Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Controlling drug design through ‘unnatural’ selection

12.12.2006
Darwin probably never envisaged that, 150 years after ‘Origin of the Species’ was published, scientists would be adapting his ideas to improve drug design, but new research from the University of Leeds is doing just that.

Enzymologist Alan Berry and chemist Adam Nelson used ‘directed evolution’ to adapt a natural enzyme to make analogues of the anti-flu drug, Relenza™. The scientists – from Leeds’ Astbury Centre – created enzymes able to control the three-dimensional construction of the drug-like molecules they produced. Controlling the shape of drugs at this level is essential since many therapeutics only work when in one format and, in some cases – such as Thalidomide – the wrong format can have serious side effects. This is the first time that the technique has been used in this way.

Directed evolution mirrors natural evolution, except that the researchers control which properties are passed on to the next ‘generation’. Dr Berry and Professor Nelson made thousands of copies of their target enzyme, each subtly different to the ‘parent’, and then selected the ones that suited their purpose best. They then repeated the process, until, step by step, they had the final enzymes they were looking for.

Dr Berry said: “Enzymes can be engineered using rational design, but it takes a lot of time to amass enough information to use that approach. With directed evolution, you pick randomly from a huge number of copies of the enzyme to find the properties you want. It’s fully automated and very high throughput. Syntheses of anti-flu drugs are complicated, but using this technique you can cut out some of the process – often generating enzymes which are much more efficient than their natural ‘parents’.”

... more about:
»Design »enzyme

Professor Nelson said: “Directed evolution could help simplify the production process for many drugs already on the market, but it’s unlikely to be used in this way as a new method of synthesis requires approval even for an existing drug. However, in the future, drug design is likely to focus more and more on directed evolution, with a big increase in the number of bio-engineered catalysts created for drug development.”

Dr Berry added: “It is surprising that chemical manufacturers don’t use enzymes more widely as catalysts, as they are environmentally friendly. The main stumbling block has been that enzymes will only carry out very specific reactions. However, we’ve shown that directed evolution allows us to modify natural enzymes as required, opening up the possibility of creating tailored catalysts for a range of industrial chemical syntheses.”

The research was funded by the BBSRC, EPSRC and the Wellcome Trust. The scientists have secured further funding from these agencies to look at adapting enzymes to create more complex sugars, such as di- and tri-saccharides.

Abigail Chard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.chem.leeds.ac.uk

Further reports about: Design enzyme

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>