Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Pioneering breakthrough of chemical nanoengineering to design drugs controlled by light

Researchers at IRB Barcelona and IBEC design the first peptides regulated by light to modulate biological processes @Laura Nevola
Researchers at IRB Barcelona and IBEC design the first peptides regulated by light to modulate biological processes

@Laura Nevola

Abstract:
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 article, cover and "Very Important Paper" of Angewandte Chemie, is a highlighted result of the European project "OpticalBullet", funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and in which the two institutes participate.

Pioneering breakthrough of chemical nanoengineering to design drugs controlled by light

Barcelona, Spain | Posted on June 18th, 2013

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.

Improvements in lasers and chemical engineering

To work towards the development of photo-sensitive drugs, we must enhance the photochemical response of the compounds and be able to stimulate them at visible wavelengths. "Prolonged illumination with ultraviolet light is toxic for cells and is therefore a clear limitation as well has having little tissue penetration capacity," Giralt explains as an example. Furthermore, the photo-conversion of the compounds needs to be improved as does their stability in the dark in order to be able to "on demand, design them in such a way that they relax rapidly when irradiation with light stops or that they "remember" for hours or days the light stimulation received," adds Gorostiza.

This study has also involved the collaboration of researchers with IRB Barcelona's Advanced Digital Microscopy Platform, who designed an adhoc programme to be able to qualitatively and quantitatively validate the effects of the peptides inside the cells in real time. Similarly, in the field of biology, the team has been supported by Dr. Artur Llobet's group at IDIBELL.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sonia Armengou

34-934-037-255

Copyright © Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

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 Links

Reference article:

Related News Press

News and information

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Particle Works creates range of high performance quantum dots February 23rd, 2017

Imaging

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

JPK selects compact tensile stage from Deben for their NanoWizard® AFM platform to broaden capabilities for materials characterisation February 22nd, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Engineers shrink microscope to dime-sized device February 17th, 2017

Chemistry

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Physics

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Research reveals novel quantum state in strange insulating materials February 14th, 2017

Nanomedicine

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Good vibrations help reveal molecular details: Rice University scientists combine disciplines to pinpoint small structures in unlabeled molecules February 15th, 2017

Discoveries

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

Tools

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

JPK selects compact tensile stage from Deben for their NanoWizard® AFM platform to broaden capabilities for materials characterisation February 22nd, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

Research partnerships

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

Graphene foam gets big and tough: Rice University's nanotube-reinforced material can be shaped, is highly conductive February 13th, 2017

Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Scientists Use New ‘Blood Biopsies’ With Experimental Device to Speed Cancer Diagnosis and Predict Disease Spread: Leading-Edge Research Is Part of National Cancer Moonshot Initiative February 13th, 2017

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