Improving Drug Design

März 6, 2009

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has patented an improved microscopy method for measuring proteins to help scientists creating new pharmaceuticals for targeted proteins. The method, called Differential Aberration Correction (DAC) microscopy, measures distances at the molecular level in two and three dimensions using conventional fluorescence microscopy.

The leader of CSIRO’s Biotech Imaging team, Dr. Pascal Vallotton, says DAC microscopy measures distances a million times smaller than a tape measure can – in nanometers rather than millimeters. “We want to use our technique to measure accurate dimensions of proteins called membrane receptors. These proteins sit on cell boundaries, acting as gate-keepers, and they represent a class of biomolecules targeted by over 50% of pharmaceuticals”, he says. DAC microscopy is an improvement on an older technology, called FRET. Compared to FRET, DAC measures 1-250 nanometers, giving a more complete picture of drug-membrane receptor interactions. It will complement other techniques like X-ray crystallography. The DAC software was recently demonstrated in the US and will be presented at the Society for Biomolecular Screening conference in Lilles, France in April.
www.csiro.au

Fluorescence microscopy image of 100nm microspheres used to develop the DAC microscopy method.

Fluorescence microscopy image of 100nm microspheres used to develop the DAC microscopy method.


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