Researchers find way to fix GPCRs for structural analyses
Brussels – For the first time, researchers from Vrije Universiteit Brussels, VIB and Stanford University have frozen adrenaline binding to its hyperdynamic receptor for structural analysis (Nature,doi:10.1038/nature09648). The findings open up modulation of the „Adrenaline switch“, the target of widely used drugs such as asthma inhibitors and beta blockers. However applications are not limited to asthma or heart disease. Over 30% of all drugs on sale today switch similar receptors on or off. Through the newly developed technique, which makes use of a special sort of antibodies called Xaperones™ to fix the receptor, these receptors can now be accurately described, which is a necessary first step to determine their action and develop new or better drugs. Xaperones™ is a new application of the Nanobody® technology developed at VIB-Vrije Universiteit Brussels. The development of therapeutic Nanobodies® forms the basis of the biopharmaceutics company Ablynx, a start-up of VIB and Vrije Universiteit Brussels.