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

Scientists Unlock Structure of Elusive ‘Stress’ Protein

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, July 19, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New discovery paves the way for a transformation in drug treatments for depression, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Scientists working to design advanced medicines that are perfectly targeted to control the body’s natural receptors have made a major discovery using Diamond's Microfocus Macromolecular Crystallography beamline (I24). For the first time, they have been able to visualise and study the structure of CRF1, the protein receptor in the brain which controls our response to stress.

Heptares Therapeutics, a leading UK-based drug discovery and development company, was responsible for identifying the 3D structure of the ‘stress’ receptor, and their results are published today in the journal Nature. This discovery will help scientists to develop improved treatments for depression and anxiety. Furthermore, having identified the architecture of CRF1, scientists now have a template that can be used to accelerate research into other protein receptors that are known to be in the same ‘family’, including those that can be targeted to treat Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Stress-related diseases such as depression and anxiety are now commonplace. 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. Over 105 million work days are lost to stress each year, costing UK employers £1.2 billion.

The UK also faces a major health challenge from diabetes. In the past 20 years, the number of people in the country suffering from diabetes has more than doubled to 2.9 million. By 2025 it is estimated that 5 million people will have diabetes, and that most of these cases will be Type 2 diabetes.

Heptares is a leader in the development of drugs targeting certain protein receptors, called G protein-coupled receptors. Currently 30% of drugs for a variety of diseases target these receptors, making them the largest and most important family of drug targets in the human body.

In the past, drug design has been largely the product of trial and error. Drugs would be developed and then tested until they had the desired effect. Because scientists lacked a comprehensive understanding of why and how the drugs were working, this approach could lead to unwanted side-effects.

A new way of making medicines, known as rational drug design, produces drugs that are specifically targeted to protein receptors in the body. By visualising the stress protein receptor at the atomic level, they were able, for the first time, to identify a ‘pocket’ in the structure. Computer technology will allow scientists to design a drug to fit precisely into this pocket, inhibiting the response of the ‘stress’ receptor. Such focused targeting will only affect the receptor they are aiming for and reduce the chance of unexpected side effects. The level of detail required for this work could only be achieved using the intense synchrotron light produced at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron science facility in Oxfordshire. The synchrotron speeds electrons to near light speed, producing a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. Around 2,500 scientists a year use this light to study samples, and its intensity allows them to visualise on a scale that is unobtainable in their home laboratories. Heptares is currently the biggest annual industrial user of the synchrotron.


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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ 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

Key Cellular Mechanism Involved in Neurodegeneration and Herpes Uncovered
The discovery of a protein complex at the heart of cellular transport networks could have broad implications for disease research.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
‘Big Science’ uncovers another piece in the Alzheimer’s puzzle
Evidence found of the possible cause of brain-cell-damaging toxic iron.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
New Therapeutic Target for Crohn’s Disease
A promising new target for drugs that treat IBD has been identified along with a possible biomarker for IBD severity.
Uncovering Water Bear Resilience
A protein identified in water bears can protect DNA of human cells from lethal doses of radiation damage.
Potential of New Insect Control Traits in Agriculture
Researchers have discovered a protein that shows promise as an alternate corn rootworm control mechanism.
Peer Reviewed Study Demonstrates Mass Spec Technique
The peer reviewed study demonstrates MS workflow, TMTCalibrator workflow, which dramatically enhances detection of key early stage Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
Enhancing Antibiotics to Defeat Resistant Bacteria
Scientists enhance ability of antibiotics to defeat resistant types of bacteria using molecules called PPMOs
Disordered Protein 'Shape Shifts' to Avoid Crowding
Study suggests disordered protein escapes from the cell membrane when it runs out of space.
Hyperstable Peptides for 'On-Demand' Drugs
These small molecules can fold into different conformations that could allow for greater flexibility in precision drug design
Antibodies Block Norovirus’ Entrance into Cells
Scientists have uncovered a mechanism in the human body that targets and successfully blocks noroviruses.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!