Researchers seek to treat protein-based diseases

Scientists at the University of Essex have made a further step towards the potential future development of medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered "undruggable".

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, relates to a protein known as Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) which is linked to a number of different cancers. AP-1 consists of two proteins which bind to DNA and lead to cell growth. Normally AP-1 functions by helping cells to grow and divide but when there is an abundance of this protein it can lead to cancers forming.

The research team's study at Essex, led by Dr Jody Mason from the School of , involved using a very small modified protein known as a "helix-constrained peptide" to block the two proteins in AP-1 from binding to each other. By preventing binding, these "interfering " stop the protein from functioning, and therefore harness the potential to prevent cancers forming.

There is a real need for drug development in this area as the result could lead to curing or modifying a whole range of protein-based diseases which currently cannot be treated with traditional small molecule medicine.

As Dr Mason explained, it is hoped this research will better inform the development of peptide-based drugs where AP-1 is involved.

More information: Rao, T. (2013) Truncated and Helix-Constrained Peptides with High Affinity and Specificity for the cFos Coiled-Coil of AP-1. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59415. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059415

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers design Alzheimer's antibodies

Dec 09, 2011

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to design antibodies aimed at combating disease. The surprisingly simple process was used to make antibodies that neutralize the ...

A hairpin to fight HIV

Nov 02, 2007

When a host cell is infected with HIV, the virus brings its own genetic material into the host cell. This cell then replicates, reads the viral RNA, and uses it as a blueprint to produce more viral proteins.

Discovery prompts new theory on cause of autoimmune diseases

May 03, 2010

The recent discovery of a protein fragment capable of causing diabetes in mice has spurred researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver to propose a new hypothesis about the cause of diabetes ...

Recommended for you

Where Ebola battles are won

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Four hospitals that are home to advanced biocontainment facilities have become America's ground zero in the treatment of Ebola patients.

Depression tied to worse lumbar spine surgery outcomes

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Sp ...

Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark: WHO

11 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

12 hours ago

U.S. authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees ...

User comments