Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Boron-based compounds trick a biomedical protein

Shih-Yuan Liu
Shih-Yuan Liu

Abstract:
University of Oregon chemists, biologists team to boost boron's expanding use in medicine

Boron-based compounds trick a biomedical protein

Eugene, OR | Posted on September 2nd, 2009

Chemists and biologists have successfully demonstrated that specially synthesized boron compounds are readily accepted in biologically active enzymes, a move that, they say, is a proof of concept that could lead to new drug design strategies.

In June 2008, University of Oregon chemist Shih-Yuan Liu reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society his lab's synthesis of boron-nitrogen compounds with electronic and structural similarities to fundamentally important benzene molecules. That synthesis suggested a new tool for possible use in biomedical research as well as in materials science.

What Liu's lab created were benzene surrogates known as 1,2-dihydro-1,2-azaborines that possess electron-delocalized structures consistent with aromaticity -- a core concept in chemistry where rings of atoms exhibit unexpected stability.

Now, in the Sept. 1 issue of Angewandte Chemie, a weekly journal of the German Chemical Society, Liu and colleagues show that their synthesized compounds indeed are accepted in non-polarized hydrophobic pockets of a well-studied enzyme, a member of the lysozyme family discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1921 and used widely in biomedical research.

The "proof of concept" was completed in the Institute of Molecular Biology lab of the UO physicist Brian W. Matthews, where Liu's synthesized compound was treated with T4 lysozymes, crystallized and examined with high-resolution X-ray crystallography.

"I feel this is a fairly big step forward," Liu said. "Our compounds bind efficiently to the T4 lysozyme and behave as hydrophobic arene molecules similar to natural systems. Our compound actually has polar features, so it was questionable that it would bind to the enzyme's hydrophobic pocket, but it did and very similarly to the way carbon molecules would bind."

In essence, Liu and colleagues have potentially put boron, a commonly occurring essential nutrient in plants -- but seemingly "bypassed by nature in evolution" of other living things, Liu said -- into play as an alternative to carbon in manufacturing target-specific pharmaceuticals. The use of boron in the biomedical field is not new but its acceptance has been hampered by instability, but interest has risen in the last decade, Liu said.

An analysis of boron's medical potential appeared in the February issue of EMBO Reports. Boron is being studied by a number of drug manufacturers. It currently is used as an antibacterial drug component and as part of a therapy for multiple myeloma. The advance by Liu's lab strengthens the case that boron-based molecules can be used as new pharmacophores, or as markers of drugs in living tissue, and to improve long-stymied attempts to develop boron-neutron capture therapies to produce inhibiting agents for cancer treatment.

"This research provides the first experimental evidence that enzymes in our bodies cannot distinguish between our artificial compound versus the all-carbon systems," Liu said. "We can trick the enzymes to believing they are accepting the real thing."

The National Institutes of Health funded the research. Co-authors were Liu's chemistry doctoral student Adam J.V. Marwitz, Matthews and Lijun Liu, a research associate in the Matthews lab.

####

About University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contacts:
Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481

Source: Shih-Yuan Liu, assistant professor of chemistry, 541-346-5573;

Copyright © University of Oregon

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanofur for oil spill cleanup: Materials researchers learn from aquatic ferns: Hairy plant leaves are highly oil-absorbing / publication in bioinspiration & biomimetics / video on absorption capacity August 25th, 2016

Synthetic Biology

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

Chemistry

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal, to host its first ever International Meeting on Material Sciences and Engineering August 15th, 2016

'Liquid fingerprinting' technique instantly identifies unknown liquids: Ability to instantly identify unknown liquids in the field could aid first responders, improve plant safety August 4th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Announcements

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic