Fu's group teamed up with the laboratory of Xiaodong Cheng, PhD, co-senior author, professor of biochemistry and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, to examine how FOBISIN fits into its targets.
Scientists use X-rays as a tool to probe protein structure. If a protein and a drug that targets it can be crystallized together, the X-ray diffraction pattern from the crystals reveals the 3D arrangement of the atoms and how the drug interacts with the protein. Research assistant professor John Horton, PhD, and research associate Anup Upadhyay, PhD, in the Cheng laboratory used synchrotron X-ray radiation from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory for this purpose.
"In this case, the X-rays had an unexpected effect: they caused FOBISIN to become covalently attached to the 14-3-3 protein," Cheng says.
The finding suggests that compounds like FOBISIN could be developed as "pro-drugs" that upon exposure to radiation, permanently stick to and inhibit their targets. A common strategy in fighting cancer is to combine drugs and radiation so that the drugs increase cells' sensitivity to radiation. Here, the radiation would activate the drug.
"These compounds could be used in combination with other strategies to enhance the tumor selectivity of the treatment," Fu says.
|Contact: Holly Korschun|