Crystal structure enables tailoring of pharmaceuticals against asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have managed to elucidate the crystal structure of a human membrane protein – LTC4 synthase – which has a major influence on the development of asthma. LTC4 synthase is extremely difficult to analyze, and previously only low resolution information has been available on two membrane protein structures from human. The scientists now believe that their work will enable the development of new and better therapeutics against inflammations in the pulmonary tract.
Asthma attacks are caused by an acute inflammatory reaction in the airways, a reaction that is largely due to actions of LTC4 synthase. For this reason asthma medicines often aim at blocking the downstream effects of LTC4 synthase. However, there is a need for new pharmaceutical alternatives, since not all patients respond to the existing medicines.
Scientists at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics have now, with the help of the two EU networks “EICOSANOX” and “E-Mep”, elucidated the three dimensional structure of the LTC4 synthase at 2.0 Å resolution (1 Å = 1 Ångström = 10-10 m = 0,000 000 000 1 m). It is clear from the structure that the protein has three identical subunits, each of them consisting of four spiral structures that span the nuclear membrane. Also the exact position and characteristics of the active sites, where activating or blocking molecules can bind, have been identified. With this knowledge it is now possible to tailor new molecules that can block the LTC4 synthase.
The new results are also very important as they can lead the way for the development of new and more effective therapeutics against other diseases. Some 40 % of the proteins of interest for pharmaceutical developments are membrane proteins. Until now detailed structural information on these proteins has been absent, and therefore it has been difficult to fully understand their function. The present study is likely to lead the way for the determination of structures of other human membrane proteins. The elucidation of more membrane protein structures will help us understand fundamental processes that take place in the cell membranes.
Facts: Proteins consist of a chain of amino acids. The length of this chain can range from a few to thousands of amino acids. The chain is then folded in a characteristic way and the 3-D structure can bind different molecules. Determining a protein structure and its biochemical characteristics helps us understand its function, and to design blocking or activating molecules which can serve as medicines. A known protein structure therefore makes it easier and faster to develop new pharmaceuticals.
The EU network EICOSANOX brings together leading scientists from Europe and Canada, and is coordinated by Karolinska Institutet.
“Structural basis for synthesis of inflammatory mediators by human leukotriene C4 synthase”
Martinez Molina D, Wetterholm A, Kohl A, McCarthy AA, Niegowski D, Ohlson E, Hammarberg T, Eshaghi S, Haeggström JZ, Nordlund P.
Nature, AOP 15 July 2007
Katarina Sternudd | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...