Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Crystallography
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Identifying Protein 'Pockets' that Block Hallucinogens

Published: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Psychoactive drugs work by binding proteins in our brains and bodies and although these proteins have been a mystery, new research from the University of North Carolina is illuminating their structures.

In a paper published in Nature, a team of scientists from the University of North Carolina and elsewhere describe the chemical structure of the kappa opioid receptor (KOR). This cell protein binds Salvinorin A, a widely-abused hallucinogen known as “magic mint,” as well as other drugs.

The research team used a variety of tools to determine KOR’s structure, including protein engineering and chemical biology. The crucial step was crystallography. In this technique, a crystal of a protein is created whose orderly structure can be more easily identified.

“It took between three and four years in a collaboration to engineer the protein and get large amounts of it, and then another year or so of trial and error to get it to crystallize,” said Dr. Bryan Roth, professor of pharmacology at North Carolina and a co-author of the paper.

“With the crystals, it took less then a month to solve the structure.”

Because the protein’s “binding pocket” is so large, there may be a variety of drugs that could alter or diminish its ability to bind.

“Basically, the larger the binding pocket, the more likely many structurally different drugs can bind to it,” Roth said.

“We’re in the process of creating new drug-like compounds, using KOR’s structural data, for use as medications.”

Since opioid receptors play a large role in causing pain, depression and addiction, the key, notes Roth, will be creating drugs that interfere with KOR reception.

“When we activate KOR in the brain, we induce hallucinations. So we want to make KOR activators which only work outside the brain.”

Activating KOR elsewhere in the body could result in suppression of depression, anxiety and other disorders.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Molecular Twist Helps Regulate the Cellular Message to Make Histone Proteins
Researchers show for the first time how two key proteins in messenger RNA communicate via a molecular twist to help maintain the balance of histones to DNA.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Structure of 450 Million Year Old Protein Reveals Evolution’s Steps
Researchers have determined the atomic structure of an ancient protein, revealing in detail how genes evolved their functions.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Scientific News
Neutron Analysis of HIV-1 Protease
Neutrons probe structure of enzyme critical to development of next-generation HIV drugs.
Do Germs Cause Type 1 Diabetes?
Germs could play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes by triggering the body’s immune system to destroy the cells that produce insulin, new research suggests.
Crucial Reaction for Vision Revealed
Scientists have tracked the reaction of a protein responding to light, paving the way for a new understanding of life's essential reactions.
Secrets of a Deadly Virus Family Revealed
Scripps Research scientists uncover the glycoprotein structure of LCMV. The findings could guide development of treatments for Lassa fever.
Serotonin Transporter Structure Revealed
Researchers determined the 3-D structure of the serotonin transporter and visualized how two common antidepressants interact with the protein.
Zika Virus Structure Revealed
Team at Purdue becomes the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus, which reveals insights critical to the development of effective antiviral treatments and vaccines.
Half a Million-Dollar Tick
How proteins present in tick saliva prevent the immune system from running amok.
Promising Model for Hantavirus Drug Design
X-ray crystallography provides drug template against disease transmitted by small rodents.
A Crystal Clear View of Biomolecules
Fundamental discovery triggers paradigm shift in crystallography.
'Molecular Movie' Opens Door to New Cancer Treatments
An international team of scientists led by the University of Liverpool has produced a 'structural movie' revealing the step-by-step creation of an important naturally occurring chemical in the body that plays a role in some cancers.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!