The human enzyme hCE1 is a biological scavenger directly involved in the breakdown of a wide range of drugs (including the recreational drugs cocaine and heroin) as well as chemical warfare agents such as sarin, soman and tabun. In the May 2003 issue of Nature Structural Biology, Matthew Redinbo and colleagues (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee) report the structures of hCE1 bound to either a cocaine analog or a heroin analog. These structures suggest how hCE1 is able to bind such a wide range of substrates. Ultimately, such knowledge could lead to the design of more selective and efficient versions of the enzyme for use in the treatment of drug overdose or chemical weapons exposure.
Matthew R. Redinbo
Dept of Chemistry, University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
Tel: +1 919 843 8910
Also available online.
(C) Nature Structural Biology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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