Chemical nanoengineering: Designing drugs controlled by light

Chemical nanoengineering: Designing drugs controlled by light

A new breakthrough will help with the development of light-regulated therapeutic molecules.

via ScienceDaily: Top Science News:

June 18, 2013 — The scientific cooperation between chemists, biotechnologists and physicists from various Catalan institutes, headed by Pau Gorostiza, from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), and Ernest Giralt, from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), has led to a breakthrough that will favor the development of light-regulated therapeutic molecules.The “Design, synthesis and structure of peptides and proteins” lab headed by Dr. Giralt, also senior professor at the University of Barcelona and holder of the 2011 Spanish National Research Prize, has synthesized two peptides (small proteins), which, on irradiation with light, change shape, thereby allowing or preventing an specific protein-protein interaction. The association of these two proteins is required for endocytosis, a process by which cells allow molecules to cross the cell membrane and enter. The Italian scientist Laura Nevola, postdoctoral researcher who works in Dr. Giralt’s lab, and Andrés Martín-Quirós, a PhD student with Dr. Gorostiza’s lab, co-authors of the study, have spent four years working on the design of photo-sensitive peptides.”Photo-sensitive peptides act like traffic lights and can be made to give a green or red light for cell endocytosis. They are powerful tools for cell biology,” explains Dr. Giralt. “These molecules allow us to use focalized light like a magic wand to control biological processes and to study them,” adds the physicist Pau Gorostiza, ICREA professor, and head of the “Nanoprobes and nanoswitches” lab at IBEC.The researchers highlight the immediate applicability of these molecules to study, for example, in vitro endocytosis in cancer cells -where this process is uncontrolled- which would allow selective inhibition of the proliferation of these cells. Also, they would also allow the study of developmental biology -where cells require endocytosis to change shape and function, processes that are orchestrated with great spatial and temporal precision. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Chemical nanoengineering: Designing drugs controlled by light

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