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Researchers uncover key trigger for potent cancer-fighting marine product
Date:1/4/2008

potential for drug development. Knowing the pathway of how the natural product is made biologically may give biotechnology and pharmaceutical scientists the ability to manipulate key molecules to engineer new versions of Salinispora-derived drugs. Genetic engineering may allow the development of second-generation compounds that cant be found in nature.

Its possible that drug companies could manufacture this type of drug in greater quantities now that we know how nature makes it, said Moore.

At this point it is unclear how pervasively SalL and its unique biological activation pathway exist in the ocean environment. Chlorine is a major component of seawater, and, according to Moore, a fundamental component of Salinisporas disease-inhibiting abilities. Salinosporamide A, for example, is 500 times more potent than its chlorine-free analog salinosporamide B.

The chlorine atom in salinosporamide A is key to the drugs irreversible binding to its biological target and one of the reasons the drug is so effective against cancer, said Moore.

According to Eustquio, finding the enzyme and its new pathway also carries implications for understanding evolutionary developments, including clues for how and why related enzymes are activated in different ways.


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Contact: Mario Aguilera
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
858-534-3624
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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