Peptide mimics to the rescue
A new kind of wound-healing drug could be on the way thanks to a team of UK researchers.
Wound healing occurs with the help of the migration stimulating factor (MSF) protein, the active part of which consists of a string of three amino acids in a precise structural arrangement.
3D NMR shows the similarity between the native peptide and the peptide mimic
Using NMR data from this region, Rodolfo Marquez and colleagues at the University of Dundee were able to design and synthesise a small molecule that mimics the key part of the structure. This so-called peptidomimetic uses a benzodiazepine framework to anchor the amino acids in the correct positions.
The researchers showed that the molecule has the same kind of effect on cultured human skin fibroblast cells as the MSF protein itself, indicating the same kind of wound-healing ability.
Animal studies have indicated that the new compound strongly stimulates new blood vessel formation which is an important part of the healing process.
The research team is now working on similar molecules with further improved properties.
N Shpiro et al, Mol. BioSyst., 2005 (DOI: 10.1039/b507084h)