Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCSF researchers identify new drug target for Kaposi’s Sarcoma

03.08.2009
UCSF researchers have identified a new potential drug target for the herpes virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, re-opening the possibility of using the class of drugs called protease inhibitors against the full herpes family of viruses, which for 20 years has been deemed too difficult to attain.

The new drug target, which is known as a protease dimer, could serve as a model for developing new therapeutics for diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s, the researchers say. Findings are reported in the Advance Online Publication section of the “Nature Chemical Biology” web site and can be found at http://www.nature.com/nchembio/index.html .

Most current antiviral drugs target the active sites of viral proteins, where enzymes and receptors work in a lock-and-key approach to either activate or deactivate that particular protein, the researchers explained. Traditionally, drug development has focused on inhibiting that lock-and-key action to prevent the enzyme, or receptor from being effective.

Some viral enzymes known as proteases, however, including those for HIV and the herpes virus family, take the form of a dimer, or two identical halves – much like a fully opened clamshell – in their most stable state. Those proteases play an essential role in making the virus infectious, but require the two clamshell halves to bind together to be activated, according to the paper.

The HIV protease was successfully targeted for drug development in the 1980s, by blocking the active site on the surface of the dimer, but the herpes virus protease dimer has consistently eluded efforts to disrupt it at its active site, the researchers said.

The UCSF team set out to find ways to instead prevent the two halves of the dimer from connecting at that clamshell joint, to prevent it from activating. What they found was a new target on the unstable, monomer form of the protease, which responded well to a chemical inhibitor.

“If you disrupt the protein-protein interactions, you don’t need the key to a specific lock,” said Charles S. Craik, PhD, senior author on the paper and a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. “Instead, we’re essentially preventing the lock from being made in the first place.”

Craik, who also led a team that identified HIV protease inhibitors in the late 1980s, said the “Nature Chemical Biology” paper validates this new site as a viable option for small-molecule drugs to treat Kaposi’s, as well as other members of this viral family.

“All known herpes virus proteases are structurally similar,” Craik explained. “The inhibitor we found knocks out not only KS, but also the cytomegalovirus protease, so the site we’ve identified here could be a target for a broad-acting inhibitor against the entire viral family.”

To their knowledge, the researchers said, this is the first small-molecule inhibitor of a herpes virus protease to not only act outside the active site, but also to select for the partially unfolded protein to keep it from forming the dimer interface.

Herpes viruses make up one of the most prevalent viral families, including eight human viruses that cause a variety of devastating illnesses, the researchers said. Those include mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), shingles (Varicella zoster virus), genital herpes (herpes simplex), retinitis (cytomegalovirus) and cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma). While therapies exist for these viruses, they often have negative side effects and are facing rising viral resistance.

In addition to validating herpes virus proteases as suitable targets, Craik said this research was also among the first to use computational design to identify and create a potential drug to target that protease interface.

Using high-throughput screening, the team screened a library of 182 compounds that it had specifically and rationally designed to mimic the protease interface. The work identified six molecules that inhibited the Kaposi’s sarcoma virus protease activity by at least 50 percent, including one that was highly potent.

That discovery potentially opens myriad opportunities for drug discovery, Craik said, by making target receptors that were biologically validated, but then deemed undruggable, more attractive. Protein-protein interactions have been researched as drug targets against a range of diseases, from certain cancers to neurodegenerative diseases. This advance could enable researchers to reconsider those targets, he said.

The lead investigator on the paper was Tina Shahian, with the Graduate Group in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCSF. Co-authors were Gregory M. Lee and Ana Lazic, both in the UCSF Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry; and Leggy A. Arnold, Priya Velusamy, Christina M. Roels and R. Kiplin Guy, all with the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.

The CMV protease expression plasmid for this work was provided by Wade Gibson, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The work was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Lebanese and Syrian Associated Charities and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The authors declare no conflict of interest in this paper.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, visit http://www.ucsf.edu.

Kristen Bole | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu
http://www.nature.com/nchembio/index.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton 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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solar Collectors from Ultra-High Performance Concrete Combine Energy Efficiency and Aesthetics

16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News

3D scans for the automotive industry

16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering

Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

16.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>