Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Molecule-sized bait used by UCLA research team to fish for new drug targets

Fishing for molecules
(Left) Atomic force microscopy image of serotonin precursor-modified surface with captured serotonin receptor-containing nanovesicles. (Right) Illustration of the molecular structures of the surface chemistry and the relative size differences between the "bait" (5-hydroxytryptophan) and the membrane-associated serotonin receptors selectively captured by these surfaces.
Fishing for molecules (Left) Atomic force microscopy image of serotonin precursor-modified surface with captured serotonin receptor-containing nanovesicles. (Right) Illustration of the molecular structures of the surface chemistry and the relative size differences between the "bait" (5-hydroxytryptophan) and the membrane-associated serotonin receptors selectively captured by these surfaces.

Abstract:
The technique could lead to a new generation of psychiatric medications

By Mike Rodewald

Molecule-sized bait used by UCLA research team to fish for new drug targets

Los Angeles, CA | Posted on May 15th, 2010

UCLA researchers and their collaborators have developed a method that could open the door for investigations into the function of half of all proteins in the human body.

The research team has demonstrated nanoscale control over molecules, allowing for the precise study of interactions between proteins and small molecules. Their new technique, in which molecules are used as bait to capture and study large biomolecules, could lead to a new generation of psychiatric medications.

In a paper published last month in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from UCLA and the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) report on their investigation of the interactions between large biomolecules, which include DNA and proteins, and small molecules, which include hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

The research team, led by Anne Andrews, professor of psychiatry and a researcher at both the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), is studying these interactions to identify a new generation of targets, or key molecules that correspond to specific diseases or conditions.

Interactions between large biomolecules and small molecules are ubiquitous in nature; they are the method for communication within and between cells. But these interactions have proven difficult to isolate in a laboratory setting. Increased understanding of these interactions is vital for the development of new medications for psychiatric disorders, the researchers say.

"Currently, little is known about which targets apply to specific diseases," Andrews said. "Pharmaceutical companies are very good at designing medications once they have a target to go after; my group is working on providing them with targets."

Up to this point, drug development for psychiatric disorders such as depression has been a trial-and-error process in which pharmaceutical companies refine new drugs based on a few existing drugs that were discovered accidentally. Andrews said she hopes that her team's research will lead to more effective treatments, because current depression medications only work for 30 to 50 percent of the population.

Nanoscale control is the key to the UCLA-Penn State team's findings. Their breakthrough capitalizes on work by the research group of co-author Paul Weiss on patterning self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), single layers of molecules that orient themselves on flat surfaces. Weiss, a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry who holds UCLA's Fred Kavli Chair in Nanosystems Sciences, and others discovered that SAMs don't actually form perfect surfaces. They contain defects, which can in turn be used to isolate single molecules.

"Currently we are able to space defects out over a surface. We then use these defects to control the placement and environment of the individual functional molecules," said Weiss, who is also director of the CNSI.

Even spacing is important because the UCLA-Penn State team placed serotonin, a small molecule, in defects to act as bait to capture and study large molecules. If the defects are not widely spaced, there is not enough space between serotonin molecules for each to capture a large molecule.

Large biomolecule and small molecule interactions have proved notoriously difficult to study using previous methods. When the SAM fishing pole baited with serotonin captures a large molecule, the research team is able to study the interactions in a way that replicates the molecules' natural interactions.

####

About California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA
The California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA is an integrated research center operating jointly at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara whose mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations for discoveries in nanosystems and nanotechnology; train the next generation of scientists, educators and technology leaders; and facilitate partnerships with industry, fueling economic development and the social well-being of California, the United States and the world. The CNSI was established in 2000 with $100 million from the state of California and an additional $250 million in federal research grants and industry funding. At the institute, scientists in the areas of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, computational science and engineering are measuring, modifying and manipulating the building blocks of our world — atoms and molecules. These scientists benefit from an integrated laboratory culture enabling them to conduct dynamic research at the nanoscale, leading to significant breakthroughs in the areas of health, energy, the environment and information technology.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contacts
Jennifer Marcus
310-267-4839


Mike Rodewald
310-267-5883

Copyright © California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA

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

New research project supports internationalisation in nano-research: Launch of new “Baltic Sea Network” November 22nd, 2014

3rd Iran-Proposed Nano Standard Approved by International Standard Organization November 22nd, 2014

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

Canatu Launches CNB In-Mold Film for Transparent Touch on 3D Surfaces –in Cars, Household Appliances, Wearables, Portables November 20th, 2014

Possible Futures

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions November 17th, 2014

VDMA Electronics Production Equipment: Growth track for 2014 and 2015 confirmed: Business climate survey shows robust industry sector November 14th, 2014

Open Materials Development Will Be Key for HP's Success in 3D Printing: HP can make a big splash in 3D printing, but it needs to shore up technology claims and avoid the temptation of the razor/razor blade business model in order to flourish November 11th, 2014

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly Student Awarded Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Energy's Postgraduate Research Program: Ph.D. Candidate Accepts Postmaster's Appointment To Conduct Research At Albany NanoTech Complex November 13th, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Hosts Massive Crowd of More Than 3,000 People Who Attended Community Day Activities Across New York State: CNSE’s ‘NANOvember’ kickoff event highlights New York State’s growing high-tech sector with open house events in Albany, Utica, and Rochester November 3rd, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Invites the Public to Attend its Popular Statewide 'NANOvember' Series of Outreach and Educational Events October 23rd, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Self Assembly

Live Images from the Nano-cosmos: Researchers watch layers of football molecules grow November 5th, 2014

Outsmarting Thermodynamics in Self-assembly of Nanostructures: Berkeley Lab reports method for symmetry-breaking in feedback-driven self-assembly of optical metamaterials November 4th, 2014

NYU Researchers Break Nano Barrier to Engineer the First Protein Microfiber October 23rd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

Nanomedicine

New research project supports internationalisation in nano-research: Launch of new “Baltic Sea Network” November 22nd, 2014

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Protein-engineered cages aid studies of cell functions November 19th, 2014

Discoveries

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials: University of Oregon microscope puts spotlight on the surface structure of quantum dots for designing new solar devices November 20th, 2014

Silver Nanoparticles Produced in Iran from Forest Plants Extract November 20th, 2014

Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014

Announcements

New research project supports internationalisation in nano-research: Launch of new “Baltic Sea Network” November 22nd, 2014

3rd Iran-Proposed Nano Standard Approved by International Standard Organization November 22nd, 2014

NMTI announces breakthrough solutions for HAMR nanoantenna for next-generation ultra-high density magnetic storage November 21st, 2014

Nano Sorbents Able to Remove Pollutions Caused by Oil Derivatives November 20th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: Protein-engineered cages aid studies of cell functions November 19th, 2014

A novel method for identifying the body’s ‘noisiest’ networks November 19th, 2014

Implementation of DNA Chains in Designing Nanospin Pieces November 9th, 2014

Research partnerships

New research project supports internationalisation in nano-research: Launch of new “Baltic Sea Network” November 22nd, 2014

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites November 20th, 2014

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials: University of Oregon microscope puts spotlight on the surface structure of quantum dots for designing new solar devices November 20th, 2014

NRL Scientists Discover Novel Metamaterial Properties within Hexagonal Boron Nitride November 20th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE