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 The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>