Biochemists at Ohio State University and their colleagues have overcome one of the major obstacles to drug design, by trimming some of the fat from a molecular sponge that scientists use to study proteins.
In the December issue of the journal Structure, the biochemists report using their method successfully in experiments with two common cellular proteins. The results suggest that scientists could one day use the method as a step in designing drugs for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s, and tuberculosis.
Proteins are part of the cell membranes of living organisms, and they are the gatekeepers that regulate what enters and leaves a cell, explained Martin Caffrey, professor of chemistry at Ohio State. To design a drug that will target a particular protein, scientists need to view the protein’s structure in detail, and that involves removing the protein from the cell membrane and forming it into a crystal that can be viewed using x-rays.
Martin Caffrey | EurekAlert!
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