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SARomics Biostructures determines protein-ligand crystal structures

Lund, November 10, 2008 - SARomics Biostructures AB announced today that they, together with scientists at Lund University, have determined the crystal structures of human galectin-3 in complex with two novel inhibitors to an unusually high resolution and of a bacterial carbohydrate binding module with two carbohydrate ligands.

The achievements in the two different projects were a result of SARomics Biostructures collaboration with two different research groups at Lund University. These collaborations served as pilot projects for SARomics Biostructures concept of offering services to academic groups, in addition to the commercial services offered to corporate customers.

In the first project the crystal structures of galectin-3 in complex with two novel inhibitors were determined to 1.1 Å and 1.2 Å resolution, respectively. The inhibitors were developed by a research group headed by Dr. Ulf Nilsson and Professor Hakon Leffler at the Depts. of Organic Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine at Lund University, respectively. The β-galactoside-binding protein galectin-3 is involved in the regulation of apoptosis, intracellular trafficking, cell signalling and cell adhesion. The Nilsson and Leffler groups study galectin-3 in order to develop inhibitors that could play important roles for the future treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. The unusually high resolution to which the structures were determined will facilitate the subsequent structure-based design of new improved inhibitors.

In the second project the crystal structures of an engineered thermostable  carbohydrate-binding module of a thermostable xylanase was determined alone and in complex with two carbohydrates. The carbohydrate-binding module has been engineered by Dr Mats Ohlin's research group at the Dept. of Immunotechnology, Lund University with the aim that it should work as a molecular scaffold recognizing different carbohydrates. Such modules have a great potential for applications concerning the use of plant material as food and feed as well as for the utilization and basic analysis of fibres made from these materials. This structural insight will greatly simplify the future development of new variants serving as specific recognition units for various carbohydrates, which will be useful in the assessment of the biology of plants as well as of biotechnological procedures.

About structure-based drug design

In structure-based drug design the three-dimensional structures of a drug target interacting with small molecule ligands are used to guide drug discovery programmes. When combined with high-speed computational methods, such as high-performance ligand-receptor docking, it can be used to enrich the fraction of suitable lead candidates in a chemical database, improving the speed and quality of the discovery of new drug candidates and dramatically reducing drug development costs.

About SARomics Biostructures AB

SARomics Biostructures AB is a privately held contract research organization specialized in structural biology services. We accelerate our customers' drug discovery process by providing contract R&D support in the areas of protein crystallization, protein structure determination and NMR spectroscopy. Access to structural information increases molecular understanding and enables faster project execution.

SARomics Biostructures is equipped with state-of-the-art robotics for low volume, high-throughput crystallization and X-ray diffraction experiments. Our lab is located "down the hall" from MAX-lab, the Swedish national synchrotron radiation laboratory, which provides us with an X-ray source perfectly suited for protein structure determination. As a complement to our structural biology services we also offer molecular modelling and computational chemistry R&D support through our partner company SARomics AB. SARomics provides services covering all aspects of in silico drug discovery thus enabling a complete solution for structure-based drug design.

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If you have any questions please contact Dr Björn Walse, Director Sales & Marketing, SARomics Biostructures AB, +46 46 191276.