Researchers have unraveled the structure of a key enzyme that can trigger allergies and asthma, giving hopes for more effective therapies
Researchers working on two European Union-funded research projects have unraveled the structure of a key enzyme that can trigger allergies and asthma, giving hopes for more effective therapies, said the European Commission. The enzyme, termed LTC4 synthase, is part of the complex process that leads to the production of leukotrienes, which cause allergic symptoms, and motors the inflammatory reaction, which causes asthma attacks. Some of the existing medicines block the effect of this enzyme after the process has taken place. Thanks to these latest findings, scientists will now be able to tailor new molecules that block LTC4 before it can act. The breakthrough was published in the leading scientific magazine Nature on Sunday.
The two projects, named EICOSANOX and E-MeP, are headed by professors from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and received 20 million euros ($27 million) of funding from EU's research programme.
The EU-funded teams have developed the highest ever resolution picture of the structure of LTC4 synthase. This greater clarity of the structure of the enzyme means that scientists now have a much better understanding of how it is formed and how it works. This knowledge can then be used to develop more effective therapies.
Scientists from around the world have been working on unraveling the structure of LTC4 synthase and the results of two such projects are described in Nature this week. The European team, however, has managed to produce the highest resolution information, therefore providing a much better template for drug design.