Tuberculosis project starts
Budapest – A Hungarian research consortium has been granted a 3-year fund of EUR2m by the Hungarian government to identify new enzyme targets against multi-restistant strains of the tuberculosis agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). “The innovative element of the project is the idea that in living organisms, inhibiting enzymatic processes frequently have no dramatic effects because alternative pathways can bridge the lacking enzymatic functions”, explains project leader Prof. Vince Grolmusz from Uratim Kft (Nyíregyháza). “Here we intend to inhibit a small set of proteins so that all the alternative routes will be blocked in the protein or metabolic network of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” One of the main goals is to find the minimum cut sets in the graph of the interaction or metabolic networks. The MINCUT search is a well-known operation in graph theory. For selected targets, the researchers from Eotvos University’s Institute of Enzymology and Ubichem Ltd. will search for inhibitor molecules from the ZINC database of more than 4 million small molecules using the Frigate docking program of Uratim Ltd., then purchase and verify the hits in protein assays and in Mtb cultures. Verified hits will be optimised, and their toxicity will be evaluated. The molecules found will be offered to large pharmaceutical companies for further development.