Saturday, February 21, 2009

An additional tool to improve Drug Design !...

Gone are those days, when we used to kill so many albino mice/rats or guinea pigs for testing compounds for their pharmacological properties. Thanks for the innovative ideas of molecular modeling and their by knowing the mechanism of actions. So now if we know the structures of enzymes or protiens, we can test the activities by photometric analysers. Even in this type of the discovery, the methods were trial and error methods only. Its really interesting, now like a tailor measures up a person for a suit, its possible to measure accurate dimensions of proteins called membrane receptors, which makes this research more significant and hope this will go a long way in the history of drug discovery and for rational drug design with broader life sciences applications.

The method, called Differential Aberration Correction (DAC) microscopy, measures distances at the molecular level in two and three dimensions using conventional fluorescence microscopy. The special feature of this method is that one can measure proteins in solution, which is how they exist in nature, instead of using coated or crystallised proteins as other techniques do.

Proteins sit on cell boundaries, acting as gate-keepers, and they represent a class of biomolecules targetted by over 50 per cent of pharmaceuticals and hope this discovery of understanding the complex structures of these molecules and how new drugs affect their structure will help drug companies design more effective pharmaceuticals.

DAC microscopy is an improvement on an older technology, called FRET, which can measure distances from 1-10 nanometres. DAC can measure 1-250 nanometres, giving a more complete picture of drug-membrane receptor interactions. It will complement other techniques like X-ray crystallography and there by further substantiating the concclusions. As per Dr Vallotton, the DAC software was tested using fluorescent polystyrene microspheres only 100 nm across – about one thousandth the width of a hair. Hats off, to the group for this achivement. More detials with video demo .....

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