Researchers at IRB Barcelona and IBEC achieve photo-switchable molecules to control protein-protein interactions in a remote and non-invasive manner.
These tools will serve as a prototype to develop photo-switchable drugs, whose effects would be limited to a given region and time, thus reducing the side effects on other regions.
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 breakthrough published online today in the German journal of reference in chemistry Angewandte Chemie has received recognition as a “Very Important Paper”, a distinction that only 5% of the articles accepted achieve. Moreover, the paper will feature on the cover of the July issue.
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. In this context, photo-sensitive peptides will allow the manipulation of the complex development of a multicellular organism by means of light patterns. “ In view of the results, we are now working towards a general recipe to design photo-switchable inhibitory peptides that can be used to manipulate other protein-protein interactions inside cells by applying light,” explain the researchers.
Towards optopharmacology or therapeutic molecules regulated by light
“This first breakthrough will allow us to generate the same kind of peptides for chemical-medical applications,” says Giralt. Dr. Gorostiza was the person who came up with the idea of manipulating biological and pharmacological processes through the use of light after spending five years specializing in this field at the University of California in Berkeley. The coordinator of the ERC Starting Grant project“OpticalBullet” and of the ERC Proof of Concept “Theralight”, both involving collaboration with Giralt’s lab, explains that, “the most immediate therapeutic applications we can expect is for diseases affecting superficial tissue such as the skin, the retina and the most external mucosal membranes.”
The modification of biological processes by means of light is leading to the development of cutting-edge tools for biology and medicine and opening up new research fields, such as optopharmacology and optogenetics. The combination of drugs with external devices to control light may contribute to the development of personalized medicine in which treatments can be adapted to each patient, limiting the time given regions are treated, thus markedly reducing unwanted effects.
The Latest Bing News on:
- Wafer-scale transfer route for top–down III-nitride nanowire LED arrays based on the femtosecond laser lift-off techniqueon April 23, 2021 at 3:24 am
Fig. 2: GaN nanoLEDs created by a top–down hybrid etching method (i.e., a process combination of ICP-RIE and wet-chemical etching). Fig. 3: Laser system configuration and micromachining pattern of ...
- Rice bioengineer wins NIH support for a new strategy to fight cystic fibrosison April 8, 2021 at 4:45 pm
Chemical and biomolecular engineer Xue Sherry ... and a professor of chemistry and of materials science and nanoengineering, and Anatoly Kolomeisky, a professor and chair of chemistry and a ...
- Bioengineer wins NIH grant to attack cystic fibrosison April 8, 2021 at 11:13 am
HOUSTON - (April 8, 2021) - Chemical and biomolecular engineer ... and a professor of chemistry and of materials science and nanoengineering, and Anatoly Kolomeisky, a professor and chair of ...
- Dr Nicholas Farron February 25, 2021 at 7:03 am
He submitted his thesis on the evaluation of a novel, scanning electron microscope based surface chemical mapping technique for characterising polymeric biomaterials in 2021 and was subsequently ...
- PhD in Chemical Engineeringon August 13, 2020 at 7:27 pm
The PhD program emphasizes advanced coursework, hands-on teaching experience, and world-class research at the forefront of the broad disciplines of chemical and biological ... materials and ...
- MRS Energy & Sustainabilityon January 28, 2020 at 11:51 am
Shirley Meng is professor of nanoengineering and materials science at University ... Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Her research is centered on exploiting chemical/materials physics to understand ...
- Advisory Board and Editors Compositeson February 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm
Davide Cozzoli received his MSc degree in Chemistry in 1999 and his PhD in Chemical Sciences in 2004 from the University ... Currently, he serves as Associate Editor of Sci. Adv. Mater. J.
- Advisory Board and Editors Catalysison February 21, 2019 at 7:50 pm
Nanoengineering & Nanomanufacturing ... paving the way to the design of more sustainable chemical processes. At the interface between green chemistry, materials chemistry, biochemistry and chemical ...
- Chapter 9: Nanoengineering of Metallic Materialson February 18, 2018 at 1:04 am
Nanoengineering, by definition, is the science and technology involved with modifying or manipulating the microstructure of bulk materials on a nanoscale. Such materials may display enhanced ...
- Nanotechnology Degree Programson October 14, 2017 at 9:53 pm
In partnership with the International Association of Nanotechnology, the Institute has received funding by a grant from United States Department of Labor to develop curriculum and provide technical ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
- Feed has no items.