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 The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>