Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Research Scientists Create Potent Molecules Aimed at Treating Muscular Dystrophy

23.02.2012
The new approach could have implications for many genetic diseases
While RNA is an appealing drug target, small molecules that can actually affect its function have rarely been found. But now scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have for the first time designed a series of small molecules that act against an RNA defect directly responsible for the most common form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy.

In two related studies published recently in online-before-print editions of Journal of the American Chemical Society and ACS Chemical Biology, the scientists show that these novel compounds significantly improve a number of biological defects associated with myotonic dystrophy type 1 in both cell culture and animal models.
“Our compounds attack the root cause of the disease and they improve defects in animal models,” said Scripps Research Associate Professor Matthew Disney, PhD. “This represents a significant advance in rational design of compounds targeting RNA. The work not only opens up potential therapies for this type of muscular dystrophy, but also paves the way for RNA-targeted therapeutics in general.”

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 involves a type of RNA defect known as a “triplet repeat,” a series of three nucleotides repeated more times than normal in an individual’s genetic code. In this case, the repetition of the cytosine-uracil-guanine (CUG) in RNA sequence leads to disease by binding to a particular protein, MBNL1, rendering it inactive. This results in a number of protein splicing abnormalities. Symptoms of this variable disease can include wasting of the muscles and other muscle problems, cataracts, heart defects, and hormone changes.

To find compounds that acted against the problematic RNA in the disease, Disney and his colleagues used information contained in an RNA motif-small molecule database that the group has been developing. By querying the database against the secondary structure of the triplet repeat that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1, a lead compound targeting this RNA was quickly identified. The lead compounds were then custom-assembled to target the expanded repeat or further optimized using computational chemistry. In animal models, one of these compounds improved protein-splicing defects by more than 40 percent.
“There are limitless RNA targets involved in disease; the question is how to find small molecules that bind to them,” Disney said. “We’ve answered that question by rationally designing these compounds that target this RNA. There’s no reason that other bioactive small molecules targeting other RNAs couldn’t be developed using a similar approach.”

The first authors of the JACS study, “Design of a Bioactive Small Molecule that Targets the Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 RNA via an RNA Motif-Ligand Database & Chemical Similarity Searching” (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja210088v), are Raman Parkesh and Jessica Childs-Disney of Scripps Research. Other authors include Amit Kumar and Tuan Tran also of Scripps Research; Masayuki Nakamori, Jason Hoskins and Charles A. Thornton of the University of Rochester; and Eric Wang, Thomas Wang and David Housman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Scripps Research, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

The first author of the ACS Chemical Biology study, “Rationally Designed Small Molecules Targeting the RNA That Causes Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 Are Potently Bioactive” (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cb200408a) is Jessica L. Childs-Disney of Scripps Research. Other authors include Suzanne G. Rzuczek of Scripps Research and Jason Hoskins and Charles A. Thornton of the University of Rochester. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Scripps Research, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

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 www.scripps.edu.
For information:
Mika Ono
Tel: 858-784-2052
Fax: 858-784-8136
mikaono@scripps.edu

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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The Secret of the Rock Drawings
24.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Chemical juggling with three particles
24.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>