Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Identify Promising Antiviral Compounds

03.07.2013
Structural details and computational modeling may lead to rational design of drugs to combat adenovirus
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have identified two promising candidates for the development of drugs against human adenovirus, a cause of ailments ranging from colds to gastrointestinal disorders to pink eye. A paper published in FEBS Letters, a journal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, describes how the researchers sifted through thousands of compounds to determine which might block the effects of a key viral enzyme they had previously studied in atomic-level detail.

"This research is a great example of the potential for rational drug design," said lead author Walter Mangel, a biologist at Brookhaven Lab. "Based on studies of the atomic-level structure of an enzyme that's essential for the maturation of adenovirus and how that enzyme becomes active—conducted at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS)—we used computational modeling to search for compounds that might interfere with this enzyme and tested the best candidates in the lab."

Out of 140,000 compounds in a national database, the scientists identified two they expect to be able to turn into antiviral agents to combat adenovirus.

The need for such antiviral compounds stems from the diversity of human adenoviruses and their ubiquitous effects, Mangel said. Adenoviruses cause many types of respiratory diseases (including outbreaks among military recruits), childhood pneumonias, and eye infections—and may even play a role in obesity. They are particularly dangerous for individuals with impaired immunity, such as transplant recipients and patients with AIDS.

With more than 50 varieties causing this range of diseases, it's unlikely scientists will develop a universally effective vaccine to prevent all strains of adenovirus before infection, Mangel said. But one thing all adenovirus strains share is a common mechanism of making new virus particles once an infection takes root. Targeting that mechanism with antiviral drugs—the approach taken by the Brookhaven team—may be a viable way to battle all adenovirus strains.

Mangel worked with fellow Brookhaven scientists William McGrath and Vito Graziano, along with Kathy Zabrocka, a student from Stanford University who was conducting an undergraduate internship in his lab. The research built on work Mangel's lab initiated years earlier to decipher the atomic-level structure of the adenovirus proteinase, an enzyme conserved throughout all strains of the virus that cleaves proteins during the assembly of new virus particles.

"Once those proteins are cleaved, the newly synthesized virus particle is infectious," Mangel explained. "If those proteins are not cleaved, then the infection is aborted. Thus, inhibitors of the adenovirus proteinase should be effective antiviral agents against all strains of adenovirus," he said.

Over several years, Mangel's group found that the activity of the enzyme was highly regulated by two cofactors, a small piece of another adenovirus protein and the viral DNA. Structures of the enzyme alone and in the presence of its cofactors, determined by x-ray crystallography at the NSLS, revealed key regions that could serve as potential targets for blocking the enzyme's activation or protein-cleaving ability.

"All that remained was to find compounds that bind to these targets to prevent the enzyme from functioning," Mangel said.

To find these compounds, the scientists used a technique called DOCKing, which entails computationally probing a region of the protein structure against databases of small molecules to determine which might bind most strongly. Out of a database of 140,000 potential compounds, the scientists identified 30 molecules predicted to fit best and ordered samples to test for inhibitor activity.

Two of the molecules that DOCKing identified turned out to be excellent inhibitors of the adenovirus proteinase. At the concentrations that inhibited the adenovirus proteinase, these same compounds did not inhibit other, similar enzymes. Thus, the compounds appear to be specific inhibitors of the adenovirus enzyme.

The molecules identified are still too large to be delivered as drugs. So the scientists are working to pare down the size in the design of a second-generation compound based upon the binding portions of the two inhibitors. This new molecule is expected to readily enter adenovirus-infected cells and bind even more tightly to the adenovirus proteinase.

"This work should pave the way for the development of effective drugs against all types of adenovirus infections," Mangel said.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant number AI R0141599). The National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven is supported by the DOE Office of Science. Beamlines x25 and x29, used in the prior structural studies, were supported by the DOE Office of Science and by the National Center for Research Resources (P41RR012408) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P41GM103473) of the National Institutes of Health.

Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bnl.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Biological signalling processes in intelligent materials
18.07.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pollen taxi for bacteria

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Biological signalling processes in intelligent materials

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise

18.07.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>