SwitzerlandSwitzerland

EMBL study helps to understand drought resistance

18.11.2009

Much as adrenaline coursing through our veins drives our body’s reactions to stress, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is behind plants’ responses to stressful situations such as drought, but how it does so has been a mystery for years. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Valencia, Spain discovered that the key lies in the structure of a protein called PYR1 and how it interacts with the hormone. Their study, published online in Nature, could open up new approaches to increasing
crops’ resistance to water shortage (more...). Under normal conditions, a family of proteins called Type 2C phosphatases inhibit the ABA pathway. When a plant is subjected to drought, the concentration of ABA in its cells increases, removing the brake and allowing the signal for drought response to be triggered. This in turn initiates mechanisms for increasing water uptake and storage, and decreasing water loss. While it is known that ABA does not interact directly with Type 2C phosphatases, recent studies had indicated that
another family of proteins mediate between these two. Scientists led by José Antonio Márquez from EMBL Grenoble, and Pedro Luis Rodriguez from CSIC, examined one member of this third family of proteins, called PYR1. X-ray crystallography shows that PYR1 has an open structure, like an outstretched hand, in the absence of ABA. When ABA is present it sits in the ‘palm’ of the PYR1 hand, which then closes over the hormone as if holding a ball. This enables a Type 2C phosphatase to sit on top of the folded fingers. As these features seem to be conserved across most members of this protein family, this
confirms PYR1 and others in this protein family as the main ABA receptors. It also demonstrates how the process of stress response starts: by binding to PYR1, ABA causes it to inhibit PP2C molecules, which are therefore not available to block the stress response.

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

30.03.2012

Basel/Hinxton (UK) – Two European teams have created huge repositories of cancer genomics data that help predict drug response. Swiss Novartis and the Boston-based Broad Institute have combined data obtained from large-scale...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

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26.03.2012

Basel/Vienna - Following promising results from a Phase III study, Roche has submitted a regulatory application to EMA for subcutaneous Herceptin (trastuzumab) to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. Roche said subcutaneous...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

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After the US Food & Drug Administration forced Swiss generics giant Sandoz AG to update its production facilities in Quebec, there are now fears that supplies of some medicines could grow tight in Canada. The regulatory authority...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

08.03.2012

The hepatitis C space has seen a string of large deals in the last weeks that include a US$11bn buyout of Pharmasset by Gilead. Now Novartis is also trying to get in the game with the purchase of a global exclusive licence from...

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Allschwil – Swiss Actelion Ltd. has strengthened its commercial offerings by securing rights in certain countries to Auxilium’s biotech drug Xiaflex for treating tissue buildup under the skin. The US pharma is to receive US$10m...

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

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Zug – Life Sciences specialist HBM partners has raised €90m in the first close of its HBM BioCapital II fund, which will invest in revenue-generating companies in the pharmaceuticals, medical device and diagnostics sectors....

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

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Stans – Mondobiotech, a drug discovery company in troubled waters, could soon be under Italian ownership: The Swiss biotech announced it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Milan-based provider of pharmaceutical and...

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