Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery provides blueprint for new drugs that can inhibit hepatitis C virus

Date:
March 19, 2012
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Chemists have produced the first high resolution structure of a molecule that when attached to the genetic material of the hepatitis C virus prevents it from reproducing.

The molecule prompts the Hepatitis C’s viral RNA to open up a portion of its hinge-like structure and encapsulate the inhibitor like a perfectly fit glove.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - San Diego

Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have produced the first high resolution structure of a molecule that when attached to the genetic material of the hepatitis C virus prevents it from reproducing.

Hepatitis C is a chronic infectious disease that affects some 170 million people worldwide and causes chronic liver disease and liver cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C now kills more Americans each year than HIV.

The structure of the molecule, which was published in a paper in this week's early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a detailed blueprint for the design of drugs that can inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus, which proliferates by hijacking the cellular machinery in humans to manufacture duplicate viral particles.

Finding a way to stop that process could effectively treat viral infections of hepatitis C, for which no vaccine is currently available. But until now scientists have identified few inhibiting compounds that directly act on the virus's ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome -- the organism's full complement of genetic material.

"This lack of detailed information on how inhibitors lock onto the viral genome target has hampered the development of better drugs," said Thomas Hermann, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego who headed the research team, which also included scientists from San Diego State University. The team detailed the structure of a molecule that induces the viral RNA to open up a portion of its hinge-like structure and encapsulate the inhibitor like a perfectly fit glove, blocking the ability of the hepatitis C virus to replicate.

The molecule is from a class of compounds called benzimidazoles, known to stop the production of viral proteins in infected human cells. Its three-dimensional atomic structure was determined by X-ray crystallography, a method of mapping the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and causes the beam of light to spread. The angles and intensities of the light beams allowed the scientists to calculate the structure of the viral RNA-inhibitor complex.

"This structure will guide approaches to rationally design better drug candidates and improve the known benzimidazole inhibitors," said Hermann. "Also, the crystal structure demonstrates that the binding pocket for the inhibitors in the hepatitis C virus RNA resembles drug-binding pockets in proteins. This is important to help overcome the notion that RNA targets are so unlike traditional protein targets that drug discovery approaches with small molecule inhibitors are difficult to achieve for RNA."

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sergey M. Dibrov, Kejia Ding, Nicholas D. Brunn, Matthew A. Parker, B. Mikael Bergdahl, David L. Wyles, and Thomas Hermann. Structure of a hepatitis C virus RNA domain in complex with a translation inhibitor reveals a binding mode reminiscent of riboswitches. PNAS, March 19, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1118699109

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Discovery provides blueprint for new drugs that can inhibit hepatitis C virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319163805.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2012, March 19). Discovery provides blueprint for new drugs that can inhibit hepatitis C virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319163805.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Discovery provides blueprint for new drugs that can inhibit hepatitis C virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319163805.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
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