Researchers discover novel route for drug discovery

Dec 9, 2016 16:03 IST

Researchers from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi in the month of December 2016 discovered a novel route to ascertain new drug targets and potential drugs.

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These new drug targets route and potential drugs are particularly for the parasites such as Loa loa nematode (roundworm) and Schistosoma mansoni platyhelminths (flatworm) that cause several diseases.

These parasites are the major cause of diseases in African countries. They have limited treatment options and are also drug resistant.

Moreover, pharmaceutical companies lack the interests in developing drugs for these diseases as they do not turn out to be that beneficial commercially as expected.

The Discovery

  • Researchers took the Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) of the two parasites instead of blindly screening molecules, which is expensive and takes a long time.
  • They picked up one of the enzymes that contribute to protein synthesis and authenticated it as a drugable target.
  • They then studied the crystal structure of the enzyme with cladosporin, a drug that targets these parasites.
  • It showed the acquaintance of the drug within the active site of the enzyme.

About Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs)

  • These are essential enzymes that decode the genetic information and enable protein translation.
  • The enzyme family of aaRSs has 20 members and each enzyme contributes to protein synthesis.
  • If one of 20 enzymes is missing then, the protein synthesis cannot happen.


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