Unlocking a liver receptor puzzle

Imagine a key that opens a pin tumbler lock.  A very similar key can also fit into the lock, but upside down in comparison to the first key.

Biochemist Eric Ortlund and colleagues have obtained analogous results in their study of how potential diabetes drugs interact with their target, the protein LRH-1. Their research, published in Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that making small changes to LRH-1-targeted compounds makes a huge difference in how they fit into the protein’s binding pocket.

This research was selected as “Paper of the Week” by JBC and is featured on the cover of the December 2 issue.

The first author of the paper is Suzanne Mays, a graduate student in Emory’s Molecular and Systems Pharmacology program. Ortlund is associate professor of biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine and a faculty member in the BCDB and MSP programs. Nathan Jui, PhD, from Emory’s Department of Chemistry and scientists at Scripps Research Institute in Florida also contributed to the paper.

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