Researchers Propose Infrared Sensors as Method for Drug Discovery

Drug Discovery

Prof Dr. Jörn Güldenhaupt and Klaus Gerwert, biophysicists at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (RUB), have invented an infrared sensor-based analysis method that can readily and efficiently detect active agents that affect the structures of proteins and for the time period it lasts. They experimented with the structure of protein scaffolds, which will one day may help in drug discovery that will have minimal side effects.

Many drugs inhibit the activities of particular cells and manipulate their metabolism but active agents settles in the prime functional compartments of specific proteins that has hollow pouches. After which they alter the functional structure of the surface causing conformational change. This activates the accessibility of pouches thus, attracting more effective active agents and reducing side effects.

Infrared Sensors for Drug Discovery method not only provides the structural information in minutes but also specifies the type of structural change. The active agents have high complex span of life, which means they stick longer to the protein and thus remaining effective for longer durations.

The sensors are based on a crystal that is absorbent for infrared lights. The infrared spectra is recorded through crystal and the surface is rinsed with or without active agent solutions. These sensors detect the changes on structure-sensitive protein’s spectral area. If the active agents have altered the shape of protein then these sensors detect the changes.

The team also demonstrated the way two different active agent groups affect the heat shock protein to prove the accuracy of this method. It is like a folding helper which accommodate new generated proteins to form three dimensional structure. Tumor cells require them urgently due to its extreme active metabolism. These active agents will aid in the development of drugs that stop tumor growth.

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