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Scripps research scientists develop brand new class of small molecules through innovative chemistry
Date:11/20/2011

ilable for investigation, the scientists embraced an approach to structural diversity that mimics nature's engine for the discovery of molecules with biological function. This process, termed "oligomerization," is a modular means of assembling structures (akin to the way that letters are used in a sequence to provide words with meaning) where a small collection of monomeric units can deliver a vast collection of oligomeric products of varying length, structure, and function (like the diversity of words presented in a dictionary).

Coupling this technique with a synthetic design aimed at generating molecules that boast molecular features inspired by the structures of bioactive natural products (specifically, polyketide-derived natural products, which include erythromycin, FK-506, and epothilone), the scientists established a new chemical platform for the discovery of potential therapeutics.

Micalizio points out: "The importance of oligomerization to drive discovery is well appreciated in chemistry and biology, yet a means to realize this process as an entry to small molecule natural product-inspired structures has remained elusive. The crux of the problem is related to challenges associated with the control of shape for each member of a complex oligomer collection -- the central molecular feature that defines biological function."

"It is the stability associated with the shape of these new compounds that lies at the heart of the practical advance," he continued. "The unique features of this science now make possible the ability to synthesize large collections of diverse natural product-inspired structures that have predictable and stable three-dimensional shapes."

Micalizio said that the science described represents a first step toward revolutionizing discovery at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine by embracing nature's strategy for molecular discovery. Coupling this type of advance with modern screening technology
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Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
858-784-2052
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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