/ The Netherlands) and the Leibniz Institute for Pharmacology in Berlin an in-depth analysis of the binding epitopes was performed using peptide chemistry and NMR spectroscopy. From these methods the binding site of the antibody in Sclerostin could be deduced.
Further steps in the project
”Until now, we could only determine the structure of the antibody alone “, Boschert points out. As the next step it is planned to crystallize the antibody together with Sclerostin or a binding fragment. Thereby, a more detailed view of the interaction between antibody and its target will be obtained.
The sclerostin-neutralizing antibody AbD09097 recognizes an epitope adjacent to sclerostin's binding site for the Wnt co-receptor LRP6. V. Boschert, C. Frisch, J. W. Back, K. van Pee, S. E. Weidauer, E.-M. Muth, P. Schmieder, M. Beerbaum, A. Knappik, P. Timmerman, T. D. Mueller. Open Biology 2016 6 160120; DOI: 10.1098/rsob.160120. Published 24 August 2016
Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller, Biocenter, Julius-von-Sachs Institute, JMU, T +49 31 31-89207, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Verena Boschert, Biocenter, Julius-von-Sachs Institute, JMU, T +49 931 31-80910, email@example.com
http://rsob.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/6/8/160120 Link to Open-Access article
Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
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