Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rules to Target RNA Are Focus of Research

19.12.2005


Once described as DNA’s less-famous chemical cousin, RNA, or ribonucleic acid, recently has moved to center stage.



RNA, the genetic material that circulates throughout cells, orchestrates the building of proteins based on instructions provided by DNA, catalyzes chemical reactions and can alter expression of proteins that may lead to cancer and other diseases.

But finding compounds that bind to and inhibit an RNA sequence -- as a potential new approach to designing disease treatments -- is still very much a trial-and-error process, involving the tedious screening of millions of molecules against a single RNA sequence.


Now, a University at Buffalo medicinal chemist is hoping to change that.

Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, is working to develop rules for targeting RNA. These rules could be used in the rational design of compounds to inhibit a specific RNA sequence.

Disney’s goal, with the help of a five-year, $50,000 new faculty award from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, is to develop a chemical code to enable rational design of binders to any RNA structure. His work also is funded by the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

"What we would like to do is develop a general set of tools that can take an RNA sequence and design efficiently a compound that can turn its activity off," explained Disney.

The human genome and other sequencing efforts have uncovered a lot of sequence information, he continued, but the question, he asks, is, "How can that information be best exploited?"

"One answer may be to take RNA sequence information and design drugs that target that sequence," said Disney. "If that can be done, then a lot of the expense in designing new drugs goes out the window."

Potentially, that could facilitate the development of compounds to treat diseases ranging from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections to cancer and genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis, Disney said.

Rationally designed RNA inhibitors could, he explained, prove more valuable than molecules that inhibit DNA.

One reason is that while DNA bases or nucleotides are always paired according to the same formula, RNA bases have more diverse pairings, which makes targeting RNA more challenging, but also potentially more valuable.

"The ability to form different pairings allows RNA to have a much larger structural repertoire than DNA and that gives RNA the ability to have such diverse cellular functions," said Disney.

In addition, he said, because DNA is present only in the nucleus, pharmaceutical compounds that target it must be able to penetrate the nucleus.

"Since RNA is present both in the cell’s nucleus and cytoplasm, you do not need to get a compound into the nucleus to target it," he said.

Because RNA folds more like a protein than DNA does, it also may be easier to design compounds that selectively target specific structures, he added.

Disney lives in Williamsville.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Ellen Goldbaum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>