Research highlight

Seeking promiscuity

Nature Chemical Biology

October 13, 2008

Scientists have designed a small molecule that simultaneously inhibits multiple enzymes and their research is described online this week in Nature Chemical Biology. The ability to identify chemical compounds that target multiple pathways involved in cellular growth offers potential for more targeted anticancer therapies.

Previously scientists looking for new drugs try to find a small molecule that will selectively block the action of one protein within cells. However, recent studies have shown that certain successful drugs thought to be highly selective for their target proteins actually work by interacting with other proteins as well.

Kevan Shokat and colleagues use this strategy to identify PP121, a molecule that interferes with cancer cell growth by inhibiting two types of enzymes, known as tyrosine kinases and lipid kinases. The discovery offers a lead compound for therapeutic approaches, but also reveals design principles that will aid researchers in finding new multi-target inhibitors.

doi: 10.1038/nchembio.117

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