Navigation Links
Fighting sleeping sickness with X-ray lasers

This press release is available in German.

Using the world's most powerful X-ray free-electron laser, an international team of researchers, including scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, has obtained new insight into the structure of a medicinally important protein that may serve as a blueprint for the development of drugs to fight sleeping sickness. Science magazine have chosen the experimental study as one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of the year.

Sleeping sickness is caused by the unicellular organism Trypanosoma brucei that is transmitted by tsetse flies. The disease kills about 30,000 people word-wide each year. The currently available drugs against the disease are of limited efficacy and can have severe side effects. Moreover, resistance against them is increasing. A promising drug target is the protein Cathepsin B whose enzymatic activity is vital for the parasite's survival. Inhibitors of Cathepsin B need to be highly specific against the trypanosomal variant because it resembles the human form. The featured work provides detailed insight into the structure of trypanosomal Cathepsin B in a natively inhibited form that might serve as a blueprint for the rational design of drugs. The biologically important form of the protein was obtained by a trick: instead of crystallizing the protein in plastic trays in the lab, it was crystallized in vivo in the cells that produced the protein. This approach provides natively modified proteins, but the crystals obtained are tiny.

The use of the X-ray free-electron laser (FEL) at Stanford was essential for the work. Protein structures are typically determined by exposing crystals of the protein to X-rays. Unfortunately, many of the most interesting proteins, such a membrane proteins, do not form crystals of sufficient size for analysis by conventional X-ray sources. Measurements using very tiny crystals have now become feasible thanks to the extreme intensity of FELs whose ultrashort pulse durations outrun most radiation damage effects. It is these properties that allowed structure analysis of the tiny in-vivo grown Cathepsin B crystals. Using a model system, the Heidelberg researchers and their international colleagues had previously validated this new approach using FELs as a tool for structure analysis, an important step in the method development that published in February 2012 in Science. The current featured research demonstrates for the first time FEL use to obtain new biologically important information. The international team shows in detail how the structures of typanosomal and human Cathepsin B differ and how the naturally occurring native inhibitor binds . This may provide new ideas for designing drugs against sleeping sickness.

The team included researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, the Center of Free-Electron Laser Science at Deutschen Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, the Arizona State University, the Universities of Hamburg, Lbeck, Tbingen, Uppsala and Gteborg, the SLAC National Accelerator Center (USA), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA) and the Max Planck Advanced Study Group at the Hamburg Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL).

Contact: Dr. Ilme Schlichting

Related medicine news :

1. From a Failed Vaccine, New Insights Into Fighting HIV
2. Doctors Detail High Costs of Fighting Malpractice Claims
3. Soybeans soaked in warm water naturally release key cancer-fighting substance
4. Living longer - variability in infection-fighting genes can be a boon for male survival
5. 2-1-1 could be effective tool in fighting cancer disparities
6. Moffitt researcher, colleagues find success with new immune approach to fighting some cancers
7. Parents Fighting May Have Long-Lasting Effect on Kids
8. Why current strategies for fighting obesity are not working
9. Ordinary chickens may be extraordinary in fighting cancer, says Texas A&M researcher
10. Fighting obesity with thermal imaging
11. Male Ontario students show declines in fighting; females show elevated bullying and mental distress
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Fighting sleeping sickness with X-ray lasers
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now ... of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal the media of their split ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based ... experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, ... of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, ... the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer ... through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading ... a one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. ... Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include ... in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more ... that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that ... new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in ... on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... Market by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen Needles), ... (Insulin, GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) ... MarketsandMarkets, This report studies the market for the forecast ... to reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from USD ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that ... e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest decision ... value to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art ... relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of ... full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: