Autocrine-Based Selection of Drugs that Target Ion Channels from Combinatorial Venom Peptide Libraries

Journal: Angewandte Chemie International Edition

Published: 2016-05-01

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201603052

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 10

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Research Highlight

Drug discovery with a faster bite

© shikheigoh/RooM/Getty

© shikheigoh/RooM/Getty

Fluorescent cells can inject some speed into the analysis of venom for leads for potential drugs, a team, including Shanghai Tech University researchers, reports.

Unlikely as it sounds, venoms are a proven source of medicines. Venom compounds have evolved over millennia to selectively bind to their target, often hitting essential cellular pores called ion channels. Sometimes, these channels have medical relevance — such as the Kv1.3 ion channel, which in humans is found in the T cells that go awry in autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Finding a venom peptide to hit a given target is laborious, so the authors engineered Kv1.3-carrying cells to speed up the process. In these cells, a venom peptide and the ion channel each get tagged with a chemical tail. Should the peptide bind to the ion channel, their tails interact to release a chemical that turns the cell fluorescent, rapidly signalling a hit. The technique should improve the researcher’s strike rate and improve the flow of new venom-derived drugs into hospitals.

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  1. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 55, 9306–9310 (2016). doi: 10.1002/anie.201603052
Institutions Share
Shanghai Institute for Advanced Immunochemical Studies (SIAIS), ShanghaiTech, China 0.50
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Scripps Research, United States of America (USA) 0.40
Instituto de Biotecnología (IBt), UNAM, Mexico 0.10