Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rules To Target RNA Are Focus Of Research

Date:
December 16, 2005
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
Finding compounds that bind to and inhibit an RNA sequence -- as a potential new approach to designing disease treatments -- is still very much a trial-and-error process, involving the tedious screening of millions of molecules against a single RNA sequence. Now, a University at Buffalo medicinal chemist is hoping to change that.

Once described as DNA's less-famous chemical cousin, RNA, or ribonucleic acid, recently has moved to center stage.

RNA, the genetic material that circulates throughout cells, orchestrates the building of proteins based on instructions provided by DNA, catalyzes chemical reactions and can alter expression of proteins that may lead to cancer and other diseases.

But finding compounds that bind to and inhibit an RNA sequence -- as a potential new approach to designing disease treatments -- is still very much a trial-and-error process, involving the tedious screening of millions of molecules against a single RNA sequence.

Now, a University at Buffalo medicinal chemist is hoping to change that.

Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in UB's College of Arts and Sciences, is working to develop rules for targeting RNA. These rules could be used in the rational design of compounds to inhibit a specific RNA sequence.

Disney's goal, with the help of a five-year, $50,000 new faculty award from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, is to develop a chemical code to enable rational design of binders to any RNA structure. His work also is funded by the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

"What we would like to do is develop a general set of tools that can take an RNA sequence and design efficiently a compound that can turn its activity off," explained Disney.

The human genome and other sequencing efforts have uncovered a lot of sequence information, he continued, but the question, he asks, is, "How can that information be best exploited?"

"One answer may be to take RNA sequence information and design drugs that target that sequence," said Disney. "If that can be done, then a lot of the expense in designing new drugs goes out the window."

Potentially, that could facilitate the development of compounds to treat diseases ranging from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections to cancer and genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis, Disney said.

Rationally designed RNA inhibitors could, he explained, prove more valuable than molecules that inhibit DNA.

One reason is that while DNA bases or nucleotides are always paired according to the same formula, RNA bases have more diverse pairings, which makes targeting RNA more challenging, but also potentially more valuable.

"The ability to form different pairings allows RNA to have a much larger structural repertoire than DNA and that gives RNA the ability to have such diverse cellular functions," said Disney.

In addition, he said, because DNA is present only in the nucleus, pharmaceutical compounds that target it must be able to penetrate the nucleus.

"Since RNA is present both in the cell's nucleus and cytoplasm, you do not need to get a compound into the nucleus to target it," he said.

Because RNA folds more like a protein than DNA does, it also may be easier to design compounds that selectively target specific structures, he added.

###

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Rules To Target RNA Are Focus Of Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216095439.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2005, December 16). Rules To Target RNA Are Focus Of Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216095439.htm
University at Buffalo. "Rules To Target RNA Are Focus Of Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216095439.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins