Now in 3-D

3-D model of molecule may lead to improved drugs and treatment for asthma

(RxWiki News) Scientists have created a model of the molecule that causes the chronic lung inflammation responsible for asthma. This model may help in the design of new and improved asthma drugs.

The 3-D model of the molecule Human 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) was developed by Louisiana State University (LSU) graduate student Nathanial Gilbert, Marcia Newcomer, Professor of Biological Sciences, and Associate Professor Sue Bartlett.

The molecule 5-LOX is responsible for starting the molecular process that leads to inflammation. According to Newcomer, the 3-D model of 5-LOX will give scientists a closer look at the molecule than they were previously afforded becuase the instability of the molecule previously made it very difficult to examine.

The LSU researchers were able to stabilize the molecule by identifying the mechanism which makes it unstable. They then bioengineered a replacement for this mechanism, thus creating a stable form of the molecule. Developing a stronger, stable 5-LOX molecule allowed them the time necessesary to understand its 3-D structure.

If we can improve our understanding of 5-LOX's molecular structure, we also can improve our knowledge of its mechanisms and inner-workings. This 3-D model puts us on the track to improving drugs to treat asthma.

The LSU team's research was printed in the Jan. 14 issue of Science.

Review Date: 
February 2, 2011