Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers have successfully designed and improved a new type of cancer-killing compound by performing molecular surgery to stabilize the molecule so that it selectively triggers cell death.
The idea for developing the compound emerged from the HHMI laboratory of Stanley J. Korsmeyer, who leads one of the hottest research teams currently studying programmed cell death, or apoptosis, a genetic program that executes cells that are no longer needed. Using the biologically active portion of a protein that triggers apoptosis, Korsmeyers team successfully inserted non-natural amino acids into the peptide sequence and then performed a chemical reaction that created a "staple" within the molecule, resulting in its stabilization. Korsmeyer and the papers lead author, Loren D. Walensky, who are at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, reported their studies in the September 3, 2004, issue of the journal Science.
The chemical approach they applied, called hydrocarbon stapling, was developed by their collaborator Gregory L. Verdine of Harvard University, and permitted the researchers to overcome the tendency of short peptides to lose their critical three-dimensional structure – and their ability to kill cells -- when removed from the context of the complete protein. This has been one of the greatest obstacles associated with using short peptides as therapeutic agents, and has hindered their legitimacy as pharmaceutical lead compounds. By making the peptides more resistant to degradation and enabling their cellular uptake, the hydrocarbon staple overcomes classic shortcomings of peptide therapeutics.
Jennifer Michalowski | EurekAlert!
One step closer to reality
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University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
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In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
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20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy