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Penn researchers discover new target for preventing and treating flu
Date:1/30/2008

za drug help us understand the molecular basis of drug resistance, which is a serious problem in treating the flu," said Jean Chin, PhD, who oversees grants on membrane proteins at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which in part funded this research. "The findings will inform scientists working to design the next generation of antivirals."

The M2 protein was crystallized so that its structure could be examined under different conditions. This allowed the Penn research team, which included Amanda Stouffer, Rudresh Acharya, David Salom, Cinque Soto, Luigi Di Costanzo, Steven Stayrook, Vikas Nanda, and Anna Levine, to determine the structure of the crystallized protein using a technique called x-ray crystallography.

The pure protein crystal was bombarded with x-rays so that the position of each atom in relation to its neighboring atoms in the crystal would show up as an array of black spots. From the pattern of thousands of spots, the structure of the protein can be graphically visualized using computer imaging technology.

The next step is to design new compounds that plug the M2 channel by fitting into the newly discovered larger cavity. The Penn research group is currently engaged in these studies.


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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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