Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery offers new understanding of diabetes drug target

26.09.2008
Scientists at the University of Leicester have published findings about a new advance in the study of major diabetes drug target.

The advance - described by the researchers as 'very significant' - could lead to new drugs being developed to target a protein that plays a critical role in controlling the way the body breaks down sugar.

Professor John Schwabe and his team from the University of Leicester Department of Biochemistry (together with teams from Japan and Hungary) have been studying the protein, PPAR gamma. PPAR gamma is a major drug target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although it was known how drugs are able to activate this protein, until this study, using the sophisticated technique of X-ray Crystallography, it was not clear how PPAR gamma is naturally activated in the body.

X-ray Crystallography is the principal method by which the detailed 3- dimensional structures of molecules - especially the molecules of living systems - have been discovered. It is achieved by firing X-rays at the target and creating its structures by analysing how the x-rays scatter into many different directions.

Through this method, the Leicester team have shown how PPAR gamma binds to eight different fatty acids, derived in part from what we eat. They found that many of these acids joined irreversibly with the protein and led to its long term activation. They have also shown that sometimes two fatty acids bind simultaneously, which might mean that PPAR gamma could be targeted by a mixture of drugs.

Professor John Schwabe, who led the Leicester project with his team, including Dr Toshimasa Itoh and Dr Louise Fairall, said: "The finding that natural activators for PPAR gamma couple irreversibly to the PPAR gamma receptor dramatically changes our understanding of how this receptor is activated.

"It may also allow for the design of novel pharmaceuticals that give longer term activation of PPAR gamma, at lower doses, without some of the side effects of the current generation of drugs."

Professor Schwabe said: "PPAR gamma is a critical player in the increasingly prevalent metabolic disease of type 2 diabetes which affects more than 180 million people worldwide (World Health Organisisation) and in the UK alone costs the NHS £9.6 million every day.

"PPARgamma is activated by two widely prescribed anti-diabetic insulin- sensitising drugs, Actos and Avandia. However the identity of the natural activators for PPAR gamma has remained unclear.

"Our breakthrough is important because it reveals for the first time that how this protein is activated by naturally-occuring fatty acids. This knowledge will help in the design of future novel pharmaceutical agents."

The research has been published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. The paper will also be featured as a Highlight in the journal Nature Chemical Biology and has been designated a “Must Read” by the Faculty of 1000. The research was funded by the University of Leicester and the Wellcome Trust.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/
http://www.diabetes.nhs.uk/diabetesinthenhs.pdf
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Loss of identity in immune cells explained
18.02.2019 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Progress in the treatment of aggressive brain tumors
18.02.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

Im Focus: Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components

Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.

DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Internet of Things: TU Graz researchers increase the dependability of smart systems

18.02.2019 | Interdisciplinary Research

Laser Processes for Multi-Functional Composites

18.02.2019 | Process Engineering

Scientists Create New Map of Brain’s Immune System

18.02.2019 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>