Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps research scientists develop brand new class of small molecules through innovative chemistry

21.11.2011
Inspired by natural products, scientists on the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have created a new class of small molecules with the potential to serve as a rich foundation for drug discovery.

Combining the power of synthetic chemistry with some advanced screening technologies, the new approach could eventually expand by millions the number of provocative synthetic compounds available to explore as potential drug candidates. This approach overcomes substantial molecular limitations associated with state-of-the-art approaches in small molecule synthesis and screening, which often serve as the foundation of current drug discovery efforts.

The study, led by Scripps Research Associate Professor Glenn Micalizio, was published Nov. 20, 2011, in an advanced online edition of the journal Nature Chemistry.

To frame the significance of this advance, Micalizio explains that high-throughput screening is an important component of modern drug discovery. In high-throughput screening, diverse collections of molecules are evaluated en masse for potential function in a biological area of interest. In this process, success is critically dependent on the composition of the molecular collections under evaluation. Modern screening centers maintain a relatively static collection of molecules, the majority of which are commercially available materials that have structures unrelated to natural products -- molecules that are appreciated as validated leads for drug development.

"This divergence in structure between natural products and commercially available synthetics lies at the heart of our inquiry," said Micalizio. "Why should we limit discovery of therapeutic leads to compound collections that are influenced by concerns relating to commercial availability and compatibility with an artificial set of constraints associated with the structure of modern screening centers?"

To expand the compounds available for investigation, the scientists embraced an approach to structural diversity that mimics nature's engine for the discovery of molecules with biological function. This process, termed "oligomerization," is a modular means of assembling structures (akin to the way that letters are used in a sequence to provide words with meaning) where a small collection of monomeric units can deliver a vast collection of oligomeric products of varying length, structure, and function (like the diversity of words presented in a dictionary).

Coupling this technique with a synthetic design aimed at generating molecules that boast molecular features inspired by the structures of bioactive natural products (specifically, polyketide-derived natural products, which include erythromycin, FK-506, and epothilone), the scientists established a new chemical platform for the discovery of potential therapeutics.

Micalizio points out: "The importance of oligomerization to drive discovery is well appreciated in chemistry and biology, yet a means to realize this process as an entry to small molecule natural product-inspired structures has remained elusive. The crux of the problem is related to challenges associated with the control of shape for each member of a complex oligomer collection -- the central molecular feature that defines biological function."

"It is the stability associated with the shape of these new compounds that lies at the heart of the practical advance," he continued. "The unique features of this science now make possible the ability to synthesize large collections of diverse natural product-inspired structures that have predictable and stable three-dimensional shapes."

Micalizio said that the science described represents a first step toward revolutionizing discovery at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine by embracing nature's strategy for molecular discovery. Coupling this type of advance with modern screening technology that can handle the evaluation of large compound collections at low cost (such as work by Scripps Florida Professor Thomas Kodadek, a co-author of the new study), can dramatically enhance the future of pharmaceutically relevant science.

The potential of this vision was highlighted in the new study, in which a 160,000-member compound collection was employed to discover the first non-covalent small molecule ligand to the DNA binding domain of p53 -- an important transcription factor that regulates a variety of genes involved in cell cycle control and cell death.

The first author of the study, "A Biomimetic Polyketide-Inspired Approach to Small-Molecule Ligand Discovery," is Claudio Aquino of Scripps Research. In addition to Micalizio and Kodadek, other authors include Mohosin Sarkar, Michael J. Chalmers, and Kimberly Mendes.

The study was supported by the Fidelity Biosciences Research Initiative, The State of Florida (The Florida Funding Corporation), and the National Institutes of Health.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see http://www.scripps.edu.

Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>